Are we going to witness American and Western nationals subject to the same control measures as those reserved for the Algerian population, now considered as a “threat” to international security? It might. That is, if Algerian Minister of Interior Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni’s request is not taken seriously: To remove Algeria from the state sponsors of terrorism list, drawn by the United States following the terror attempt by the young Nigerian Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab on a Northwest Airlines flight to the U.S. carrier, last December.
After a determined battle to free itself of over a decade of terrorist violence that rocked the northern African nation, Algeria has re-emerged on the state sponsors of terrorism list established by the United States and France.
For the Algerian government the application of the diplomatic “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” retaliatory principles cannot be ruled out. Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni, Algerian Minister of Interior and Local Government, Tuesday expressed his assent for reciprocity in the columns of the Algerian French-language journal, L’Expression. “Yes, if really necessary, we will apply these measures.”
Persistent in its anger against the United States decision, Algeria could justify its action by blaming its inclusion on the state sponsors of terrorism list. Nationals of countries listed are subject to specific control measures.
In order to diffuse a virtual diplomatic time bomb and smoothen relations with Algiers, Washington hurried an envoy to the Algerian capital on January 23. Janet Sanderson, Deputy Assistant Secretary in charge of affairs in the Middle East at the State Department was tasked with explaining to her Algerian counterparts the possibility of revising the list which had been put together in haste.
But although Janet Sanderson has assured Algiers that “These new measures come within the framework of a process that can change,” the Algerian government won’t budge. According to the Minister of Interior, Algiers, does not in any case bargain for the “dignity” of its citizens who have been deeply hurt by terrorism.
Despite a marked improvement in the security situation in Algeria, achieved by virtue of the mobilization of security forces, an action that has not been without consequences, Western countries still remain skeptical.