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

Algiers posed as mediator in Niger crisis amid fears of greater instability along shared border; BRICS bloc of emerging economies dealt a blow to Algeria’s membership bid.

Algiers offered to mediate Niger crisis. Tebboune 5 Aug said Algeria was “ready to help” resolve crisis in Niger following late-July coup against elected President Bazoum; Algiers, which favours diplomatic path to ensure return to constitutional order, has intermediate position between West African regional bloc ECOWAS’ threat of military intervention, and Burkina Faso and Mali’s support for military coup leaders. FM Ahmed Attaf 23 Aug started tour of three ECOWAS member states – Nigeria, Benin and Ghana – to hold consultations on Niger crisis, and 29 Aug proposed six-month transitional plan to restore “constitutional and democratic order”; Niger coup leader Gen. Abderrahmane Tchiani 19 Aug had called for three-year transition.

Repression of dissent continued. Constantine court 29 Aug sentenced Algerian-Canadian researcher for NGO Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime, Raouf Farrah, and Algerian journalist Mustapha Bendjama, to two years in prison for allegedly publishing classified information; their lawyers same day filed appeal.

In other important developments. BRICS bloc of emerging economies 24 Aug invited six countries to join alliance, not including Algeria; move deals a blow to President Tebboune who in recent months had engaged in advocacy drive to advance Algiers’ candidacy. Meanwhile, Ahmed Attaf 9 Aug met with U.S. Sec State Antony Blinken in U.S. capital, Washington DC, to discuss situations in Niger, Ukraine and Western Sahara; visit also focused on reinforcing bilateral ties.

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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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