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Algeria reading: political parties, Ouyahia, AQIM

June 16, 2009

Here’s a mixed bag of Algeria stuff for you, which I have no intention to edit into a comprehensible post.


El-Quds el-Arabi has  a very interesting survey of internal troubles in Algerian political parties for those who read Arabic. The FLN, MSP, RCD, PT and FNA all get their share of attention, with the crisis seemingly most severe in MSP (the Algerian Muslim Brotherhood), which is on the verge of splitting in opposition to Party Leader Boudjerra’s ironfisted rule — I’ve mentioned this before. According to el-Quds el-Arabi’s correspondent, Kamal Zait, the reason trouble is stirring right now might be connected to the revelation that the president’s brother Sa’id Bouteflika is planning a new political party. (Adding insult to injury, it’s going to be called el-Jil el-Hurr, The Free Generation.) That might be true for the FLN and the FNA, but eg. the MSP’s crisis sure sounds like a genuinely homegrown case of organizational mismanagement and lack of internal democracy. But what do I know.

Anyway, my favorite among these crises is that of Louisa Hanoun’s PT, which, in keeping with its Trotskyite principles, has an internal rule that MP:s must share their parliamentary salary with the party. However, people being what they are, several candidates immediately reneged on this promise as soon as they were elected, causing Mrs. Hanoun no end of trouble, and, also in keeping with Trotskyite principles, threatening party splits. Having now lost control over a number of her parliamentarians, she is infuriated that the speaker of the house has ordered payment of salaries to the parliamentarians individually, rather than to the party’s bank account, thus wrecking her chances of ending their permanent revolution. In response, she has called for the dissolution of the parliament and fresh elections, hoping thus to take down the house on top of the mutineers — Kronstadt style. (Will not happen.)


French-speakers, on the other hand, are directed towards this Jeune Afrique article on Algeria’s no. 1 apparatchik, Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia of the RND party, who, I think, one should keep an eye on for the post-Bouteflika future. That is, if Sa’id doesn’t mind.


Finally, we’re way overdue in discussing the killing of a hostage by al-Qaida’s southern wing a while ago. The group had demanded the release of Abu Qatada, an extremist Palestinian preacher imprisoned in the UK, who has a long history of involvement with the Algerian Jihad. Since that is a virtually unfulfillable demand, two obvious interpretations present themselves: either, the kidnappers weren’t even interested in talks, and raised this demand solely in preparation for the kill. Or, they wanted London to open a channel of negotiations and slide them a few million sterling on the side, while publicly letting their Abu Qatada demand drop, under the cover of some sort of negotiation or political gesture — it wouldn’t be the first time, you know. According to the British ambassador in Algeria (via el-Nahar), this was in fact the case: after advancing the Abu Qatada claim, they quietly asked instead for $10 m, then revised the figure downwards until they got to $6 m, at which point negotiations broke off and the British hostage was murdered. A Swiss man remains in captivity.

For further reading, here’s a good new AP feature on AQIM, and if you haven’t already seen this old gem (+ interview) in the NYT, it’s a must-read right now. And for those who prefer to view AQIM as a tool of the grand Algero-American conspiracy to sully the good name of Algerian Salafi-Jihadism, here’s Jeremy Keenan doing his usual bit.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Tidinit permalink
    June 24, 2009 05:02

    Thank you Alle for this post.

    As you would guess, I started with the article from Keenan and will read the rest today. I think we, the conspiracy theorists, will be adding soon France to this old grand algero-american conspiracy. Les français have always been involved and they are moving now in front, leaving their algero-american competitors behind. I think Algeria has stopped that silly game and is now victim from those who learned from the 2003 technique they “mirent au point” from to mid 2000’s. It shows with the blasting of ATT of Mali every time there is hostage freeing with ransom payment. Is it the Libyans? No one knows besides the top brass in the security apparatus in the following countries: Mauritania, Algeria, Mali, Niger, Libya, France, US and for sure Sebnegal and Burkina Faso. But they are not talking these guys, and will not.

    An american just assassinated in Nouakchott and the security people there saying it is not politically motivated, but AQMI attempt to take this peaceful friend of normal Mauritanians as a hostage for ransom. Who can believe that line of story? How you can take an american hostage from Nouakchott all the way to the grand nord in Mali without complicity from security apparatus in the country and in Mali, with the US and France looking (France will always look as this is their pré-carré)? All the hostages end up in northern Mali/Southern Algeria and all the “emirs” managing tis business are old Algerian GSPC chaps. Not a single Malian, Touareg, Mauritanian, Nigerien, Moroccan or Libyan is an emir. Among these people you get he best crooked gangsters you can ever have and they know how to run these things. So, something is not right and I still believe that states are behind all this AQMI business. I suggest people go back and read again the master conspiracy theorists (Keena, Gèze, Mellah and Malti) and what they say makes more sens than what the NYT says who is behind this.

    Thanks and I will definitively read all the links. But Keenan’s has gotten my attention.

  2. Tidinit permalink
    June 24, 2009 21:37

    So, no one is challenging what I am saying. You know that what I am saying cannot be true!

  3. June 25, 2009 21:40

    Ah, Tidinit, no time to write, that’s all. But:

    How you can take an american hostage from Nouakchott all the way to the grand nord in Mali without complicity from security apparatus in the country

    How? By 4×4, the way allt he rest of the trade and contraband moves. It’s a desert, and the borders are more or less unguarded.

    What most interests me is the AQIM claim that the poor man murdered was involved in Christian missionary activity. On the one hand, there’s nothing so far to indicate that that is true, and they would say that whether it’s true or not — their target audience of Islamist blowhards is inclined to believe them anyway. On the other hand, there are apparently some US evangelical groups in the area who won’t restrict their activities to social work, which adds plausibility the story. This of course does NOT mean missionaries should be killed, but it’s relevant to the propaganda game that follows, and a reminder of how unhelpful those activities are.

  4. Tidinit permalink
    June 28, 2009 08:14


    You put an american hostage in a 4×4 between two local people and go all the way from Nouakchott-Boutilimit-Aleg-Kiffa-Aioun-Nema and Mali, you will get noticed on the way and quickly found. Particularly when they tried to take the hostage in the marsa, in broad daylight. These guys will have to stop to eat, to pee, get gasoline and someone will see and report them in less than two hours. I do not believe that these days the borders are not somehow guarded after the Ag Bahanga mess between Mauritania and Mali few month ago. Moreover, the US and France are “satelitting” the whole area for months, according to the New York Times (article: conundrum of the Sahara). All this remind me of the pakistani military blowing French engineers, blaming them on jihadists (they manipulated one to make him think he is blowing the French for a jihadist purpose)just because a kick-back went sour (ref: Rue89 and Bakchih).The French knew but said nothing until the scandal broke recently thank to some “juges anti-terroristes”. Wondering whether the 4 French, the American and the British were sacrified for some raison d’état ….


  1. Algeria reading: political parties, Ouyahia, AQIM « Maghreb … | Algeria Today
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  3. المجلة العربية » Archives du Blog » Algeria reading: political parties, Ouyahia, AQIM

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