The North Africa Journal
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Algerian Government Ministers Implicated in Corruption Cases: All Eyes on Chakib Khelil and Others
The murky nature of Algerian politics and lack of transparency mean that the country is suffering from a major credibility and accountability deficit that is allowing many of its top leaders to abuse their power. As we approach the Presidential elections, more political and financial scandals are making it to the public, dragging with them names of politicians who used to be seen internationally as credible. Foreign justice systems in countries like Italy, Switzerland, Canada and elsewhere are probing cases of illegal payments made by companies to Algerian officials, investigations that are turning out to be a PR nightmare for the Algerian government.
North Africa’s Troubles: The Gift that Keeps on Giving
The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | North Africa is in an accelerated downward spiral, and the bottom is nowhere near. All indicators, whether they are economic, political, and social point clearly to the the fact that the entire region has sunk to a new low. While it would be easy to equate today’s North Africa to yesterday’s American wild west, there is a massive difference and that is there is no “Sheriff in town” in North Africa. The region and its populations are left to fend for themselves, abandoned by their politicians, abused by their business leaders.
JCP Islamist Party Seeks Way out of Coalition Government in Libya
The North Africa Journal | While their peers are accused of having too much power in Tunisia, the Islamists in Libya think they don’t have enough of it. The religious-leaning Justice and Construction Party (Hizb Al-Adala Wal-Bina), affiliated to the broad Muslim Brotherhood's political tendency, is seriously considering leaving the coalition government that was formed to manage the country.
Tunisian PM Jebali Resigns: a Case of "Should I Stay or Should I Go."
The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali is calling it quit. Having failed to form a neutral technocratic cabinet as he promised following the assassination of secular opposition leader Chokri Belaid, Jebali decide to resign on Tuesday this week. Is he really completely out of the picture or repositioning himself to put pressure on his Islamist party Ennahda?
Killing of Belaïd in Tunisia Accelerates Confrontation Between Secularists and Islamists, and Among Islamists Themselves
The North Africa Journal | Tunisia is in the third phase of its “Jasmine” Revolution. The first phase was the ousting of dictator Ben Ali, which brought euphoria, optimism, and a great sense of democracy in a country long controlled by a rogue regime.
Crises in Mali and Algeria: Disastrous Outcome for the Jihadists in North Africa/Sahel
The North Africa Journal | Arezki Daoud | The Jihadist movement in the Greater North Africa is in bad shape and the ongoing crises are pushing it toward extinction. Poor strategic decisions and bad executions are driving these extremist militants toward complete destruction.
Terror Attack on Gas Site: Algeria Faces Greatest Crisis in Decades
The North Africa Journal | Arezki Daoud | The terrorist attack perpetrated against an Algerian natural gas complex in the southeast of the country carries enormous implications for Algeria. The takeover of the In-Amenas gas complex could not only hurt Algeria’s hydrocarbons industry, but it also challenges that country’s multi-billion dollar security infrastructure built in and around the nation’s critical oil infrastructure. It is not an exaggeration to conclude that Algeria could face its biggest economic challenge in decades.
Hundreds of Rebels Killed in Mali, Dangerous Implications Ahead
The North Africa Journal | Unconfirmed reports say the Franco-African offensive in Mali has claimed the lives of hundreds of Touareg rebels and militant Islamists. Observers in Mali put the number of dead militants to 800. Among those killed are some senior commanders including Mohamed Ag Aghaly Ag Wambadja, Moulaye Ag Ahmed, and Hassane Habré allegedly killed on January 10, 2013 in Kona.
Franco-African Military Offensive Begins in Mali
The North Africa Journal | Aided by West African and French troops, Mali’s government soldiers have began a long-awaited offensive against Islamist rebels in Northern Mali.
U.S. Endorses Algeria’s Lead Role in Mali Crisis, But Skeptics Abound
The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | Algeria’s diplomacy has scored a victory of sort following the statement made by US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns describing Algeria as the "leader" in the Mali crisis. The move provides Algeria with additional breathing room to get some factions in Northern Mali who have been pushing for independence to revert their position without resorting to force. It may also frustrate those who have been seeking to sideline Algeria fearing that in the eyes of the US, the UN and other global players Algeria could be seen as a regional power broker with growing responsibilities and oversight on economic and security issues.
