Robert Fisk: Algeria sends clear message to the West
Published 31/08/2011 | 05:00
WHEN the Emir of Qatar flew to see President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria early this summer, he had one message to convey: don't help the Gaddafi regime. In other words, don't replace the dictator's NATO-destroyed armour with identical tanks and personnel carriers from the Algerian army.
Word has it -- meaning very good Arab military sources say -- that Bouteflika gave all the necessary promises and then broke them. An awful lot of Gaddafi's Russian-made desert armour appears to be new; it didn't get its spotless shine after rotting in the desert for the past five years.
Qatar's role in the Libyan conflict remains one of the untold stories of the war -- there were Qatari flags waved in Martyrs' Square in Tripoli last week -- but so does Algeria's. Arabs were not surprised that so many of Gaddafi's family turned up in Algeria this week.