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

Govt poised to significantly increase military budget as Algiers seeks to enhance regional influence.

Govt submitted plans to double defence spending in 2023. Govt mid-Oct reportedly submitted 2023 draft finance law to parliament’s finance committee, seeking to push military budget to $23bn from $10bn this year; increase comes amid tensions with Morocco over disputed Western Sahara, jihadist violence in Sahel region and unrest in Libya; parliament expected to endorse law in Nov.

Algiers continued to reassert its position on international scene. Army chief of staff Gen. Saïd Chengriha 13 Oct gathered his counterparts from Mauritania, Mali and Niger in capital Algiers to discuss revival of joint military operations centre known as CEMOC. After Algiers in Sept took part in Vostok military exercises in Russia’s far east, Algeria and Russia around 20 Oct conducted four-day joint naval exercise in Mediterranean. In first visit by Moroccan state official since Algiers cut diplomatic ties with Morocco in August 2021, Moroccan FM Nasser Bourita 29 Oct arrived in Algiers to take part in preparations for 1 Nov Arab League summit.

Silencing of dissent continued. Authorities 11 Oct arrested journalist Nadir Kerri on undisclosed charges after he published article on govt’s car import policy; 13 Oct released him under judicial control. NGO Committee to Protect Journalists 18 Oct said it had submitted report to UN Human Rights Council warning that “journalists in Algeria have increasingly faced pretrial detention and judicial harassment”.

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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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