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Posts tagged ‘Amazigh Land of Algeria’

African Union chooses Algeria as counterterrorism coordinator

December 1, 2017

The African Union has chosen Algeria as the coordinator of its counterterrorism strategy. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and his country were named by the chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki, in an official announcement made in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on Thursday.

Faki said that Algeria was chosen because of its “pioneering experience” in this area and its effective policy to combat extremism. “All African countries could follow Algeria’s experience in the fight against terrorism,” he added.

The AU official congratulated Algeria and President Bouteflika for their efforts in coordinating the bloc’s efforts towards preventing and combating terrorism.

Source: Middle East Monitor.



Algeria refuses to join Saudi-led Muslim Military Alliance

November 30, 2017

Algeria has joined Iran, Syria and Iraq and refused to join the Saudi-led Muslim Military Alliance, The Algeria Daily reported on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia leads two alliances including one against Houthi rebels in Yemen in addition to the Muslim Military Alliance.

While Saudi Arabia and its allies brand Lebanese Hezbollah and Houthi rebels in Yemen as terrorist organizations, Algeria does not agree with this position and maintains relations with Saudi Arabia at the same time with its rival, Iran.

The newspaper reported retired Algerian Colonel, Abdul Hamid Al-Sharif as saying that the alliance is an alliance of aggression that represents the conflicts of interests raging in the region which Algeria refuses to be part of.

Meanwhile, security expert, Ahmad Azimi said in a statement that the Muslim Military Alliance does not mean anything to Algeria because the member states are under Western influence.

“If the goal of the alliance is to liberate and defend Arab countries then we welcome it, but if it aims to attack Muslim countries then Algeria cannot be part of its”.

Saudi Arabia announced on December 14, 2015 the formation of the Anti- Terrorism Muslim Military Alliance with the participation of 41 countries, including Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia and Egypt.

Source: Middle East Monitor.


Refugees in Algeria yearn for homeland


ALGIERS – Selembouha Dadi can only imagine the homeland she dreams of but has never seen, agonizingly out of reach beyond the Algerian refugee camp where she has spent her whole life.

“They tell me it was beautiful,” the 25-year-old said.

The territory that Dadi yearns for is Western Sahara, a sprawling swathe of desert on Africa’s Atlantic coast that has been disputed by Morocco and independence fighters from the Polisario Front for decades.

Her father Moulay abandoned everything and fled 42 years ago when Moroccan troops arrived in 1975 during the rush to claim the former Spanish colony as Madrid let it go.

Now, along with tens of thousands of other refugees, their family of nine lives in one of a string of refugee camps just 50 kilometers (30 miles) away, beyond the Algerian border and a “defense wall” erected by Morocco in the 1980s.

Morocco and Mauritania were meant to share Western Sahara when Spain relinquished control, but in 1976 the Polisario proclaimed the independence of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic — and was determined to fight for it.

Mauritania in 1979 gave up its claim, leaving Morocco to seize most of the 266,000 square kilometer (100,000 square mile) territory, but it was not until 1991 that a UN-backed ceasefire came into force.

Rabat considers Western Sahara an integral part of Morocco and proposes autonomy for the resource-rich territory, but the Algerian-backed Polisario Front insists on a United Nations-backed referendum on independence.

The 2,700-kilometer barrier erected by Morocco slicing from north to south divides the 80 percent of Western Sahara controlled by Morocco from the 20 percent held by the Polisario.

– ‘Left everything behind’ –

Moulay Dadi, 72, served tea in a large traditional tent, a vestige of the Sahrawis’ nomadic past, and cooler than the nearby family cottage with its zinc roof.

He recalled his life back in his desert homeland herding the family’s animals. He was 30 when the Moroccan forces arrived.

“We fled and we left everything behind us, our animals, our property, the houses,” he said.

“We left everything behind us.”

He settled in Algeria’s Tindouf region with his wife and parents, who did not live to see their homeland again.

Some 100,000 Sahrawi refugees live today in the camps around Tindouf. They belong to a mosaic of nomadic tribes who have for centuries plied the sandy expanses of the Sahara with their camels.

The Dadi family’s Boujdour camp, which, like the other camps, bears the name of an area of the Western Sahara controlled by Morocco, is dotted with brown-walled houses the color of the surrounding desert, one of the most inhospitable in the world.

Their home consists of a large living room, a small dining room and a kitchen. The shower and toilets are in a separate building.

There is intermittent electricity and no running water. Trucks pass regularly to fill a large canvas water reservoir.

