Rabat - Algeria’s influence in Africa is decaying while its internal institutional power struggles and social problems threaten dire prospective consequences.
Rabat – Algeria’s influence in Africa is decaying while its internal institutional power struggles and social problems threaten dire prospective consequences.
At a time when Morocco is deploying its multifaceted projects in Africa, that leave little room for any sort of geographic distinction, the Algerian regime is suffering a doctrinal bankruptcy that is placing it in an immensely precarious position. This is reflected in the African landscape by a palpable decline in bilateral exchanges between Algiers and numerous African countries, a fact which has been acknowledged by Algeria’s Prime Minister, Abdelmalek Sellal.
The anxiety of the Algerian regime escalated following Morocco’s strategic launch in Africa under the leadership of King Mohammed VI. Leaders of the Algerian regime made no secret of their differences regarding Algeria’s decaying influence in Africa, made evident during the African Investment Forum this weekend in Algiers.
In contrast with its typical practices, Algerian media soberly criticized the forum and dismissed it as “real fiasco” that “tarnishes the image of Algeria.” They also slammed the Algerian Prime Minister’s decision to simply leave the room after barely finishing his speech, which brought to the fore “the substantial tension between Algerian government officials and the chairperson of the forum of business leaders.”
The Algerian press did not fail to denounce the “lack of cohesion” that Algerian regime has recently found itself in, clearly reflected in the conflicting relations between Algeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ramtane Lamamra, and his colleague in charge of Maghreb Affairs, the African Union and the Arab League, Abdelkader Messahel.
American analysts have commented on the decay of the Algerian regime, exacerbated by the institutional precariousness and the wait-and-see attitude that prevails in Algeria. Together they predict a “complicated” future and a “potentially violent” political transition, to say the least. Otherwise, the country faces the potential of a risky anachronism, popular disaffection and frustration.
The future of Algerian institutions also seems endangered by the divisions between the different power centers, as evidenced by the sharp divergences arising from the retreat of Algiers on the African scene.
The vagueness and lack of institutional clarity, especially regarding the Head of State succession, has added to the static characteristic of the Algerian political class, shedding light on the threat of a hazardous and uncontrolled transition between political generations.
US observers have also noted that the decline in hydrocarbon prices is far from being the only harm being suffered by Algeria. They explain that the symptoms of the decline in global oil and gas began earlier and that since 2006 the low production, the stagnation of reserves as well as the increase in domestic consumption have decreased the overall volume of hydrocarbon exports.
In an analysis titled “Algeria’s Risky Exercise in Anachronism” Isabelle Werenfels, Director of the Middle East and Africa Division at the German Institute for International Security Affairs, stated that this dangerous situation threatens to lead Algeria to a “risky anachronism.” With the current deep divisions within the political class and centers of power in the country, “reform prospects remain dim,” she added.
“These divisions run through the National Liberation Front (FLN) party, its satellites, the entire “famille révolutionnaire” (social groups and organizations drawing prestige and privileges from a link to the war of independence), and economic lobbies (e.g. Forum des Chefs d’Entreprises),” explained Werenfels, in an analysis published By the American think tank ,Carnegie Endowment for Peace.
Werenfels points out that the Algerians are “concerned about stability, fearing a return to the violence of the 1990s,” adding that the challenges that the Algerian regime should focus on include, “ethnic conflict, social unrest, security threats to the dramatic rise in domestic energy consumption and changes in the global energy markets, which together increasingly jeopardize the government’s policy of buying loyalty and quelling social unrest.”
The doctrinal failure of the Algerian regime is part of the same ideology of a system that imposes its heavy hand over the Algerian people, being intimately convinced that openness would be fatal. The anachronism and indigence of its regional and African policy reveal the state of a regime in decline, strangled by its own contradictions.
Edited by Connie Guindon