In Algeria, a New Constitution Fails to Deliver

The constitutional changes fall short of protesters’ demands.

On Nov. 1, the anniversary of the launch of Algeria’s war of independence, the country’s new constitution will be put to a referendum. President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who was elected in December 2019, announced the vote in a bid to resolve Algeria’s long-standing identity crisis and meet the demands of protesters calling for greater democratization. The protests, part of the unrest that has swept across the Arab world over the past decade, began in February 2019 and forced ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who led the country for 20 years, to resign. The proposed changes would modify a key aspect of Algeria’s military doctrine. Ever since its independence from France in 1962, Algeria has boasted about its constitutional prohibition against armed intervention in other countries’ internal affairs. The new constitution would end that policy. With the ongoing Libyan civil war simmering to its east and al-Qaida and the Islamic State expanding into the Sahel, Algeria hopes that constitutional changes will help keep these security threats at bay. (click to enlarge) Rethinking Algeria’s Military Doctrine Algeria’s 1976 constitution banned the army from taking part in foreign operations, effectively nullifying the country’s significant military capabilities and reputation as having Africa’s second-strongest military after Egypt. […]

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Hilal Khashan
Hilal Khashan is a Professor of political science at the American University of Beirut. He is a respected author and analyst of Middle Eastern affairs. He is the author of six books, including Hizbullah: A Mission to Nowhere. (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2019.) He is currently writing a book titled Saudi Arabia: The Dilemma of Political Reform and the Illusion of Economic Development. He is also the author of more than 110 articles that appeared in journals such as Orbis, The Journal of Conflict Resolution, The Brown Journal of World Affairs, Middle East Quarterly, Third World Quarterly, Israel Affairs, Journal of Religion and Society, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, and The British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies.