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.
Le chef de l’Etat algérien, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, a convoqué des élections législatives anticipées qui se tiendront le 12 juin. Dans ce Q&A, l’expert de Crisis Group Michael Ayari explique pourquoi ce scrutin pourrait marquer l’entrée dans une nouvelle phase d’instabilité.
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”.
Morocco cannot follow Algeria in terms of military spending, so a military alliance with Israel is a way to balance the power with Algeria.
We're seeing a diplomatic war [over Western Sahara], where both sides [Algeria and Morocco] are resorting to anything short of open conflict.
Israel's alliance with Morocco could mean that in the long-term Rabat becomes militarily superior to Algiers and dominant in the region.
[...] 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...
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 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.
Le 1er novembre 2020, le référendum constitutionnel sur lequel comptait le pouvoir algérien pour avancer vers des réformes a été éclipsé par l’hospitalisation du président Tebboune. Dans ce Q&A, notre analyste principal pour l’Algérie et la Tunisie, Michael Ayari, anticipe les risques de cette situation.
Algeria is now facing more challenges due to the social and economic fallout from the Covid-19 crisis and the country’s official lockdown measures. The authorities should respond to popular protests with a lighter touch and sit together with Hirak members to discuss the country’s economy.
A new wave of popular protests has jolted an already deeply unsettled Arab world. Nine years ago, uprisings across the region signalled a rejection of corrupt autocratic rule that failed to deliver jobs, basic services and reliable infrastructure. Yet regime repression and the protests’ lack of organisation, leadership and unified vision thwarted hopes of a new order. As suddenly as the uprisings erupted, as quickly they descended into violence. What followed was either brutal civil war or regime retrenchment. Tunisia stands as the sole, still fragile, exception.
A groundswell of popular unrest has ended Bouteflika’s twenty-year rule and brought Algeria to a fork in the road. The regime should embark on substantive reforms and enter dialogue with protest leaders in order to prevent the cycle of mass protests and repressive counter-measures spiralling out of control.
Protests against Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika have seized the country since he announced his candidacy for a fifth term ahead of the April election. In this Q&A, our analyst Michaël Ayari looks at the causes of an unprecedented uprising and examines future scenarios.
Political paralysis in oil-dependent Algeria has blocked much-needed economic reform. To avoid a new era of instability, the government should increase transparency and accountability within state institutions and the private sector, as well as improve opportunities for the country’s burgeoning youth.
Refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria, have long been run by the Polisario movement, which seeks an independent state in Western Sahara, also claimed by Morocco. But a new generation of Sahrawi refugees is growing fractious as aid dwindles and diplomatic efforts fail to deliver a settlement.
As waves of protests have hit the hydrocarbon-rich Algerian south since 2013, authorities maintained a tenuous peace through handouts, repression and policing. To calm tensions, the state needs to clarify policies, communicate with local protestors and address underlying issues of governance.
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