The origins of the present conflict are, of course, much more complex than just an exodus of arms and, to some extent, trained mercenaries from Libya. That has served to amplify existing tensions. Although Algeria is closer to dictatorship than democracy on the political spectrum and, indeed, its rulers are distant supporters of the noxious Assad regime in Syria, the Arab Spring has left the regime largely unscathed. There were plenty of protests, including self-immolations of the Tunisian type that kicked off the whole Arab revolt, but they failed to spread. In part, that is because the regime moved to defuse much of the reason for the protest by reintroducing food subsidies. But the main reason is that memories of the 1990s civil war (known as the black decade) between Islamist groupings and the Algerian victors of the war of liberation against French rule are still strong.