Algerian Unrest: All Quagmire On The Maghreb Front?

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The unrest in the Near East and the Maghreb in 2015 will rumble on into 2016, intensifying in certain flash points. Ongoing conflict in a fractured post-Gaddafi Libya has already spilled over into Tunisia, where several "soft target" terror attacks were perpetrated in 2015.

Neighbouring Algeria, with a long history of Islamist-inspired violence, including the In Amenas gas plant siege of 2013 that caused the deaths of 70 people, may be particularly susceptible to a flare up of extremism in 2016.

Incumbent President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, is an "elected despot" and an ailing man. The power vacuum left by his demise or abdication from public life could be the catalyst for a coup d’êtat.

As the eleventh largest producer and eighth largest exporter of natural gas in the world, conflagration in Africa’s largest country by area with more than 7,500 kilometres of pipelines, could mean consternation for the gas supply to Southern Europe in particular.

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