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This study explores the relationship between Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria, and the Middle East. A geographically compact and culturally unified area, the Maghrib (North Africa) has had familial but uneasy relations with the Middle East. Its strong linguistic and religious ties to the Arab Middle East are attenuated by the pervasive legacy of French culture. This duality is reflected in the economic infrastructures and sociocultural outlooks of these nations, and indeed is what distinguishes the Maghrib from the Arab Middle East. Tunisia and Morocco have maintained close ties with France while seeking counterbalances to its influence. Algeria has turned away from its Maghrib neighbors to the Middle East, and away from the West to the Soviet Bloc. Despite the myth of Algeria's military victory against impossible odds, neither Algeria nor any other North African nation can aspire to the leadership of the Arab world: they are too physically and spiritually removed. Should a new Arab-Israeli war break out, the North African countries are likely to play only a subsidiary role. 39 pp

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research memorandum series. The Research Memorandum was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1973 that represented working papers meant to report current results of RAND research to appropriate audiences.

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