Integration of the Islamist Movement: The Case of Algeria

Re-legitimizing the state through voting or discrediting it through widespread insecurity were the political issues that took Algeria during the 1990s into a downward spiral of violence not seen since the colonial period. After the attempts at “civil concord” and the edict of amnesty decreed by President Zeroual at the end of the 1990s, President Bouteflika inaugurated a policy of integration and assimilation of the Islamist opposition movements into the government sphere.

Benefiting from an increase in return on investments, the informal economy, held for the most part by the Islamists, has been organized into networks and monopolies compensating for the dysfunction of the administered economy. Thanks to its rapid development, it took over part of the state apparatus and also part of parliamentary and political forms of representation. It developed ties with political parties, the parliament, the courts, the army, the police force, etc... In other words, the informal economy has integrated itself into the system. In so doing, it has formalized its modes of functioning and its presence inside the system and the society. The Islamization of the state during these last two decades is nothing other than the political form of the alliance between a rentier economy from oil production and an informal speculative economy.

The views represented in this paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arab Reform Initiative, its staff, or its board.