Between terror and democracy : Algeria since 1989 by James D. Le Sueur

By James D. Le Sueur

Algeria's democratic test is seminal in post-Cold battle background. the 1st Muslim country to aim the transition from an authoritarian procedure to democratic pluralism, this North African nation turned a try out case for reform in Africa, the Arab global and past. but while the rustic seemed absolute to develop into the world's first elected Islamic republic, there has been an army coup and the democratic strategy was once introduced sharply to a halt. Islamists declared jihad at the kingdom and thousands of civilians have been killed within the resulting decade of kingdom repression.

Le Sueur exhibits that Algeria is on the very middle of latest debates approximately Islam and secular democracy, arguing that the steadiness of Algeria is important for the protection of the broader center East. Algeria considering the fact that 1989 is a full of life and crucial exam of ways the destiny of 1 kingdom is entwined with a lot larger international issues.

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In particular, the Groupe Salafiste pour la Prédication et le Combat (GSPC), formed from within the ranks of the dwindling Groupe Islamique Armé (GIA) around the same time that Bouteflika struck his deal with militants. Without an official alliance but with the blessing of al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden, the GSPC vowed to keep up the fight against the infidel Algerian state but also to clean up the war, by ending the indiscriminate attacks on the Muslim population at large. Nevertheless, the amnesty agreements did proceed while the GSPC began to reorganize the Algerian jihad within a global framework.

Moreover, for other military governments beset by restless Islamic movements – especially Egypt, Turkey, and Pakistan – the rise of political Islam in North Africa through the democratic process was indeed something to fear. And for those who feared the religious challenges to military regimes, democracy was seen in many ways as the Islamists’ Trojan horse. In other words, according to some, Islamists would use the democratic process to subvert democracy itself. ”3 Hence, what happened in Algeria renders it a key frame of reference throughout the Middle East and wider Muslim-majority world.

Algerian officials and others have raised vehement objections to this definition, largely on the grounds that it cedes too much political and moral credibility to the extremists. By and large, this second group has preferred to characterize the conflict not as a civil war but as a “war on civilians” and as one between the forces of order and the terrorist organizations committed to a jihad. There are, of course, many other interpretations to consider, and because this struggle and its interpretation involve an important Muslim-majority state located at the very crossroads of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, the debate over terminology is hardly an academic dispute: careers, reputations, lives, revolutionary dreams, and political power itself hang in the balance.

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