The Associated Press reports: Algeria is in the grips of political intrigue, as the president nears death and rumors of coup attempts swirl. Now, the unprecedented firing of three top generals is generating fear that a power struggle within the regime will break into the open — unleashing a new cycle of the bloodshed that plagued the country in the 1990s.
The stakes for the oil-rich nation — a key U.S. ally against terrorism — are especially high because of the dramatic fall of oil prices and the rising threat from extremist groups across the border in Mali, Libya and Tunisia. These developments have put the regime on weaker footing in a country still emerging from a traumatic civil war.
On July 16, the night the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan ended, troops flooded the area around the presidential residence of Zeralda amid talk of a possible attack. Rumors flew that it was an attempted coup or an attack by radical Islamists, while some newspapers cited anonymous officials that the whole thing was a hoax. [Continue reading…]