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Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika after taking oath as president, Algiers, Algeria, April 28, 2014 (AP photo by Sidali Djarboub).

Despite Intelligence Shake-Ups, It’s Politics as Usual in Algeria

Monday, Feb. 1, 2016

On Jan. 25, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika dissolved the Department of Intelligence and Security, the country’s powerful military spy agency known as the DRS, replacing it with a new entity under executive control.

The move was one of several recent shake-ups in Algeria’s shadowy government. In September, Bouteflika announced the retirement of Gen. Mohamed “Toufik” Mediene, the longstanding head of the DRS and a powerful political figure, confounding Algerians and observers. The president argued that Toufik’s dismissal was “in line with the constitution.” But as Dalia Ghanem-Yazbeck wrote for WPR at the time, “that muted explanation belied the stunning decision to remove Toufik.” It also signaled “major shifts within Algeria’s opaque power structure, which has exhibited surprising signs of public tension in recent years, as a battle to succeed Bouteflika looms.” ...

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