On 12 December 2019, Algeria was called to the first round of voting for the President of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria. This call came after several postponements, because they were initially scheduled for April 18 and with the candidacy of Abdelaziz Bouteflika to renew the presidential mandate for the fifth time.

 Abdelaziz Bouteflika
Abdelaziz Bouteflika

In order to make a serious analysis that will help to clarify the concepts discussed, the drafting of two articles is necessary. One, the present, ranging from Algeria's independence to Bouteflika's promotion to the presidency. The second, covering the whole of Bouteflika's presidency, his fall and subsequent events.

Understanding the context: Algeria since its independence

It is necessary to start by talking about the National Liberation Front or Front de Libération Nationale, or جبهة التحرير الوطني‎. It was created on 23 October 1954 to achieve independence from Algeria. The FLN and its armed wing, the National Liberation Army (ALN), began a fight against France on November 1 of that year[1]. In 1958, the LN formed the Provisional Government of the Republic of Algeria (GPRA), as a political instrument for the negotiation of the Evian agreements that were to be concluded in 1962. With independence, the FLN took power and turned Algeria into a one-party regime. After a period of major internal strife, Ahmed Ben Bella became the party leader and Head of State in 1963[2], pushing through Algeria's 1963 Constitution. In 1965 he was overthrown by Houari Boumédiène (1965-1978), who reinforced his personalist vision and limited the influence of the FLN's political apparatus. He suspended the Constitution, but only replaced it with the 1976 Constitution, which established a single-party presidential regime[3].

With Chadli Bendjedid (1979-1992) the FLN regained its central role and introduced a constitutional revision by the law of 30 June 1979 which restricted somewhat the presidential character of the regime and set the presidential mandate at five years, in addition to the obligation to appoint a prime minister and even several vice-presidents. After the protests that were part of the so-called "events of October 5, 1988" a new Constitution was promulgated, adopted in a referendum on February 23, 1989. The main consequence of the 1989 Constitution, as established in its Article 40, is the inclusion of political pluralism, through the recognition of the creation of Political Associations or ACP as a tool for political participation. Allusions to socialism were also removed[4].

In order to carry out political pluralism, Article 40 of the Constitution was developed by a law of 5 July 1989, on the PCA; and, a second law, which is an electoral law, whose purpose is to put an end to the single-party regime led by the FLN. This implies recognition by the Ministry of the Interior of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the Front of Socialist Forces (FFS), the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), the Socialist Party of the Vanguard (PAGS), or the Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCS), a secularist, socioliberal and Berber party.

Another presidential law was drafted to grant amnesty to many of the regime's hitherto repressed supporters of a multiparty democracy, and there was the release of fundamentalists convicted of acts of terrorism. Exiles like Hocine Aït Ahmed and Ahmed Ben Bella, who was overthrown by Colonel Boumédiène in 1965, returned. The press is often aware of an expansion, which is led by newspapers such as El Watan, Liberté, Le Matin and El Khabar. From that moment on, the polarisation of politics became centred on a democratic front and an Islamist one, although it did not bring together the whole of Algerian society.

The 1991 National Assembly elections, held in a context of rising cost of living, with sharp increases in gasoline and bread prices, as well as high unemployment rates and riots in the country's major cities such as Annaba, Oran, Algiers. These clashes led the Army (ANP) to crack down hard (estimated at between 200 and 900 dead) since the late 1980s. As a result, the tendency marked in the municipal elections of 1990 was confirmed, which were won by the FIS with 54.2% of the votes, and which meant successes such as the electoral conquest of Algiers among other municipalities,[5]and pressure where the Islamists were hegemonic for the establishment of greater observance of Islamic law or sharia[6], whose aim was to impose it from the power after the elections to the National Assembly, as well as to create an Islamic State, which in the words of Rabah Kébir,[7]would take the reference of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Sudan. Suffice it to say that the FIS is proclaimed in the Al-Sunna Mosque in Bab El-Oued.

