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The Islamic Fundamentalist Movement in Algeria

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Research rept. Aug 1992-Apr 1993

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For the first time in the twentieth century, it has become possible that an Islamic Fundamentalist party will be elected by popular vote to lead a sovern nation. The nation is Algeria, and the party is the National Liberation Front FIS. In the municipal elections held in June of 1990, the FIS gained control of more than half of the cities and towns. This was a shock to the National Liberation Front FLN which had, and continues to, dominate local and national politics since Algerian independence, which occurred in 1962. The ruling FLN party quickly stepped in after the elections and insured that the FIS would not assume control of the government. Still, given the state of the Algerian economy, it is not unrealistic to anticipate that it is only a matter of time before the FIS becomes the ruling party and heads the nation. In viewing the stated interests of the United States in Algeria, and then comparing those to the stated and demonstrated intentions of the FIS, it is easy to see that they are not compatible. In fact, democracy, the vehicle through which they stand to come to power, is not an option under an Islamic Fundamentalist government. Still, if it is the will of the populace to chose an Islamic government, then the United States must be prepared to accept that fact, and welcome that government into the family of nations, no matter how unpalatable it, may be. Then, it must be left up to the people of that nation so see whether that is the form of government that they chose to have over the long term. In the following pages we will explore in detail how the situation in Algeria came to be as it is and what impact that will have on the strategic view of the United States in the future.

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  • Government and Political Science

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