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L’Apres-Bouteflika: La Sale Guerre des Clans, le Game is On

June 28, 2011 5 comments

Par: La Septieme Wilaya

Quelque chose est pourrie au Denmark, a écrit Shakespeare. Eh bien, quelque chose est très pourrie dans le royaume de la “DRS”. Pendant les 3 dernières semaines, plusieurs événements et incidents ont eu lieu indiquant qu’une guerre entre les différents clans de la DRS, de l’Armée et du cercle proche du président a commencé pour la succession de Bouteflika.    Cette guerre ou guéguerre est basée sur deux piliers: 1) psychologiquement dérouter la population algérienne avec des nouvelles révélations publiées dans différents journaux proche des services secrets; et 2) physiquement déstabiliser une région du pays par la relance des groupes terroristes oh-si-bien dormants jusqu’ici. En faisant cela, ces clans peuvent déstabiliser ou menacent de déstabiliser l’ensemble du pays.

C’est un modus operandi bien classique de presque tous les services de renseignement du monde. Tout d’abord, il faut dominer et occuper les esprits, et puis leur faire faire tout ce que vous voulez qu’ils fassent une fois bien conditionnés. C’est ce que nous avons observés ces derniers temps. Premièrement, nous avons la publication de plusieurs articles dans El-Watan et dans d’autres manchettes où de nouvelles révélations/information sur des terroristes bien connus tels que Malik Medjnoun, Abderazak le Para, et Hassan Hattab refont surface.      Dans la plupart de ces articles, les auteurs soupçonnent directement ou indirectement  l’implication de la DRS soit dans l’enlèvement et le meurtre de touristes étrangers en Algérie durant la fin des années 1990,  soit dans l’assassinat du chanteur kabyle, Lounès Maatoub.  Par ailleurs, ces articles clairement font allusion au fait que ces émirs terroristes dont les mains sont couvertes du sang du peuple Algérien appartenaient ou travaillaient pour la DRS. Si cette information a été divulguée par des éléments de la DRS,  cela veux dire que nous sommes en train d’assister à de sérieuses divisions au sein de cette organisation très obscure. Ou bien nous sommes en train d’assister à une offensive menée par l’armée et l’entourage des hommes du président visant à discréditer la DRS et l’éliminer de la possible course infernale pour la succession de Bouteflika.

À peu près au même moment que ces articles ont été publiés, une vidéo a fait surface sur YouTube montrant un terroriste tenant une arme semi-automatique et d’une façon incohérente dit qu’il a travaille pour la DRS, et suivant les ordres de cette organisation il a commis tel et tel crime et a participé à une telle opération dans la région de la Kabylie. Ce que cet homme est en train de dire est que la DRS est derrière un grand nombre d’opérations terroristes en Kabylie. Si nous ajoutons à cela que l’AQMI a publié une déclaration cette semaine dans laquelle la branche d’Al-Qaeda au Maghreb renouvelle son engagement au terrorisme en Algérie et sa volonté à combattre le gouvernement et le peuple Algérien, sans oublier  l’incident de l’Azzazga, ben !!! Il y a une seule conclusion: quelqu’un essaie de déstabiliser la Kabylie et donc déstabiliser le gouvernement et le pays.

Alors, comment devons-nous lire tout cela? Et que devons-nous faire de tout cela? D’abord, il ya clairement une guerre entre les différents clans pour l’après Bouteflika. Deuxièmement, cette guerre a lieu entre le cercle proche de Bouteflika composé de généraux et de certains éléments fidèles au président à l’intérieur de la DRS contre les éléments les plus « hardcore » au sein de la DRS et de l’armée. Troisièmement, chaque groupe est en train d’exhiber ses muscles. Ce que ces clans ont clairement dit durant les deux dernières semaines, c’est qu’ ils ont le pouvoir de ressusciter le terrorisme ; ils ont le pouvoir de déstabiliser la région de la kabylie, c’est a dire, pratiquement déstabiliser l’Algérie tout entière ; et ils ont le pouvoir de mettre en cause le gouvernement et le DRS dans l’assassinat de plusieurs Algériens innocents. En un mot, ces clans ont le pouvoir de déstabiliser complètement Algérie.

