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Vol 37 No 17

Published 23rd August 1996


Algeria

Towards breaking point

Foreign backers talk up economic and military successes but few Algerians believe their problems are nearly over

After a long pause to bask in his unexpectedly comfortable victory in November's presidential election (AC Vol 37 No 2), President Lamine Zeroual has moved to consolidate his political grip. Dialogue with the legal political parties is under way; a new constitution and parliamentary elections are planned. Officials claim that underground groups are 'down to their last bullets'. They take comfort from reports that Groupe Islamique Armé leader Djamel Zitouni and other prominent ultra- radicals have died in fighting between rival Islamist factions or during the security forces' offensives into the maquis. These are now backed by air power and recent imports of military matériel.

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