Algeria

Algeria faces interlocking political and socio-economic challenges three years after a long-awaited presidential transition. A largely peaceful protest movement called the Hirak – prompted by the ex-president's attempt to prolong his tenure but driven by deeper grievances – filled the streets on Fridays for much of the period 2019-2021. The Hirak has faded, but its goals are unrealised, and renewed unrest is an ever present possibility. Tensions with Morocco, including over Western Sahara, also loom, threatening to roil North Africa. Through fieldwork and engagement with senior officials, Crisis Group works to enhance Algeria’s contribution to stability and conflict resolution in a troubled neighbourhood.

CrisisWatch Algeria

Unchanged Situation

Political opposition emerged to President Tebboune’s anticipated run for second term; meeting with Libya and Tunisia spurred talk of new regional grouping.

President of centrist party criticised President Tebboune’s possible re-election bid. Ahead of 7 Sept presidential election, Soufiane Djilali, president of moderate centrist Jil Jadid party, 8 April said under Tebboune “political life has been anaesthetised”, and indicated it would be preferable if president did not run for second term; Tebboune yet to officially confirm his candidacy amid reports of internal splits within security forces over who to support.

Algerian, Libyan and Tunisian heads of state held high-level discussions. Amid continued Algiers tensions with Rabat, Tebboune 22 April met Tunisian President Kaïs Saïed and Libyan Head of Presidential Council Mohamed al-Menfi in Tunisian capital Tunis as part of new effort to convene every three months as group of three, raising prospect of new bloc of central North African states as alternative to pre-existing body Arab Maghreb Union that includes Mauritania and Morocco. However, al-Menfi 24 April sent envoys to Mauritania and Morocco emphasising need to include both in regional bloc cooperation, dampening attempts to create new grouping.

Tensions increased with United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Niger. Strains with UAE remained high following Tebboune’s 30 March televised interview in which he indirectly accused Emiratis of “stirring trouble” in conflicts in Libya, Mali and Sudan; mistrust further fuelled by UAE state-owned company Taqa 17 April beginning discussions to take over Spanish gas company Naturgy that has 49% stake in Medgaz pipeline linking Algeria to Spain, amid fears UAE would gain leverage over Algeria and its economy. Meanwhile, tensions also increased with Niger over migration flows; Niamey 3 April summoned Algerian ambassador with Algerian authorities following day responding in kind. 

In another important development. Govt remained focused on non-alignment, hosting Russian and NATO officials 13 and 17 April respectively.

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In The News

1 nov 2022
Morocco cannot follow Algeria in terms of military spending, so a military alliance with Israel is a way to balance the power with Algeria. VOA

Michaël Béchir Ayari

Senior Analyst, Tunisia
6 sep 2022
We're seeing a diplomatic war [over Western Sahara], where both sides [Algeria and Morocco] are resorting to anything short of open conflict. AFP

Riccardo Fabiani

Project Director, North Africa

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Michaël Béchir Ayari

Senior Analyst, Tunisia

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