A Argélia é um país do Norte de África. A capital é Argel [El Djazaïr]. A religião oficial é o Islamismo (Sunita). A língua nacional é o Árabe, outras línguas principais são o Berbere e o Francês. Depois de mais de um século de governo da França, os Argelinos lutaram pela maior parte da década de 1950 para alcançar a independência em 1962. O principal partido político da Argélia, a Frente de Libertação Nacional (FLN), dominou a vida política desde então. Muitos Argelinos da geração seguinte não estavam satisfeitos, porém, e mudaram para combater a centralidade da FLN na política Argelina. O sucesso surpreendente da primeira rodada de votação da Frente Islâmica de Salvação (FIS) em Dezembro de 1991 estimulou o exército Argelino a intervir e adiar a segunda rodada das eleições para evitar o que a elite secular temia, que seria um governo extremista-liderado de assumir o poder. O Exército iniciou uma repressão na FIS que estimulou os apoiadores da FIS a começar a atacar alvos do governo. Posteriormente, o governo permitiu eleições apresentando partidos pró-governo e partidos religiosos de base moderada, mas isso não apaziguou os ativistas que progressivamente alargaram os seus ataques. A luta se transformou em uma insurreição, que viu intensos combates entre 1992-98 resultando em mais de 100.000 mortes - a maioria atribuída à massacres indiscriminados de moradores dos vilarejos por extremistas. O governo tomou o controle pelo final da década de 1990 e o braço armado da FIS, o Exército Islâmico de Salvação, dissolveu-se em Janeiro de 2000.
Abdelaziz Bouteflika, com o apoio dos militares, ganhou a presidência em 1999 em uma eleição amplamente vista como fraudulenta e foi reeleito em uma vitória esmagadora em 2004. BOUTEFLIKA foi esmagadoramente reeleito para um terceiro mandato em 2009 depois que o governo alterou a Constituição em 2008 para remover os limites do mandato presidencial. Problemas antigos continuam a enfrentar BOUTEFLIKA, incluindo o desemprego em larga escala, a escassez de habitação, o fornecimento não-confiável da energia elétrica e do abastecimento de água, ineficiencias do governo e a corrupção, e as continuadas atividades de militantes extremistas. O Grupo Salafista para a Pregação e o Combate (GSPC) em 2006 fundiu-se com a Al-Qaeda para formar a Al-Qaeda nas Terras do Magrebe Islâmico, que lançou uma série contínua de seqüestros e ataques - inclusive ataques suicidas de alto-perfil, com mortes em massa dirigidos ao Governo Argelino e aos interesses Ocidentais. O governo em 2011 introduziu algumas reformas políticas em resposta à Primavera Árabe, incluindo a suspensão do estado de restrições de emergência de 19-anos e terminando o monopólio estatal sobre os meios de transmissão. As atividades de protesto político no país permaneceram baixas em 2011, mas pequenas, às vezes violentas manifestações de grupos socioeconômicos distintos continuaram a ser uma ocorrência comum.
Algeria is filled with monuments of its past and signs of its future. In the village of Djemila, the stone arch, temple, and forum of a Roman city still stand, while in Algiers, the capital, huge skyscrapers rise on the hills on which the city is built. In Annaba (formerly Bône) are the remains of the church of the 4th-century Christian leader Saint Augustine. And deep in the Sahara, oil rigs stand in the sand like candles on a cake.
Two ranges of the Atlas Mountains—the Tell Atlas and the Saharan Atlas—stretching across Algeria divide the country into three physical regions. Along the coast is a region of fertile farmland rolling upward to the Tell Atlas. This region is known as the Tell. (Tell means "hill" in Arabic.) Grain, vegetables, native cork-oak forests, citrus trees first brought by the Phoenicians, olive groves started by the Romans, and vineyards planted by the French all grow there.
Between the Tell Atlas and the Saharan Atlas is a region of broad, rather dry, grass-covered plateaus, the High Plateaus. Here wheat and barley are grown, esparto grass is cut, and sheep farming is carried on. Throughout the region, there are chotts (shotts), or salt lakes, that dry up in the summer.
South of the High Plateaus is the second line of mountains, the Saharan Atlas, which catches the last moisture in the air. The remaining two-thirds of the country is desert, with the Ahaggar Mountains rising in the southeast. Some of the desert is flat; other areas are high, rugged, and rocky. The desert is not all sand dunes and oases. Much of southern Algeria is covered with large rock formations and stony wastelands, rather than fine sand.
Minerals. Even in the dry wasteland of the Sahara, there are riches for Algeria. It is here that vast deposits of oil and natural gas were found in the 1950s. Hassi Messaoud ( "happy spring" ) is one of the most important oil fields. Others include El Gassi, Edjeleh, Tiguentourine, and Zarzaïtine. Gas is drilled at In Salah and Hassi R'Mel. There are also important deposits of iron ore and phosphates in the Aurès, and iron ore in the western region of the Algerian Sahara.
Cities. Most of the big cities are in the densely populated coastal region. Algiers, the largest city as well as the capital, has a population of more than 1.5 million. Whitewashed buildings line the hillsides that rise above the turquoise, semicircular harbor. The city is named for some islands that were once in the harbor. Al-Jaza 'Ir, the Arabic name of Algiers, translates to "the islands".
Algiers is a city built on several levels. The waterfront is a bustling commercial area. Near the waterfront is a famous landmark, the Great Mosque, parts of which may date from the 11th century. Partway up the hillside is an area of arcaded streets, elegant shops, and hotels. Occupying a section of the hillside above it is the Casbah, which was once a fortress.
Today the Casbah is filled with people living in crowded quarters, and buying and selling in the hundreds of shops that line the twisting, narrow streets. Algerian handicrafts—brass and copper trays and bright rugs made in Tlemcen—can be found in Casbah shops. Higher still on the hillside is a section of luxurious villas where some of Algeria's wealthiest people live.
Oran, the second-largest city, is a seaport and industrial center. Constantine is the largest inland city. About 50 mi. (80 km.) to the northeast is its Mediterranean port, Skikda (formerly Philippeville). Annaba is also an important port and industrial city.
Algeria is a country of 39.5 million people. The earliest known inhabitants of Algeria were Berbers, who had their own language and customs. No one is sure where they came from. Arabs came from the Arabian Peninsula at the end of the 7th century A.D., bringing with them a new language—Arabic—and a new religion—Islam. In 1830 the French began their conquest of Algeria.
Today Algeria's population is made up mainly of descendants of Arabs and Berbers. Berbers still live, as they have for centuries, in the mountainous Kabylia region along the coast, in the Aurès Massif farther inland, and in the Mzab oases beyond the mountains. In the Sahara are the Tuareg, a nomadic Berber group. Before Algeria's long war for independence, there were an estimated 1 million Europeans living in Algeria. But the number dropped very sharply after 1962 and again after 1992, when Westerners were targeted by antigovernment Islamist extremists.
Arabic is the official language of the country, and French is widely spoken. About a fifth of the people speak Tamazight, the Berber tongue, which was recognized as a national language in 2002.
Most Algerians live in cities and towns along the Mediterranean. The rest live inland in villages around oases or in the desert itself. High unemployment and a severe housing shortage have contributed to social and political unrest.
Algeria is a Muslim country. Sunni Islam is the state religion. The Muslim religion teaches that God's kingdom is here and now. Religion is not just for the mosque or for Friday (the day Muslims gather to pray together), but for every day and every sort of human activity.
The Family. Among the millions of people in the countryside, and even among some of the millions in the cities, the one social organization that matters is the family. In Algeria the family does not mean just parents and children, but parents' parents and children's children. When the group gets too big for people to keep track of one another and know one another well, it splits into several families.
In the countryside, land and work are divided within this large family. Young men marry girls within the group. When parts of the large family move into the cities, they stick together and keep in touch with the family back home. When they travel to France, they send money home to their relatives. Wherever they work, they find jobs for brothers and cousins.
Houses. Along the narrow streets of a traditional Algerian town, whitewashed stone or brick houses open onto shaded inner courtyards. As industry grows and new districts spring up on the outskirts of cities, blocks of small homes built on this same traditional plan appear, along with modern apartment buildings.
In small mountain villages, the simplest kind of one-room dwelling is the gourbi, with walls of nonmortared stones or of clay mixed with grass. In the Kabylia, houses are built on mountaintops above fig and olive groves. The houses have stone walls, and roofs of round, rust-colored tiles. A low wall separates the house into two sections: one section for the family, and one for the animals. On the low wall, the family stores its supply of wheat in earthenware jars.
Dark-colored tents woven of goat's hair, wool, and grass are the homes of nomads in the Sahara and the High Plateaus of the interior. In oasis villages in the desert, each mud-brick home has a courtyard enclosed by a high mud-brick wall. Women do their household tasks in the shelter of the courtyard.
The Role of Women. For Muslim women the traditional pattern of life meant staying at home and taking care of the household, except for afternoon visits to female relatives. For most women, life still goes on in the old way, but in the cities there are signs of change, particularly among the young. Women go about more freely, shop in department stores, and hold jobs. The change is partly the result of the war for independence—when men were away from home, and women took on new responsibilities. The change results also from the spread of education. As more and more young girls receive educations, they think in terms of greater freedom.
