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Think Tank Expects Algeria to See Popular Unrest in 2019

Think Tank Expects Algeria to See Popular Unrest in 2019

Saturday, 12 January, 2019 - 08:30
Algerian doctors, who are completing their residency stage of their studies, shout slogans during a sit-in protest in Algiers, Algeria February 12, 2018. (File Photo: Reuters)
Algiers – Bou Alam Ghamrassa
Social unrest is predicted in Algeria in 2019, due to the severe financial crisis the government has been facing since 2016, according to a researcher at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a global network of policy research centers.

The think tank, which specializes in analyzing major events in countries around the world, published its researchers' predictions for 2019.

Algerian researcher Dalia Ghanem Yazbeck, who resides in Beirut, said that Algeria, the Maghreb region and African coast will face major economic and security challenges during this year, given that the issue of extremists and their rehabilitation has not been resolved yet.

Algerian security reports, conveyed by Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel to the African Union and European Union officials, indicated that hundreds of fighters originally from the Maghreb and the sub-Saharan area are about to return to their regions after fighting in Syria and Iraq.

Algeria and Tunisia are among the countries most concerned with the return of militants, according to reports.

The supposed return of fighters has become a cause for concern in Tunisia, which has no strategy to prevent violent extremism, and lacks rehabilitation programs, according to Yazbeck. She added that some countries, such as Libya, Tunisia and Egypt, will face greater challenges than Algeria and Morocco.

Algerian government officials say their country is exemplary in fighting extremism and rehabilitating those who “repent terrorism.” They believe that the 2006 Charter for Peace and Reconciliation, which prompted many extremists to renounce violence, is credited for the country’s successful methods in countering terrorism.

Officials also indicated that they are suggesting the Algerian reconciliation to countries that have lived civil wars, such as Mali and Libya.

Researcher Yazbeck said Algeria is preparing for a presidential election in April, but “it seems that the country is stuck in a transitional period,” referring to the debate over the possible postponement of the elections, given that it is still not determined whether President Abdelaziz Bouteflika will again be the regime's candidate.

This issue has been the subject to intense debate for weeks, and the army called for Bouteflika’s removal from politics.

The researcher added that the uncertainty that dominates the political situation in the country is exacerbated by a deep economic crisis and growing social anger, leading to a disparity between the people and leadership. “So, there is the possibility of social unrest. "

In light of the scarcity of financial resources resulting from the drop in oil and gas revenues, Algerian government fears a wave of protests similar to that of 2018. The government is unable to provide basic services such as drinking water and medical treatment in government facilities.

Algeria is forced to import at a value of $60 billion a year, while its oil revenues have been decreasing since 2014 and reached $33 billion.

"I will follow up closely with the political orientations of Islam in Algeria, and I will not only focus on women in extremist groups but also in Arab armies,” added the Algerian researcher.

Ghanem said in a study published earlier this month, Algeria and Jordan are two of the countries that worked on integrating women and allowed them to reach high-level posts.

In 2006, the National People's Army of Algeria established equality between men and women through a framework that ensures equal opportunities for both genders. The number of women in the army is now 30 times greater than it was in 1978.

Yazbeck also noted that since 2006, five women have been promoted to the rank of “General” in Algeria.

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