Algeria. In April, in order to fight the al-Qaeda militant organization in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Algeria and neighboring countries Mali, Mauritania and Niger established a joint military command in April based in the city of Tamanrasset in the Sahel in southern Algeria. The purpose was mainly joint intelligence work on terrorism and organized crime in the border between the countries. But the cooperation sparked, Algeria, for example, was critical of Mali in exchange for a kidnapped Frenchman releasing four suspected jihadists and also disallowing partner countries to cooperate with France and the United States. And the violence continued. Eleven Algerian gendarmes were killed June 30 in a grenade attack in the city of Tinzaouatine near the Mali border. In November, the government decided to equip civilians in violence-stricken areas with weapons so that they could fight the jihadists.
According to COUNTRYAAH, Algeria has a population of 42.23 million (2018). The country’s highest police chief, Colonel Ali Tounsi, was shot dead on February 25 at his workplace in the capital, Alger. According to the home ministry, the culprit was a Tounsi employee who acted in temporary confusion.
The resistance to the colonial rule
The lack of political rights and the settlers’ control of the administration – which was part of the French county administration – did not allow the emergence of any particular cooperative elite. Paternalistic racism was part of the system, and a conservative interpretation of religion meant that Islam could also be used to suppress opposition to the colonial regime. Therefore, as a nationalist movement emerged in the 1920s, it was no coincidence that it originated from a religious reform movement (“ulémas”) that gave religion a critical social and nationalist content. The first nationalist organization, Étoile North Africa was founded in Paris in 1926. From 1927 it was led by Messali Hadj, a charismatic leadership figure who until the liberation war was the very personification of Algerian nationalism. Messali Hadj was among the first to declare armed liberation struggle, but he never joined the FLN (Front de la Libération Nationale), and he was isolated both during and after the liberation war. Another of the nationalist leaders was Ferhat Abbas, who evolved from being a reformist parliamentarian to forming his own nationalist movement in 1943, to join the liberation movement (FLN) in 1956.
Nationalist resistance exploded in 1945 as the celebrations of the victory over Nazism developed into a popular uprising that was fiercely beaten: According to the official French report, 45,000 Algiers and 108 Europeans were killed. To stem the development of the rebellion, the French gave a number of political concessions, allowing the nationalist movement to found political parties and to participate in the elections held by the colonial authorities in 1948 and 51. Ferhat Abbas formed the UDMA (Movement for the Triumph of Libertarian Democracy). Within the MTLD, a semi-military organization, OS (Organization Spéciale), was led by Ahmed Ben Bella. The OS was quickly disbanded by the French security police and the leaders were arrested. Five of the central leaders of the OS later formed an action committee, the CRUA (Committee of Revolutionary pour l’unité et l’Action), which was to work for the unification of the nationalist factions and for an armed uprising. When the uprising began in November 1954, the organization changed its name to FLN, and the military units were organized as ALN (Armée de libération Nationale).
One of the members of the FLN was Franz Fanon. A doctor from Martinique who during World War II had fought for the liberation of France. He now joined the FLN and had great theoretical significance, not only in the FLN itself but throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
To preserve Algeria as a French, the French destroyed 8,000 villages in the following years, killed 1 million civilian Algerians, carried out systematic torture and sent more than 500,000 French soldiers to the country. (See Algerian War.) Right-wing French settlers in Algeria formed the dreaded Organization Armée Secrète (OAS – The Armed Secret Organization), which mixed new fascism with the French settlers’ demands and opposition to the ever-increasing Algerian influence. On March 18, 1962, then-French President Charles de Gaulle finally signed the Evian agreement, which included a ceasefire and a referendum on self-determination.