Rioting in Algiers in 1988 brought to international attention the widespread dissatisfaction with FLN rule. Despite enormous oil revenues, Algeria's economic performance since independence has been dismal, and this, combined with the FLN's imposition of a one-party socialist state, masked deep cleavages that have since become apparent in Algerian society - between Berber and non-Berber, between the more-secular minded and devout Muslims, and between factions of the often corrupt FLN elite. Despite the FLN's attempts at liberalization after the 1988 disturbances, disillusionment has grown, culminating in the victory of the avowedly fundamentalist Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) in the 1991 general election - a victory later abrogated by the FLN. The FIS has since turned to violence, assassinating the country's president and scores of soldiers. This study analyzes the background to the current crisis, setting in perspective the threats to the state posed by Islamic fundamentalism and economic mismanagement.
The independent state under Ben Bella and Boumediene (1962-78); reform and democratization under Chadli and after (since 1978); the National Liberation Front (FLN) - state and party; Islam, society and the roots of Islamism; the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS); the Berbers; France and Algeria; exporting revolution - international relations; the economy; Algeria in crisis.