 Mohammed Boudiaf
Mohammed Boudiaf

The 1991 elections were organized to be held in two rounds. On December 26, 1991, the first round was held, and the FIS obtained 47.3% of the votes,[8]compared to 23.4% for the FLN. In the face of such a resounding victory, the electoral process comes to a halt, as on January 16, 1992, the second round should have taken place, and the military takes power through the coup d'état of January 11, 1992. These are the so-called "Janviéristes" or "Décideurs", who dissolve the National Assembly, forcing President Bendjedid to leave power, which remains as of 16 January in the hands of Mohammed Boudiaf, who is in charge of the High State Committee. Boudiaf returns from exile and shows a profile of being someone capable of bringing a secular democracy to Algeria , as[9]well as trying to end the corruption that affected the body of the state[10]. In addition, during these days, the main Islamist leaders are arrested and a state of emergency is declared on 9 February. On March 4, the FIS is outlawed. The secularly oriented parties supported the coup d'état.

The figure of Boudiaf is a prestigious figure, but also ignored in Algeria at the time by official history, and therefore by many Algerians. He is incorruptible and eager to complete a process of transition to a modern and democratic Algeria. It was precisely during his exile in 1964 that he wrote a lucid essay[11], in which he denounced the character followed by the forces that controlled the country after its independence from France, and the situation that is precisely the seedbed of what is happening up to the present. But he does not know the idiosyncrasies and standardized mechanisms of corruption that the regime has been setting up since, for and by the power, which would be fatal for him.

However, Boudiaf takes a number of actions that are intended to have a favourable impact on his political plan for Algeria. One of them will be of great importance: the use of language. While his predecessors used classical Arabic, which can be difficult for the humblest people to understand, Boudiaf uses the dialectal variant[12]. Another fact that highlights the figure of Boudiaf, and which shows that he had diagnosed the challenges of his homeland well, is to claim that the collective identity of the Algerian is built on three pillars: the Arabic language, Islam and the Imazighen and[13] their culture.

The Islamist front is being fought by Boudiaf from a threefold perspective, understanding that the way to really fight and defeat the Islamists depends on raising the issue as a political and not just a security issue. First issue: controlling the corruption that attacks the body of the state. The second issue is to establish institutions during the transition that serve to build a different nation politically. Third and last, to revive the economy for all Algerians. In six months, he is determined to efficiently implement these policy lines, and he achieves results, since the Islamists are beginning to be isolated... but sectors of the established power are beginning to fear the policy implemented by Boudiaf.

 Mohamed Boudiaf ASSASSINATIONOn June 29, 1992, Boudiaf was killed in Annaba when a member of his security opened fire on him in an act that was blamed on the Islamist convictions of the executioner, but of which there were doubts, at least intellectually, as to its true authorship. The next day the FIS announced that the establishment of an Islamic state in Algeria was inevitable, and within six months of Boudiaf's death, civil war broke out. Meanwhile, Ali Kafi[14], also a member of the High State Committee, is appointed to replace Boudiaf. Progressively, he began a dialogue with the various political parties, without consulting their movements, which forced him to hand over his powers as Head of State to Liamine Zéroual on 30 June 1994.

The Islamists concentrated outside the cities to culminate their strengthening process, and three major factions were formed: the State with the PNA; and, the Islamists from the Armed Islamic Movement are divided into two factions, the Islamic Salvation Army (ISA), whose line of action is to concentrate its effort on attacking and harassing the military and police forces; and, the GIA or Armed Islamic Group. The GIA differs from the others in that it is particularly ruthless in its actions, as it has veterans from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Bosnia, and is headed by Abu Abd Ahmed, alias "Yafar the Afghan", and Yamel Zituni who belonged to the group El Hidjra Wal Takfir. Their strategy of terror leads them to bomb in France, cause bloodshed in large rural areas of Algeria, or target members of oenegés, or religious of the Christian faith who were in the country. In a matter of months the civil war has three fronts; the army and state security forces fighting the Islamists in general, taking repression to points of extreme violence; the AIS and the GIA fighting each other for control of areas; and, within the GIA, an internal struggle between those who want to build an Islamic world state or Salafists, and those who consider the priority of the armed struggle to recover what they considered to be stolen from them by the coup d'état, that is, control of Algeria. These are called Yazarists. In 1997, a group led by Hassan Hattab decided to break away from the GIA and create the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, which would be the seedbed from which Al Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb would be born[15]. The civil war was to last almost ten years, a period known as "the black decade" (1992-2002)[16].

