NARCO CLOSEHOLD: A Muddle in Mauritania


How things look depends a lot on where you sit. Where you are changes your perspective. The same thing looks different, which leads to different conclusions. And in environments where it is difficult to reach out and touch that thing you’re looking at, where that thing you’re observing is ungraspable and shrouded, conclusions can become conspiratorial.

NARCO ANALYSIS: Algeria's Hydrocarbons Reform Law


Years ago, during a meeting in New York with representatives from the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a staffer responded to a question about why Algeria does not do PR by saying, “A beautiful woman does not have to wear makeup to pick up men.”

NARCO CLOSEHOLD: Neither Over Nor On in Algeria


Although it would seem to be either over or on in Algeria, it is likely neither. The weekly demonstrations are continuing and arrests are mounting. Dialogue has stalled and the electoral process is proceeding.

NARCO Analysis: Changes to Algeria’s Economic Landscape


There are some big headline issues happening in Algeria that are sucking up a lot of bandwidth, but at the same time there are also some potentially significant economic developments that are garnering less attention.

NARCO CLOSEHOLD: 1, 2, 3, Viva l'Algerie


What a week! The government in Algeria seems to be changing up its tactics. After 30 weeks of playing rope-a-dope, the government is coming out swinging against the demonstration movement with a triple combination.

NARCO ANALYSIS: Good Cop/Bad Cop and Br’er Rabbit in Algeria


It’s rentrée and the chattering classes are chattering in Algeria – mostly about Army Chief of Staff Ahmed Gaid Salah’s 2 September statement that he would like the government to organize elections for a permanent government as quickly as possible. President Abdelkader Bensalah could convene Algeria’s constitutional council on 15 September to initiate the electoral process,

NARCO ANALYSIS: Ghazouani's Not So Goldilocks Government


Nouakchott is abuzz. Ismail Bedda Ould Chiekh Sidiya, President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani’s prime minister, has announced his government and it’s not what Goldilocks would’ve wanted. It’s too technocratic. It’s too politicized. It’s too Bidane. It’s too maraboutic. It’s too new. It’s too old.

NARCO RoundUp (JUL19)


As Bradley says, summertime and the living’s easy. Algeria is transitioning – from what to what is a little unclear. The wheels aren’t coming off, though, and that’s a good thing. Mauritania is going gangbusters – a successful presidential succession, a solid security environment, and investment on the rise. Libya, on the other hand, is in a tailspin: a full-blown political crisis, outright war, and a looming humanitarian catastrophe.

NARCO ANALYSIS: US Think Tank Survey Distorts Political Attitudes of Algeria’s Military


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 ANALYSIS: Algeria Fieldnotes


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.)



NARCO CLOSEHOLD is timely, actionable analysis derived from discreet sources. NARCO CLOSEHOLDs are crafted as events merit. They are available to NARCO's subscription and retainer clients and on a case-by-case basis.

Request More Info