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Author Roberts, Hugh, 1950-

Title Demilitarizing Algeria / Hugh Roberts
Published Washington, D.C. : Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2007
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Description 1 online resource (23 pages : digital, PDF)
Series Carnegie papers ; no. 86
Working papers (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) ; no. 86
Contents Introduction -- The failure of premature reform, 1989-1999 -- The peculiarities of the Algerian state: The problem of factionalism; The problem of presidential authority; The problem of the General Staff ; The problem of the intelligence services -- The restoration of the presidency and the reining In of pluralism -- The uncertain prospect -- Conclusion
Summary " ... Since becoming president in April 1999, Abdelaziz Bouteflika has achieved substantial success in several key areas where his predecessor had failed. The main armed Islamist organizations that dominated the insurgency during the 1990s-- the Armée Islamique du Salut (AIS) and the Groupe Islmaique Armé (GIA)--either disbanded or were largely eliminated, and security was restored to most of the country. The virtual quarantine in which Algeria had been confined since 1994 was broken as Bouteflika spearheaded the country's return to the international stage, renewing relations with Paris and Washington while also recovering some of Algeria's former influence in broader African affairs. Bouteflika has also enjoyed that indispensable quality--luck. Since the events of September 11, 2001, Algeria has been seen as an especially useful and welcome ally by the U.S. government in its "global war on terrorism." As for the state's financial position, this has been transformed as a result of high oil prices; in desperate straits in the early 1990s, Algeria has recently been able to pay off its once-crippling debts and accumulate unprecedentedly ample reserves. In terms of internal reform, however, the balance sheet is, at best, ambiguous and controversial. The system of formal political pluralism introduced in 1989 was preserved by the military-dominated regime throughout the 1990s, and remains in being today. Formally contested elections have been held at regular intervals, in 1995, 1999, and 2004 for the presidency of the republic and in 1997 and 2002 for the national, regional, and municipal assemblies. Fresh assembly elections are scheduled this summer. Widely perceived as authoritarian in his personal outlook, Bouteflika has chosen to live with this pluralist system while working around it. A variety of parties, some of them Islamist, remain legal and are represented in parliament, but their capacity to offer an alternative to the regime has been reduced to zero. At the same time, Bouteflika's determination to restore the authority of the presidency has entailed the curbing of press freedom--a number of outspoken journalists have been jailed as a lesson to others--and of other freedoms (notably of trade unions), while the state of emergency introduced in February 1992 has been routinely renewed and is still in force. It would be one-sided, however, to consider these developments as a simple regression. Bouteflika's principal purpose has been to restore coherence to the executive branch of the state by reestablishing the presidency--in place of the army high command--as the supreme arbiter of policy debates and conflicts of interest. In doing this he has been taking on the vested interests of the coterie of senior generals who became a law unto themselves during the 1990s, and he has been steadily maneuvering them off the political stage"--Introduction
Notes "May 2007."
"Middle East Program."
Title from title screen (viewed May 27, 2009)
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 21-23)
Notes Also available via the Internet
Mode of access: World Wide Web
Subject Civil-military relations -- Algeria
Armed Forces.
Civil-military relations.
Politics and government
Algeria -- Armed Forces
Algeria -- Politics and government -- 1990-
Form Electronic book
Author Carnegie Endowment for International Peace