The ongoing unrest in one of North Africa’s largest oil and gas producers Algeria is reaching boiling point.
After weeks of protests from the opposition, aimed at blocking the possible re-election of long-time president Bouteflika, there still doesn’t seem to be a resolution within reach. Even after the sudden withdrawal by Bouteflika from new elections, demonstrations continued.
Opposition and some regime insiders still feel that the old guard is clinging to power. The Algerian army, however, has stepped into the fray, urging the removal of the current president. Algerian army chief of staff General Ahmed Gaid Salah suddenly stated that Abdelaziz Bouteflika should be deemed unfit to rule. The latter was greeted by support of opposition parties and European analysts. The end to the old guard and Bouteflika clan seems to be near. Officially, the Algerian army has been stepping in to support the “legitimate demands” of the hundreds of thousands of protesters flocking the streets lately. Optimism is growing and Western media is already suggesting the possibility of a new Arab Spring movement. The reality of Algeria’s political upheaval, however, is that it is less Arab Spring 2.0 and more Cairo 2.0, with the re-emergence of the army as the real power broker.
Since the Algerian Revolt against France, the North African country has been ruled by a bipartisan system based on a political party, coming from the Algerian independency groups, and the newly formed Algerian army. This system has endured a multitude of changes and crises, and got almost obliterated during the brief rule of the Islamists after their election victory in the 1990s. Soon after this Islamist victory, the Algerian army with support of the old guard, took over and reinstated their own rule. The current situation looks almost the same, with one big difference. Algerian military strategists seem to have been reading all reports and analysis pieces written during and after the Arab Spring developments in Egypt. Cairo’s long-time ruling elite, headed by president Husni Mubarak, had outlived its time. Democratic and religious opposition combined their forces and removed Mubarak from power. At the same time, the Egyptian army stayed in their barracks, not interfering at all, despite the fact that Mubarak’s rule was built with the support of the army. After the removal of Mubarak, and the electoral victory of the Muslim Brotherhood, the army put in place its own strategy to regain its grip on the fractured country. Within 2 years, Egypt’s minister of defense and general Sissi took over, with a huge mandate from the Egyptian public.
When looking at Algeria, the same structures and strategies seem to be unfolding. An old president, supported by a corrupt and undemocratic political party, is heading for the abyss. Algeria’s economy is struggling at the same time, even though the country holds vast oil, gas and mineral resources. Mismanagement and clientism, combined with paternalistic political views, have brought the country to its knees. Europe’s former 2nd largest gas supplier is even struggling to keep its gas and LNG exports in place, despite its reserves being immense. The time is rife for change, looking at the political disorder and economic crisis scenarios. Read more:https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-03-28/perfect-coup-unfolding-algeria