The Agony of Algeria / Edition 1

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Since the Algerian military annulled an election in January 1992 that would have brought to power the world's first democratically elected Islamist government, a civil war has raged in which more than 100,000 Algerians have died. The military takeover polarized the country between the political and military elite and the mass of the population. The elite were perceived as interested only in personal gain and holding on to power, while most Algerians faced intense hardship. But the brutality of the Islamists' insurgency--including car bombings, the murder of 'immodestly' dressed women, the assassination of intellectuals, and the wiping out of whole villages--has lost them support. Most Algerians no longer want the Islamic republicanism of the FIS or the millenarianism of the GIA.

Martin Stone provides a brief overview of Algeria since 1830 before focusing on three crucial phases of the postcolonial era--those of Ben Bella, Boumedienne and the reformist Chadli Bendjedid; and the political and economic crisis under the Haut Comit√© d'√Čtat (HCE). He examines the donimant state institutions--the army and the FLN--and the increasingly bitter divisions behind the current conflict, especially the factionalism that has hampered ALgeria's attempts to realize its great potential. The book also deals with the large Berber minority, relations with France, the economic background, forgien policy, the 1997 elections, and the administration of President Lamine Zeroual.

In conclusion it examines whether the state can reconcile the moderate, convservative Islam of the majority with the minorities on either pole--both Islamic radicals and secularists--and create a political landscape where genuine political pluralism can flourish and extremism be suppressed.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Financial Times

No book ever came more perfectly on cue than Martin Stone's The Agony of Algeria, with its mission to explain. Its thesis is that the issues left unresolved after Algeria won independence in 1962 are at the root of its current predicament. By grounding his argument in a tour-d'horizon of two millennia, Stone shows how complex those issues are.

Stone provides a brief historical overview of Algeria since 1830 before focusing on three crucial phases of the postcolonial era: that of Ben Bella and Boumedienne; the reform era of Chadli Benjedid; and the political and economic crisis under the Higher States Committee (HCE. He examines the dominant state institutions -the army and the FLN -and outlines the increasingly bitter divisions, social and political, which account for the current crisis.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231109116
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 10/19/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 5.48 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Martin Stone is a regular contributor on Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia for the journal Business Middle East.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements
Introduction 1
1 Algeria before 1962 25
2 Algeria under Ben Bella and Boudienne 43
3 Algeria under Chadli Bendjedid 58
4 The Economy in Crisis 81
5 The Post-Chadli Crisis 102
6 The Political Landscape 123
7 Islamism and the Growth of the FIS 145
8 Towards a Holy War 177
9 The Berber Question 198
10 The Algerians and the French 215
11 Algeria's Foreign Policy 228
12 Conclusion: The Agony of Algeria 248
Select Bibliography 259
Index 263
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2001

    Interesting reference book about Algeria

    Fantastic book about Algeria. Though it seems it is much of collection of events and analysis based on news stories and other written bibleographies. Being an Algerian and have witnessed most events discussed in this book in real life, i found Martin's interpretation are based on wrong perception. Lot of typo and repeated words. I would recommend this book as a reference to get a big picture on Algeria, but be very carefull about getting wrong conclusions. The Author often refer the reasons of conflict into Berbers and Islam. he obviously forgot that Berbers are muslims and guard islam more than anything else. the problem of Algeria lied mainly on the poor managed state, corrupted regime, and it's failure to address proper development of post indepence traumatic society. Given all these notes, I would rate this book 3 stars.

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