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Often times the military performs a caretaker function due to the fact that it remains the most organized and "modern"institution in the society. They may receive support from the middle class and students if there is a tacit agreement to protect property and suppress fundamentalist, provided the military is not captured by such elements.

A local viewpoint from Magharebia  By Adem Amine in Algiers and Jamel Arfaoui in Tunis

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) chief Abdelmalek Droukdel (aka Abou Moussaab Abdelouadoud) issued two audio recordings on Sunday (January 9th) addressing the Algeria riots and on-going demonstrations in Tunisia.

"This media intervention could be read in two ways. The first is that AQIM wants to mobilise, and maybe even recruit, members among the protesters. We have indeed seen young Algerians travelling to Iraq to fight the allied forces. We have indeed heard young people asking for weapons to go and fight the Israeli army in Gaza and Southern Lebanon," said Mustapha Saidj, a politics professor at the University of Algiers.

"The second interpretation is that this terrorist organisation is currently experiencing internal conflict. We have AQIM in the north and AQIM in the Sahel, and these two groups within this single organisation are experiencing frictions and a leadership struggle. But quite apart from all this, we must remember that there has been a major clean-up operation in Kabylie, AQIM's stamping ground in the north. This action is destined to have a psychological effect on what remains of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb," Saidj said.

The professor added that "historically, al-Qaeda has always stepped in every time there has been an event which focuses the attention of the international media. Remember his recordings which came out on the occasion of attacks in Iraq and attacks by the Israeli army against Gaza. This intervention is intended to say that social unease, in Tunisia and Algeria alike, justifies their fight against the corrupt regimes running this or that country."

The recordings are "one piece of a larger Islamist puzzle, which involves capitalising on discontent in the streets," according to University of Algiers lecturer Smail Maaraf. He stressed that the Islamists failed in their efforts to capitalise on the situation because they have not managed to repeat their coup of October 1988, when they showed themselves to be incredibly strong at mobilising the streets.

"Their words no longer have any hold on society, which sees them as terrorists and cut-throats," Maaraf said, adding that Droukdel's intervention had little impact on society. "Young people today, those born after the 90s, tend to be tuned in more to foreign TV channels, or logged on to the internet, and they're much more interested in nice clothes or looking for places to have a good time," said the lecturer, explaining why the extremists' talk has lost its hold over the hearts of young people, whose attention is focused elsewhere.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jan 14th, 2011 at 03:46:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would expect some gray regime insider to be installed as caretaker to organize 'free' elections. Might well be from the military.

Keynesianism is intellectually hard, as evidenced by the inability of many trained economists to get it - Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 14th, 2011 at 08:03:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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