January 7, 2012

Algeria's Revolution That Wasn't

James Traub, Foreign Policy

AP Photo

What's wrong with Algeria? Over the last year, the fever that is the Arab Spring has overtaken one country after another. Monarchies like Morocco or Jordan have been able to focus popular discontent on the government rather than the head of state; oil sheikdoms like Qatar or Kuwait have bought social peace. But no autocratic republic, no matter how brutal, has been able to resist the storm -- except Algeria. Here is a country where strikes and demonstrations were routine long before 2011, where newspapers openly mocked an enfeebled leader, where security forces and pro-regime thugs confronted rioters amid the first stirrings of the Arab Spring. A year ago, Algeria might well have been voted most likely to overthrow its ruler. But it hasn't. In fact, the mass protests petered out. Why?...

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