Algeria: So Far, It Isn't Happening

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June 29, 2011: The government is going through the process of modifying the constitution, something demanded by pro-reform opposition groups. But most reform groups see this as a sham, and refused to participate. Once the government finishes the "constitutional reform" it will be obvious that the government was just playing for time, and widespread unrest will return. This, opposition parties believe, will finally bring down the military dictatorship that has dominated the government for over four decades.

The government is reviving strong relationships with France. In light of the Libyan rebellion and continued Islamic terrorism, these seems like a prudent move. The French are willing to get more foreign investments coming into the country, if the government can do something about the corruption that cripples any new economic activities (and existing ones as well). It's always about corruption. It's not just the government, businesses are nearly as corrupt as the government. For example, it is estimated that over half the imported goods (especially those coming from China and South Korea) are counterfeit. The government seizes a lot of these (and then often quietly sells them into the local markets).

In neighboring Morocco, the monarchy is making the same kinds of promises. The difference is that the monarchy does not pretend it is anything but a monarchy, and most Moroccans believe that the king might come through with some democratic reforms. Unrest is still a possibility, but at least the king has a better relationship with his people than the military leadership does in Algeria. Both countries have major problems with corruption and poor economic performance. The people throughout North Africa want some real reform in those two areas. So far, it isn't happening.

In the south, Mauritania and Mali found and attacked an al Qaeda base near their common border. The base was attacked and fifteen terrorists were killed and nine captured. Others escaped and are still being pursued. The base was defended by trenches and landmines and was also a hideout for local gangsters. Al Qaeda has turned into a drug smuggling gang in this part of the world, in order to pay for their terrorist operations.

June 27, 2011: Using information obtained from captured terrorists, police found and disabled twelve bombs in the capital. The bombs had been built for attacks (as roadside bombs) on patrols, or to be placed near military bases or police stations. These bombs often kill or injure nearby civilians, which makes the general population more likely to tip off the police about the location and activities of the terrorists.

June 26, 2011: Some 70 kilometers east of the capital, a roadside bomb killed two soldiers. These bombs have become a favorite terrorist tactic, as the terrorists don't have the resources for much of anything else.

Another roadside bomb went off 150 kilometers southeast of the capital, killing one soldier.

June 25, 2011: The government admitted that they were in contact with the rebels in neighboring Libya. While the Algerian leadership favors Libyan tyrant Kaddafi, the Algerians believe that the rebels are going to win.

A bomb went off near the capital, wounding two soldiers bringing water to other troops.

June 20, 2011: Several hundred former soldiers demonstrated the capital, demanding that the army make good on its promises to take care of troops who were disabled while fighting Islamic terrorists in the 1990s. Promises were made to the soldiers but, like so many other promises made by the government, they were not kept.

June 15, 2011: Parliament passed a bill increasing subsidies for basic goods. This is another effort to hold off the threat of widespread reform demonstrations, which could lead to the overthrow of the military dictatorship.

 

 

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