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North Africa Risk Consulting Inc. is the political risk consultancy specializing exclusively in North Africa & the Sahara. NARCO helps firms navigate Maghreb markets. Ongoing events in North Africa and the Sahara have heightened the need to understand political circumstances, their trajectories and implications for the commercial environment. Learn more about North Africa Risk Consulting.

The Brookings Institute, a Washington, DC think tank, recently published a study by three American researchers entitled “Algeria’s Uprising: A Survey of Protestors and the Military.” The study purports to survey and analyze protestors’ and Algerian military personnel’s attitudes about Algeria’s current political circumstances and future political developments. In particular, the survey claims to analyze active duty military personnel’s opinions about Army Chief of Staff Major General Ahmed Gaid Salah and his role in Algeria’s pre-electoral period.

NARCO doesn’t often publish raw fieldnotes, but given how much recent analysis of what is happening in Algeria – especially in regard to the populist political movement known as Hirak – is gleaned from social media (scraping Twitter feeds and Facebook posts), I thought it would be a refreshing intervention to share my notes from observing the latest Hirak demonstration in Algiers last Friday (19 July.)

Travel and national holidays pushed back delivery of the June NARCO RoundUp, but better late than never. Algeria is in a surprisingly mature political transition – inching carefully forward one week at a time. Libya is still at war, which is becoming increasingly costly and threatening more and more lives directly and indirectly. And Mauritania is surprisingly dynamic, having orchestrated a largely peaceful largely democratic transition and having sidestepped the hydrocarbons sector corruption issues currently plaguing its southern neighbor.

Following Mauritania’s 22 June presidential election and Mohamed Ould Ghazouani’s 23 June victory speech, Nouakchott and other cities have witnessed sporadic unrest, with opposition groups rejecting the election results. There is allegedly a large opposition demonstration planned for 27 June in Nouakchott...