German-Algerian Relations by the Early 2020s in the Context of the Germany’s Regional Policy: Political and Military Aspects

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Abstract


Since the beginning of the 21st century, there has been a noticeable increase in German efforts to ensure security in the Mediterranean Sea. This is part of the growing activities to ensure a strong strategic position in North and West Africa, including the settlement of existing armed conflicts here as sources of threats to instability for Germany and its EU partners. Consequently, Germany found itself increasingly interested in finding reliable strategic partners, one of which is Algeria, which makes the topic of this article relevant. The purpose of the study is to examine bilateral security and defense relations with a special focus on the second half of the 2010s and early 2020s with the help of comparative and event-analysis. Having an applied character, this topic has not yet found detailed coverage in the works of both domestic and foreign, especially German, researchers. The historic background of the German-Algerian dialogue is presented. The growth of high-level contacts in the second half of the 2010s is shown, with Germany having to focus on negotiations with the frequently changing figure of the Algerian prime minister. The article also explores the constraints for the cooperation of German and Algerian armed forces on land and sea, as well as the dynamics of military-technical cooperation. The bilateral cooperation in the resolution of the armed conflict in Mali, first of all, in its northern region (Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu) is considered. The political and diplomatic cooperation on the Libyan track in the middle and second half of the 2010s, as well as shortly after the Berlin Conference on Libya in January 2020, is revealed. In the early 2020s, there was a sharp decline in the intensity and volume of bilateral cooperation in almost all areas. In addition to COVID-19, the importance of domestic political factors and the temporary decline in the practical value of the partnership in Libya and Mali for Germany are stressed. A forecast of the dynamics of bilateral relations is finally given.


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Table 1. Export of German military products to Algeria, 2009—2020

Year

Volume (number
 of deals),
 mln euros

Algeria’s place among the top-20 importers
of military products in Germany

Main export items

Report on Military Equipment Exports

2009

9,0

(17)

Semi-trailer trucks

Rüstungsexportbericht 2009, S.109

2010

19,8

(12)

Trucks

Rüstungsexportbericht 2010, S. 114

2011

217,4

(8)

8

Armoured personnel carriers

and parts for armored vehicles

Rüstungsexportbericht 2011, S. 77—94

2012

286,7

(20)

3

Light utility vehicles, parts for armored vehicles

Rüstungsexportbericht 2012, S. 77—94

2013

825,7

(37)

1

Trucks, light utility vehicles, parts for armored vehicles

Rüstungsexportbericht 2013, S. 82—99

2014

163,7

(22)

7

Trucks and parts for it

Rüstungsexportbericht 2014, S. 86, 101

2015

411,4

(29)

6

Trucks and parts for it

Rüstungsexportbericht 2015, S. 82,
97—98

2016

1 418,1

(41)

1

Frigate, trucks and parts for it, torpedoes

Rüstungsexportbericht 2016, S. 74—89

2017

1 358,8

(28)

1

Frigate, naval helicopters,

 trucks and parts
for it, torpedoes

Rüstungsexportbericht 2017, S. 73, 89

2018

818,1

(29)

1

Trucks, armoured personnel carriers, parts for armored vehicles

Rüstungsexportbericht 2018, S. 72, 87

2019

846,6

(24)

2

Trucks, parts
for armored vehicles

Rüstungsexportbericht 2019, S. 82, 102

2020

76,3

(16)

15

Trucks, parts
for armored vehicles

Rüstungsexportbericht 2020, S. 100, 114

Source: compiled by the author in accordance with: Bericht der Bundesregierung über ihre Exportpolitik für konventionelle Rüstungsgüter im Jahre 2012 (Rüstungsexportbericht 2012). Berlin: Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie, 2013. S. 77—94; Bericht der Bundesregierung über ihre Exportpolitik für konventionelle Rüstungsgüter im Jahre 2013 (Rüstungseportbericht 2013). Berlin: Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie, 2014. S. 82—99; Bericht der Bundesregierung über ihre Exportpolitik für konventionelle Rüstungsgüter im Jahre 2014 (Rüstungsexportbericht 2014). Berlin: Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie, 2015. S. 86, 101; Bericht der Bundesregierung über ihre Exportpolitik für konventionelle Rüstungsgüter im Jahre 2015 (Rüstungsexportbericht 2015). Berlin: Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie, 2016. S. 82, 97—98; Bericht der Bundesregierung über ihre Exportpolitik für konventionelle Rüstungsgüter im Jahre 2016 (Rüstungsexportbericht 2016). Berlin: Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie, 2017. S. 74—89; Bericht der Bundesregierung über ihre Exportpolitik für konventionelle Rüstungsgüter im Jahre 2017 (Rüstungsexportbericht 2017). Berlin: Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie, 2018. S. 73, 89; Bericht der Bundesregierung über ihre Exportpolitik für konventionelle Rüstungsgüter im Jahre 2018 (Rüstungsexportbericht 2018). Berlin: Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie, 2019. S. 72, 87; Bericht der Bundesregierung über ihre Exportpolitik für konventionelle Rüstungsgüter im Jahre 2019 (Rüstungsexportbericht 2019). Berlin: Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie, 2020. S. 82, 102; Bericht der Bundesregierung über ihre Exportpolitik für konventionelle Rüstungsgüter im Jahre 2020 (Rüstungsexportbericht 2020). Berlin: Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie, 2021. S. 100, 114.

About the authors

Philipp O. Trunov

Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences (INION RAS)

Author for correspondence.
Email: 1trunov@mail.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7092-4864
Moscow, Russian Federation

PhD in Political Sciences, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Europe and America

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