The LN was left out of the government throughout the civil war. After a partial restoration of democracy in Algeria in 1995, when presidential elections were organised, which were boycotted by the FLN, FIS and FFS, the latter called for mass abstention. On November 16, 1995, General Liamine Zéroual was elected president, leaving the FLN outside the circles of power, although the main military groups supported its legitimacy through other political forces and platforms[17].

In 1995 the FLN was one of the seven signatories as political forces of the Rome platform[18].  This initiative to find a peaceful and political solution to the civil war in Algeria was not supported by the government as it was considered an interference in the internal affairs of the country and its sovereignty, but it did unite all political forces in the opposition. The signatories are Ali Yahia Abdennour (Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights, LADDH, an oenegy); Abdelhamid Mehri (FLN);[19]Hocine Aït Ahmed and Ahmed Jeddaï (FFS); Rabah Kébir and Anwar Haddam ([20]FIS); Ahmed Ben Bella and Khaled Bensmaïn (MDA, or Movement for Democracy in Algeria); Louiza Hanoune (PT, Workers' Party); Abdallah Djaballah (Islamic Renaissance Movement or Ennahda); and, Ahmed Ben Mohammed (Contemporary Muslim Movement of Algeria or JMC). The conclusions, in short, criticise the strong presence of military power in Algerian politics and crisis management, and call for the restoration of multi-party democracy in Algeria[21].

Liamine zéroual
Liamine Zéroual

On 16 November 1995, Zéroual won the presidential elections and committed himself to a process that would lead to a new constitution for Algeria, which would be ready in 1996[22]. In 1997, the recently formed Zéroual party, Régroupement National Démocratique (RND), became the definitive ruling party by winning the legislative elections. In 1998, President Zéroual announced early presidential elections for February 1999 and that he would not run[23]. Such a precipitous departure is attributed to pressure from army generals who are wary of relations between the president and certain fundamentalist groups. It is then that Abdelaziz Bouteflika enters the political scene again, announcing his return to political life as an independent candidate after moving away from active politics in 1981.

Bouteflika's previous career, especially as foreign minister between 1963 and 1979, made him a very likely successor to Boumédiène. Always very close to the decision-making circles of power, after independence he is representing his home district, Tlemcen, in the provisional parliament or the National Constituent Assembly. In Ben Bella's first cabinet he is a very young (25 years old) Minister of Youth, Tourism and Sports. On September 4, 1963, he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, a fact that greatly favored his promotion in the Central Committee and the Political Bureau of the LN. At that time he was already allied with Boumédiène, only 5 years older than him, attracting a series of clientele networks around him, knowing himself as a vortex of power as the Clan or Group of Oujda. In 1965, Ben Bella feared the Boumédiène-Bouteflika duo, and maneuvered to dissolve their power, fearing that they were plotting an operation against him. That is why he prepared a plan to remove Bouteflika, but Boumédiène anticipated it by staging an unopposed coup d'état against Ben Bella on June 19, 1965, with Bouteflika's intense participation. In exchange for his collaboration, Bouteflika occupied a place in the process of the so-called "rectification of the Revolution" in the Revolutionary Council which performed the functions that Boumédiène would later (1976) exercise when he was elected head of state. Bouteflika continued as foreign minister and, strengthened his position in power by his position within the FLN, was instrumental in the nationalisation of hydrocarbons in 1971[24]. As foreign minister he managed to re-establish diplomatic relations with the United States in 1974, which were broken off as a result of the Six-Day War (1967). As a result of his work in diplomacy, he was able to secure a state visit from the President of the French Republic, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, which meant that the open wound of independence was beginning to heal and new commercial relations were being promoted.

