Watching Out in High Politics: Algeria

Below is a list of trends this blogger watches/has been watching with respect to Algeria of the last year and will continue to watch in 2014. Others are likely observing some of these as well, and other important trends not mentioned here. These are not comprehensive. Business, exhaustion and health prevent immediate (though  eventual) elaboration in this post.

Interesting Medium-Long Term Political Trends in Algerian Politics

  1. Action-Reaction in ‘struggles’ within the pouvoir as the culmination and/or the falling action in the consolidation-fragmentation of a dual system of the Bouteflika era and the emergence of alternative, though still structurally dependent, interest groups and sections of ambiguous or unknown affiliation in this frame of contestation (whether consciously or unconsciously);
  2. The development of internal dissent within parties and mass organisations on vertical and, even more importantly, horizontal basis with reference to:
    1. The fragmentation of the post-war regime elite at the level of party cadres and in local politics (as a vertical or horizontal trends) and;
    2. Open, even violent dissent within the ex-parti unique parties and mass organisations in opposition to a fourth term for Bouteflika,as represented by the return to public life of individuals such as Ali Benflis (in 2012 and 2013) and the emergence of others to greater prominence in public opposition to the President;
  3. The ‘dismemberment’ of the post-1990 DRS and reorganisation/alignment of the security sector as a vehicle for elite control/coalition consolidation or as a result of such consolidation and personnel and network reactions to such developments;
  4. Potential constitutional and institutional reforms as a vehicle for regime survival/coalition reorganisation;
  5. Continued elite wariness of labourious and potential destabilising efforts at systemic change in a climate of regional crises and gore;
  6. The growth in ‘resource regionalism’ in energy /resource producing regions, especially southern and central regions, and its relationship to broader social movements and centrifugal cultural/economic trends, as well as organised/disorganised violence, such as in the national south (both the absolute geographic south (i.e., Tamanrasset, Illizi, Ouargla, Adrar, etc.) and the sociological south of northern Algeria (i.e. north-central regions such as Laghouat, Djelfa, M’Sila, etc.);
  7. Sustainment of regime status quo under pressure from regional crises and internal dissent and structural weakness/decay.

Areas of Potential Inquiry Independently or in Relation to Above Trends

  1. Potential external shocks threatening regime fundamentals such as significant downward or upward changes in energy/extractive resource prices in the short- or medium-term;
  2. Second or third order consequences bleeding into Algeria or neighbouring countries from major ongoing regional crises or new developments in other areas;
  3. Second or third order consequences from significant domestic policy decisions in infrastructure or communications that significantly enhance the coherence, credibility, cohesion or capacity/capabilities or intentions of dissident movements inside Algeria to challenge the status quo;
  4. The development and coalescence of any coherent, credible and cohesive opposition current whose objectives are aimed at fundamental or transformational change rather than transactional, rent-seeking or otherwise distributive adjustments;
  5. Major changes in cost-benefit analyses by regime stakeholders/coalition partners with reference to intra-regime competition and subsequent changes in strategy or behaviour; or circumstances that significantly alienate members of regime dependent middle classes and peripheral elites;
  6. State use of provocative or ostentatious violence in response toward internal dissent or toward members of local populations in marginalised regions or popular areas.

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