Continuation or equilibration: the Algerian conflict and European security
Lynch, Michael P
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Algeria is caught in a stalled political transition. In 1991, the ancien regime, lacking credibility in a time of crisis, was forced to open the political system to opposition groups. However, because the regime was unprepared for any substantial transfer of power, the electoral victory of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) led to a military coup, and a civil war pitting radical Islamists against a authoritarian regime. Algeria's conflict has ramifications that travel far beyond its borders. Europe states rely upon Algerian natural gas for their energy needs, and are fearful of the impact of Islamic revivalism on their security situations. The result has been strong European support for the military regime, leading Algeria's radical Islamists to identify European states as co-belligerents. Since neither the Algerian military nor the Islamic radicals have the might to achieve a military victory, the conflict can only be resolved through a political settlement. To protect its interests in North Africa, the West must ensure that the settlement offers the ability to participate to every political faction willing to forswear political violence. Endorsing the Platform of Rome, and accepting political Islam as a facet of civil society is the only way to bring peace to Algeria
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