Looking at the two North African archrivals many would wonder if behind the belligerent talk, the leaderships of Algeria and Morocco aren’t linked by an informal pact designed to deflect their respective populations from the everyday issues blighting their countries. And so, as has been commonplace in both Morocco and Algeria for 35 years, the war of words concerning the disputed territories of Western Sahara, has erupted yet again.

Following on from the hostile statements made by Morocco’s Istiqlal party looking to recoup the city of Tindouf in south West Algeria, Algiers has reacted by repeating its commitment to the UN plan given the ‘urgent need for more human rights in Western Sahara.’ As a result, Rabat recalled its ambassador in Algiers in late October in light of the very ‘provocative declarations made by the Algerian president.’

Media from both sides of the border have unsurprisingly multiplied their incendiary articles designed to whip populations into a nationalist frenzy.

For Algerians, the need to look away from the spectre of an upcoming lackluster presidential election which, by all accounts, will lead to another state aparatchik becoming the country’s next president, appears to be a necessity. With many from President Bouteflika’s side calling on him to run for a fourth term in office, despite his obvious ill health, Algerians are left wondering what would the purpose in voting be this time round.

Morocco however offers a very different scenario. While the protests of February 2011 in Rabat and Casablanca never called for a toppling of the monarchy but simply demanded modernising the archaic state institu- tions, the summer of 2013 led to the first real challenge to King Mohammed VI’s rule.

In this month’s edition of the magazine Hafsa Kara-Mustapha reports