In addition, Bouteflika designed a strategy for Boumédiène to replace Nasser on the basis of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Arab League, as well as to promote a new international economic order, and that would make Algiers[25] the headquarters of the movement to achieve a nuanced dialogue for justice in North-South relations. For the Boumédiène-Bouteflika duo, the MNA was supposed to be the faithful balance between two equally imperialist blocs: the capitalist and the communist[26]. In 1974 he was appointed president of the 29th annual session of the United Nations General Assembly, from which Yasser Arafat was recognized as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people by leading the PLO. In 1976 Algeria recognizes the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic or SADR, breaking off diplomatic relations with Mauritania and Morocco, as well as providing material support and training camps for the Polisario Front in its fight against the Rabat government. In 1977, he added Algeria, and with it supported Muammar al-Qadhafi, to the Rejection Front, which tried to boycott the unilateral dialogue with Israel from the Egyptian presidency of Sadat, who thus left the Moscow axis to gravitate towards Washington.

Houari Boumédiène
Houari Boumédiène

Boumédiène's unexpected death on 27 December 1978 cut short the race for Bouteflika's succession, although he had an interesting rival within the left-wing FLN, Mohamed Salah Yahiaoui, who had held the post of general secretary since 1973. The army and military intelligence put pressure on the LN to appoint Colonel Chadli Bendjedid after the acting president of the National People's Assembly took over the presidency of the Republic as interim.

Bendjedid's first action was to appoint Bouteflika as Minister of State acting as an adviser to the President, and to replace him at the head of the Foreign Office with a nondescript LN representative, Mohamed Seddik Benyahia. On 13 January 1980, Bouteflika left the Executive and disappeared from the political front line. In December 1981, the State Audit Office accused the former head of the Foreign Office of having stolen some 60 million dinars of public funds intended for his ministry. This amount would have allegedly ended up in two Swiss accounts. These criminal acts allegedly took place between 1965 and 1978. By August 1983, the Court of Auditors issued a final verdict confirming the charges, but the criminal justice system did not act and Bouteflika avoided conviction, despite being expelled from the political leadership of the LN, as a preliminary step to the voluntary exile he undertook before the end of that year, first in the United Arab Emirates and then in France and Switzerland.

We are already in the early months of 1987 and Bouteflika is rehabilitated by the personal decision of President Bendjedid and with it his shadow is once again cast more clearly in Algerian political life. He is one of the signatories of the Charter of 18, which calls for an end to repressive abuses and greater liberalisation of Algerian politics as a result of the events of October 1988, also known as the semolina revolt.

With the 1989 Bendjedid reform programme, which marked the end of the FLN's monopoly, Bouteflika settled permanently in Algeria and was readmitted to the Central Committee after the extraordinary FLN Congress. He successively rejected the positions of Minister-Counsellor and Permanent Representative to the United Nations offered by the High State Committee (HCE) that appeared as a result of the 1992 coup d'état.

In 1994 Bouteflika rejected a proposal from sectors of the army to appoint him as head of state to lead a process of national reconciliation and democratic transition, and that he would end up appointing Army Commander Liamine Zéroual, who was already serving as Minister of Defence, and who had a very similar line to that embodied by Bouteflika, only more nuanced and which included starting talks with the outlawed FIS, which had its leaders in prison, and some members in the armed struggle[27].

On April 15 Bouteflika won the presidential elections for the first time, and with the approval of the FLN and the RND, he was able[28]to count on the acquiescence of moderate Islamism, which easily fits in with the structure of the Algerian state, as in the case of the Movement of the Society for Peace or MSP (sometimes called Hamas) and the Islamic Renaissance Movement (MRI or Ennahda). However, certain shadows of doubt are expressed regarding possible fraud[29]. On 27 April Bouteflika was sworn in as President of the Republic and confirmed the last Prime Minister for the last five months, the independent Smail Hamdani.

