Sky News published on 17/3/2019 under the title (Within days ... Algerian Protests Hit the “Painful Nerve” of the Authority) the following: (The head of the largest independent union in Algeria said that he took legal steps to implement a general strike in the Energy sectors, including oil and gas, in the next few days ...) Bouteflika on 11/3/2019 has retracted his candidacy, but canceled the date of elections scheduled for April 18th, and announced a conference project to determine the date of the elections. But people rejected this and saw it as an extension of his current fourth term, and went out in the millions on Friday 15/3/2019, the largest rally since the protests began on 22/2/2019. The question or questions are: Are these strong protests, especially if the oil strike occurs, homemade or are there international fingers behind them? Will it bring change in the political scene in Algeria? Will Bouteflika, despite these protests, continue to rule another year as in his recent decisions?
The course of events, international fingers and others can be reviewed to reach the answers to the questions as follows:
1- It seems that the protests were normal and spontaneous by the people because of the injustice inflicted on them and the corruption of the authority, the regime and those running it, and the looting of public funds, while leaving the people suffering from poverty and deprivation. Their living conditions worsened and their problems exacerbated at various levels. Bouteflika transgressed in his rule until he changed the Constitution in 2008 and removed the condition of determining the president’s terms to two terms only, which enabled him to take power four times in a row, and he was looking for a fifth term despite the deterioration of his health after a brain stroke in 2013 that made him disabled, affecting his movement and speech, but despite this, he announced on the third day of this month that he officially submitted his candidacy for elections. People were enraged and protests escalated from various sectors but they were peaceful.
2- Out of deception, Bouteflika sent a message to the people on 11/3/2019 announcing the following decisions: “First, there is no place for a fifth term, but I have never asked for it, since my health and age only allow me to perform my last duty towards the Algerian people, which is to work to establish a new republic that will be a frame of the Algerian regime that we aspire to.
Secondly, there will be no presidential election on 18/4/2019, and the purpose is to respond to the urgent request that you have made to me. Thirdly, I have decided to make substantial changes to the government’s composition as soon as possible. Fourth, The Uniting Independent National Conference will be a body enjoying all the necessary authorities to study and prepare and adopt all kinds of reforms that will form the foundations of the new regime and the appointment of a pluralistic presidential body… and is keen to end its term before the end of 2019. Fifth, presidential election will be organized after the Uniting National conference…” (Radio Algeria, 11/3/2019). This message provoked the people further, as he tried to plead with the people and claimed that he never intended to run even though he did run for elections! People understand that Bouteflika wants to extend his fourth term by deception! And that he cancelled the elections to focus the influence of his corrupt clique.
3- Bouteflika, under the pressure of the street, announced that he would sack Ahmed Ouyahia’s government in his decisions on 11/3/2019 to show that he would make a change in the country and fight corruption, as if people would approve him if he deceitfully removes one of his tools in corruption with another similar tool! But it seems that people are aware of these deceptions, so their mobilization escalated on Friday, 15/3/2019, following his decisions. Thus, his decisions to appoint Nouruddin Badawi as prime minister, and the appointment of Ramtan Lamamra as deputy prime minister while retaining the Foreign Ministry, were of no avail. The two tried to deceive the people with the decisions of President Bouteflika. In a joint press conference with his deputy on 14/3/2019, Noureddine Badawi stated that “the transitional period will not be more than one year, and that the president’s postponement of elections is in response to the will of the people, and consultations are ongoing to form a government which will be a government of qualifications. He called for the establishment of a new state of law, and called the opposition to participate” (Algerian TV 14/3/2019). Ramtan Lamamra had said one day before to the Algerian state radio on 13/3/2019: “There is a need for dialogue, our priority is to reunite the Algerians. The new regime will be referring to the will of the people,” but people had awareness and were not fooled by this. It turned out that the people in Algeria are really aware of this point.
