The Maghreb’s biggest nations and regional rivals, Algeria, and Morocco, so far have refrained from choosing a side in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. For its part, Tunisia has had ambivalent positions due to a number of factors, which we will cover in a moment. In general, though, these nations have had no intention on openly support one or the other party in the conflict and have assumed some neutrality based on multiple geopolitical factors. Broadly speaking and setting aside Ukraine as a sovereign nation, North African states see this conflict as one that opposes Russia, an extension of what used to be the Soviet Union, against the West, a group of nations that encompasses Western Europe and the United States. In some way, they see the conflict as the continuation of the cold war that pitted the USSR to the USA. Other major factors, such as North Africa’s proximity to and neighborhood with western Europe, the developing gas market, Russia’s military weight and its growing economic influence on the region are among the many factors that have been weighing on decision makers in North Africa on how to deal with this thorny conflict.
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