[1] France had been defeated in Indochina by the Viet Minh, particularly after the battle of Dien Bien Phu which has already been spoken of from this very platform, and whose main consequence was the granting of independence to Vietnam. The situation seemed ripe for yet another blow to the French Fourth Republic. However, France won that war on the battlefield. Between 1954 and 1962, France presented a highly effective strategy based on mobility, built on a manifestly superior logistical system, and the use of helicopters for that purpose. It can be said that this is the first war where the helicopter plays such a prominent and successful role. To confront the guerrillas and their tactics, France proposes measures that emphatically work against the movement by building very well-defended interdiction zones strategically located on the eastern and western borders of the territory. The aim was to isolate the rebels from their bases and sources of supply, which were located outside Algeria, specifically in Morocco and Tunisia, both of which have been independent from France since 1956. The result was that the rebels were strangled and drowned inside Algeria. However, France was defeated by using torture as a weapon of war and by not knowing how to handle the situation created from the 1956 elections and which would lead to the political loss of that war. The same case as the Suez Canal Crisis, also in 1956. Where Israel, United Kingdom and France obtain a military victory, but a political defeat before the geopolitical interests of the United States and the USSR, which want to define a new model for the MENA region, displacing the French-British imperialism of presence in the zone and occupation, for another one where the influence is made by means of proxies and is based on the control of key spaces and the hydrocarbons.

Paradoxically, the Republican Front, led by the Socialists, which remained in power between January 1956 and 1957, had come to power in the wake of the Fourth Republic and its systematic government crises, under the promise of solving the conflict in Algeria. But they soon came up against a series of constraints that qualified their policy: from the discovery by France in 1956 of the Hassi Messaoud (oil) and Hassi R'mel (gas) deposits in the Algerian Sahara, to the pressure from the pieds-noirs in Algeria and from sectors of the army. Added to this was the vision that still pervaded the Fourth Republic as the focus of a universal civilizing mission in the face of an Algerian nationalism that was branded as feudal and religious fanaticism, which certainly did not help to deal wisely with the conflict on the part of France either. As a result, France experienced a constitutional change in the figure of the Head of State, among other changes, which manifested itself in the Fifth Republic, driven by the figure of De Gaulle. Another consequence of all this was the creation of La Françafrique, built with the political and influential architecture established by De Gaulle and Jacques Foccart.

[2] In September 1963, Ben Bella became President of the Government after gaining the support of Boumédiène's military wing. It is imposed within the LN on Belkacem and his supporters. Ben Bella was then President of the Republic and Prime Minister, and Boumédiène was Minister of Defence.

[3] Boumédiène embodied in the constitution his personalist political vision, a state headed by him, where the unity of the state was reflected at the political level by the monopoly of the FLN, at the language level by establishing the preference of Arabic over Berber languages, and at the religious level by means of Islam.

[4] The previous constitution, of 1976, emphasized the Islamic and popular character of the State, impregnated by a socialist model as well as nationalist, religious, but not Marxist. The distancing from the USSR actually began with the 1976 constitution, and not with the 1989 one, as it limited economic cooperation with the USSR and the Comecon, which had previously been intense.

[5] The FIS gains 953 municipalities out of a total of 1,539 and 32 wilayas out of 48.

[6] Sharia, or "Way of Peace", is Islamic law and emanates from the Koran, the Hadith, the Ijma and the Ijtihad.

[7] Rabah Kébir is an Islamic leader from Algeria, and at that time he was head of the FIS. Kébir spent most of the civil conflict in exile in Germany, as the main political figure of the FIS.

[8] This meant that the FIS got 188 seats out of the 231 seats that were distributed in those elections. That's 82%. In all this, their great presence in the existing social gap, in the form of civic and cultural associations or charity organizations, had a lot to do with it. A strategy followed by the Muslim Brothers. In total, the FIS obtained 3.2 million votes, representing 24.3% of those registered for those elections. Abstention in those elections reached 41%, or in other words, 5.4 million out of a total of 13.2 million registered voters did not exercise their right to vote.

[9] La mosquée appartient à Dieu et la patrie à tous, is the synthesis of his political project for Algeria.

