The colonial period in Algeria was a time of suffering and struggle for Algerians who fought to win back their freedom and defend their values against French attempts to subjugate them. It was also a struggle to end foreign control over the country’s wealth and resources. National independence sought a sovereign state with free decision-making, away from French influence in particular, in a context of ideological polarization and mutual hostility between ex-colonial forces and independent states. The root of such hostility lies in what both parties lost, and resulted in a distinctive pattern of French–Algerian bilateral relations tainted by nostalgia from the French side and the struggle for parity from the Algerian side. The three decades following Algeria’s independence witnessed, to a certain extent, a national sentiment opposed to colonial France, and it is the sentiment that Algerian politicians attempted to use to manage relations between the two countries and obtain some benefits by invoking the past in speeches at a local level, and to overcome that past in building relations with France. As a security crisis and economic decline hit Algeria, it became apparent that the French regime was to exert effective influence on the country and control its foreign policy to meet French aspirations and ambitions in both Africa and the Arab world. This conclusion suggested to several observers the fall of the Algerian elite, responsible for decision-making, under French influence. Moreover, this elite group, while dealing with several regional issues, was not able to assert complete independence in its decision-making regarding foreign affairs, whether due to its past and formation or to the network of new relations built between the Algerian and French systems. This reality, which is deeply rooted in the Algerian foreign policy system, raises the question of the ability of the Algerian elite to pull away from its colonial inheritance and the grip of the French regime. One might therefore wonder how historical events and Algerian solid ties with the French administration shape French–Algerian relations and their political agendas.

The Colonial Inheritance at the Core of Algeria’s Political System?

The outcome of the war of independence against French colonialism saw the creation of the Algerian state, the founding act of which was the Congress of Soumman, torn by civil and military conflicts. The Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic (GPRA) that followed in 1958 witnessed the neutralization of most of the armed movement’s founding fathers who were either killed at the hands of other revolutionary compatriots, competing for power, or targeted and arrested by the French for treason. The post-ceasefire period of March 1962 saw the implementation of a military-based regime backed by the border army that consisted mainly of French military personnel and a pro-French civilian administration.

French Role in the Formation of the Algerian Administration

During colonial rule, France needed those who could communicate with the local population, to organize their daily transactions, supervise tax control, enforce judicial rulings, and document their civil status. The need to be in control of Algerian inner affairs increased even more with the outbreak of the independence revolution in 1954, when tangible evidence of an imperative withdrawal was forthcoming. Algeria’s post-independence period became a point of interest for the French,1 and their effort paid off as the colonial administration managed to create a Westernized bureaucratic Algerian elite with francophone mindsets that opposed Islamic and Arab values, decades after its withdrawal from Algeria. In this light, we always refer to the so-called “Promotion Lacoste,” a group of officers, sons of leaders and collaborators with the French army, named after the Governor General of Algeria, Robert Lacoste.

When France came to realize that Algeria was achieving autonomy, General Jacques Soustelle stirred up enmity between Algerians through a wave of attacks initiated by “Kouwat al qawm” to counter the rebels.2 These French-supported, organized armed units dubbed “Les groupes mobiles de police rurale” (GMPR), that is, the rural units of the mobile police, consisted of thirty-seven units, mainly Muslims, and they operated in a legal framework within the areas of the revolution in 1955 (Kanann 1994, 270).

In 1955, Governor General Soustelle established the Specialized Administrative Sections (SAS), a civil–military program that formed Algerian cadres to ensure a close collaboration with the French authorities. Soustelle encouraged their recruitment in the public sector and provided schools for their children. Thousands of these “Harkis” (Elias and Mourad 2014) became key civilian and military figures after joining the National Liberation Front in 1961. With time, they were the ruling elite of the country. Former Prime Minister Belaid Abdessalam describes these collaborators as a product of French colonization, who were extremely charmed by France. Belaid himself does not deny his extreme love of France, and he would spend his vacations there, even though some that lasted no more than forty-eight hours (Abdessalam 2007).

