Sunday, June 24, 2018

Time Enough to Hope--and to Kill?

Algeria is in bad shape. The brutal jihadi uprising in the 1990s that "immunized" Algeria against the current jihadi surge in the wider Arab world is getting smaller in the rear view mirror every day.

That's not good:

The government is using a combination of violent censorship (lots of journalists arrested and jailed or expelled if foreigners), deficit spending, taking good care of the security forces, discouraging luxury imports and foreign travel to keep an increasingly unhappy population calm. The government also benefits from [a] fractious and uninspiring political opposition that could win national power if they had recognizable leader of a united coalition. So unemployment remains over 10 percent and growing (thanks to more young workers who cannot find jobs), corruption continues to discourage initiative, entrepreneurs or innovation and oil revenue continues to decline. The half century of oil income allowed the development of a corrupt political elite that brutally suppressed a decade long Islamic terrorist uprising in the 1990s and uses popular aversion to use another uprising to change the government. But as time goes on memories of the 1990s violence fade and armed insurrection becomes more appealing to a growing population of unemployed. Algeria is another national uprising waiting to happen.

The spillover into Tunisia, Libya, Niger, Mali, and Europe could be very ugly if Algeria descends into violence again.

And am I wrong to assume Morocco would ride out that kind of storm?