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.
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.
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.
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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