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

President Tebboune appointed new PM in apparent preparation for re-election bid; Algiers reiterated support for Palestine and appeared set to mend diplomatic ties with Spain.

Tebboune continued to centralise decision-making ahead of re-election campaign. One year ahead of presidential election scheduled for Dec 2024, Tebboune 11 Nov appointed his chief of staff, Nadir Larbaoui, as PM. Move took place few weeks after Tebboune reorganised president’s office, appointing several advisers whose responsibilities appear to duplicate those of govt. Meanwhile, historical ruling party, National Liberation Front, 13 Nov elected Abdelkrim Benmbarek as new general secretary; in inaugural statement, Benmbarek praised Tebboune’s track record and vowed to support his “vision”, pointing to party’s ambition to return to prominence after being sidelined in wake of 2019-2021 Hirak protest movement.

Algiers sent ambassador to Spain, ending 19-month crisis. Govt 16 Nov appointed new ambassador to Spain; post had remained vacant since Algiers in March 2022 recalled its diplomatic representative in protest at Madrid’s recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.

In other important developments. Tebboune 6 Nov called on International Criminal Court to take action to hold Israel accountable for crimes committed against Palestinians in Gaza since October. Army chief of staff, Saïd Chengriha, 12 Nov began visit to China in bid to diversify weapons and military equipment purchases as Algeria’s main arms supplier, Russia, faces difficulties in fulfilling export contracts amid Ukraine war.

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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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