[10] Mohammed Boudiaf was one of the founders of the LN. After effective independence, Boudiaf is one of those who believe that the LN has fulfilled its role and that Algeria should know a multi-party regime. This puts him in direct confrontation with Ben Bella. The LN included different political sensibilities, from nationalists to positions close to communism. In fact, when the FLN began the armed struggle in 1954 to achieve independence from France, the PCA resisted the FLN's pressure to phagocytize it. The key idea is to build a vision capable of bringing together as many visions of "decolonization" as possible. Thus, they rely on Marxist, Leninist, Maoist lines... but they also have the vision of Frantz Fanon and Che Guevara. Once independence was achieved, there were two positions close to socialism or with a socialist base: the FLN, in favour of a practically socialist state, and under the influence of Ben Bella, with a single-party regime; and, on the other hand, the defence of political pluralism and class struggle as the axis of the PCA. The PCA was eventually banned in November 1962. For this reason, Boudiaf founded the PRS or Party of the Socialist Revolution, but the party was declared illegal and Boudiaf was arrested in June 1963. In November 1963 he was released and left Algeria to go first to France (Paris) and from there to Switzerland and then to Morocco, where he stayed for a total of about 28 years, until 1992.

[11] Où va l'Algérie?

[12] The spoken dialects of Arabic in Algeria are basically five: Algerian, Moroccan, Saharan and Libyan, and can be included in the so-called Maghreb dialect, shared by Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. In addition, Hassania Arabic is also spoken in southwestern Algeria. This is because the current boundaries are not established in a way that corresponds to the different forms of Arabic speech and the substrates that specify those varieties that differ from classical Arabic. The Algerian variant is the most prevalent in the area where the population is concentrated.

[13] Imazighen, or Berbers. A people which, as such, extends over parts of today's Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Mali, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt. In Algeria they can be found in the Tuat, Shawiya in the Aures Plateau of the Atlas Mountains, the Shila in the Atlas region, the Zenata in the Gurara oasis, in the Tadekelt, the Kerzaz. The Arabization of the Imazighen took place in three different phases: in the 7th century with the first Arab invaders; with the Bedouins in the 11th century, leading to the Almoravid Empire; and, finally, between the 15th and 17th centuries, with the arrival of Moors from the Iberian Peninsula. Fundamentally, the current situation defines the coast as Arabic-speaking, while the rural world is Amazigh, or Arabic-speaking. In Algeria, the music of the modern Amazigh tradition has been disseminated through the Kabyles in its Rai form, which has been a source of conflict both with the post-colonial state, which is determined to impose the Arabic language, and with Islamic fundamentalism, which distrusts its forms and uses. The demand for Amazigh or Berber would follow a path since 1949, when in the framework of the construction of the nationalist ideology that would crystallize in the war of independence from France, the Party of the Algerian People, led by Messali Hadj defines Algeria as an Arab state, which is opposed by several militant Berbers who raise a motion to reject such a definition. From that moment on, Arab Algerian nationalism began to react more and more violently to the Berber positions, purging and assassinating Ramdame Abbane, a great promoter of Algerian independence from different contributions from secular positions and a defender of the construction of an Algerian nationalism that would serve to establish coexistence with the Europeans settled there. In 1963 the army was sent to the Kabyle region to crush an uprising against the new regime by the Imazighen, who had generally grouped around the FFS (Socialist Forces Front) to oppose the drift followed by Ben Bella. In 1976, the Berber movement was notably revived, exploding with the incidents of 1980 called Tizi Ouzou (capital of the Kabylia region). This is the so-called Berber spring, and it is commemorated every April 20th. With the multiparty system inaugurated in 1990, two parties have taken up the demand to make Tamazight the official and national language, the aforementioned FFS, led by Aït Ahmed, and Said Sadi's RCD. In November 1994 the Islamists kidnapped Lunes Matub, a Berber member of the RCD who had declared himself "neither Arab nor Muslim", following the poet Kateb Yasin, who had done the same thing four years earlier. In 1995, the government created the High Commission for the Amazigh question, but its actions did not resolve any of the points that were being questioned with respect to the Berber people. On 18 April 2001, there were also incidents that resulted in the death of 120 demonstrators and 7,000 injured within the Imazighen sphere when events were being organized in Tizi Ouzou to commemorate the Berber spring, in this case called the Black Spring. As a result of these recent events, the Citizens' Movement was created. Organizations such as the Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD) and the Berber Cultural Movement (MCB) also appeared. The political force Front des Forces Socialistes (FFS), led by the Amazigh of the Kabylia region, Hocine Aït Ahmed, also managed to gather support among the Imazighen. Amendments to the Constitution in 2016 recognize the language of the Imazighen, Tamazight, as one of Algeria's official languages. And this has led to the recognition of the Berber New Year's Day, celebrated this year on 13 January, as a National Day for the first time in Algeria in 2019. It is estimated that there are between 9 and 13 million Imazighen out of a population of 43 million in Algeria.