They rejected all of this and insisted on the president’s departure. They rejected Badawi and Lamara and called on them to resign. They rejected the call for dialogue and the postponement of the president’s resignation and the change of faces. This rejection became clear when millions took to the streets and fields on Friday, 15/3/2019. The regime was in trouble, and the arrests began!
4- The army appeared to be supportive of Bouteflika and his authority. Ahmad Qaid Salih, Algeria’s deputy defense minister and chief of staff known for his strong loyalty to Bouteflika, threatened the demonstrators by saying (“there is someone who wants to return the country to the years of pain and (embers).” And he promised: “ that the army will be in control to ensure security and stability”, he said:” There are parties that are bothered to see Algeria safe and stable, they want to return to the years of pain and years of (embers)” (Middle East, BBC, 5/3/2019) On February 26, he threatened to use force against the demonstrators, whom he described them as being misguided. He denounced the unknown parties calling for demonstrations in the streets, but the Ministry of Defense declined and asked all media outlets not to publish his threats.
He then began to show compassion to the people, he said :“I never stop being proud of the greatness of the relationship and the trust that binds the people to its army, and based on these good relations, the people are truthful, sincere and aware of the implications of what I am saying.” Sky News 13/3/2019). It is know that the army is the one that is in control in the country. Bouteflika managed to oust former pro-French leaders and bring loyalists to him, so it appears that the army and security leaders have become loyal to Bouteflika’s English line. We have seen the BBC on 8/3/2019 describe the commander of the army, Ahmad Qaid Salih, and introduce him positively: “Many consider General Ahmad Qaid Salih since September 2013 who became deputy defense minister while retaining the Algerian army chief of staff, as Bouteflika’s chief right-hand man. It has been repeated that the former intelligence leadership headed by Madeen General Tawfeeq sought to overthrow the president while he was in France for treatment ... but after the promotion of Qaid, he managed to overthrow many senior intelligence officers). Bouteflika removed General Tawfeeq from the intelligence apparatus leader ship on 13/9/2015.
5- Thus, the protests began spontaneously but after its outbreak, the international fingers tried to exploit it and intervene in a way that serves their interests. Before I explain this, I want to mention some of what we published on the 23/9/2015, where we presented the reality of the International conflict in Algeria, we said: (“it is a powerful state that resisted America’s plans more strongly than its neighbour. Since the coup of Boumediene on Ben Bella, who was following the line of America with Abdul Nasir, and since that date, the British influence is strong in Algeria with some French protrusions, which was sometimes severe, especially in the era of some weak presidents ... Boumediene continued to rule from 19/6/1965 until his death on 27/12/1978 ... Then Bouteflika became the president since 1999 until today, and Bouteflika still has a close relationship with Britain, and crowned this with a visit to Britain in 2006 to be the first visit of an Algerian president to Britain.
Although France’s group in the Algerian army are somewhat influential, they are aware of Bouteflika’s relationship with Britain. They also realize that Bouteflika was not in harmony with French policy ... Yet France’s loyalists in the army could not stop his presidency to this day!
Although Britain did not fear France for its influence in Algeria in the way it feared the United States, but it saw that ending the French protrusions would strengthen its influence. But it went about it gradually because it is not in conflict with France but with America, so those changes of the officers loyal to France happened quietly without heating the atmosphere as if there was a conflict. Even when Bouteflika on 13/9/2015 relieved a senior pro French officer, who was the director of the General Intelligence Service, Mohammad Lamin, known as General Tawfeeq, it was without any impact or influence on the structure of the regime. It can be said that Bouteflika succeeded to some extent in these dismissals with Britain’s support for him, although the army still has a place for France, since the culture of the army and training are mostly from France ... But as we have said, Bouteflika’s conflict with the army was quiet, closer to the completion of athletes and does not affect the basic issues of the regime) End of quote
6-We also mentioned in the publication: [(“This is different from the real conflict with America and its plans in Algeria on political acquisition ... For example:
a- After Spain left the Sahara in 1976 after 91 years of colonialism, America found the opportunity in the Polisario movement of independence of the Sahara, and took it as a pretext to intervene in North Africa, especially Algeria ... But the rule in Algeria, “Britain”, was aware of the issue. So it restricted the Polisario to the line of the border and monitored it because it was aware that America had breakthroughs in it ... Despite the dominance of America over the missions of the United Nations and its delegates on the Sahara, it could not gain influence in Algeria ...
b- America has tried to find a base in Algeria for the forces it established under the pretext of fighting ‘terrorism’, the forces called AFRICOM, but Algeria refused because it, and Britain behind it, understands that this American base is to interfere in the affairs of Algeria. Therefore, the Algerian Foreign Ministry stated on 3/3/2007: (That Algeria is not interested in hosting the headquarters of the United States Special Forces for AfricaAFRICOM)
c- America tried to stir up the fight against ‘terrorism’, taking advantage of the events of Mali on 22/3/2012, and there were visits between it and Algeria to involve Algeria in cooperation with America in the fight against ‘terrorism’ on the pretext that it may reach Algeria. However, Algeria refused, “and Britain behind it,” and rejected the American plan. Hillary Clinton’s visit and her meeting with Bouteflika on 29/10/2012 was one of the prominent visits ...)] End of quote
7- It is clear from that, that the international relations between Britain and France in the current circumstances are almost closer to competition with the attitude of good sports. But between America and Britain, it is closer to a heated international conflict. This situation is still present. America and France are trying to take advantage of the protests in the hope that each of their agents make progress and lead the people and then sneak into the government and replace the British agents with their different approaches:
- As for America, it has announced through the Spokesman for the United States Department of State Robert Palladino, on 5/3/ 2019: (“We’re monitoring these protests that are happening in Algeria and we’re going to continue to do that,” “We respect the rights of the Algerians to assemble and peacefully express their views..” BBC 6/3/2019) This is the first reaction from America to the events of Algeria. This shows that America wants to exploit these demonstrations in its favour.
After Bouteflika’s decisions to cancel the elections, America announced through the United States Department of State spokesman Robert Palladino “We support efforts in Algeria to charter a new path forward based on dialogue that reflects the will of all Algerians and their aspirations for a peaceful and prosperous future,” “We respect the rights of the Algerians to assemble and peacefully express their views”, “We’re closely monitoring reports that Algeria’s elections have been postponed.” “We support the rights of the Algerian people to vote in free and fair elections,”” (Reuters, Al-Shorouk, Algeria 12/3/2019) But the US spokesman did not comment on Bouteflika’s decisions. America ignored them; this gives the impression that its position is not supportive of these decisions, and it refuses cancelling the elections.
It appeared that American newspapers following Bouteflika’s decisions were against him and his decisions. The New York Times reported the opposition’s position and questioned President Bouteflika’s intentions and described his message to the protesters as a hoax. While the Washington Post warned of the undeclared attempt by President Bouteflika to extend his term and escape the handover of power and making room to his successor. Thus, America’s position shows that it is not with Bouteflika and that it is exploiting the protests to infiltrate it to extend its influence in Algeria, as it did before as mentioned above, and is still making efforts to exploit every event that is going on as it does in every country. It does not do so as a matter of concern for the people, because it has worked to crush them in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Afghanistan and elsewhere, whether through direct intervention or through coups or by making partner countries or agents intervene by proxy.
- As for the French position, it has been swinging; sometimes it is with Bouteflika and sometimes against him. It is trying to seize the opportunity to infiltrate without challenging Britain. France has followed the events in Algeria with interest as if it is an internal event. It considers itself as the guardian of the former colonies! The French Foreign Ministry announced on 4/3/2019: “Paris has learned of the decision of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to run in the presidential elections scheduled for April and hopes that voting takes place in the best possible circumstances.” It also stated: “The decision, however, is in the hands of the Algerian people who will choose a leader… and the decision is of the Algerian people with regards to their future.” (Reuters 4/3/2019) ... The French Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, told France International Radio on 5/3/2019 that “the Algerian authorities are invited to allow young people to demonstrate. France finds that young people express themselves calmly, let them express themselves”. But when Bouteflika issued his decisions, French President Macron welcomed them and said: “the decision of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to withdraw from candidacy for a fifth term opens a new chapter in the history of Algeria” and he called for “a transition period for a reasonable period” and said “we will do everything we can to be with Algeria in this transition period, with friendship and respect”. “The French Foreign Minister, Le Drian, welcomed the step taken by Bouteflika and the measures taken to modernize the Algerian political system” (Radio Algeria 12/3/2019).
Here, it appears that France supports the protest movement and at the same time it does not want to provoke Bouteflika and welcomes his decisions! Because it based this on two things: it wants to intervene in an easy manner that does not provoke the authority, and the second is that it does not want to appear as if it is on the American side against Bouteflika. It is part of Europe; when necessary if it can not replace Britain in Algeria, it prefers the continued British influence in Algeria over the American influence.
As for the French press: France 24 cited on 2/3/2019 the comments of French newspapers: (French Liberation newspaper said: “Algerian youth are hungry for social justice and want change, especially those who only knew President Bouteflika in their lives.” And it added: “The Algerian youth do not understand why it must bear the consequences of a past they do not know. This youth full of vitality and activity that deserves more than the political hegemony imposed on them by a regime that is hiding behind a fake president. “The daily Le Figaro (the right), headlined a paper dedicated for the protests in Algeria: “A tidal wave against the Algerian regime.” The newspaper pointed “to the participation of some political figures and parties in the demonstration, such as Ali bin Flis, head of the Party of the primacy of freedoms and Rashid Nikaz candidate for the upcoming elections, Ahmed Ben-Bitur, former prime minister and Abdel Aziz Rahabi, Minister of Culture, who resigned during the first term of Abdelaziz Bouteflika… cited from France 24 on 2/3/2019).
8- As for Britain, it did not issue any official statement. The BBC does not focus on the protests, but it mentions them in passing. British newspapers do not criticize Bouteflika’s actions and do not support the protesters, which shows that Britain is with Bouteflika.
It supports him and does not want him to fall. Therefore, it did not provoke the people through its media and exaggerate the events and focus on them, as it did with the protests of Egypt, Turkey and Sudan and focused on the opposition movements and their statements and prominent personalities, and it did not criticize the actions and brutality of the regime to suppress the protests. This is not reflected in Algeria. This confirms that the British political influence in Algeria is satisfied with the actions of Bouteflika and his gang. Britain according to its malicious policy pretends that the protests do not mean much to it; it does not appear in the forefront due to its malicious policy of maintaining its agents!
9- The likely conclusion for the questions asked:
a- The protests were spontaneous and natural and a reaction to the political and economic injustice. Bouteflika and his gang took power and money, and they amend the Constitution according to their requirements. Despite his ill health and inability to move and talk, he extended his fourth term, instead of the fifth! He and his gang are accused of corruption and misappropriation of funds, while people suffer from the hardship of living from poverty, high prices and unemployment and inability to buy basic and necessary needs. What they call poor purchasing power of people although the country is rich in wealth, especially oil and gas. But foreign companies plunder it in cooperation with the regime and those in Bouteflika’s circle. And people suffer misery and hardship of living.
b- Bouteflika insists not to be absent from the scene, unless he is forced by death and the army supports him and the British political class as well. Britain has the political influence and wants to maintain the regime and its men. Since the regime is pro-Britain, it is very important for it in North Africa in the face of America. Algeria stands against Haftar America’s agent in Libya. It is working to contain the US-backed Polisario Front.
c- France has colonial interests in Algeria: political, cultural and economic; feelings of the old colonization of Algeria continue to tickle its feelings. It has agreed with Britain which has extended its political influence there since the coup in Boumediene in 1965 to stand in the face of America, which competes with them in colonialism and the extension of influence. They also agreed to stand in the face of the Muslim people of the country seeking liberation from the tyranny of Western colonialism in all its countries and forms, and who yearn for Islam and establishing its state and its implementation. Most of the people of the country know that justice, truth and good are in Islam only, and no justice or good is in anything else. France’s loyalists organized a coup in 1992, brought evil and corruption, and killed hundreds of thousands, like their master France, which killed 1.5 million Algerians in the war of liberation. the men of France took part in the protests and rode the wave, but as we said cautiously.
d- America is working to get into Algeria, exploiting the circumstances of Algeria and the protests, claiming that it stands against injustice and tyranny and supports the right of the people, although it is not concerned with injustice, oppression and tyranny, but it sponsors them all over the world, and supports tyrannical and oppressive regimes, especially in the Islamic countries, and Arabic countries. It supports the regime of Salman and his son in Saudi Arabia and Sisi’s regime in Egypt and the Iraqi regime directly, and the Syrian regime indirectly through its partners and agents. It is not concerned with supporting the Algerian people; instead, America wants to establish a base in Algeria for its forces, US AFRICOM, to extend its influence in North Africa and especially to head from there towards the south of Africa’s Sahara Desert and West Africa where the French influence to replace it. America is disturbed by Algeria’s response to its agent, Haftar, who wants to control Libya’s west, in addition to its ambitions to control Algeria’s
e- The people of Algeria have the awareness of what is happening, from its chants: “No Washington, not Paris, we choose the president.”, which shows that people are aware of foreign interventions and their goals, and they have awareness of that. The people have experience with agents and their crimes and understand the role of colonial countries and their support of the corrupt regime and agents. The people are seeking change seriously and long for the return of Islam. Those who said we will restore Islam to power in 1991 were elected by 84% of the votes. The emergence of the Islamic feelings were clear by starting the marches from the mosques after Friday prayers. The secularists participating in the protests realized this when they saw the huge influx of Muslims to pray in mosques.
f- As for what is expected as a result of this movement, the acting political class in Algeria that controls the decision-making centers is mostly pro-British. The men of France have weakened and decreased in number. Bouteflika, during his rule exceeding twenty-years, managed to exclude most of them from sensitive positions and decisionmaking centers. Their maximum goal they are looking for now is not to replace Britain’s agents in power, but rather to share with them in some non-core centers, and even that depends on how well they exploit the existing protests to ride their wave to get some weight.
America lacks the political class that can be pointed to, and as its habit in times like these, it resorts to the army which is now a supporter of the regime.
In other words, the current protests are unlikely to change the political loyalty of the regime from Britain to France or to America.
g- As for the question: Will Bouteflika continue or not, he is currently not actually ruling, but the government is run by his clique that surrounds him who are like him loyalist to Britain. It is not unlikely that if the protests increase, especially with the expectation of the oil and gas strike, that Britain will resort to its usual method of malice and cunning and deceit and removes Bouteflika, whose colour has changed and rusted, and comes up with another Bouteflika with a new face that is brighter and with a sharper tongue.
j- But all this will not ease the tragedy and will not remove the hardship of living as long as the regime is far away from Allah and His Messenger (saw) and refers to the Western capitalist systems, the source of evil and corruption. But the solution of the problem that removes the tragedy is to resort to the law of Allah (swt). The duty on the protesters, and the vast majority of them are Muslims, to make their cause Islam and the State of Islam ”الخلافة على منهاج النبوة”... “Khilafah on the method of Prophethood”. In this is the glory of this world and the Hereafter. It will provide a decent life and the spread of justice and good in the country. There will be no misery or hardship, but it is the glory in this world and success in the Hereafter
( فَمَنِ اتَّبَعَ هُدَايَ فَلَا يَضِلُّ وَلَا يَشْقَى * وَمَنْ أَعْرَضَ عَنْ ذِكْرِي فَإِنَّ لَهُ مَعِيشَةً ضَنْكاً)
“...then whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray [in the world] nor suffer [in the Hereafter] And whoever turns away from My remembrance - indeed, he will have a depressed life” [TA-HA: 123-124]