NARCO ANALYSIS: Mauritania Goes to the Polls


On 22 June, some Mauritanians will go to the polls to elect a new president. There is not much suspense: current Minister of Defense and former Army Chief of Staff Mohamed Ould El Ghazouani will very likely win...

NARCO ANALYSIS: Another and Another in Algeria


Another Friday demonstration. Another Tuesday student protest. An oligarch arrested. And another. A former prime minister arrested. And another. And another arrest. And another. A website blocked. And another. Another public statement from the president or Army Chief of Staff that muddies more than it clarifies. A self-pitying op-ed plumbing the depths of how far Algeria has sunk from the ideals of the Statement of 1 November 1954. And another. Woe unto Algeria.

NARCO RoundUp (MAY19)


Eid Mubarak! Rather than being the typically quiet Holy Month, North Africa was abuzz. Algerian demonstrators kept the pressure on the government, Libya’s civil war intensified, and Mauritania is making final elections preparations. On the hydrocarbons front, Mauritania is the most optimistic story, with Algeria facing a commercial crisis (entirely not of its own making), and Libya’s NOC is under acute threat.

NARCO ANALYSIS: Where Algeria Could Go From Here


Big political developments are happening on a near daily basis in Algeria. There was a holy trinity of arrests, including former head of intelligence Mohamed Mediene, his successor Athmane Tartag, and Said Bouteflika. That same evening, interim President Abdelkader Bensalah gave a speech insisting that the presidential election scheduled for 4 July 2019 will go forward. The high-profile arrests and the president’s insistence of sticking to the constitutionally mandated transition process despite ongoing Hirak demonstrations, all begs the question of where Algeria could go from here.

NARCO RoundUp (APR19)


There is a lot going on in North Africa: Algeria is in the midst of a profound political transition, Libya is at war with itself, and Mauritania is preparing for the first democratic transition of presidential power in the country’s post-independence history. With the exception of the war in Libya, the security outlook is neutral. And with the exception of Mauritania, the hydrocarbons outlook is negative.



Here we go again. Sonatrach has a new CEO. Two years and one month after he was appointed, Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour was dismissed as Sonatrach’s CEO and was replaced by Rachid Hachichi.

NARCO ANALYSIS: Algeria's Sonatrach Sensitive to IOC Concerns


According to high-level sources inside Sonatrach, Algeria’s state-owned energy company, its senior leadership knows that Sonatrach’s IOC partners are anxious about what the future holds, and senior leadership is trying to address IOC concerns in a reasoned manner.

NARCO CLOSEHOLD: What's Next for Algeria


NARCO doesn’t do scoops. NARCO doesn’t do hottakes. Instead, NARCO is looking at the bigger picture, the “so what” and the “what next.” So, now that Abdelaziz Bouteflika is no longer Algeria’s president, having been forced out by Army Chief of Staff Ahmed Gaid Salah, what’s next?



Deputy Minister of Defense and Army Chief of Staff Ahmed Gaid Salah dropped a bombshell, urging that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika should be removed from office according to Article 102 of the constitution. This is a major development and it is evidence of (at least) two things: elite fracture and expert level political gamesmanship. And the announcement potentially pushes the demonstrators into a corner.

NARCO CLOSEHOLD: Leaderless in Algeria


The demonstrations against the Algerian government that have taken place throughout the country for the last month are being hailed as leaderless, as a genuine expression of the people’s political aspirations. But at risk of sounding stupid (and tautological,) leaderless movements have one really big flaw: they do not have leaders.



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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