President Bush, announcing U.S. policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on 24 June 2002, has set the terms of the international response to the conflict for the immediately foreseeable period. Before peace can be negotiated the violence has to stop.
Multiparty parliamentary elections are a comparatively recent innovation in Algeria, and in each instance to date the outcome has been overshadowed by the process that preceded or followed it.
Despite repeated attempts by the international community, efforts to end the devastating cycle of violence in the Middle East have thus far failed. Israelis live in constant fear of the next suicide attack, Palestinians live under siege and large-scale military attacks, and the Palestinian Authority is virtually dismantled, incapable of dispensing basic social, political or security services.
The crisis in Algeria, now a decade old, is not merely a consequence of the interruption of the December 1991 elections by an army-backed coup to keep the Front Islamique du Salut (FIS: Islamic Salvation Front) from power.
The civil war between the Algerian army and Islamist guerrillas, sparked by the refusal of the military to recognise the electoral victory of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) in 1991, is not over.
Since December 1991, Algeria has been seized by a wave of violence, which achieved, between 1992 and 1998, the status of virtual civil war. That war was fought between, on the one hand, a military-backed regime and, on the other, a complex, clandestine opposition derived from the country’s banned umbrella Islamist movement, the Front Islamique du Salut (FIS – Jabha Islamiyya li’l-Inqadh).