Algerian volunteers prepare personal protection equipment (PPE) to help combat the coronavirus epidemic in the capital Algiers. Photo by RYAD KRAMDI/AFP via Getty Images.

Although protests successfully ended Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s 20-year sultanistic rule a little over one year ago, demands have been continuing to dismantle the system, get rid of the old personnel, and institute democracy.

The controversial election in December of Abdelmadjid Tebboune — who has inherited a disastrous situation — has not tempered the determination of the Hirak protest movement. As a former minister and prime minister under Bouteflika, the new president has won little legitimacy, and protests have continued.

Now COVID-19 is worsening already dire economic conditions, such as a sharp drop in oil prices. By the beginning of May, statistics showed 10% of confirmed cases have ended in fatality, the highest percentage in the region.…  Seguir leyendo »

Figura 2. Documentos publicados por AQMI respecto del hirak


El presente documento realiza una aproximación a la evolución del discurso de al-Qaeda en el Magreb Islámico mediante el análisis de las similitudes y diferencias apreciadas en el lenguaje, el tono y el estilo utilizado en su propaganda oficial relativa a las protestas que tuvieron lugar en Argelia en 2011 y del movimiento de protesta popular conocido como hirak. A través del análisis realizado queda patente cómo, aplicando las lecciones aprendidas extraídas del período 2011-2012, la estrategia discursiva de la organización terrorista ha evolucionado, intentando posicionarse para rentabilizar el desenlace del hirak sea cual sea.


El presente documento examina las similitudes y diferencias apreciables en el discurso de al-Qaeda en el Magreb Islámico (AQMI) al comparar el lenguaje, el tono y el estilo de su producción propagandística durante las protestas que tuvieron lugar en Argelia en 2011 y del movimiento de protesta popular –conocido como hirak articulado en torno a las manifestaciones transversales pacíficas y multitudinarias que puntualmente se suceden desde el 16 de febrero de 2019.…  Seguir leyendo »

Thousands of Algerians take to the street to commemorate the first anniversary of the popular protests in Algiers on Friday. (Toufik Doudou)

On Saturday, one of the world’s most resilient nonviolent protest movements hits a one-year milestone. A year ago, nationwide protests emerged against then-Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, after his nomination for a fifth term sparked mass outrage from citizens frustrated with the country’s growing corruption, sluggish economy and lack of freedom.

Over the past year, the leaderless protest movement (known as the Hirak) succeeded in toppling Bouteflika and the imprisonment of major figures from his regime, including several prime ministers. Peaceful mass protests have continued across the country every week even in the face of provocation and repression from the regime.…  Seguir leyendo »

Le face-à-face est vertigineux. Depuis dix mois, ce ne sont pas un pouvoir et une opposition qui se confrontent en Algérie mais deux époques, deux mondes. Le premier se confond avec le haut commandement d’une armée qui dirige le pays depuis l’indépendance, en 1962. Habité par une vision archaïque, bureaucratique et sécuritaire, retranché dans ses villas et ses voitures blindées, il est totalement déconnecté du second : la majorité d’une société et une jeunesse ouverte sur le monde, résolument ancrée dans le XXIsiècle. Le dynamisme et la créativité de la contestation, le hirak (le « mouvement »), sont, en effet, à l’opposé de l’immobilisme d’un système qui régente le pays selon une logique qui ne vise qu’à durer, quel qu’en soit le prix.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Algerian protester holds up a placard during an anti-government demonstration in Algiers on Wednesday. (Ryad Kramdi/AFP via Getty Images)

As Algeria heads into a potentially epochal presidential election on Thursday, the role of the military is emerging as a flashpoint. A series of street protests this year toppled President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, leaving a caretaker government in place. How Algerians vote this week could determine whether this country of 43 million people will set a course for democracy — or revert to the authoritarianism of its past.

While carrying out interviews in the streets of Algiers recently, I encountered a crowd of trade unionists clad in medals and camouflage smocks. The mainly male activists from the General Union of Algerian Workers (UGTA) loudly declared that the army is the only guarantor of a transition to democracy.…  Seguir leyendo »


Argelia ha vivido acontecimientos extraordinarios a lo largo de 2019. La masiva movilización social forzó la renuncia del presidente Abdelaziz Buteflika y provocó el aplazamiento de las elecciones presidenciales en dos ocasiones. El tercer intento, previsto para el 12 de diciembre y ampliamente rechazado por la sociedad, no resolverá la profunda crisis política en el país, si no hay reformas de fondo en el sistema.


