As in various regions of the world, the Maghreb has not been immune to Wikileaks. The leaked cables provide some empirical insight into the politics of the region and the interplay of power between different states of the Maghreb. Over the next few blog posts, I will attempt to condense some of these leaks as they pertain to the Maghreb region. Today, I came across an interesting exchange during a February 2008 meeting between Tunisian President Zine al-'Abidine ben 'Ali and US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch about regional and bilateral relations in the Maghreb.
On the Western Sahara, Ben Ali said the Algerians are responsible for the ongoing impasse. Welch agreed, saying the issue was blocking progress in the region. He said the Algerians need to accept that there is not going to be an independent state in the Western Sahara. Ben Ali said the problem is complex, and will take years to resolve. He added it cannot be settled through the UN Security Council. He noted Tunisia had tried to convene a Maghreb meeting on it in Tunis. While Morocco and Libya had agreed to attend, Algeria refused, saying there was nothing to discuss.