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Waiting for the Second Algerian Revolution
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Algeria has long been the forgotten nation of North Africa. But now, it is bursting into the news as the latest example of popular revolution in the woefully misgoverned Arab word.

After seven weeks of mass street protests, Algeria’s ruler for the past two decades, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, finally faced the inevitable and resigned after a big shove from the army and the governing elite, known as ‘le pouvoir’ (the power).

Algeria is an important nation in spite of its recent semi-obscurity. At the center of North Africa, bordered by the Mediterranean and great Sahara Desert, Algeria has over 42 million people, with an important ethnic Berber minority in the mountains and uplands of the interior. Algeria is a major, world class producer of oil and gas, most of which is exported to Europe. In fact, 90% of government revenue comes from energy exports.

I have a particular interest in Algeria because I nearly went there as a guerilla fighter during its long, bloody war for independence from France (1954-1962). Algerian independence from brutal, exploitive French rule was then a noble cause that inspired many young men and women. Over one million people, mostly Algerians, died in the struggle. Torture and murder were rampant.

I led student demonstrations in Europe calling for free Algeria. As a result, I received my first death threats from La Main Rouge, a supposedly independent organization that murdered supporters of Algerian independence. Later, it was revealed to be a false flag branch of French foreign intelligence.

After independence, the victorious FLN (National Liberation Front) leadership set about killing one another. The revolution devoured its own. So much for youthful idealism and hope.

Post-war Algeria was run by the FLN hierarchy and military until gas and oil prices dropped in 1991 and the regime did not know what to do. It was decided to actually allow a free vote in local elections, one of the first in the Arab word. The moderate Islamic Salvation Front (FIS in French) won a landslide. The dictators, king and soldiers who ran the Arab world under US, British and French tutelage were horrified. The FIS was banned, its leaders jailed, and martial law imposed over Algeria.

A national uprising erupted against military rule. The army fought back with extreme cruelty, using torture, beheadings and executions that far exceeded the cruelties inflicted by former colonial ruler, France.

Over 200,000 Algerians died in this butchery.

Most FIS leaders were killed or murdered. But some escaped to Morocco, Libya and the Sahara to create a new militant fighting group, GIA, which still operates today in the Sahara, notably Mali, Cameroon, Chad and Togo. Leaders of the Islamic State took their cues from FIS/GIA.


A young, bright, personable former army officer, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, was named foreign minister. He eventually became president because the regime’s bigwigs (le pouvoir) could not agree on who was to become leader. Bouteflika became the compromise candidate and occupied this role for twenty years – at least until he suffered a severe stroke that left him crippled and mute. He kept ruling from a wheelchair.

Algerians, half of whom are under thirty years old, poured into the streets to demand democracy and free votes. Even army chief Ahmed Salah could not withstand these demands for a new Arab spring. The last one in 1991 turned into a disaster as reactionary forces in the Arab word and their US, French ad British backers reimposed autocratic rule on the long-suffering Arab world.

But Algeria might spark a new wave of revolution, notably in war-torn Libya, Tunisia and medieval Morocco. Egypt, a virtual US-Saudi colonial dictatorship, would be threatened by a democratic Algeria. The Saharan region would seek real independence from foreign rule.

As of now, we wait to see what will happen in Algiers. It would be good to see Algeria’s military step back and give up its unproductive role in politics. Algeria urgently needs to develop its civilian economy away from oil and gas. When they run out, Algeria will be forced to rely on agriculture and fishing.

Most important, Algeria’s army must ensure a peaceful transition to civilian government and fair elections. This would be the real second Algerian revolution for which so many have died. As we used to chant long ago, ‘long live free Algeria.

Copyright 2019 Eric S. Margolis.

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy, History • Tags: Algeria 
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  1. Two more likely results of the “Algerian Spring” are: (1) a Wahhabist-oriented theocracy; or (2) a military coup. Those young Algerians in the street are the least likely to emerge on top when the situation eventually sorts itself out.

    The reason that Algeria should get more attention in Europe, and especially in France, is that chaos in Algeria will create an innundating flood of refugees, which Europe lacks the political will to turn back.

  2. Zimriel says:

    The author of this piece glides over what the “moderate” FIS were all about. The very name is fanatical. There was nothing from which Algeria needed to be saved, except from zulm and fasiq, in the Islamists’ own words.
    The FIS, during that civil-war, went on a terror spree and butchered a number of Imazighen in the process – whom this author insults by calling them “barbarians”. The Imazighen are the indigenous inhabitants of all parts of Algeria from before even Roman times.
    The author admits to being a traitor to French interests in his youth and hasn’t disavowed that past, so, you should judge his reliability accordingly. Nique ta mere, Eric.

  3. anon1 says:

    There will be no “democracy” in Algeria or any other Arab country. There has never been any freedom, equality, women’s rights, free press, free speech or anything like this in the retarded, dysfunctional Arab world. Islam and low I.Q.’s are the main reason why. Nor is there really any such thing as a “moderate” Islam. With no separation of mosque and state and the dividing of humankind into “believers” and “infidels” is any such thing possible.

    • Replies: @EastKekistani
  4. @anon1

    There will be no “democracy” in Algeria or any other Arab country. There has never been any freedom, equality, women’s rights, free press, free speech or anything like this in the retarded, dysfunctional Arab world. Islam and low I.Q.’s are the main reason why. Nor is there really any such thing as a “moderate” Islam. With no separation of mosque and state and the dividing of humankind into “believers” and “infidels” is any such thing possible.

    Not having women’s rights and being fairly violent are exactly why Arab Muslim countries have high TFR, high social unity and may one day rule over the world. In Middle Eastern countries the populace is clearly stronger than the state and men gain battle experience all the time.

    • Replies: @anon1
  5. anon1 says:

    In fact the middle east is one of the most retarded and dysfunctional places on earth. The Arab world is rotten to the core. I see Arabs trying to flee their shithole countries, not other peoples wanting to move there.

    • Replies: @EastKekistani
  6. @anon1

    This doesn’t matter. What matters is that we non-Muslims mostly fear them, their ideology is pro-male (and hence can attract anti-feminists & incels), anti-Jewish (and hence can attract anyone who doesn’t like Jews), can reproduce a lot and have the guts to curb feral blacks. Rulers do not have to be smart, rich or knowledgeable.

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