GLOBAL CONNECTIONS: the Near/Middle East
December 1991: The Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) wins the first round of general elections in Algeria.

In the first round of general elections in Algeria in 1991, the FIS wins 188 seats outright and seems sure to obtain an absolute majority in the second round. The National People's Assembly is dissolved by presidential decree, and a military council takes power. After violent demonstrations, the FIS is disbanded. In June, President Mohammed Boudiaf is assassinated by a bodyguard with Islamist links. Increasing violence is linked to the Armed Islamic Group (GIA). The FIS election victory and response by the Algerian state opens a debate in the Middle East and the West on whether Islamists should be allowed to come to power democratically and what the consequences would be. Islamists feel frustrated with the democratic process, and many turn to more radical methods.

PBS Algerian Crisis /july-dec97/algeria_10-1.html

Since 1992, Algeria has been crippled by political violence, with more than 60,000 deaths. Although one of the armed rebel groups scheduled a truce to begin today, it is unclear whether violence will in fact end. (October 1997)

PBS Algeria's Agony /jan-june98/algeria_1-20.html

Algeria's six-year civil war between Islamic militants and the secular government has produced some of the most ghastly atrocities in recent memory. (Janurary 1998)

PBS Bloodshed in the Desert /january97/algeria_1-22.html

Violence sparked by a conflict between Muslim fundamentalists and the Algerian government, and problems stemming from France's colonial rule, continue to extract a price from this African nation. (January 1997)