More than half of French people consider Algeria a terrorist threat

A survey reveals the role of policies pursued by Algerian authorities in fueling French fears

A survey on French perception of Algeria sparked wide debate, with the majority of respondents believing that the North African country poses a terrorist threat to them, following the announcement by the French presidency of receiving Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune after 6 months.

A survey conducted by the French Institute of Public Opinion for the European Leadership Network revealed that 54% of respondents, totaling 1206 individuals over the age of eighteen, emphasized that Algeria constitutes a terrorist threat to them, placing it sixth among countries seen as dangerous.

According to results presented by the “Al Sahifa” website, “25% are convinced that Algeria poses a terrorist threat to their country, while 33% believe this Maghreb country will mostly be a source of terrorist threat to them”.

The results also indicated that “36% said they were sure the terrorist threat would not come from Algeria, while 10% thought they would probably not face this type of threat via the Maghreb country”.

It is noteworthy that the results were released on the 11th of this month, the same day the French presidency announced a phone call between President Emmanuel Macron and his Algerian counterpart regarding the period of Tebboune‘s visit to Paris. The visit will take place between late September and early October, at least 6 months from now.

These surveys reveal French fears about Algeria, which have been associated with specific periods of terrorism, especially the conflict with Islamists in the early 1990s, which plunged the country into a civil war whose repercussions reached France.

The extremist statements of Algerian officials are considered to have had negative consequences on the relationship between the two countries and on the French perception of the Maghreb country, with the Algerian official narrative invoking the period of French colonization still angering the French.

Paris has emphasized its desire to deepen its relations with Algeria despite tensions over visa issues, hosting certain opposition figures, or issues concerning the Sahel and the Sahara, for many reasons, including the need for French people to find alternatives to Russian gas after its cutoff following the Russian war in Ukraine.

However, Paris’s efforts to improve relations with Rabat and change its position on the Sahara issue are causing concern in Algeria, which has become virtually isolated in the region due to the rupture of relations with Morocco and tensions with countries in the Saharan region such as Mali.

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