There were also attempts to attract the sympathy and support of women. Suzanne Massu, wife of French General Jacques Massu, whose influence on Algerian women was significant, spearheaded the group “Association pour la formation de la jeunesse” (AFJ) in 1957 and managed to rally around 60,000 young girls and women under the banner “Mouvement pour la solidarité féminine” in 1961 (d’Humières 2002, 149–66). This social undertaking was not exempt from ideological motivations: it was about preparing these women to become fully fledged French citizens and to extend their influence over the education, health, and media sectors. Over time, these women assumed leadership positions and led mass organizations, including the National Union of Algerian Women.

The French’s impact on Algerian decision-making policies is heavily embedded in Algerian minds. Many politicians touched upon the subject in their writings. In At the Root of the Algerian Crisis, 1958–1999, former Prime Minister Abdelhamid Brahimi embodied this influence in the so-called Party of France (Brahimi 2001, 112).3 Belaid Abdessalam portrayed the collaborators with the French regime in a negative light and showed how their ties with French officials increased with the total collapse of the political and economic sectors that tore apart the country’s social fabric and the civil–military relations network, thus leading to the spread of corruption. A large number of investors deposited looted funds in real estate and other investment sectors in France. The cases that have reached the supreme court have backed Abdessalam’s views.

French Army Officers in the Algerian Army

During the war of independence, several officers and soldiers fled the French army to engage with National Liberation Army (ALN) troops. They were known as Defectors from the French Army (DAF). In his memoirs, Colonel Tahar Ezbiri divides them into four factions (Ezbiri 2011, 168–71):

  • Those who had performed their military service in the French army.

  • Those who joined the ALN at the outbreak of the revolution (between 1955 and 1957).

  • Those who fled the French army to side with the ALN from outside the borders (as of 1958).

  • Those who joined the ALN after March 1962’s ceasefire known therefore as The Martians (almarsiiyn).

The precise number of the armed forces of all ranks who joined the ALN is unclear. While Colonel Ezbiri speaks of 200 elements (Ezbiri 2011), other statements support a greater number. The records of retired Algerians from the French army pension funds indicate thousands of them. Former Defense Minister Khaled Nezzar backs this opinion as he puts the figure at about 15,000 army deserters (Ennahar 2012).

The desire to exclude these officers from leadership positions caused tension among Algerian leaders during the Algerian war and the post-independence period. Ali Munjali was the first revolutionary to caution against the threats of such elements on the revolution, at the meetings of the Revolutionary Council of Algeria in Tripoli in 1960. This issue resurfaced in the summer of 1962 in the crisis that saw the execution of the rebellious Colonel Shaabani who strongly opposed these officers’ presence in the ALN.

When Minister of Defense and Vice President Houari Boumedienne seized power following a coup d’état in July 1965, he and his trusted military supporters asserted his leadership of Algeria with the backing French army officers. The commander in the ALN, Major Lakhdar Bouregaa, gave many examples to support this claim. Commander-in-Chief of the National Gendarmerie, Colonel Ahmed Ben Sherif, appointed his brother as an officer in the general command of the National Gendarmerie in Algiers while the latter was still serving the French army and did not leave until Algeria’s independence (Bouregaa 1990, 145). General Larbi Belkheir,4 who is thought to be the most prominent officer to have fled the French army, remained loyal to France. He also had a brother who served as an officer in the French army until his retirement in 1992.5

This group of officers continued to rise in the post-independence period benefiting from the military training and the level of education that they had gained from the French. Moreover, rather than defending their political affiliations to the French Front de Libération Nationale (FLN—National Liberation Front), the group’s members acted as solely executives carrying out orders without any loyalty to the party. According to Major Bourkaa, Boumedienne instructed his men, who were close to French military officers, to crackdown on these, the real mujahideen, whom he feared so much. This was one of the reasons for Colonel Ezbiri’s rebellion and his attempted coup on 11 December 1967 (Bouregaa, 1990, 152). Major Ammar Mallah states that during a meeting he attended with Colonel Boumedienne and the officers, Abdul Majid Shareif raised the issue again, yet Boumedienne’s stance was clear: “If I ever hear anyone talk about French officers I’ll throw a stone in his mouth.” In his opinion, those who served in the ranks of the French troops were the most efficient; unfortunately, it turned out to be a mere disguise and empty words, which were expressed by Major Ammar Mallah, so that the ranks were assigned to them, although their qualifications were no match (Mallah 2004).

