Republican Lisa McClain is leading a group of members of Congress calling on the US government to impose sanctions against Algeria for its purchase of Russian arms. This demand is based on the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), passed by Congress in August 2017. Republican Senator Marco Rubio has also recently alluded to this law to approve a package of sanctions against Algeria for its military ties with Moscow.
Through this federal order, Washington imposes sanctions on countries that enter into defence or intelligence agreements with certain nations, such as North Korea, Iran or Russia. Based on this law, the Trump administration sanctioned Turkey in 2020 after it acquired the Russian S-400 air defence system. Washington also threatened Egypt with the same after the purchase of Sukhoi-35 fighters.
"Algeria's growing relationship with Russia poses a threat to every nation in the world," McClain said, pressing Joe Biden's administration to agree to sanction the North African country. The congresswoman recalled that last year Algeria reached a "more than $7 billion" defence deal with Russia that included "an advanced Russian fighter jet that had never been sold", referring to the Sukhoi-57 fighter.
"These actions should send a clear signal to the State Department that sanctions against the Algerian government should be implemented," McClain stressed, urging Secretary of State Antony Blinken to impose sanctions and "send a message that the United States will not tolerate diplomatic support for Putin's tyrannical regime".
In a letter to Blinken, McClain and other Republican and Democratic members of Congress warn that military ties between Algiers and Moscow have made Algeria "the third largest recipient of Russian arms in the world". For this reason, based on the CAATSA law, they demand sanctions against the Arab country. "The arms trade between Algeria and Russia would clearly be classified as a 'major transaction' under CAATSA. However, the State Department has not developed any sanctions," the US politicians write.
"As the war in Ukraine continues, Russia desperately needs funds to continue its war effort," the letter to Blinken stresses. The letter stresses that Moscow's decision to suspend Russian gas supplies to the European Union "has left President Vladimir Putin with few sources of revenue in the Russian government's coffers".
McClain and the other members of Congress therefore consider it "essential" that the Biden administration "prepare to sanction those who seek to finance the Russian government and its war machine through the purchase of military equipment". "Russia is likely to continue to press for more arms sales," they add.
"We call on you to immediately begin implementing meaningful sanctions against members of the Algerian government who were involved in the purchase of Russian arms. The United States needs to send a clear message to the world that support for Vladimir Putin and his regime's barbaric war efforts will not be tolerated," they conclude.
In addition to McClain, the letter to the Secretary of State is signed by Republican congressmen Jim Banks, Robert B. Aderholt, Don Bacon, Buddy Carter, Rick Crawford, John Curtis, Mario Diaz-Balart, Brian Fitzpatrick, Lance Gooden, Doug LaMalfa, Doug Lamborn, Van Taylor, Burgess Owens, Guy Reschenthaler, Austin Scott, Daniel Webster, Chris Stewart, Randy Weber, Joe Wilson, Ronny Jackson and Robert J. Wittman; and Democrats Steve Cohen, Jim Costa, Marcy Kaptur, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and Tim Ryan.
Americas Coordinator: José Antonio Sierra