The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

El-Khabar: “Algeria’s image abroad becomes bleaker; frightening scenarios…”

Translated by our yesterday:

“Algeria’s image abroad becomes bleaker; frightening scenarios…”

On January 23, the daily El-Khabar reported: “The quick collapse of Algeria’s revenues has become a source of concern not only for its people but also for the countries within its zone, particularly France which is tied to Algeria by big strategic interests which it would not want to lose and it also fears that the financial crisis in its former colony would lead to another wave of migration that would add to its current problems. The tone of discussion on Algeria has changed on the other bank of the Mediterranean and the description of “regional power” and other terms of flattery have slipped down to a more strict assessment when Algeria’s revenue became hardly enough to pay for half of its imports after the unprecedented collapse of oil prices in the world markets and some foreigners expected even the bankruptcy of Algeria. As an example of the image of Algeria which is being circulated currently, the French economist, Nicolas Bouzou, said in a lengthy article published in Le Point that Algeria, which he described as “the wonderful neighbour” was nominated to “collapse because of its political and economic situation”, and that France must take that into consideration and monitor the situation there.

“Bouzou, who is the head of the economic studies centre, Asteres, explained that Algeria was the first port of call for France’s exports to the Arab world and French companies sold a large quantity of grains, cars and medicines to Algeria. He pointed out that the post-independence “Algerian tragedy” lay in adopting “Boumediene’s socialism and then populism” which were policies that did not allow Algeria to diversify its economy and the country found itself “dependent on the hydrocarbon sector for 97 per cent of its revenue and due to the fall in oil prices the budget deficit stood at 30 per cent in the 2015 budget and unemployment stood at 11 per cent of the active population”.

“Politically, Bouzou said that the “fragile” Algerian state was still under Islamic threat and was based on three dominant and sometimes not homogenous pillars which were the Presidency which was occupied by a non-existent president, the army which was led by the elderly and surrounded by the intelligence service and a public opinion a large part of which still dreamt of France, according to him… Regarding US and British newspapers which are not interested in Algeria except when they warn about the gravity of the situation, the Financial Times said a week ago that the economic difficulties in the country threatened its stability, based on the opinion of the deputy director of the International Monetary Fund, Middle East and North Africa, Daniela Gressani, who had said that Algeria was exposed to an external shock that would last many years.

“Washington Post cited a statement by an expert on the constitution project which said that it did not meet the basic principles of democracy because it allowed the strengthening of the state at the expense of the civil society. New York Times discussed President Bouteflika’s state of health and asked if he was ruling the country, particularly after the request by the Group of 19 to see him in order to confirm that he owned up to the decisions made on his behalf.

“This terrifying perception of the situation in Algeria strikes at the heart of what is known as “improving Algeria’s image abroad”, which is one of the pledges made by President Bouteflika when he was elected for the first time in 1999, and the “achievements” his supporters bragged about which were in Belkhadem’s words like “a mangy camel” and in time it became clear that that image was closely linked to the price of oil, improved with its improvement and collapsed with its collapse.”


Written by nickbiddlenoe

February 3, 2016 at 2:18 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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