North Africa: A More Than Five-Minute Truce?

As truce talks got under way at the presidential palace in Bamako, Mali, to settle the border war between Morocco and Algeria, a flock of vultures hovered overhead. As if to counteract such ominous signs, Malian witch doctors with grotesque ritual masks came from miles through the bush. There was plenty of work for them.

Until the eve of negotiations, fighting continued. The affair threatened to build up into an East-West confrontation, as Cuba's Fidel Castro and Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser rushed aid to Algeria's Socialist Strongman Ahmed ben Bella. Unloaded at night from a pair of Cuban freighters in the...

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