NARCO ANALYSIS: Morocco Getting Impatient


Morocco is increasingly frustrated that the US’s decision to recognize Moroccan sovereignty over the disputed territory of Western Sahara has not borne more fruit and faster. In fact, what Rabat saw as a sea change has not produced the ground swell of international support for its territorial ambitions that it had expected.

NARCO CLOSEHOLD: Back to the Future in Algeria


Algeria’s 12 June legislative election did not turn out the way the President Abdelmadjid Tebboune had intended. Instead of marking the final step in a two-year long political transition, the election resulted in the return of the old Bouteflika-era political parties. President Tebboune’s touted “New Algeria” looks an awful lot like the old pre-Hirak Algeria.

NARCO CLOSEHOLD: Algerian Uncertainty


Campaigning for Algeria’s 12 June legislative election ended on 8 June and there is no clear sense of whether any candidates convinced anyone of anything ahead of Saturday’s vote. Making matters more complicated, it is impossible to tell who is up, who is down, who is in, and who is out because there is no pre-election polling in Algeria. None. It does not exist. Never has.

NARCO ANALYSIS: Mauritania's New Government


Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani shuffled his government on 26 May 2021. All in all, the new ministers do not signal very much for changes in Mauritania’s policies, but they do reflect the internal political dynamics that the president is facing halfway through his first term.

NARCO ANALYSIS: Morocco Making Hay


Morocco’s making hay while the sun shines. Rabat’s current dispute with Spain and its earlier, but ongoing, spat with Berlin are just the most recent instances of the Makhzen flexing its muscle.

NARCO ANALYSIS: Libya Sweet, Algeria Sour


Libya is looking sweet for oil companies and they are starting to sour on Algeria. But it may only be a medium-term trend and there is a distinct possibility that it could reverse next year. No energy companies or oil field service companies have actually quit Algeria yet, but there are murmurings of discontent. Meanwhile, after a decade of uncertainty in Libya, things are starting to look more attractive.

NARCO ANALYSIS: Dakar's Careening


The rioting in Senegal over the last week is a good lesson in the unpredictability of political stability. One would’ve been hard pressed to find any commentary or analysis in recent years that hinted at the kind of countrywide violence and unrest that rocked Senegal over the last week.

NARCO ANALYSIS: Morocco, Southern Morocco, & Germany


Many, many (many!) years ago when I was studying in Fes, I had an argument with a friend in the quad at Université Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah. My friend was upset with something I had done. I can’t recall what it was, but I remember replying that there were no actual tangible consequences for whatever it was that upset him. And he said, “المهم, c’est le geste!

NARCO ANALYSIS: Algeria's Presidential President


If there is one takeaway from Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s address on 18 February, it was: “I’m back, I’m the president, and I and I alone am the décideur.”

NARCO ANALYSIS: Libyan Uncertainty


The surprising conclusion of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum last week only compounds the uncertainty around Libya’s political trajectory. Powerful actors are now likely to become even more disingenuous, further cloaking their true designs while biding time. Libya may have stumbled into some seemingly placid glade, but it is definitely not out of the woods.



NARCO CLOSEHOLD is timely, actionable analysis derived from discreet sources. NARCO CLOSEHOLDs are crafted as events merit. They are available to NARCO's subscription and retainer clients and on a case-by-case basis.

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