Tag Archives: Mohamed Samraoui

Is Le Pouvoir Losing Its Grip on Algeria?

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on September 15, 2015

A rare picture of DRS chief Mohamed Mediène (a.k.a. Toufik)

A rare picture of DRS chief Mohamed Mediène (a.k.a. Toufik)

Yesterday, Algeria’s elderly president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, removed from office Mohamed Mediène (a.k.a. Toufik), the head of DRS (Le Département du Renseignement et de la Sécurité), the spy agency that is the real power behind the throne in Algeria. There is some suggestion this is Bouteflika trying to prepare the way for a civilian government as his time in office—and on the planet—draws to a close. There is little reason to believe, however, that Algeria’s government will be much reformed by Toufik’s departure.
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How Dictators Manipulate Jihadists To Defeat The Opposition

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on November 9, 2014

Smain Lamari (1941-2007)

Smain Lamari (1941-2007)

This Arab regime claims to be a one-party system but in reality a small Mafia-like cabal of military and intelligence officers have dispensed power for decades. Finally a democratic challenge erupts; people take to the streets demanding first reforms and, when the regime responds with pseudo-reforms and lethal violence, the fall of the government. Eventually the people fight back and an armed struggle breaks out. The regime builds its strategy around provocation, arresting and killing the liberals and democrats, infiltrating the insurgent groups and having the extremists attack the moderates, directing infiltrated groups to commit atrocities that discredit the whole insurgency, and using Iran’s international terrorist networks to lure Salafi-jihadists into the country who can help discredit the opposition’s cause in the eyes of the world. By presenting a binary picture—the regime or a terrorist takeover—the state tries to secure at least tacit support, if not direct intervention, from the West to defeat the insurgency.

No I’m not talking about Syria. This is Algeria. Continue reading

Algeria’s ‘Years of Blood’: Not Quite What They Seem

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on March 21, 2014

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Antar Zouabri, who became leader of the GIA in the summer of 1996

In December 1991, the Algerian government—the military regime in power since the French were expelled—gave in to public pressure, which had already turned sanguinary, and allowed an election. It was quite clear that the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), a fundamentalist party, would emerge victorious. To forestall the institution of a theocracy, in January 1992, the military launched a coup and shut down the final rounds of the election. A civil war erupted in which the jihadists sought to overpower the secular, if dictatorial, government. By the late 1990s, the jihadists’ savagery had meant their campaign had run aground; the vital centre in Algeria swallowed its misgivings and sought shelter behind the State. By 2002, the civil war was declared over: the jihadist revolt had been beaten.

That is the official story.

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