Under Chadli Bendjedid’s presidency, these officers had access to key positions in the army and were rapidly promoted. This led to the resignation of many army officials who were against their presence in the military establishment. These officials feared that this “elite” group would drag the army into political confrontations (Al-Hayat 2000). In 1992, the Islamist Front du Salut (FIS) was dissolved. Khalid Nizar succeeded in putting Bendjedid out of office. He then formed a supreme council of state that established military control in Algeria until Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s rise to power in 1999.

The number and influence of French officers decreased following the death of some in terrorist attacks and the retirement of their most prominent figures, such as Khalid Nizar in the mid-1990s. Some members died under the rule of Bouteflika, such as Arab Belkheir in 2010 and Mohamed Ammari, former chief-of-staff of the National People’s Army, in 2012. These officers served as tokens personages: they would appear in press conferences, respond to accusations, write memos, and attend funerals. Two prominent figures, however, remained in positions of responsibility: the president’s advisor, General Mohamed Touati, and Major General Abdelmalek Guenizia, who served as Deputy Minister of National Defense until 2013.

French–Algerian Relations between Mutual Claims and Extortion Papers

Algerian–French relations witnessed a declared good will with its promotion on both sides; however, away from the diplomatic rhetoric and media coverage, these relations were associated with a series of historical confrontations and an escalation of animosity. Moreover, several case records associated with the colonial era continued to prevent a lasting bilateral agreement and were used multiple times for extortion purposes. Legal mechanisms supported by the media were used to evoke the past and reopen torture, Harki, and reparations inquiries, in addition to settler property issues and nationalization laws. Although decades have passed, it is still clear that many of these records were the main reason for the stagnation and tension of bilateral relations.

The Claims of Pieds-Noir at the Heart of Strained French–Algerian Relations

The Evian Accords (Les accords d’Évian), which were signed on 18 March 1962, by the Provisional Government of Algeria and its French counterpart in order to end French colonialism, provided for a clarification of the status of the Pieds-Noir after the declaration of independence. In this context, Redha Malek, a former prime minister and a member of the Algerian delegation negotiating at the Evian agreements, points out in a testimony that Algeria had agreed on a clause stipulating that all foreign Europeans should enjoy the legally guaranteed rights of foreign nationals, similar to the status enjoyed by French nationals who preferred to stay in Tunisia and Morocco while maintaining their French citizenship. He further confirmed that sixteen of the French nationals reserved their seats in the Constituent Assembly that was elected after independence. Moreover, it had been agreed that settlers must choose, within a period of three years, either to keep their property while maintaining their French citizenship or to leave Algeria, thus losing their right to do so beyond this period (Muslim 2012).

In the wake of independence, the Pieds-Noir fled Algeria leaving with what they considered to be their real and movable property. Their chosen path was to apply to the French authorities to obtain compensation for the value of their property in Algeria. Some tried to obtain compensation from the Algerian government, but the Algerian authorities refused on the grounds that Algeria did not expel them and that their departure was voluntary. Those who left between 1962 and 1964 amounted to about 1 million people (Meredith 2006, 74). It has been enshrined in Algerian’s public discourse that all the property left by the Pieds-Noir was property that legitimately belonged to the Algerians, and that it should be confiscated and annexed to the property of the Algerian state. In relation to this, President Ahmed Ben Bella issued a special decree, on 1 October 1963, regarding the nationalization of colonial property, which he included in a speech addressing thousands of Algerians in which he said: “from this moment on, no single hectare will remain the property of a French settler” (Mohand-Amer and Benzenine 2012, 203–04).

