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Algeria: Background & Country Profile

Introduction Algeria
Background:
After a century of rule by France, Algeria became independent in 1962. The surprising first round success of the fundamentalist FIS (Islamic Salvation Front) party in the December 1991 balloting caused the army to intervene, crack down on the FIS, and postpone the subsequent elections. The fundamentalist response has resulted in a continuous low-grade civil conflict with the secular state apparatus, which nonetheless has allowed elections featuring pro-government and moderate religious-based parties. The FIS's armed wing, the Islamic Salvation Army, disbanded in January 2000 and many armed militants of other groups surrendered under an amnesty program designed to promote national reconciliation. Nevertheless, small numbers of armed militants persist in confronting government forces and carrying out isolated attacks on villages and other types of terrorist attacks. Other concerns include Berber unrest, large-scale unemployment, a shortage of housing, and the need to diversify the petroleum-based economy.

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Source: The CIA World Fact Book 2003

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