Que doit faire le peuple algérien pendant cette guéguerre sérieuse? En un mot : rien. Le peuple algérien ne doit pas prendre part directement ou indirectement dans cette sale guerre de palace. Cette guerre ne concerne pas le peuple algérien. Il n’ya pas de bons ou de mauvais hommes dans cette guerre des clans. Il n’y a que la peste, le choléra, et la vermine, et on ne peut pas choisir entre ses détestables options. Ces clans veulent impliquer le peuple dans leur sale besogne pour apporter une certaine crédibilité à leurs actions. Mais le peuple doit être très vigilant.  La seule action que le peuple algérien puisse faire est de rejeter les deux clans dos a dos; de rejeter toutes les querelles; de rejeter tous représentatifs de cette dictature sanglante. Le peuple algérien doit et devrait uniquement demander “Issqat al-nidame

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Algeria: 49 years of independence and nothing to show for

June 27, 2011 2 comments

By: La Septieme Wilaya

In a few days, Algeria will celebrate 49 years of independence. Yes, almost fifty years have passed since the Algeria gained its independence through the sacrifices of millions of brave men and women. However, in times like these, instead of celebrating, we need to look back and coldly assess the positives and the negatives; to see how far we have come and what we have accomplished as a country; to ask what have we done in this half-century of independence?  And the assessment of our accomplishments leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth; it leaves me quite depressed. Since 1962, Algeria has accomplished very little. Not only have we accomplished very little, we have also regressed as a country and people on several areas.

Economically, Algeria is more dependent today on its oil rent than it has ever been in the past. Our economy is highly dependent on oil and natural gas exports—i.e., mineral resources rent. According to the World Bank and IMF data, it is estimated that rent from mineral resources accounts for roughly 60% of the budget revenues, 30% of the GDP, and over 95% of the export earnings. Moreover,  Algeria’s food exports[1] went from close to 20 % of total exports in 1968 to 0% of total exports in 2008-10, whereas our food imports fluctuate from 20% of total imports in 1970s to more than 35% in the 1990 and more than 38% in 2008-10.  Briefly stated, since 1962, our agricultural policy has been an abysmal failure.  Not only Algeria does not export any processed or raw food, but its domestic food safety is also highly dependent on foreign imports, shifts in the international markets of agricultural commodities, and on the availability of currency reserves. For more than 50 years, the Algerian government has been incapable of putting in place an efficient and sustaibable policy to increase agricultural domestic production and provide a minimal food safety for the population who still today lives at the  monthly rhythms of food shortages.

The economic picture of manufacturing in Algeria is even worse. Algeria’s manufactures imports represent anywhere from 75% to 80% of its total imports.  According to the World Bank and IMF data, its imports of manufactured goods and services in 2008 were close to $32.2 billions out of an annual GDP close to $140 billion. This means that more than 23% of Algeria’s 2008 GDP and more than 22% of its 2008 budget were spent on the imports of manufactured goods and services.  What is wrong with this picture? This picture tells us that Algeria produces next to nothing, exports next to nothing (mineral resources notwithstanding), and imports almost everything.

These trends of a poor manufacturing base and a poor agricultural production have been consistent since the late 1960s.  Our country is completely and totally dependent on foreign imports and on the fluctuations of international currency and oil prices. The country went through the so-called agricultural and industrial revolutions of the 1970s, and the results were disastrously negative. Then it went through the market-oriented reforms of the 1980s, and again the results were disastrously sterile.  Since the end of the civil war in late 1990s, new reforms were introduced to spur some kind of domestic growth in manufacturing and agricultural outputs, and the results are still disastrously poor.

In the words of my former economics professor, “Algeria is the country of unsolvable everlasting problems.” Not because the problems are hard to solve, but because there is too much corruption, ambiguous policies, inadequate institutions, total opacity of the political system, a medieval banking system, and a flagrant and criminal lack of accountability.  Algeria had a demographic boom post-independence. Every country that gains its independence has experienced some kind of a demographic boom with different magnitude. Thus, the Algerian demographic boom was a normal boom, and it should have been expected by our leaders. However, nothing was prepared and done to accommodate that boom; to accommodate the upcoming generations. Nothing. Most of the country infrastructure–inherited from the colonial era–has been put under a tremendous stress to a breaking point: schools are overcrowded; classes are overpopulated; neighborhoods are crumbling; hospitals are overcrowded and crumbling; universities are inadequately built and designed, and so on. The results, well we all know the results: chronic water shortages, chronic transportation shortages, chronic housing crisis, chronic under-performing schools, and a chronically high unemployment rate.  You add to this already explosive brew our universities that rank last in Africa, a rise in criminality and violence, a society that is lost between tradition, religion, market economy, and an endemic corruption, and you have the recipe for an unbelievably angry society ready to explode at any moment.  This is just a glimpse into a few problems that have been squeezing the living forces out of the Algerian people. These are the results of incompetent policies established by incompetent and corrupt politicians who have amateurishly led and run the country into the ground for the last 50 years.