After a coup led by the-then Minister of Defense, on 19 June 1965, settlers’ interests and property were subjected to a series of nationalization laws, as vacant property owned by the Algerian state. On 20 May 1968, the Algerian government issued a series of decisions in sequence from 68/137 to 68/168, stipulating the nationalization of all types of funds, shares, dividends, interest, and rights of companies or affiliated companies, or institutions allocated to several Pieds-Noir families who had left Algeria, as state property. The most prominent of these decisions was order 68/160 concerning the nationalization of the Civil Company for Movable and Real Estate and everything related to movable and immovable real estate and financial assets.

In France, the Pieds-Noir issue and the financial matters related to the French colonial presence in Algeria remained at the heart of French political policy. Three laws were passed to compensate the Pieds-Noir. The first was issued in 1970 during the era of former French President Georges Pompidou; the second was issued in 1974 during the reign of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing; and the third was issued in 1987 under President François Mitterrand (Baussant 2006, 191).

For decades, the French authorities have followed up their case and the French Left has remained a staunch defender of the Pieds-Noir, especially President Mitterrand, who had been committed to reintegrating them. Although they had been awarded compensation approved by the aforementioned laws, the French law of 15 July 1970, stipulated that the money provided by the French government to them was merely a “pre-emption” of their entitlements and they retained the legality of their claims in France (Official Journal of the French Republic 1970).

As Algerian–French relations deepened, the Pieds-Noir further reinforced their claims for compensation and property restoration. These demands were prompted as the Pieds-Noir held senior positions in France. They also achieved significant success in economic, cultural, and political sectors in a way that allowed them to integrate into French society and become a “strong lobby” that influenced every election. Furthermore, they were able to get their representatives in parliament to emphasize their demands that called for the formation of Algerian–French relations. Even French parliamentarians addressed their government with over 150 questions concerning Algeria, in oral and written forms, between July 2015 and May 2016. Some of these questions address the demands of the Harki and the Pieds-Noir associations, which call on the French government to intervene in order to compensate them for what they claim as the expulsion of these groups by the Algerian authorities after independence. This prompted French President François Hollande to express his sympathy with these demands (Aziz 2016).

The group’s recourse to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) failed as a result of the European Commission’s acceptance of the Algerian government’s responses that were based on both the Algerian authorities’ memoranda and the provisions of articles 01 and 93, para. 03, of the Commission’s rules of procedure, which held that the acts attributed to the Algerian Republic had been signed in 1962, that is, before Algeria’s accession to and entry into force of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on 16 May 1989.6

Bodies active for the defense of the interests of Pieds-Noir have submitted 600 case files to the relevant UN commission, with the aim of forcing Algeria to provide compensation for their abandoned property after the Declaration of Independence. However, the Commission’s decision of 1 November 2006, in the context of its adjudication of a case filed by a former settler from Oran, against the Algerian government, was resolved as a precedent that would be applied to all similar cases as a new judicial diligence.7

President Bouteflika of Algeria resolved the authorities’ restitution of the property left by French nationals, who departed the country after independence in 1962, regarding it as “legitimate” to be classified as state property. Furthermore, he clarified the procedure to annex the property of the Pieds-Noir, who left the country in 1962, asserting that the property fell within the context of the overriding issue of “what the brutal colonizer did in the 1940s with the property of our countrymen […] referring to the looting of Algerian property by the French colonizers during that period, as a measure that has become an irreversible part of our contemporary State’s legislation.”8

French Colonialism Between Glorification and Criminalization in Relation to Dealing with “The Movement”

For Algeria, the colonial period had been the interface that would determine the pattern of bilateral relations between France and Algeria. However, both sides had to seek to transcend the past because of France’s desperation to reclaim Algeria as a French province, on the one hand, and Algeria’s failure to promulgate a recognition of colonialism’s disadvantages and obtain compensation from it, on the other. There had been a shift in France’s official political rhetoric concerning the official perception of the two countries’ common history that lasted for over half a century.