[14] He led Algeria from 2 July 1992 to 30 January 1994. Career soldier and member of the FLN during the colonial war against France. He was ambassador after independence to Lebanon, Syria, Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq and Italy. Since 1990, secretary general of the National Organisation of Mujahedin, an organisation of Algerian fighters during the war of independence.

[15] Indeed, the conflict has been a source of inspiration for the Saharo-Sahelian zone. Thus, as already mentioned, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat became Al Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in 2007. The Algerian intelligence and security services would be best placed in terms of budget, skills and experience to bring these groups to their senses, or help plan strategies to deal with them, and more so since the elimination on 20 October 2011 of Colonel Muammar al-Qadhafi, who had, since the end of the 20th century, the pretension of definitively influencing the Saharo-Sahelian zone, through the impulse that he gave from Tripoli of the Community of Saharo-Sahelian States (CEN-SAD), becoming an organisation that had the pretension of being an African Union from which Gaddafi could extend its influence. This left AQIM without one of its most proactive enemies, and it was able to rebuild its arsenal. In this sense, there are voices, such as that of the president of Nigeria in 2012, Mahamadou Issoufou, who claim that the Tuareg rebellion that begins in 2012, following the configuration since October of the MNLA (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad or Mouvement national de libération de l'Azawad). The Azawad is the northern part of Mali and the Tuareg rebels are demanding the separation and self-determination of that part of the country from positions contrary to Islamic terrorism following the military intervention in Mali by France. In fact, they control a part of the territory they claim).

From Algeria they have spread to Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Mauritania, Burkina Faso... To this we should add the expansion of Boko Haram in Nigeria, since the early 2000s. The Community of Disciples for the Propagation of the Holy War and Islam, is today known by the initials BH or Boko Haram (from "Book" in Pidgin English; and, "forbidden", or "untouchable", in Arabic حرام, in the sense of "sacred"), since its fiefdoms in the Muslim north, where 12 states of the federation bordering Niger, Chad and Cameroon are the most disadvantaged and impoverished of the Nigerian giant.

[16] Whose numbers left between 100,000 and 150,000 dead, depending on the sources, thousands of missing people, as well as exiles and a million displaced people. In addition, the economic impact of the conflict's damage reached $20 billion. The years 1996 to 1998 were particularly hard and bloody.

Among this and other factors, we are facing the balkanization of the Saharo-Sahelian zone, with implications for the Maghreb, and nourished by pockets of instability in Central Africa, and from the fight against radical Islamism in East Africa and the Horn of Africa.

[17] The High Security Council (HCS), which was the de facto controller of the HCE or High State Committee after Boudiaf's assassination, although in theory the HCS had merely advisory functions with respect to the High State Committee. Zéroual presented the profile of being a general and head of the Army, which was already in the circles of power and decision making from the Ministry of Defence. It was precisely the eradicators (who were in favour of waging an endless war until the Islamists who had risen up against the state were done away with) who agreed to this solution with the so-called conciliators, who at that time would have Bouteflika more in mind to "reconcile" a political solution.

[18] This is the Rome Contract or the Sant'Egidio platform. A seminar from 8 to 13 January 1995 on the initiative of the Community of Sant'Egidio (a community founded in 1968 by a young Andrea Riccardi in Rome following the Second Vatican Council). It is a public association of lay people. The Community has been involved in the search for a cure for HIV, the abolition of the death penalty, promoting peace processes in Guatemala. Mozambique, Central African Republic or Kosovo). It could be defined as parallel Vatican diplomacy. On that occasion the Bishops of Algiers and Oran, Henri Tessier and Pierre Claverie, opposed such an initiative.

