"U.S.-Algerian ties have grown over the past decade as the United States has come to view Algeria as a key partner in countering Al Qaeda-linked groups in North and West Africa. Algeria is also a significant source of petroleum for the United States and of natural gas for Europe, and its energy sector is a destination for U.S. investment. Congress appropriates and oversees small amounts of foreign aid and reviews notifications of arms sales. Algerian security forces also benefit from U.S. cooperation programs. Obama Administration officials have stated a desire to deepen and broaden bilateral ties, including in the aftermath of a four-day terrorist hostage seizure at a natural gas compound in southeastern Algeria in January 2013, in which three Americans were killed. The attack highlighted the challenges the United States faces in advancing and protecting its interests in an increasingly volatile region. The terrorist group that seized the hostages is a breakaway faction of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a regional network and U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization with roots in Algeria's 1990s civil conflict. Given Algeria's large military and available financial resources, U.S. officials have expressed support for Algerian efforts to marshal a regional response to terrorist threats. Yet Algeria's relations with neighboring states are complex and sometimes distrustful, at times hindering cooperation. Meanwhile, any U.S. unilateral action in response to regional security threats could present significant risks and opportunity costs."
CRS Report for Congress, RS21532