Friday, August 14, 2015

Algerian Aberrations

"Generals’ firing stirs fears of Algerian strife" by Aomar Ouali Associated Press  August 05, 2015

ALGIERS — Algeria is in the grip of political intrigue, as the president’s health declines and rumors of coup attempts swirl.

Now, the unprecedented firing of three top generals is generating fear that a power struggle within the regime will break into the open, unleashing a new cycle of the bloodshed that plagued the country in the 1990s.

The stakes for the oil-rich nation — a key US ally against terrorism — are especially high because of the dramatic fall of oil prices and the rising threat from extremist groups across the border in Mali, Libya, and Tunisia.

Why you never read much of them in the pre$$.

These developments have put the regime on weaker footing in a country still emerging from a civil war.

Maybe they, you know, might need some help. You know, AmeriKan troops and such.

On July 16, the night the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan ended, troops flooded the area around the presidential residence of Zeralda amid talk of a possible attack. Rumors flew that it was an attempted coup or an attack by radical Islamists, while some newspapers cited anonymous officials as saying that the whole thing was a hoax.

Then, on July 26, the army announced a series of new appointments in key positions, showing that three powerful generals — the heads of counterespionage, the Republican Guard, and presidential security — had all been replaced. The sackings have provoked a flurry of speculation that the country’s elites are on the brink of an all-out war.

‘‘These dismissals touch sensitive institutions that risk destabilizing the army amid a difficult regional situation,’’ Louisa Hanoun, leader of the Worker’s Party, said in a Monday press conference. ‘‘There are too many rumors and too much speculation — the president must speak.’’

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 78, hasn’t done much speaking, however, since he suffered a stroke in April 2013 that has restricted him to just a few television appearances.

Bouteflika didn’t appear in the election campaign he won last year — except, in a wheelchair, to vote — and his speeches are read by surrogates.

Can't they just fake it, or is the guy like legally brain dead?

Yet he and his entourage appear to be clinging to power, as control over security agencies is tightened. The president is surrounded by a close-knit group of advisers, including his brother Said.


How are the people feeling about that?

"22 die in ethnic clashes in Algeria, president calls meeting" Associated Press  July 09, 2015

ALGIERS — Ethnic clashes over two days have left at least 22 people dead in the region near Algeria’s southern oasis city of Ghardaia, authorities said.

The strife prompted the president to call an urgent security meeting.

The prefecture put the number of dead in clashes between Arabs and Berbers at 22, raising the death toll by four. Three of the 22 were killed a day earlier.

The official APS news agency said most of the deaths were from ‘‘projectiles’’ and occurred in Guerrara, 75 miles northeast of Ghardaia. One person was fatally wounded in Ghardaia when hit by a rock to the head. Dozens of others were injured, some seriously, APS said.

It said President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was meeting with the prime minister, defense officials, the army chief of staff, and others to discuss the gravity of the latest confrontations more than 375 miles south of Algiers. APS cited sources close to the president’s office.

The daily El Watan reported gunfire during the unrest and said ‘‘masked hordes on big motorbikes were combing neighborhoods of Guerrara and seeding terror among the population.’’

Looks like CIA hire to me.

Riot police moved in to quell the clashes, which included fires and vandalism targeting shops, cars, and public buildings in the towns of Guerrara, Ghardaia, and Berianne, 25 miles north of Ghardaia, APS reported.

Ghardaia, a UNESCO world heritage site, has been at the epicenter of the unrest. Members of the local Berber community, known as Mozabites, speak their own language and follow a different school of Islam than the majority of Algerians. The two groups compete over limited jobs, land, and housing in the impoverished south.

Yeah, the religion really has nothing to do with it, but it makes for good copy when you're trying to promote a war narrative. Those other three things more of a gripe.

Tensions escalated after a Mozabite cemetery was desecrated in December 2013. By October of last year, a dozen people had been killed.

I know there is some irony there, but....


They have a lot of problems

Must be the neighborhood in which they live.