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This study is one of a series by the author on Islamic fundamentalism, or Islamism, in the Muslim world. This study is of particular policy interest because it deals with the prospect of a fundamentalist victory in Algeria, the largest and one of the most important Arab states. A fundamentalist takeover in Algeria will have major repercussions in the region. The author attempts to put such a takeover into perspective: What would it look like, and what would it mean for the West and the region? This problem is of intense interest not only to Washington but also to Western Europe, which would be the recipient of potential refugee flows and is already (and increasingly) dependent on Algerian natural gas. The author also looks at the Algerian case on a comparative basis: What does it tell us about the varieties of the broader international movement of political Islam?

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    The Legacy: Algerian Political Culture

  • Chapter Three

    Conditions for the Emergence of Islamism in Algeria: the Failure of the FLN

  • Chapter Four

    How the FIS Built Power

  • Chapter Five

    Hypotheses on the FIS in Power: Domestic Policies

  • Chapter Six

    Hypotheses on the FIS in Power: Foreign Policy

  • Chapter Seven

    The Struggle for Power: Confrontation or Reconciliation?

  • Chapter Eight

    Implications for the United States

Book Review Excerpts

"An important contribution toward our understanding of the issues and political forces involved, and how they can (and do) affect the United States and Western Europe."

- The Midwest Book Review

"Lay readers interested in contemporary Algeria have been largely out of luck, as most available books are out-of-date, unreadable, or excruciatingly expensive. Fuller's report is none of these. In clear prose, he details the history of Algeria's colonial struggle, the emergence of the National Liberation Front and of the Islamic Salvation Front."

- Publishers Weekly

Research conducted by

This research was sponsored by the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations (DAMO-SSP) and performed within the Strategy and Doctrine Program of RAND's Arroyo Center, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the United States Army.

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