Like the Dadis, many Sahrawis have set up traditional tents next to their houses in the camp, where life moves slowly.

After the morning prayer, Selembouha Dadi and her mother, in her sixties, cook and clean.

The youngest of the children, 12-year-old Mellah, goes to school.

Some of her brothers work on building sites and the others are in the army of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.

Sahrawi refugees in Algeria live mostly on funds from exiled relatives in Europe and on international aid.

The European Union provides some, $11.6 million (10 million euros) a year, despite the Polisario Front being accused of embezzlement in recent years.

Some residents have set up small shops — groceries, bakeries, fruit and vegetable stalls — in the camps.

Others work as officials for the SADR, which has its central administration in Rabouni, not far from Tindouf.

Isolated for decades and largely forgotten by the world, many Sahrawis still believe that they will one day return to the lands of their ancestors.

“We want our land whatever we find there,” Selembouha said.

Source: Middle East Online.


Algerians continue fight for justice for victims of the Black Decade

October 7, 2017

The collective of the families of the disappeared in Algeria (CFDA) and SOS Disparu launched the “Days against forgetting” campaign this week to mark the 12th anniversary of the National Reconciliation charter deal that ended the 1990’s civil war.

The campaign marked a week of meetings in which the families of the disappeared called for justice for their loved ones who disappeared during the civil war.

At a press conference held this week at the headquarters of the Front des Forces Socialistes (FFS) in Algiers, CDFA spokesperson Nacera Dutour, President of the Djazairouna Association Cherifa Kheddar, founding member of the collective SOS Disparus, Hacene Ferhati, and a mother of a missing person, Fatma-Zohra Boucherf, met to call on the Algerian government to do more to unveil the extent of the disappearances during the Black Decade and to highlight the threats against the victims who have campaigned tirelessly for the truth.

“We have faced several amnesties during the black decade and we continue to suffer the consequences,” Dutour explained citing the Reconciliation Charter decreed in 1995 by President Liamine Zeroual which was the foundation for the referendum of the Civil Concord in 1999 and the Charter in 2005 both initiated by current president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Boucherf affirmed Dutour’s comments on the Charter adding that it “advocates the forgetting and the silence of the victims”.

According to Boucherf, whose son has been missing for the last 25 years, the “Charter asks us to forget our children and turn the page” as “President Bouteflika wished in 1999, when he declared that our children were not in his pockets.”

The criticism of the Civil Concord is mainly driven by its foundation which prioritizes “impunity and forgetting” as oppose to coming to terms with the atrocities committed during the war and bringing those complicit to justice. Article 46 of the Concord which “threatens to imprison the victims who refuse to remain silent” is what the collective have been campaigning against in getting closer to knowing what happened during the war.

“We want to know what happened, how we got there, why an Algerian killed an Algerian, why did government agents kidnap Algerians. They are asking us to turn the page but every Algerian has the right to know its history,” Boucherf concluded.

Kheddar added that not only are the victims of terrorism and enforced disappearances ignored but also condemned to prison in punishment for their demands. “Apparently, all those who have not carried weapons or committed crime cannot benefit from this Charter,” she said.

The civil war began after democratic elections in the country were cancelled by the army after it became apparent that the Islamic Salvation Front would win a majority.

It would last ten brutal years, with depraved levels of violence recorded towards the latter part by both the military and secret services and militant groups guilty of senseless violence and massacres.

Around 200,000 Algerians would perish in the war, 18,000 would disappear and one million forced to leave the country.  The Concord and subsequent Charter would allow for many government agents to walk free due to the offered impunity which meant that no one was brought to justice over the atrocities in a desperate attempt to move on from the damaging war.

Kheddar renewed calls to propose an alternative charter to integrate new demands but the calls have remained unanswered by Algerian authorities. The National Charter Commission on the National Reconciliation has also not taken on the victims’ demands.

“Twelve years later, we are unaware of what this commission has become, what it has done, if it has contacted the victims,” she continued.

The government’s recent decision to broadcast graphic images and videos from the civil war for the first time on Algerian TV has been viewed as a scare tactic by the victims in keeping them silent. “They will strike us, beat us or scare us,” Boucherf said, because they are “afraid of the truth”.

As the country takes a turn for the worst due to its current economic woes and the government attempts to ease in reforms, public assurances in the government is running low.

By broadcasting images from the civil war the government hopes to remind Algerians of the face of terrorism and how placing their hopes in an alternative is likely to force the country into the same type of violence during the Black Decade.

