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

President Tebboune conducted major cabinet reshuffle ahead of 2024 presidential election.

FM and other govt heavyweights sacked in reshuffle. Tebboune 16 March conducted cabinet reshuffle affecting 11 ministerial portfolios, notably dismissing FM Ramtane Lamamra, Finance Minister Brahim Djamel Kessali and Trade Minister Kamel Rezig. Col. Mahrez Djeribi 11 March also replaced Gen. Abdelaziz Nouiouet Chouiter as head of Algeria’s most influential security agency, Central Direction of Army Security.

Authorities discussed military and economic cooperation with partners. U.S. Under-Sec State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Bonnie Denise Jenkins 5-7 March visited Algeria and met with Tebboune, as Algeria plans to spend around $21bn in 2023 to purchase weapons and other military equipment. European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Josep Borrell 12-13 March met with Tebboune and PM Aïmene Benabderrahmane in capital Algiers to discuss 2005 association agreement between Algeria and EU, energy issues, and relations between Algeria and Spain. Tebboune 16 March met with head of Russia’s upper house of parliament, Valentina Matvienko, in Algiers; Matvienko invited him to visit Russia and meet with President Putin. Meanwhile, Algeria’s ambassador to France, recalled home in Feb after Algiers accused Paris of orchestrating “exfiltration” of binational civil society activist Amira Bouraoui, 29 March returned to his post.

Tensions with Morocco remained high over Western Sahara. During military visit in Tamanrasset province (south), Army Chief of Staff Saïd Chengriha 15 March said army “is ready to cut the hand of those who want to undermine Algeria’s sovereignty”; comments came after director of Moroccan Royal Archives, Bahija Simou, late Feb said Morocco’s sovereignty extends over Western Sahara but also Eastern Sahara (which is part of Algeria). Tebboune in interview with Al Jazeera news channel 21 March said Algeria’s relations with Morocco have reached “the point of no return” (see Western Sahara).

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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
23 Dec 2021
Israel's alliance with Morocco could mean that in the long-term Rabat becomes militarily superior to Algiers and dominant in the region. TRT World

Riccardo Fabiani

Project Director, North Africa
20 Apr 2020
[...] here we have three crises -- economic, political and the virus -- potentially converging at a time when the population is still highly mobilized and trust in the [A... Bloomberg

Riccardo Fabiani

Project Director, North Africa
2 Apr 2020
The [Algerian] protest movement could be made more determined in the future due to the economic and social consequences of the [COVID-19] restrictions, as well as the rep... The National

Michaël Béchir Ayari

Senior Analyst, Tunisia
10 Mar 2020
[The fall in oil prices] may not be so bad, if it is only for a month or two, but if it is for longer, [Algeria] will have to speed up its adoption of austerity measures. Financial Times

Riccardo Fabiani

Project Director, North Africa

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