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New Left Review I/196, November-December 1992


John Howe

The Crisis of Algerian Nationalism and the Rise of Islamic Integralism

By cancelling the elections planned for the end of 1991, banning the Front Islamique du Salut (fis), arresting its top leaders [1] A military tribunal on 15 July sentenced Abassi Madani and Ali Benhadj to twelve years, and five others to sentences of four or six years’ imprisonment for damaging ‘state security and the national economy’. The sentences were lighter than expected. and detaining thousands of activists, the Algerian regime prevented an Islamist government from being elected, but did not succeed in forcing the theocratic djinn back into its bottle. Enough armed Islamic integralist militants remained at large to keep the movement’s name alive by attacking the police and security forces. Hardly a week has passed since February 1992 without several policemen or soldiers being reported killed in ambushes or shoot-outs with Islamist insurgents. [2] ‘More than 200’ police and gendarmerie were killed between February and October 1992, according to Le Monde.

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