Argelia está viviendo un momento crítico. Las protestas pacíficas contra el actual sistema de gobierno no han cesado desde febrero. Hay un estado de ánimo extendido reclamando una transición democrática y buen gobierno. Frente a eso, el sistema sólo ofrece reemplazar al jefe del Estado mediante unas elecciones sin garantías de libertad ni limpieza, y sin realizar unas mínimas reformas que satisfagan las demandas sociales.…  Seguir leyendo »

Demonstrators march on Nov. 12 in Algiers during a protest against the country's ruling elite, rejecting the presidential election planned for December. (Ramzi Boudina/Reuters)

Seven months after overthrowing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Algerians are still in the streets. Mass protests have continued every Friday since Bouteflika’s ouster in April, urging authorities to not just reshuffle the leadership but initiate a complete change of the political system.

Most scholars and observers agree that continued protests after the ouster of a dictator can put pressure on elites to follow through on commitments to democratize. However, seven months in, the Algerian regime has yet to budge, seemingly hoping for the protests to fizzle out and for non-protesters to grow tired of the demonstrations. Indeed, recent scholarship suggests that continued protests can be a double-edged sword, potentially driving non-protesters to grow frustrated not only with demonstrations but with democracy more generally.…  Seguir leyendo »

Algerian protesters carrying national flags call for postponing the presidential elections in Algiers, on Tuesday. (EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Protests continue in Algeria, for the seventh month. The country’s long-standing leader, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, left office in early April, but the demonstrators continue turning out in the streets calling for more political elites to step down and demanding free and fair elections.

The root of citizen anger is not about the president himself, but the failure of the country’s governing system to provide for the basic needs of Algerians.

New findings from the nonpartisan research network Arab Barometer’s nationally representative survey of 2,332 Algerian citizens on the eve of the demonstrations show why the protests continue unabated.

Combined with a political system designed to limit mechanisms to register dissent, the only option that remained for ordinary Algerians to voice their frustration was to take to the streets to demand change.…  Seguir leyendo »

Pro-democracy protesters rally in Cairo in February 2011. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)

After eight months of protest, Sudan’s ongoing transition to civilian democratic rule will reach a milestone this week when the country’s transitional government is announced. Meanwhile in Algeria, protesters continue to gather weekly to demand fundamental changes to the political system five months after the removal of the country’s president.

In the face of ruthless security apparatuses, how can protesters in Sudan and Algeria avoid the fate of Egypt, where the old regime was able to engineer a comeback only two years after the ouster of the country’s erstwhile dictator, Hosni Mubarak.

What makes a revolution successful?

Many factors determine whether a revolution is successful in installing a stable democracy, from international intervention to a country’s economic conditions.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protests continue in Algeria — after six months of sustained pressure for government reform. The military openly rules the country — since the departure of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in late March — and citizens are demanding a civilian state. But Algeria’s military will probably continue its direct and open involvement in politics. Here’s why.

Historical precedence for military rule

This is not a new role for Algeria’s military. The army fought French colonialism and liberated the country in the 1960s, participated in its socio-economic development in the 1970s, answered to the nationwide protests in the 1980s and protected its territorial integrity in the 1990s.…  Seguir leyendo »

La reciente victoria de Argelia en la Copa Africana de Naciones (el campeonato bienal de fútbol masculino del continente) no es sólo la culminación triunfal de un torneo muy disputado. Tras casi cinco meses de un levantamiento popular que ya llevó a la salida del poder del presidente argelino Abdelaziz Bouteflika, también nos sirve para entender las reformas económicas que el país necesita con urgencia.

La revolución que se desarrolló este año en el país más grande (por territorio) de África tiene amplio apoyo. Como muchos de los movimientos de protesta en la región, el de Argelia lo impulsaron jóvenes frustrados por la falta de oportunidades económicas.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cinq mois après le début d’un soulèvement dont le pacifisme, la détermination et la maturité ne se démentent pas – en témoigne l’immense manifestation du 5 juillet, date coïncidant avec l’anniversaire de l’indépendance du pays –, l’Algérie est dans l’impasse.

Alors que le mandat du chef de l’Etat par intérim Abdelkader Bensalah a expiré le 9 juillet, le commandement militaire s’obstine à répondre à l’exigence populaire d’un changement de système en tentant d’en imposer un replâtrage pour ne pas renoncer à la domination qu’il exerce depuis 1962.

Les contestataires peuvent pourtant se prévaloir d’au moins trois acquis majeurs. Malgré leurs divergences, ils ont résisté aux provocations qui cherchent à les diviser en réinstaurant les clivages idéologiques et identitaires, la dernière en date visant à bannir les drapeaux berbères !…  Seguir leyendo »

Months of massive protests led to the presidents of both Algeria and Sudan being forced from office — and citizens from both countries are demanding radical change, including constitutional reform. Government and military officials in both countries have promised changes. But what are the prospects for meaningful reform?

In many democracies, constitutions have a number of purposes, including establishing the relationship between the individual and the state and the rules for how key state institutions should interact with each other. Constitutions in the Arab region function differently, in that their main focus is organizing the relationship between institutions.

Arab constitutions therefore dedicate most of their attention to issues such as who is responsible for forming governments, in what circumstances parliament can be dissolved, who exercises oversight over security institutions, and other more detailed rules such as candidacy requirements for elections, among many others.…  Seguir leyendo »

In a recent interview on the Algerian state radio Chaine 3, Fatima Oussedik, one of Algeria’s most respected sociologists, remarked that the people of Algeria had always respected the army as an institution even when they had disagreed with the manner in which its senior officers behaved. That remark not doubt surprised many foreign observers who like to argue that the Algerian army is “totally corrupt”, that it “owns the country” and that predation is its only modus operandi. Reducing Algeria and this key institution to a cliché explains why most observers have failed to understand why the army has kept is truncheons sheathed since the start of the huge demonstrations which are now into their third month.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tipaza, la mer scintille devant les ruines romaines, la stèle à Camus (« Je comprends ici ce qu’on appelle gloire : le droit d’aimer sans mesure. »). Escale un peu convenue, intemporelle, mais ce que me dit Hocine, qui m’accompagne, éveille des échos très contemporains : « Nous autres Algériens, on est berbères, arabes, espagnols, français, juifs, romains, méditerranéens. »

Evidemment Hocine est ingénieur, il est incollable sur les empereurs romains, ce n’est pas l’Algérien moyen. Néanmoins son désir d’affirmer le caractère bigarré, historiquement mélangé, de son pays, qui me paraît représentatif de l’opinion d’une partie au moins de ceux qui défilent chaque vendredi, je l’ai rencontré chez d’autres interlocuteurs.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Algerian woman draped in the Kabylie (Amazigh) flag marches with others during an anti-government demonstration in the northern coastal city of Oran on April 5. (-/AFP/Getty Images)

Algeria’s longtime ruler Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down from the presidency this month after millions took to the streets against his proposed fifth term. While demonstrations for a new Algeria continue, here are three major themes the country will confront as it deals with its recent past: disappearances from the violence of the 1990s, the lives lost during the Black Spring of 2001 and women’s rights in the new Algeria.

Violence of the 1990s

Algeria’s relative quiet during the 2011 Arab uprisings traces its roots to the extreme violence that followed a genuine democratic opening in the early 1990s. The Islamist party, the Islamic Salvation Front, seemed poised to gain a parliamentary majority, and the military stepped in.…  Seguir leyendo »

Para comprender qué hay detrás de las masivas protestas en Argelia, hay que recordar que su presidente saliente, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, ocupó ese cargo durante dos décadas, y ya era ministro de asuntos exteriores en 1963, el año del asesinato de John F. Kennedy. El actual comandante del ejército tiene casi 80 años, y el presidente interino tiene 77. Es un régimen geriátrico que gobierna una de las poblaciones más jóvenes del mundo.

Y a Argelia no le fue bien con la gerontocracia. El último informe de Freedom House la categoriza como un país “no libre”, mientras que la calificación de los vecinos Marruecos, Mali y Níger es “parcialmente libre” y la de Túnez ahora es “libre”.…  Seguir leyendo »

Las protestas masivas en Argelia y Sudán recientemente han derrocado a dos autócratas envejecidos, poniendo fin a 20 y 30 años, respectivamente, de régimen absolutista. En ambos países, los insurgentes hoy están enfrascados en negociaciones con el ejército, los gestores de facto de una transición hacia un nuevo orden político. El resultado de estas luchas de poder ayudará a determinar si Argelia y Sudán se vuelven más democráticos y prósperos o si, en cambio, se suman a una cadena de décadas de esperanzas frustradas en la región.

Los manifestantes parecen ser plenamente conscientes de los peligros de la “trampa egipcia”, por la cual un general que asume el cargo de un gobierno supuestamente interino termina convirtiéndose en un presidente de por vida.…  Seguir leyendo »

Argelia enfrenta la tarea ciclópea de transformar su economía para satisfacer las acuciantes demandas de una población joven, creciente y cada vez más inquieta. Pese a la favorable demografía del país, su economía sigue siendo casi totalmente dependiente del petróleo y del gas natural, que equivalen al 95% de las exportaciones de bienes. Para proveer empleo suficiente a los millones de ingresantes al mercado laboral, durante los próximos años la economía de Argelia tendría que crecer a más del 6% anual. Pero en 2018, el crecimiento del PIB fue un deslucido 1,5%, y se prevé que no supere el 2% por bastante tiempo.…  Seguir leyendo »

On April 2, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned after 20 years in power, becoming the fifth Arab autocrat to fall to a popular uprising since 2011. As in Egypt and Tunisia, Bouteflika’s fall was precipitated by a defection from the military. Hours before his resignation, the army chief of staff, Gen. Ahmed Gaid Salah, announced that he was siding with the Algerian people and called for Bouteflika’s immediate removal from office.

At first glance, the Algerian military’s decision to abandon Bouteflika is surprising. The military had been a center of power under Bouteflika’s tenure, “ruling but not governing” day to day, to use Steven Cook’s phrase.…  Seguir leyendo »