Why Isn’t Algeria Exporting Jihad—Yet?

As Muslims from across the globe flock to Syria and Iraq to join Islamic State, very few Algerians have tried to join the fight. Dalia Ghanem-Yazbeck attributes this to the prevalence of a quietist school of Islamic fundamentalism, the country’s large, highly coordinated, and sometimes draconian security forces, and the traumatic effect of recent Algerian history:

A key reason for the seemingly low appeal of jihadism among Algerians is the experience of the country’s civil war, which raged throughout the 1990s. That period, known as the “black decade”—during which 150,000 people died and 7,000 disappeared—resulted in a mass trauma that is still evident in Algerians’ yearning for order and stability, which the authorities fuel in order to justify their tough security stance. . . .

But Ghanem-Yazbeck also cautions that things might change:

[E]conomic, social, and political problems persist in Algeria. . . . On the political front, there has been a lack, if not a complete absence, of generational renewal, allowing the same apparatchiks to remain in power since even before Algeria’s independence in 1962. Their authoritarianism . . . prevented the emergence of a real opposition and led to a civil society that is plagued by anomie.

Algeria’s socioeconomic problems include high unemployment, . . . a housing shortage, . . . and abysmal wage levels and living conditions, which prompted over 9,000 riots in 2010. All this might lead the youth toward jihadist movements as a means to express their resentment and retaliation. And, with Algeria’s domestic jihadist scene still active, there is already a framework in place to host disaffected young people.

Read more at Carnegie Middle East Center

More about: Algeria, Islamic State, Islamism, Jihad, Politics & Current Affairs

What Is the Biden Administration Thinking?

In the aftermath of the rescue of four Israeli hostages on Friday, John Podhoretz observes some “clarifying moments.” The third strikes me as the most important:

Clarifying Moment #3 came with the news that the Biden administration is still calling for negotiations leading to a ceasefire after, by my count, the seventh rejection of the same by Hamas since Bibi Netanyahu’s secret offer a couple of weeks ago. Secretary of State Blinken, a man who cannot say no, including when someone suggests it would be smart for him to play high-school guitar while Ukraine burns, will be back in the region for the eighth time to urge Hamas to accept the deal. Why is this clarifying? Because it now suggests, here and for all time, that the Biden team is stupid.

Supposedly the carrot the [White House] is dangling in the region is a tripartite security deal with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Which would, of course, be a good thing. But like the stupid people they are now proving to be, they seem not to understand the very thing that led the Saudis to view Israel as a potential ally more than a decade ago: the idea that Israel means business and does what it must to survive and built itself a tech sector the Saudis want to learn from. Allowing Hamas to survive, which is implicitly part of the big American deal, will not lead to normalization. The Saudis do not want an Iranian vassal state in Palestine. Their entire foreign-policy purpose is to counter Iran. I know that. You know that. Everybody in the world knows that. Even Tony Blinken’s guitar is gently weeping at his dangling a carrot to Israel and Saudi Arabia that neither wants, needs, nor will accept.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Antony Blinken, Gaza War 2023, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship