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Paris, Khartoum and Algiers … a difficult equation

Ahmed Al-Jarallah Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

IT IS an ordinary matter in the Arab world for the regime to yield to populist demands, especially if the demand is like iron as the case in Algeria. Many have expected this country to fall into civil war.

Also, it is not strange that the yellow vest protest in France continues; while discussions are ongoing and have yet to reach the point that the 1968 uprising reached. Protesters vandalized public and private properties while facing riot police, but all that did not stop the protests.

This equation is applicable to Sudan where the regime seems to have comprehended the message of the people; thus, limiting the use of force which could lead to civil war similar to that of Libya, Syria and Yemen.

This indicates the Algerians and Sudanese have realized that violence is not the means to achieve their demands. Instead, it will shatter the country, especially in Sudan where the security situation is fragile, charged with separatist conflicts and armed militias are prowling the State.

In less than a month since the start of protests in Algeria against current President Abdelaziz Bouteflika running in the election for the fifth time, the deputy prime minister announced that the president has agreed to hand over power to an elected successor and the opposition shall participate in the government in terms of overseeing the elections.

On the other hand in Sudan, measures are slowly being taken under pressure of protests; so far, it has not fallen into armed violence.

Perhaps, there is nothing common between France, Algeria and Sudan due to their cultural differences and the political experience of each country. Nevertheless, the historical fact is that Algeria is culturally hand in hand with France; thus, the similarities in protests but the demands are different.

Undoubtedly, the French are heading towards the declaration of their Sixth Republic; but they are not ready to lose their security stability. This also applies to the Algerians who are still enduring the ‘Chronicle of the Years of Fire’ which continued for a decade with a death toll of about a million and a half.

This occurred after the political factions of Islamists attempted to take over power in 1992 by declaring their false victory in the election.

Egypt went through a similar trial on Jan 25, 2011, when the Muslim Brotherhood Movement climbed to power through the shoulders of protesters and then ended up being caught in the biggest scam of distorting the people’s will.

It took two years for the Egyptians to decide to get rid of them. On June 30, the people took to the street as they discovered that the movement wanted to steal their wealth. In both uprisings, the military stood by the people.

Unfortunately, that was not the case in Libya and Syria as the ‘Brotherhood’ pushed them into civil war. The same happened in Yemen after they teamed up with the Houthis and turned against the GCC initiative on Yemen, pulling to their side the Yemeni General People’s Congress and eventually they fell into the trap of civil war.

In brief, both the Sudanese and Algerians took note and benefited from the experience of other nations. They also learned from the French and walked out of Arab norms.

Therefore, the Algerian and Sudanese leaderships must understand this fact and to rationalize based on time to stop the protests because both cases will lead to violent confrontations and the army in both sides will not be exempted. Perhaps, it will lead to civil war.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

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