Thursday, January 19, 2006

Algeria (1992)

1992 Dry Bones cartoon - Algeria
This cartoon is from Jan 19 1992.
Exactly 14 years ago.
To the day.

The question of could democracy "work" in the "Arab world" had just been answered. In Algeria, in 1991, the first round of a democratic election had been held. The West believed that this would be a model for a democratic Middle East. But in that first round of balloting the Algerian masses voted for the Islamic Salvation Front. And so...
"The surprising first round success of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) in the December 1991 balloting spurred the Algerian army to intervene and postpone the second round of elections to prevent what the secular elite feared would be an extremist-led government from assuming power. The army began a crack down on the FIS that spurred FIS supporters to begin attacking government targets. The government later allowed elections featuring pro-government and moderate religious-based parties, but did not appease the activists who progressively widened their attacks. The fighting escalated into an insurgency, which saw intense fighting between 1992-98 and which resulted in over 100,000 deaths - many attributed to indiscriminate massacres of villagers by extremists. The government gained the upper hand by the late-1990s and FIS's armed wing, the Islamic Salvation Army, disbanded in January 2000. However, small numbers of armed militants persist in confronting government forces and conducting ambushes and occasional attacks on villages."
- The World Fact Book

So it's now 14 years later and there's an election in the Palestinian Authority. The West hopes for a triumph of peace and democracy, but the Islamic Fundamentalist terror group Hamas looks to be the Palestinian's favorite.

And so it goes...

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