In the 1990s, especially after most of the colonial figures had gone, France had further pushed to rectify its academic and popular perspectives concerning what happened between November 1954 and March 1962. It was acknowledged that the issue exceeds the official characterization of an issue that had lasted for centuries, as just incidents, and now was to be referred to as the “Algerian war.” It was described in terms of “peacekeeping operations to enforce law and security in Algeria 1954–1962” (Jauffret 2000, 333). There is an utter rejection of describing what happened as a revolution and the will of the people to liberate themselves from colonialism.

After Algeria regained its sovereignty in 1962, the country was committed to state-building, developing its economy, and meeting the increasing population. Therefore, decades passed and Algeria did not raise the case of criminalization of French colonialism. Moreover, neither did the country’s official rhetoric witness any serious attempts related to legal prosecution and accessing international judicial institutions, nor did its domestic legislation shed a light on the colonial period. Nevertheless, the strained bilateral relations between the two countries had always raised the issue of glorifying or criminalizing the colonial period; especially during the rise of the anti-Algeria far-right group that was led by the chairman of the National Front (NF) and who had always seen in Algeria, a geopolitical, territorial, national, lucrative, and influential capacities as well as an element of sovereignty and greatness for France.

Before Jean-Marie Le Pen established his political party (NF), he established the National Front for French Algeria (FNAF) (Kleib 1999) at the beginning of the 1960s, which was a branch for Front de l’Algérie Française (FAF) established by Bachaga Said Boualem on 16 January 1960. The size of the movement’s membership reached 1 million participants in November 1960, of whom forty percent were Algerians. After Boualem fled to France, he led The National Front of the French deportees of the Muslim community and was assigned, in 1979, to the national commission to study the issues faced by the “French-Muslims.” Boualem became a symbol for the movement and a hardcore advocate for their services to France, the country he believed he belonged to until his death. According to Eldridge (2016, 86–89), his most popular intellectual contribution was his book. In it he defended what he believed to be the loyalty of Algerians to the country that colonized them. In recognition for his services and assistance to French colonialism, successive French governments have named twenty-two facilities and locations after him, including public buildings, streets, and public gardens (Riyad Chattouh 2013).

There is an overlap between the information related to the glorification of the colonial period by part of the Algerian society and the fact that France was able to gain popular support from a significant portion of the Algerian population, which sustained it for years. It would be useful in this regard to mention a statement by Al-mujahid Lakhadar Bouregaa, where he talked about recruiting thousands of Algerians by colonial France in its war against the ALN, stating: “What was recurrent for us was that they were around 250 thousand individuals, but technically, I think that the number was much larger. Even if we were to limit the number to 250 thousand participants in the French army, we can’t avoid the fact that each one of them had impact on 4 to 5 individuals in his family, thus exceeding one million Algerians in total” (Othmani 2013, 19).

Officialdom in France, among civilian and military representatives, has continued to promote the proposition that it would have been possible to preserve Algeria’s annexation to France, and that the Algerians were dragged into a confrontation with French forces. Moreover, several former military leaders find no embarrassment in defending the performance of the French army and glorifying the French colonial period of Algeria. In a comment by General Paul Aussaresses on the question of his stand on fighting those who were struggling to liberate their country in Algeria, he said: “Although I understand the establishment of the liberation movement in Algeria, I am confident that this is the work of a minority” (Kleib 2003). This statement was made during the revolution by one of the pillars of French authority, who practiced all kinds of torture and repression which were a symbol of the colonial era that caused the Algerians much pain during their struggle for liberation. This reveals the close link between groups of Algerians and the French administration, whether through the concessions they received or through the profound assimilation mechanisms that targeted Algerians through the educational sector and the governing bodies, and led to some of them being described as “the movement” in general and popular Algerian and official French discourse. France officially adopted the case of the movement as a leverage to use, every now and then, and embraced their demands along with those of the Pieds-Noir.

When President Bouteflika came to power, there were efforts to develop a new partnership between the countries. Within this context, the French Foreign Ministry proceeded to establish a new perspective to the bilateral relations between the two countries that aimed to consign the past to history. There had been a widespread expectation of the admittance that colonial France had seriously impaired the civilized image of France, especially after former French President Jacques Chirac’s statement, which had been used in the context of justifying France’s desire to accommodate the ever-increasing demands for an apology: “A nation grows when it acknowledges its mistakes and tragedies” (United Press News 2011). The reality is that his words, in fact, referred to the Armenian genocide during World War I, for which the Ottoman Empire (succeeded by modern-day Turkey) was responsible.

When he came to power, Nicolas Sarkozy pushed to raise what he considered the Armenian tragedy and their persecution by the Turks. Patrick Ollier, Minister in Charge of the Relations with the Parliament, defended an Act that criminalizes the denial of the extermination of Armenians, saying that he who forgets his past will relive it again, stating that the genocide of the Jews cannot be separated from that of the Armenians (France 24 2012).9

This reflected a pragmatic policy within an electoral strategy that aimed at winning the votes of about 500,000 Armenians in France, while simultaneously using their voice in support of his adverse policy towards Turkey’s accession to the European Union. Meanwhile, the French president refrained from confessing his country’s colonial crimes against the Algerians between 1830 and 1962, justifying it by saying: “sons don’t apologize for what the father has done.”10

The hypocrisy of the French rhetoric towards Algeria was reinforced by a situation of ambiguity towards the colonial past, in which the Algerians hoped to secure a French apology as the least desired outcome. However, France’s adoption of Law 159 on 13 February 2005, struck at the heart of these ambitious aspirations to improve the bilateral relations. This law was legislated by the conservative majority of the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP), a political party in parliament that disseminates what it considers French colonialism’s positive values, especially in their former colonies in North Africa. In addition, it imposed the necessity of teaching these positive values and morals to students in schools (Boilley 2005). In response to this, President Bouteflika refused to sign the Treaty of Friendship with France because of this law, stating that this law calls for the negation of history and revisionism denying the hideous crimes committed by the French colonizer in the past century.

The governing party in France, however, continued to direct its efforts to pressure the Algerians, through using their common historical legacy. The 19 October 2019 marked the official date of the creation of the liberation war’s institution in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. This institution was established under Law 2005–158 on 23 February 2005, regarding recognition of the nation and the national contribution of the French repatriates (Bou Kayla 2010, 19). As a reaction to this bold French move, Algerian political parties and intellectuals firmly reacted to the law by proposing a draft law by deputies through the NF and other political parties that essentially called for the criminalization of colonialism. The law also called on the French to compensate the Algerians for what they described as the hideous crimes committed against its civilians for more than a century since the arrival of the French colonizers on Algerian territory (Nguiabama-Makaya 2007, 20). The colonial criminalization legislative proposal did not lack legitimacy. It was prepared by the deputies who, in turn, proposed it to the president in accordance with their own constitutional requirements.

This provoked the French, and France denounced this act, regardless of it being a sovereign right of the Algerian state. The Minister of Immigration, Éric Besson, stated: “I feel sorry for this article,” emphasizing again that it had to do with a “sensitive issue” and that “the wounds and traces of the injuries are still vivid.” He called for the past to be left behind, but not to be forgotten, and continued by saying, “we should not forget the colonial period and post-colonial period,” however, this issue must be “overcome” (Hiyam 2010).

From the very outset, in Algeria; Prime Minister Ahmad Ouyahia stated that the draft law proposed by parliament’s deputies is merely a political bid. This was regarded as the first message to France, and to the deputies stating that there was no room for such a law, even though some deputies insisted on imposing their draft on the government for consideration in the council of ministers and then returning it to parliament for ratification. The government did not act until the legal term, granted by the constitution to the government to respond to the deputies, had passed. The decisive and final response of the deputies was made by the speaker of the lower chamber, Abdelaziz Ziari, who confirmed that there were proposals in the draft law, as he put it, that were rejected, and that neither today nor tomorrow would it be accepted, because of its inappropriate context and its antagonism of the president’s authority who determines foreign policy. Furthermore, diplomatic and judicial considerations, state relations, and interests are incompatible with its submission.11

France has continued to implement the provisions of the law glorifying colonialism without taking into account Algerians’ indignation and discontent. In this context, former French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner urged Algerians to move forward so that they do not remain trapped in history, the past, and its complexities. “Algerian–French relations will not return to normal unless the revolutionary generation leaves office in Algeria,”12 he explicitly said. In the same vein, French Minister of Justice Michele Alliot-Marie affirmed, on the occasion of a working visit to Algeria on 18 October 2010, that the bilateral relations between France and Algeria resemble the long-established relationship between a husband and a wife, so that one cannot dispense of the other, no matter how the relationships fluctuates (Al-Quds Al-Arabi 2014).