Clothing. The traditional dress for women is a long white robe, worn with a short, starched veil that hides all but the eyes. Even today in Algiers, fewer than a third of the women wear Western-style dresses. The traditional garment for men is the gandoura, a loose robe of linen or wool. But in the cities, most men wear a shirt (usually without a tie), a jacket, and either Western-style or very full trousers. In the Sahara the Tuareg wear distinctive long blue robes. Their faces are protected by a black veil.
Food. The food of Algeria is highly seasoned with such condiments as pepper, pimiento, cumin, ginger, fennel, anise, coriander, parsley, mint, cinnamon, and cloves. Couscous is the national dish. It is a main course, consisting of large grains of semolina steamed and served with lamb, chicken, or fish; cooked with a variety of vegetables (carrots, onions, green peppers, squash, chickpeas); and seasoned with a hot pimiento sauce. People enjoy drinking strong black coffee served in small cups; sweet mint tea from a glass; and syrop, a sweet fruit drink.
Education and Culture. Education is free at all levels, with attendance from age 6 to 15 required in principle. After independence, great emphasis was placed on teaching and using Arabic in schools that had been French. A major effort is being made to end illiteracy by increasing the number of classrooms and teachers each year.
Algeria has eight institutions of higher learning: two in Algiers, two in Oran, and four in other cities. The leading institution is the University of Algiers, which was founded in 1879.
Among the country's fine libraries are the National Library in Algiers and those of the universities of Algiers, Oran, and Constantine. In Algiers, there are museums of prehistory and ethnography, fine arts, and antiquities and Islamic art.
A literary figure who was born in Algeria and used it for the background for much of his work is the French writer Albert Camus. Camus won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1957. Prominent Algerian novelists and playwrights are Kateb Yacine and Mohammed Dib. Frantz Fanon, who lived and wrote in Algeria, is famous as a modern political writer.
The state dominates most areas of Algeria's economy. Gradual liberalization since the mid-1990s has opened up some of the economy to private domestic and foreign participation.
Algeria has valuable mineral deposits and light industries. Oil and gas are the backbone of the economy, accounting for more than half of the government's revenues and greater than 95 percent of export earnings. Algeria's main industries include winemaking, flour milling, fish canning, and metalworking.
Most Algerian farmers still till their own little plots of poor land. As it became harder and harder to make a living, many farmers moved into the city.
The earliest known inhabitants of Algeria were the Berbers, a nomadic people of North Africa. Late in the 9th century B.C., the Phoenicians founded the state of Carthage in neighboring Tunisia, and for centuries spread their rule along the Algerian coast. After the Romans defeated Carthage in 146 B.C., the victors moved in on the local Berbers and made the region one of the farmlands that fed the Roman Empire.
After several centuries of Roman rule, the Vandals came through from Spain (in A.D. 429), and Roman rule was shaken. A century later the Byzantine Empire conquered the Vandals. In the late 7th century, the Arabs began their conquest, converting the Berbers to Islam, and introducing the Arabic language. In the 11th and 12th centuries, Muslim Berber dynasties from neighboring Morocco swept across the country, giving way briefly in the 13th century to an independent Algerian dynasty.
Early in the 16th century, the Spanish occupied the most important Algerian ports. Algiers sought the help of the Barbarossa brothers in clearing the Spanish out of the city's harbor. (The Barbarossas were Barbary pirates who had allied themselves with the Turks.) But once the harbor was cleared, the brothers took control of the area for the Turks. Thus began three centuries of Ottoman Turkish rule. In 1830 the French came and, moving inland bit by bit, overcame Berber resistance, conquered the Tuareg of the Sahara, and united the country under one rule. Algeria became part of France.
The Revolution. In the course of the past century, the French, as well as Spaniards and people from other European countries, settled in Algeria. They took over a third of all the arable land, and had financial help from Europe. These settlers lived as a country within a country. They governed their own affairs and the Algerians' as well.
For many years, since Algeria was legally part of France and not a colony, the Algerians asked to be treated like Frenchmen, with equal rights and opportunities. But there were 10 Algerians for every settler, so the settlers pressured Paris into keeping the laws as they were.
On November 1, 1954, an organization known as the National Liberation Front (FLN) launched the struggle for independence. French troops were unable to put down the rebellion, but France did not negotiate with the rebels until 1960, after General Charles de Gaulle had come to power as president of the French Fifth Republic. In March 1962, a cease-fire agreement was signed. In April, the Secret Army Organization (OAS), made up of French soldiers and settlers opposed to Algerian independence, staged a revolt against de Gaulle's policies and began a campaign of terrorism against Muslims. The OAS campaign lost strength, however, and on July 1, 1962, a referendum in Algeria supported independence. On July 3, de Gaulle proclaimed Algeria independent.
Since Independence. Ahmed Ben Bella united Algeria's people and was elected president in 1963. A constitution was approved that provided for an elected president and a one-house legislature, the National Assembly. In 1964, Ben Bella was elected secretary-general of the FLN, the country's one political party.
In 1965, the army overthrew Ben Bella, and Colonel Houari Boumedienne took over, placing the government in the hands of a 26-member Council of the Revolution. Boumedienne's main goal was to set up solid state institutions to replace the one-man rule of Ben Bella. In 1967, elections with a choice of candidates were held for the first time for local councils. In 1976, a new constitution was adopted under which the president was designated head of state and the National Assembly was revived. Boumedienne, the only candidate, was elected president. After Boumedienne's death in December 1978, the constitution was amended to require the president to appoint a prime minister.
In December 1991, the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) won a majority of legislative seats in the initial round of the first national multiparty elections since independence. But many secular Algerians opposed the FIS' goal of creating a regime based on Islamic law. Chadli Benjedid, Boumedienne's successor, resigned in January 1992, and the military took control.
The second round of legislative elections was canceled, and a newly created High State Council made up of civilian and military leaders assumed presidential functions, headed by Mohamed Boudiaf. The courts outlawed the FIS in March, but the economic problems that had contributed to the party's rise to power remained unresolved. Boudiaf was assassinated in June 1992, and the country was wracked by violence.
In 1994, the High State Council appointed General Liamine Zeroual as president. Zeroual retained the presidency in new elections held in 1995 from which the FIS was barred. Elections for a bicameral national legislature were held in 1997 and 2002, but massacres of innocent civilians by Islamic terrorist groups and government forces continued.
Between 1992 and 1999, the violence had claimed an estimated 100,000 lives. In 1999, new presidential elections won by Abdelaziz Bouteflika of the FLN party, and the military wing of the FIS ended its armed insurgency. But sporadic violence continued. Bouteflika won reelection in 2004 and 2009, although some Berbers boycotted the polls. In 2005, voters approved a peace plan granting amnesty to many Islamic militants.
Inspired by uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, and elsewhere, demonstrators staged protests in Algeria in early 2011. Their grievances included rising food prices, high unemployment, housing shortages, and the state of emergency that had been in place for nearly two decades. The government offered some concessions. It cut prices on basic foods and promised to create jobs and allow more freedom of expression. The government lifted the state of emergency on February 24, 2011.
Legislative elections were held in Algeria in May 2012. The ruling coalition government of President Bouteflika and Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia stayed in power. Their parties, the FLN and the National Democratic Rally, respectively, won a majority of seats in parliament. Most Algerians, however, remained unhappy with the pace of reforms in the country. As a result, many had boycotted the election.
In September 2012, Abdelmalek Sellal replaced Ouyahia as prime minister. Sellal had been a government minister since 1998. Meanwhile, the government continued to fight against the terrorist group Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). AQIM seeks the overthrow of the Algerian government.
In January 2013, Islamists seized a large natural-gas plant in the Algerian Sahara and took hostage many foreign workers at the facility. Algerian forces stormed the site, killing at least 39 hostages and 29 of the militants. This Islamist action was said to be retaliation for France's intervention in the war against Islamist militants in Mali.
The government also remained at odds with neighboring Morocco over the status of Western Sahara. Morocco had annexed Western Sahara in 1979. But Algeria supports and shelters the Polisario Front, which demands independence for Western Sahara.
In 2014, President Bouteflika won his fourth term as president. He named Abdelmalek Sellal to serve as prime minister.
I. William Zartman
New York University Author, Government and Politics in Northern Africa
chief of state: President Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA (since 28 April 1999);
head of government: Prime Minister Abdelmalek SELLAL (since 28 April 2014);
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president;
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in two rounds if needed for a 5-year term (2-term limit reinstated by constitutional amendment in February 2016); election last held on 17 April 2014 (next to be held in April 2019); prime minister nominated by the president from the majority party in Parliament;
election results: Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA reelected president for a fourth term; percent of vote - Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA (FLN) 81.5%, Ali BENFLIS (FLN) 12.2%, Abdelaziz BELAID (Future Front) 3.4%, other 2.9%
After more than a century of rule by France, Algerians fought through much of the 1950s to achieve independence in 1962. Algeria's primary political party, the National Liberation Front (FLN), was established in 1954 as part of the struggle for independence and has since largely dominated politics. The Government of Algeria in 1988 instituted a multi-party system in response to public unrest, but the surprising first round success of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) in the December 1991 balloting led the Algerian army to intervene and postpone the second round of elections to prevent what the secular elite feared would be an extremist-led government from assuming power. The army began a crackdown on the FIS that spurred FIS supporters to begin attacking government targets. Fighting escalated into an insurgency, which saw intense violence from 1992-98, resulting in over 100,000 deaths - many attributed to indiscriminate massacres of villagers by extremists. The government gained the upper hand by the late-1990s, and FIS's armed wing, the Islamic Salvation Army, disbanded in January 2000.
Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA, with the backing of the military, won the presidency in 1999 in an election widely viewed as fraudulent and won subsequent elections in 2004, 2009, and 2014. The government in 2011 introduced some political reforms in response to the Arab Spring, including lifting the 19-year-old state of emergency restrictions and increasing women's quotas for elected assemblies, while also increasing subsidies to the populace. Since 2014, Algeria’s reliance on hydrocarbon revenues to fund the government and finance the large subsidies for the population has fallen under stress because of declining oil prices.
Economy - overview:
Algeria's economy remains dominated by the state, a legacy of the country's socialist postindependence development model. In recent years the Algerian Government has halted the privatization of state-owned industries and imposed restrictions on imports and foreign involvement in its economy.
Hydrocarbons have long been the backbone of the economy, accounting for roughly 60% of budget revenues, 30% of GDP, and over 95% of export earnings. Algeria has the 10th-largest reserves of natural gas in the world and is the sixth-largest gas exporter. It ranks 16th in oil reserves. Hydrocarbon exports have enabled Algeria to maintain macroeconomic stability and amass large foreign currency reserves and a large budget stabilization fund available for tapping. In addition, Algeria's external debt is extremely low at about 2% of GDP. However, Algeria has struggled to develop non-hydrocarbon industries because of heavy regulation and an emphasis on state-driven growth.
The government's efforts have done little to reduce high youth unemployment rates or to address housing shortages. A wave of economic protests in February and March 2011 prompted the Algerian Government to offer more than $23 billion in public grants and retroactive salary and benefit increases, moves which continue to weigh on public finances. Since late 2014, declining oil prices forced the government to spend down its reserves at a high rate in order to sustain social spending on salaries and subsidies, particularly since the government has been unable to boost exports of hydrocarbons or significantly grow its nonoil sector. In 2015, the Algerian Government imposed further restrictions on imports in an effort to reduce withdrawals from its foreign exchange reserves. The Government also increased the value-added tax on electricity and fuel, but said it would address subsidies at a later date.
Long-term economic challenges include diversifying the economy away from its reliance on hydrocarbon exports, bolstering the private sector, attracting foreign investment, and providing adequate jobs for younger Algerians.
Disputes - international:
Algeria and many other states reject Moroccan administration of Western Sahara; the Polisario Front, exiled in Algeria, represents the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic; Algeria's border with Morocco remains an irritant to bilateral relations, each nation accusing the other of harboring militants and arms smuggling; dormant disputes include Libyan claims of about 32,000 sq km still reflected on its maps of southeastern Algeria and the National Liberation Front's (FLN) assertions of a claim to Chirac Pastures in southeastern Morocco;
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 90,000 (Western Saharan Sahrawi, mostly living in Algerian-sponsored camps in the southwestern Algerian town of Tindouf) (2015)
IDPs: undetermined (civil war during 1990s) (2013)
Trafficking in persons:
current situation: Algeria is a transit and, to a lesser extent, a destination and source country for women subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking and, to a lesser extent, men subjected to forced labor; criminal networks, sometimes extending to sub-Saharan Africa and to Europe, are involved in human smuggling and trafficking in Algeria; sub-Saharan adults enter Algeria voluntarily but illegally, often with the aid of smugglers, for onward travel to Europe, but some of the women are forced into prostitution, domestic service, and begging; some sub-Saharan men, mostly from Mali, are forced into domestic servitude; some Algerian women and children are also forced into prostitution domestically;
tier rating: Tier 3 – Algeria does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so: some officials denied the existence of human trafficking, hindering law enforcement efforts; the government reported its first conviction under its anti-trafficking law; one potential trafficking case was investigated in 2014, but no suspected offenders were arrested; no progress was made in identifying victims among vulnerable groups or referring them to NGO-run protection service, which left trafficking victims subject to arrest and detention; no anti-trafficking public awareness or educational campaigns were conducted (2015).
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