[19] However, after an intense internal debate, the official position of the FLN varied and ended up supporting the theses defended since the Algerian presidency.

[20] Haddam, then leader of the FIS and exiled in the United States during the civil war. In 2004 he resigned from the FIS. In 2007 he is one of the founders of the Movement for Freedom and Social Justice (MLJS). In September 2005, the Algerian presidency invited Haddam to return to the country and participate in national reconciliation. However, that proposal was vetoed. Kébir in 2006 was indeed amnestied and returned to the country.

[21] The full text is available at the following address:

[22] The constitutional text was adopted by referendum on 28 November 1996 and maintains most of the articles of the 1989 constitution. It has been revised in 2002, 2008 and 2016.

[23] Its mandate did not succeed in undermining the main target, the GIA or Armed Islamic Group. Despite exploring a timid dialogue with the FIS, and starting a ceasefire from the AIS in 1997, while multi-party elections and a new constitution were being considered.

[24] On February 24, 1971, hydrocarbons were nationalized by Sonatrach, a state-owned company that managed the monopoly of the sector and whose participation of foreign capital could not exceed 49%. This process could be situated within the nationalization of all the goods left behind by the colonists once they left the country, whether it was land, shops, companies, housing... and whose purpose was to avoid an occupation close to uncontrolled episodes, and which begins with independence. Also in the hydrocarbon sector. In 1962, France and Algeria concluded the Evian agreements, which set a mixed management commission and an Algerian share of production of 12%. The next step was the Algiers Agreements of 1965, which concluded an association between Algeria and France to exploit from then on the deposits that were found at 50%. Already in 1963, the National Society of Transport and Marketing of Hydrocarbons, the aforementioned Sonatrach, had been created. In 1967, in the context of the Six-Day War, the Algerian regime controlled the activities of Anglo-American companies located in the country. In 1969, Algeria joined OPEC, and set a precedent for all member countries when in 1971 it carried out the already mentioned nationalization of hydrocarbons, establishing a 51% quota to control the action and management of companies in the sector. Sonatrach reached a percentage of gas production and hydrocarbon transport of 100% and in oil production of 70%.

[25] Algiers earned the nickname "Mecca of Revolution", being a key nexus in a dense international and intercontinental network of any revolutionary, liberation movement or different radical groups that even involved the use of violence or terror. The result is a strengthening of the ties between the elites of these countries and Algeria.

[26] After independence, Algeria became, and more so after Nasser, a sort of leader of Arab-African politics in terms of decolonization and positioning on the third way between capitalism and Soviet socialism. It relied on the NAM, the G77 and the Afro-Asian movement.

[27] First, through the Armed Islamic Movement (MIA), and then in the Islamic Salvation Army (ISA).

[28] The FLN supports Bouteflika in recovering the power lost in the years of civil war that have passed so far and whose hegemony in national politics had been taken away by the RND, presided since December 1998 by Ahmed Ouyahia, who had served as prime minister (1995-1998),repeating some three times (2003-2006, 2008-2012, 2017-2019). A man very close to the military and a member of the aforementioned eradication faction. It is therefore a great national pact between the powers that be.

[29] Bouteflika obtained 73.8% of the votes cast with a turnout of 60.3% of the electorate. The six rivals he faced withdrew the day before because they considered that there were no serious guarantees and that the regime inaugurated with the 1992 coup d'état was being continued. However, their ballot papers could not be withdrawn for a little more than 25% of the votes were distributed by Ahmed Taleb Ibrahimi; Abdallah Djaballah of the Movement for National Reform (MRN or Al Islah, with a moderate Islamist character); Mouloud Hamrouche, who served as Prime Minister in 1989-1991; Mokdad Sifi, also Prime Minister, but since 1994-1995; Youcef Khatib; and Hocine Aït Ahmed, former member of the GPRA and one of the original leaders of the FLN, since 1963 at the helm of the Socialist Forces Front (FFS).

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