On 20 February 2012, the French parliament unanimously approved a bill submitted by President Sarkozy’s party that made it a criminal offence to insult, attack, or punish Algerians who fought alongside France during the war of independence (Harkis). The bill was approved by all parties except the French Left, which abstained on the vote. Prime Minister Ouyahia addressed the matter on his party’s fifteenth anniversary: “The law honoring the movement is an attempt to polish the image of French colonialism, to create ‘civilized colonialism’ but it is this violence that killed millions of Algerians.” He then added: “We have our martyrs and you have your traitors.”13

Conclusions

The study of the impact of the colonial legacy on Algerian–French relations considers several truths related to the decision-making process in Algeria and the complexity of its formation. When looking at Algeria, one cannot ignore its francophone background and its strong ties with France, which resulted in the formation of an elite class of leaders and officers who carried out agendas that did not always match Algeria’s.

Algeria’s fragile structure allowed the French to exert a strong influence on it and to re-implement the pattern that has long defined the relations between both sides. This heavy legacy weighs to this day on Algeria’s capability of dealing with regional and international events.

1.

France cared for those who promoted its culture and honored many of them. The caricaturist Ali Dilem was awarded Officier des Arts et des Lettre (Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters) at the French embassy in Algiers. Former French Minister Noëlle Lenoir who presented him the insignia on behalf of French President Sarkozy stated, “France has chosen to award Ali Delam in recognition of his equal contributions to France and Algeria, to human values and freedom of expression.”

2.

The spelling of the name was altered in the Algerian popular dialect to match French pronunciation. The name first appeared in Ottoman Algeria where the population living outside of cities organized itself into tribes, those tribes into clans, and those divisions into dawawir (lower divisions) to facilitate tax collection and maintain control. Those who handled those matters forsan al kaba’el (knights of the tribe) were referred to as Al Qawm and were the lower grade of the Ottoman military hierarchy.

3.

Brahimi cites the example of two megaprojects awarded to French companies: the nitrogen fertilizer complex at Arzew and the phosphate fertilizer complex in Annaba. The first project was awarded to two French companies, Creusot Loire and Technip, and was completed in 1969. The project encountered many technical problems that slowed its progress and limited its production capacity to fifteen percent. The ammonia unit was only reactivated in 1989, twenty years after the completion of the nitrogen complex, by a Yugoslavian company. On the other hand, the phosphate fertilizer complex awarded to the French company KREBS failed to begin work within the mentioned date in the contract (March 1979) and resumed seven years later.

4.

General Larbi was a very noted political figure. He comes from a family of leaders that mediated between the colonial authorities and the Algerians. Some even called him “The president maker.”

5.

President Mitterrand made many unofficial visits to Algeria and held long meetings with President Chadli. They even went on tours together in southern Algeria and other parts of the country. These tours would sometime last a week (Ben Amar 2013).

6.

The final decision was adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Committee on November 1, 2006, during its 84th session under the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

7.

Ibid.

8.

Ibid.

9.

The bill criminalizing the denial of the Armenian genocide was first passed in the National Assembly in 2006, but was rejected by the Senate in 2007. It was approved again in December 2011 and February 2012, but the Constitutional Council ruled against it on February 24 (France 24 2012).

10.

Nicolas Sarkozy at a speech given at the University of Constantine (Algeria), 5 December 2007 (cited in Ribouj 2008).

11.

Ibid.

12.

Ibid.

13.

The French Parliament approves the bill that criminalizes those who insult the Harkis (Algeria Times 2014).

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