Algeria Has Aligned Itself with Iran and China against the West

On October 31, Algeria—the world’s fifth-largest producer of natural gas—ceased exporting gas to Spain and Portugal via a pipeline that runs through Morocco. To Dore Gold, this is a sign of growing tensions between Algiers and Rabat which in turn hark back to the cold war, when Algeria placed itself firmly in the Soviet bloc, while Morocco threw in its lot with the America:

The Algerians took this step just as Russia reduced its natural-gas exports to Europe, leading to soaring gas prices at the beginning of winter. . . . It is instructive to note that Algeria was cutting gas supplies at a time when it intended to increase its share of Europe’s gas market to over 30 percent, according to the Algerian energy minister Mohamed Arkab. In essence, the Algerian government was not reducing the share of its gas sector in its overall energy production; it was singling out Morocco and escalating tensions in North Africa as a result.

Algeria has been assisting the guerrilla forces of the Polisario Front in the Western Sahara region, fighting the Moroccan army and allowing the Islamic Republic of Iran to use its embassy in Algiers as a conduit for arms, funding, and training for the Polisario forces. Iran employed Hizballah for this training mission because its operatives spoke Arabic, while its own special forces were more fluent in Farsi, which the Polisario did not understand. At the time, after Morocco warned Iran that it knew what it was doing in Algeria, Rabat cut off diplomatic relations with the Iranian government.

Now Algeria is engaging in a new military buildup as it purchases both Russian state-of-the-art aircraft and Chinese naval platforms, including frigates and corvettes, presently under construction. It should be recalled that China seeks to become a more dominant power in Africa in the years ahead.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Algeria, China, Iran, Morocco, Natural Gas

 

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy