About Boumediene, Alistair Horne wrote in his “A savage war of peace: Algeria 1954-1962” book “in his secretiveness and retiring modesty [Boumediene] is most characteristically Algerian”. He added “in his rare interviews with writers and journalists [Boumediene] steadfastly declines to discuss the war, or his role in it”. We indeed do not know much about Algeria’s most important president’s role during the war. His real national appearance during the revolution was when he presided the jury that condemned the colonels (Lamouri and co.) who, encouraged by Nasser, had planned to kill the three Bs (Belkcem, Boussouf and Bentobal) and overthrow the GPRA. But we know little of Boumediene’s life when he was working with Boussouf.
Boumediene visiting Ifri
We do not know much either about Boumediene’s life after Algeria’s independence. Taleb‘s book helps shed some light on the 1965 to 1978 period. I’ve already written about the first two parts of Volume II. Today I write some words on the third part of this book. Continue reading →
Two days ago Algeria has celebrated the 40th anniversary of the hydrocarbons’ nationalisations. Last year’s celebrations coincided with Sonatrach’s latest known of financial scandal which led, among other things, to the dismissal of one of Bouteflika’s best friends, Chakib Khelil. Things are different this year. Khelil’s successor, Youcef Yousfi, held the celebrations in Hassi Messaoud; and the city’s youths also celebrated the event by blocking the access to the oil plants. They demanded a share in the jobs that are created by the oil exploitation activity. Though the problem is more complex, it cannot be denied that the people of Southern Algeria are not the biggest beneficiaries of the hydrocarbons industry.
This anniversary triggered the idea of this post. A review of a book which talks of this very special and unique period of independent Algeria which witnessed this great achievement.
Ahmed Taleb-Ibrahimi‘s last political appearance in Algeria was in 1999 as a candidate to the presidential elections. He was then portrayed by some of his opponents as a retrograde Islamist who would gather former FIS sympathisers and replace the dissolved party (his party, WAFA, was never approved by the system). This accusation was backed by at least three points: he was supported by Mohand Said, he was Bachir Ibrahimi‘s son and he was Boumediene‘s minister of education when the Arabization process had started. Then Taleb, along all the other candidates opposing Bouteflika, withdrew his candidacy because it became clear that the system had already chosen Algeria’s current president. This withdrawal led Bouteflika’s supporters and many observers to accuse him and the other candidates of executing the DRS’s plan, the aim of which being to reduce Bouteflika’s influence after his plebiscite. Another attempt to candidacy in the 2004 elections wasn’t approved by Zerhouni’s services. Since then, Taleb decided to put an end to his political activities and dedicate his time to writing his memoirs. Continue reading →