The Resilience of Algerian Populism

by Boutheina Cheriet
published in MER174

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Algeria's Democracy Between the Islamists and the Elite

by Lahouari Addi
published in MER175

Algeria’s experience over the past three years has shown that in a Muslim land the process of democratization gives rise to currents that seek to destroy it. But neutralizing these currents by force entails halting the democratization process and encloses society in repression. Society can escape that enclosure only if Islam is depoliticized -- that is, if it no longer serves as a political resource in the struggle for power.

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Taking Up Space in Tlemcen: The Islamist Occuation of Urban Algeria

An Interview with Rabia Bekkar

by Hannah Davis
published in MER179

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Cartoon Commentary

Algerian and Moroocan Caricatures from the Gulf War

by Susan Slyomovics
published in MER180

A cartoon image is short and direct and does not move when you look at it. Condensing history, culture and social relationships within a single frame, a cartoon can recontextualize events and evoke reference points in ways that a photograph or even a film cannot. Like graffiti, jokes and other genres of popular culture, cartoons challenge the ways we accept official images as real and true.

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Algeria Between Eradicators and Conciliators

by Hugh Roberts
published in MER189

Since becoming president on January 30, 1994, Lamine Zeroual has taken significant steps that point toward “reconciliation” between the state and its Islamist opponents. Zeroual has moved to establish his authority, notably by appointing a new government and reshuffling the military command in the spring. His advent to the head of state represents the best prospect of a resolution of Algeria’s political crisis since it burst open in October 1988.

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Paris, Washington, Algiers

by Roger Diwan , Fareed Mohamedi
published in MER192

The prospect of an Islamist victory in Algeria has alarmed French policymakers and politicians across the political spectrum. The French right, from the National Front's Jean Le Pen to Gaullist Interior Minister Charles Pasqua have, in varying degrees, raised the specter of Algerian “boat people” swarming across the Mediterranean to threaten the very basis of French civilization. Centrists and socialists excused the Algerian army's cancellation of the 1991 parliamentary elections by arguing that the Islamists were anti-democratic anyway. The geostrategists among them feared that an Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) regime would spread its revolution to the rest of North Africa and the Middle East and cut gas supplies to the continent.

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Algeria's Battle of Two Languages

by Abdeslam Maghraoui
published in MER192

As the cancellation of Algeria’s electoral process reaches its third anniversary this January, the conditions for a political settlement between the Islamist groups and the army-backed government are becoming exceedingly complicated. Even if the “moderate” voices within both the established order and the Islamist groups prevail, reconciliation may still not be attainable.

The Menace and Appeal of Algeria's Parallel Economy

by Deborah Harrold
published in MER192

In March 1994, fighting between Algerian security forces and armed Islamist guerrillas reached a critical intensity around Blida, about 90 miles east of Algiers. A commercial strike to protest army killings of young men became the target of yet another military action. Blida is a center for private agriculture, where numerous small private food processing plants operate, not all of them licensed. With its concrete villas surrounded by high walls that conceal both family space and underground production, Blida presents an interesting conjunction of private property and wealth that has escaped state assessment and control, and support of political movements challenging the state.

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"I Am Living in a Foreign Country Here"

A Conversation with an Algerian "Hittiste"

by Meriem Verges
published in MER192

A friend introduced me to ‘Abd al-Haq during the elections in Algeria in December 1991. I was surveying the electoral behavior of youths of the poorer quarters of Algiers (the casbah), the suburbs (Bachdjarah) and a mixed neighborhood (El-Biar). At the time I was trying to meet pietistes (devout ones) and “Afghans” to test my thesis about the rise of “neo-communitarianism” in Algeria. [1]

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"Hassiba Ben Bouali, If You Could See Our Algeria"

Women and Public Space in Algeria

by Susan Slyomovics
published in MER192

On January 2, 1992, Algerian feminists demonstrated against the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) and their victory in the national elections of December 26, 1991. Their target was the Islamist assault on women’s rights and the threat of violence against women. One of their posters addressed a martyred sister, a moudjahida, killed by the French during the Battle of Algiers in 1956-1957: “Hassiba Ben Bouali, If You Could See Our Algeria” (Hassiba Ben Bouali, Si tu voyais notre Algérie). At the same time, women marching in Oran waved a similar slogan: “Hassiba Ben Bouali, We Will Not Betray You” (Hassiba Ben Bouali, Nous ne te trahirons pas).