Spared by the Arab revolts, Bouteflika's Algeria continues to intrigue observers. How does its political system function? Who really governs? Who are behind the protests? How strong are the Islamists? Are there alternatives to dependence on hydrocarbons? And how will the regime securitise its vast and unstable Sahara hinterland? Algeria has been depicted for many years as politically opaque, incomprehensible, and under the control of powerful, occult-like intelligence agencies. While these caricatures are all partly true, they understate how much the country has changed since the 1990s. Algeria today is com--plex, and challenging to comprehend; but it is no longer opaque. Algeria Modern analyses the complexity of state and society and the strategies that social and political actors employ. It demonstrates how interest groups that constitute the core of the regime are linked to both the security and busi-ness sectors, which while defending their turf and united by shared values are, however, in perennial competition.Embedded in a broader Maghreb and Sahel region that has been marked by civil war, rebellions, and foreign military intervention, many Algerians seem, albeit reluctantly, willing to endure the current hybrid form of authoritarian order as long as it provides a minimum of security and welfare.
Luis Martinez is Senior Research Fellow, CERI/Sciences Po and author of several books on the Maghreb published by Hurst. Rasmus Alenius Boserup is Senior Researcher, Foreign Policy, at the Danish Institute for International Studies.