Algeria's Crisis Intensifies

The Search for a "Civic Pact"

by Arun Kapil
published in MER192

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From the Editors

published in MER192

Two years ago, Algeria’s army displaced the ostensibly constitutional regime of Chadli Benjedid to forestall an all-but-certain victory of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) in a second round of elections scheduled for a few weeks later. The chief consequence of that army intervention is a war whose daily savagery has killed between 20,000 and 30,000 people, most of these in 1994.

Ian Lustick, Unsettled States, Disputed Lands

by Barbara Harlow
published in MER194

Ian Lustick, Unsettled States, Disputed Lands: Britain and Ireland, France and Algeria, Israel and the West Bank-Gaza (Cornell, 1993).

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Gender, Civil Society and Citizenship in Algeria

by Boutheina Cheriet
published in MER198

In 1993, I attended a ceremony of trance dancing called “Benga,” organized by the only group still performing in the town of Tebessa where I then lived. [1] The Tidjania group of Tebessa is a residual branch of the larger African Islamic sect that has practiced trance dancing for healing purposes, in particular as therapy in exorcising “bad spirits.” The Benga dance relies on a highly organized drumming team, accompanying religious litanies celebrating the prophet Muhammad, which leads the dancer to fall into a “liberating faint.”

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Berber Associations and Cultural Change in Algeria

Dancing Toward "La Mixite"

by Jane Goodman
published in MER200

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From the Editors

published in MER202

The last four months in Algeria have left more than 650 civilians dead and significantly more wounded. During the month of Ramadan alone (January 10-February 7, 1997) the latest wave of car bombings and massacres killed more than 350. As many as 60,000 have died in the civil war triggered when the army seized control of the country in January 1992, canceled the upcoming legislative elections that the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) was poised to win, forced out the ostensibly constitutional regime of President Chadli Benjedid, banned the Islamic opposition groups (primarily the FIS and the Armed Islamic Group) and detained thousands of their sympathizers in Sahara desert camps.

Diminishing Possibilities in Algeria

Interview with Salima Ghezali

by Geoff Hartman
published in MER203

Selima Ghezali was born in Bouira, Algeria in 1958. After obtaining a degree in literature, she began working as a teacher of French at the Khemis el-Khechna high school, where she was active in the General Union of Algerian Workers. In the 1980s, Ghezali joined the Algerian feminist movement then fighting the implementation of Algeria’s repressive family code. She later became president of the Women’s Association of Europe and North Africa and chairwoman of the Association pour l’Emancipation des Femmes (Association for the Emancipation of Women).

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Under Western Eyes

Violence and the Struggle for Political Accountability in Algeria

by
published in MER206

Hugh Roberts is a senior research fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science and a specialist on Algerian political history. Middle East Report recently asked him to give his view on the continuing violence in Algeria and what, if anything, western governments can do about the situation.

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The Making of North Africa's Intifadas

by Laryssa Chomiak , John P. Entelis
published in MER259

As the waves of protest inspired by Tunisia continue to roll across the Middle East and North Africa, analysts have remained puzzled by the mysterious timing, incredible speed and cross-national snowballing of these uprisings or intifadas. In the six months following the electrifying scenes of thousands occupying Avenue Habib Bourguiba in downtown Tunis, directing the imperative Dégage! (Get out!) at President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the Tunisian “virus” has spread across the region, unleashing apparently similar moments of resistance and revolution. Yet a “back-door” view of the intifadas reveals wide variations.

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