Bracing for a Military Offensive Against Islamists in Mali, Algeria Remains Unconvinced but “Willing”
The North Africa Journal | Algiers has long been reluctant to participate in a military offensive in neighboring Mali to root out Islamist militants. Some of these militants are either seeking to create a separate state, and/or intend on imposing Sharia law. Already the northern part of Mali has fallen in the hands of a trio of organizations, namely the Mujao, Ansar Eddine and Al-Qaeda North Africa.
How to Rule by Proxy: the King’s Eyes and Ears in the Moroccan Provinces
The North Africa Journal | The latest revision of the Moroccan constitution was supposed to usher in a new era of democracy by providing more power to the representatives of the people and reducing the Monarchy's prerogatives. Still, the monarchy remains unchallenged, having created a system that essentially controls virtually everything, directly and through the so-called Makhzen system.
Rise and Struggles of the Islamist Movements in North Africa
The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | The popular movements that have toppled dictatorial regimes in North Africa have unwillingly paved the way for Islamists and conservative factions to take over governance. With the Islamists front and center, divisions and differences in ideas have emerged among them, dominated by four distinct factions.
With the Rise of Ansar al-Sharia in Libya and Tunisia, Al Qaeda Starts New Offensive in North Africa
The North Africa Journal | The assassination of American diplomats in Libya has brought to the forefront a new Salafist group with Jihadist tendencies called Ansar al-Sharia. Although the attack against the American consular office was seemingly carried out as a retaliation for an amateur movie insulting to Islam and its Prophet Mohamed, all fingers point to Ansar al-Sharia as being behind the killings for reasons that are not necessarily related to the film in question.
The War Within: Salafists vs. Moderates
The North Africa Journal | By Arezki Daoud | Political Islam in Search for Way Forward | In the aftermath of the toppling of many Arab dictators, Islamist politicians have come into the forefront of governance and are now seemingly in control. But as they move into halls of power in Tunis, Cairo, Rabat and elsewhere, we discover that Political Islam is not as homogenous as many thought. Philosophical differences and ideological gaps exist between the various stakeholders that are likely to make the transition to a stable region a difficult and bumpy road.
A Busy Fall Season
The North Africa Journal, by Arezki Daoud | Although less dramatic than in 2011, the year 2012 for North Africa remains a period of intense struggle. The countries of the region are dealing with multi-faceted crises, hitting their political systems and their economies, and therefore affecting the balance of their basic social fabrics.
New Egyptian President Forces Old Military Guard to Retire
The North Africa Journal
Egyptian media outlets are hailing as "revolutionary" a decision by President Mohamed Morsi to dismiss the once-powerful defense minister and curtail the military's authority. "It can be said that starting today, the country is no longer under military rule," said Cairo resident Badawi Sayed Mahmoud. "Military rule is now over and Egypt will become a civil state in which everyone will be entitled to their rights."
Egypt's Military Learning to Deal with New Kind of President
The North Africa Journal
By Margaret Besheer [VOANews] Egypt's new president briefly reconvened parliament Tuesday in defiance of the military, which dissolved the legislature last month based on a high court order. About 200 people gathered outside Egypt's parliament on Tuesday as some lawmakers briefly returned to the lower house after President Mohamed Morsi called on them to do so.
Egypt at the Crossroads
Cairo, Egypt | by Vivian Salama | In early January this year, a headline on Egypt’s political turmoil in state-run Al-Ahram read: “Saving Egypt from Itself.” So is the sentiment following the country’s presidential runoff, with news of the apparent victory by Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi and a preemptive decree by the country’s ruling military junta, further clamping down on power even after the new president assumes office.
Tunisia and the Salafist Threat
The North Africa Journal | The general security climate in Tunisia has deteriorated and government response has been timid and inefficient. Given the Islamist offensive appears well organized, it is likely part of an effort to destabilize Tunisia and derail its efforts to recover from a disastrous 2011.