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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Islamists, soldiers, and democrats: the second Algerian war
Author:Mortimer, RobertISNI
Year:1996
Periodical:Middle East Journal
Volume:50
Issue:1
Pages:18-39
Language:English
Geographic term:Algeria
Subjects:Islamic movements
democracy
political stability
Link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/4328894
Abstract:Algeria's political crisis since 1992 is the result of a flawed transition from single-party to democratic politics. Neither the Algerian government nor the military nor the democratic political parties addressed the need to define a civic pact with the rising Islamist movement prior to the December 1991 parliamentary elections. Instead, what occurred was a resort to force on the part of the military establishment and the extremist wing of the Islamist movement that marginalized the authentic democrats, who largely became hostage to the violence itself. This article first examines the key protagonists in Algeria's political crisis - the soldiers, the Islamists and the democrats - in order to understand the processes that led to political breakdown. By studying their interests, political resources and strategies, the paper explains why Algeria slid toward a state of civil war. Next, it analyses the dialectic of violence and bargaining in which these three formations have been engaged since 1992, paying special attention to the attempts of President Zeroual to bring about negotiations. It concludes by assessing the prospects of various possible negotiated settlements in the wake of the Platform of Rome, signed by several Algerian parties in January 1995. The existence of the Rome accord opens the way to a possible democratic pact, but it does not guarantee it. Notes, ref. sum.
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