In Algeria, “After President Bouteflika” Is Rapidly Approaching– Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah
(dailyalert.org, Dec. 12, 2014)
On November 14, 2014, Algeria’s president, Abd el-Aziz Bouteflika, 77, was admitted to the cardiology department of a French military hospital. The race for Algeria’s top position will be wide open. The Algerian president is the chief of Africa’s second largest army and also heads the largest producer of natural gas in Africa and its second largest oil producer. Protests and strikes sweeping the country are an indicator of political and social instability, as prospects are dimming for a peaceful and stable transition of power.
Algeria is at the forefront of the fight against extremist Islamist groups in the deserts to the south as well as in neighboring Tunisia. For the West, Bouteflika’s departure could be a big loss. Since the Arab Spring eliminated longtime allies such as Egypt’s Mubarak and Tunisia’s Zein el-Abdine Ben-Ali, at the end of the day the West could find itself without reliable interlocutors in North Africa. Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah, a special analyst at the Jerusalem Center, was formerly Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)