The announcement that Algerian President Bouteflika won’t run for re-election but will instead postpone the upcoming vote until the conclusion of his recently decreed comprehensive constitutional reform process represented the eighth non-electoral regime change in Africa in as many years, making one wonder whether the world has been ignoring an almost decade-long “African Spring” or if something else entirely is going on across the continent.
Western Sahara, formerly a Spanish colony, was occupied by Morocco in 1975 and is listed by the United Nations as a non-decolonized territory. In 2020, the United States recognized Morocco’s claims over Western Sahara as a result of Morocco agreeing to normalize relations with Israel.
The Trump administration is clearly a spectator to the rapidly unfolding changes in North Africa. The winds of change across the Sahel and Maghreb regions are also beginning to be felt further south in sub-Saharan Africa.
So in this week’s column, instead of writing my own, fairly ill-informed thoughts about Algeria, I’m happy to share the following exclusive interview I conducted with Bill Quandt about the exciting developments there.