The recent murder of national police chief colonel Ali Tounsi is believed part of a power struggle between president Bouteflika (in power since 1999) and senior police and military officers (in power since the 1960s). Bouteflika wants to retire many of the old (old very old) officers, and replace with younger (and more loyal) officers. The older officers have responded with a vigorous anti-corruption campaign, specifically targeting Bouteflika allies. While the cops and soldiers are just as corrupt, Bouteflika does not want to go too far with these corruption investigations. After all, there's big money at stake, and the risk of losing key political allies.
February 26, 2010: In the south, Mauritanian soldiers stopped a convoy of light trucks and SUVs near the Algerian border. A gun battle ensured, with three men in the convoy killed. Among the 18 men in the convoy were some Algerians, and others, associated with Islamic terrorist groups in Algeria. The main mission of the convoy was apparently the transportation of cocaine to the north.
February 25, 2010: In the capital, a retired army officer killed the head of the national police, colonel Ali Tounsi. The killer was then shot. The killer was later reported as deranged, but the death of Ali Tounsi was seen as a deliberate act, to send a message to the old guard in the police and army, that it was time to step aside and let a younger generation run things. Tounsi was a veteran of the fight against colonial France half a century ago, and has held his current job for about a decade.
February 23, 2010: Mali agreed to release four known Islamic terrorists, in order to obtain the release of a French citizen taken hostage by al Qaeda last November. Mauritania and Algeria protested the release of the four terrorists, and withdrew their ambassadors. The Mali Islamic terrorists still hold three Spanish and two Italian citizens. France had denied paying a ransom or pressuring Mali to release the terrorists, in order to get the French prisoner free. But it looks like that, as the French have done this sort of thing before. The locals are upset, because this encourages more terrorist kidnapping, and ransom money pays for more violence that gets more locals killed.
February 22, 2010: Algeria and Cuba has signed an agreement to cooperate in biotechnology research. Cuba has built up quite a genetic engineering capability.
February 18, 2010: In neighboring Niger, the military overthrew the elected president. Algeria protested, and braced for more Islamic terrorist activity in Niger, now that the army will be distracted with politics.