Nothing can be hoped for from this bunch of politicians.  Although Algeria has 150 billion USD in foreign currency reserves and a large stabilization fund, high corruption, bureaucracy, incompetence, clientelism, and patronage are hindering the growth rates, structural reforms, diversification of the economy, and slowly strangling and corrupting the people at the same time.  Only a clean and surgical break from these bunch of kleptocrats could put Algeria on the right path of growth and prosperity again.


[1] Food comprises the commodities in SITC sections 0, 1, 4, and 22 such as processed food and live animals, beverages and tobacco, animal and vegetable oils and fats, and seeds, oil seeds, oil nuts, and oil kernels

Bouteflika’s constitutional reforms: Never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity

June 26, 2011 Leave a comment

By: La Septieme Wilaya

In mid-April 2011, president Bouteflika gave a speech in which he outlined bold and serious constitutional reforms.  That speech came after months of silence, and was very much awaited by most Algerians as well as foreign policy analysts who were eager to assess Algeria’s reaction to the events that were taking place in the Arab world.

Among the reforms outlined by the president in that speech were: reforming the electoral system; reforming the structure of the party system; expanding and deepening the devolution of power or decentralization; and redefining the legal status of the Wilaya.

The question was never about whether the president could propose some constitutional reforms. The question was and has always been about whether the president and his entourage of corrupt generals could conduct and implement the outlined reforms in the most rational, legal and inclusive manner. To do this, there are two methods. The first one is based on a serious popular deliberation in which all major political actors representing all major ideological tendencies have an input into the deliberative process of reforms. Of course, these constitutional reforms could not have been fully representative and deliberative without popular input—i.e., without holding popular deliberative meetings throughout the country to hear people’s worries, visions, and desires.  It is these practices that embed democracy in everyday practices and educate the people about the deliberative democratic process.

The second method is not deliberative, is not representative, and is not legitimate. It consists in establishing a blue-ribbon commission composed of insiders who conduct hearings of a few well-selected politicians whose sole existence is to protect and maintain the status quo. Briefly stated, it is a masquerade ball wrapped in a veneer of deliberation and representation.  Which method was going to be selected determined whether the reforms outlined by the president would lead to the establishment of democracy and the rule of law in Algeria.  Moreover, which method was going to be selected determined the seriousness and the will of Bouteflika and the generals in seeing democratic reforms take place in Algeria and clearly signaling a breakaway from competitive supra-authoritarianism. And here enters the commission for democratic reforms headed by Bensalah, the president of the Senat.

Bensalah’s commission—as it has come to be known—was a sham. It was a charade of a commission. For almost 2 months, the commissions listened to all the insiders—to all the clients of the Algerian state. Not only did it ignore to invite and consult with major political parties such as the FFS, it also ignored to invite and/or consult with leading political figures such as Ait Ahmed, Ali Yahia Abdenour, and/or the former presidents. It never bothered to listen to the Algeria people. It never bothered to embrace and start a deliberative process, which is at the heart of the democratic theory, and invite the Algerian people to it.  This commission whose job is to propose a set of reforms to the constitution in order to deepen democracy and strengthen the rule of law conducted its business in the most undemocratic way possible. It was a window display for clientelism and patronage. It was the despicable act of a dying dictatorship attempting for the last time to save its skin and reinforce its grip on power. Ergo, there is nothing to write home about. This commission and the resulting proposals will have no meaning, no impact, and no legitimacy.

See, there are a few constants in life as in politics. One of those constants is that dictatorship and authoritarian regimes never last forever. One day or another, they will collapse. They all collapsed before and they will keep collapsing. The trash bin of history is full of the names and corpses of dictators. Of course, how a dictatorship collapses is more important than whether it collapses. The Algerian military establishment—in fact, it is not the entire military establishment, but a handful of powerful generals who have total control over the political and economic resources of the country—had a golden opportunity to lead Algeria toward the 21st century. They had the chance to be the initiators of democracy in Algeria. In fact, they had the chance and the choice to be heroes in the eyes of the Algerian people. They turned their back on democracy, on the Algerian people, and on history. As I am writing these words, I am certain that their fall will be one of the most atrocious in the history of democratic transition. They will enter history, but from its back door and straight into its trash bin.