One of the founding members of SOS Disparus also reiterated how the figures put forward in the past by Mustapha Farouk Ksentini, the former president of the National Consultative Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (CNCPPDH), have been much lower than the numbers of victims who have come forward, adding to the authority’s culpability in not adequately investigating the disappearances.

Source: Middle East Monitor.


Algeria’s Belhadj slams boycott of Qatar

June 15, 2017

Co-founder of Algeria’s Islamic Salvation Front, Sheikh Ali Belhadj, has criticized the siege imposed by a number of Gulf and Arab countries on Qatar.

In an interview with Quds Press, Belhadj strongly criticized the involvement of Islamic institutions and using them to achieve political purposes against the State of Qatar.

“The involvement of the Muslim World League, with the aim of gaining legitimacy for the siege against Qatar, is an insult to this institution and to the teachings of Islam which refuse such behavior in the holy month of Ramadan,” he said.

The Muslim World League should have remained neutral towards this dispute and sought to heal the rift instead of involving itself in such a way.

Belhadj pointed out that Qatar is not the target of the blockade, but the aim is to strike every Arab or Islamic country that wants to support the oppressed or the Palestinian cause.

Source: Middle East Monitor.


Syria refugees still stranded between Morocco and Algeria


ALGIERS – Dozens of Syrian refugees remained stranded in no-man’s land between Morocco and Algeria on Tuesday, non-governmental groups said, despite an Algerian offer to help.

Algiers said last week it would take in the refugees after the United Nations urged both sides to help the Syrians, who include a pregnant woman and have been stranded in the desert area since April 17.

“The Syrian refugee families are still blocked on the border between Algeria and Morocco. Authorities on both sides are passing each other the buck,” said Noureddine Benissad of the Algerian League of Human Rights.

Saida Benhabiles, the head of the Algerian Red Crescent, said a joint team from her organisation and the UN refugee agency have been waiting on the Algerian border since late Monday.

“There’s no obstacle on the Algerian side,” she said. “But the problem is they’re in Moroccan territory and we can’t go to get them.”

In a statement, non-governmental groups including the Moroccan Association of Human Rights, International Federation for Human Rights and the Algerian League of Human Rights urged “authorities in both countries to find an immediate solution”.

The zone between the two countries has been closed since 1994. The North African rivals have very difficult relations, especially over the question of Western Sahara.

Source: Middle East Online.


Remembering the massacre of 45,000 Algerians

May 8, 2017

What: French massacre of Algerians

When: 8 May 1945

Where: Setif, Guelma and surrounding areas

What Happened?

As Europe celebrated the beginning of the end of World War II with Germany surrendering on 8 May 1945, thousands of Algerian men, women and children were mobilized by the French in Algeria to mark the victory of the Allied forces over the Nazis.

Anti-French sentiment and the anti-colonial movement had been building across Algeria for months, leading to protests prior to 8 May. Some 4,000 protesters took to the streets of Setif, a town in northern Algeria, to press new demands for independence on the colonial government and greater rights.

Many organizations joined the protest where they held up placards including “End to occupation” and “We want equality”. When a 14-year-old member of the Muslim Scouts, Saal Bouzid, held an Algerian flag, the French on orders from General Duval, opened fire on the unarmed protesters killing Bouzid and thousands of others.

Panic ensued and clashes between the Algerians and French quickly led to violence with the French using all attempts to control the population. The colonial forces launched an air and ground offensive against several eastern cities, particularly in Setif and Guelma.

The head of the temporary government of France at the time, General De Gaulle, ordered for farmers and villagers from surrounding areas to be killed in what quickly became lynching operations and summary executions.

Thousands of bodies accumulated so quickly that burying them was impossible so they were often dumped in wells or surrounding ravines.

The violence would continue until 22 May when the tribes surrendered. By then, 45,000 Algerian men, women and children in and around the region of Setif, Guelma and Kherrata had been killed along with 102 French casualties.

What Happened next?

The massacre by the French provoked the anti-colonial movement and nine years later Algeria began its War of Independence in November 1954 – a fight which would claim the lives of 1.5 million Algerians until independence was declared in 1962.

The 8 May is an official day of mourning in Algeria which contrasts heavily with the celebratory anniversary around Europe. On February 2005, Hubert Colin de Verdière, France’s ambassador to Algeria, formally apologized for the massacre, calling it an “inexcusable tragedy”. President of Algeria Abdelaziz Bouteflika has called the Setif massacre the beginning of a “genocide” perpetrated during the Algerian War by French occupation forces. France has denounced this description.

Source: Middle East Monitor.


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