NARCO CLOSEHOLD: The Second People's Democratic Republic of Algeria


Everyone’s nervous and excited – 20 years, 20 years. And no one knows what to expect except that everyone knows that something is going to happen and it’s going to happen soon. Whatever that is, the consensus is that it will be historic.













NARCO CLOSEHOLD: Algeria Pressure Relief Valve


Algerians took to the streets by the tens of thousands over the weekend to protest a potential fifth term by incumbent President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who will run for re-election in April. Protests took place throughout the country, including Tlemcen, Oran, Constantine, Tizi Ouzou, Setif, In Salah, and most importantly, Algiers itself, where protests are officially illegal.

NARCO ANALYSIS: Algeria Replaces Top Cop (Again)


The NARCO hits just keep coming. Back on 28 June 2018, NARCO wrote, "[Recently fired DGSN Abdelghani] Hamel is being succeeded by Col. Lakhdar “Mustapha” el Habiri...While he is well-liked and considered to be an accessible and humble man of action, he is also likely a stopgap.” After eight months on job, on 13 February 2019, el Habiri was removed from his post as Head of National Security (DGSN)...

NARCO RoundUp (JAN19)


Back in the saddle again. With the exception of Libya (which remains unchanged), the political trajectory in North Africa is becoming clearer, especially in Algeria and Mauritania. To the extent that the security environment is evolving, it’s at the margins, with no major deltas on the horizon. And apart from Mauritania, where it’s relatively smooth sailing, the oil outlook is in a state of suspended animation.

NARCO ANALYSIS: Game On El Ghazouani


NARCO doesn’t usually take victory laps, not because its analysis isn’t usually right, but because it’s unbecoming. However, a tweet on 29 January by Sidi Mohamed Ould Maham, Minister of Communication and Relations with the Parliament, announcing that current Minister of Defense Mohamed Ould Cheikh el Ghazouani will be the UPR’s presidential candidate is precisely what NARCO anticipated 12 days ago.

NARCO CLOSEHOLD: Mauritania's Peaceful Presidential Transition


On 15 January, Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz sent a letter to his party’s parliamentary bloc telling them to cease any efforts to change the constitution to allow him to run for a third consecutive term, seemingly paving the way for a peaceful presidential transition. But things are not as they seem.

NARCO ANALYSIS: The Maghreb in 2019


2019 is going to bring a lot of change to North Africa, and while that’s accompanied by an equal dose of uncertainty, the smart money is on the downside risk. The next twelve months will be wobbly, but the bigger question is what the Maghreb will look like in 2020.

NARCO CLOSEHOLD: A Snapshot of Mauritania’s Oil and Gas Sector


The Mauritanides Conference in Nouakchott last week was illustrative of the Mauritanian oil and gas sector’s current and future challenges. The fundamental question is whether Mauritania can capably handle the simultaneous attention (and concomitant demands) of four super majors and one mid-sized IOC.

NARCO ANALYSIS: Mauritanian Premier's Policy Priorities


Earlier this week, Mauritania’s new prime minister Mohamed Ould Salem Béchir laid out his policy priorities before parliament. The speech was as long as it was technocratic, which was to be expected given Ould Béchir’s educational and professional background. He’s a dyed-in-the-wool technocrat with an especial affinity for stats and data, which he rattled off for more than two hours.



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.

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