Algeria has experienced significant violent conflict since its independence from France in 1962, following its war of independence. The Algerian population became restless in the 1980s, largely due to their economic hardships compared with the privileges of the political elite and Islamic groups. Eventually Algerian President Bendjedid introduced a multi-party system, but when an Islamist political party won the majority of the votes in the 1991 elections the army staged a coup and cancelled the second round of elections. Civil war between Islamist insurgents and national armed forces ensued, and the country gradually descended into a large-scale intrastate conflict. While the various Islamic groups fighting for power since then have generally shared the goal of establishing an Islamic state, their means have differed and the conflict escalated to war in 1993. When the nature of violence shifted in the mid-1990s from armed clashes to targeting the civilian population, attacks reached a new level of cruelty and bombs became commonplace. Algeria experienced highly violent conflict in 2014, largely in opposition to the government and marked by violence in the course of the election (President Bouteflika was re-elected in April for the fourth time). Throughout 2016 violent protests continued against corruption in politics and against the economic conditions. Police continue to use force to disperse protesters, while those complaining about the government are often arrested.
There is an ongoing conflict between the Islamist militant organization al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and its associates on the one hand, and Algeria, Mali, and other governments on the other. After international forces intervened in 2013 in Mali to help curtail the group, the Algerian military conducted large-scale operations in April and July 2014 to combat AQIM. Other opposition groups in the conflict over national power include Blood Signatories, Jund al-Khalifa (an AQIM splinter group who has now pledged allegiance to IS), GIA and MUJAO (the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa). The presence and expansion of IS has posed a threat to AQIM, recruiting its fighters and challenging its regional hold, and by May 2016 there were around 300 Islamist militants active in Algeria by May 2016, with around 70 belonging to IS. The majority of violent measures by the Algerian government in 2016 were due to action against militant insurgents.
In 2003 Bouteflika created the Ad Hoc Inquiry Commission in Charge of the Question of Disappearances with a mandate to identify, investigate and determine the fate of people who were disappeared between 1992 and 1999 (during the violent backlash to the government cancelling elections) and to draft a reparations plan for the families of the disappeared. The report was not made public and a controversial Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation was implemented, granting amnesty for most crimes both to security forces and armed Islamist groups. Since 2006, about 2,640 families have received compensation totaling approximately $37 million USD.
In 2014 France and Algeria signed an agreement for French universities to provide non-religious social schooling to visiting Algerian imams, in an effort to prevent the spread of radicalized Islamist views, and in 2015 Spain’s Peace and Cooperation Foundation established a national “School Day for Understanding and Peace” in Algeria.
Algeria was also recognized for its leading role in mediation between Rwanda and Mali in 2015, which lead to a peace agreement between the two countries.