Violence in Algeria has increased considerably in recent weeks and has now spread from outlying districts to Algiers, the capital, and holiday resorts in its vicinity. The attacks apparently occur at random, and responsibility for them is seldom claimed by anybody, with the result that Algerians throughout the country feel unprotected and bewildered.
Heavy-handed police tactics succeeded in preventing a protest-march by thousands of minority Kabyle Berbers in Algiers, the Algerian capital, from taking place on July 5, the 39th anniversary of the country’s ‘independence’ from France. Yet, despite its success in averting another potential flashpoint in the three-month-old popular uprising, the military-backed regime continues to teeter on the brink of total collapse.
For more than a year irrefutible new evidence of war crimes committed by French forces during the Algerian war of independence has been surfacing in French newspapers and in memoirs by senior French generals. These men personally directed the atrocities now being revealed...
Algeria does not need a fresh eruption of Berber nationalism after a debilitating decade-long ‘civil’ war waged by the secular establishment, dominated by the military, against the country’s Islamic movements.
After nearly a decade of silence, former Algerian president Chadli Benjedid has spoken. In statements to Algerian journalists last month, Benjedid responded to criticism describing his 10-year presidency as the “black decade” and accusing him of making a deal with the Islamic Salvation Front (Front Islamique de Salut or FIS).
In Algeria the year 2000 was one of undiminished violence and bloodshed, very different from the harmony that president Abdul-Aziz Bouteflika claims to have ushered in by his offer of amnesty to the country’s armed groups.
All over the Muslim world, Ramadan is a time of peace, reflection and piety. In Algeria, however, it has become known as an annual peak in the brutal and apparently mindless killings of innocent people that the government blames on Islamic activists, but most ordinary people attribute to forces linked to Algeria’s security agencies.
In a country blessed with vast oil and gas reserves, nine million Algerians, out of thirty million, live below the poverty line. A million children suffer from malnutrition, with a fifth of them suffering very serious consequences to their health.
Abdelkader Hachani, a senior leader of the banned Algerian Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), was assassinated in Algerian capital, Algiers, on November 22. Hachani was shot in the chest several times as he was leaving a dentist’s clinic. His assassin was not captured.
The elections in Turkey and Algeria last month were important for the countries’ Islamic movements. In Turkey, the ‘Islamic’ party Fazilat came a disappointing third, behind prime minister Bulent Ecevit’s centre-left party and the right-wing nationalist MHP.
A country like Algeria, in the throes of a bloody civil war, with its institutions destroyed and its resources plundered, hardly needs a leader effectively appointed - though ostensibly elected - by those responsible for the mess. Abdul Aziz Bouteflika, the sole candidate and ‘victor’ in the April 15 presidential elections...
It would not be cynical to conclude that Algeria’s presidential election campaign will not produce new faces untainted by association with traditional power-elites,which are the usual arbiters of power in the country.
The secular fundamentalists among Algeria’s ruling junta, who were behind president Liamine Zeroual’s decision to step down before the end of his five-year term, have notched up another dubious victory...
THE AGONY OF ALGERIA By Martin Stone. Published by Columbia University Press, New York, NY, US. 1997. pp. 274. Pbk: US$16.50.
The people of Algeria have had no respite from murder, mayhem and oppression for six years. Ever since the Algerian junta annulled the second round of parliamentary elections in January 1992, the country has been gripped by violence.
The Beni Mousses killings, however, pale into insignificance in comparison with the August 29 slaughter near Rais, 40 kms south of Algiers, when an estimated 300 people were hacked to death.