A flood of Muslims to compete with the other continual flood of Muslims, what could go wrong?
It is more than possible that before any Brexit deal is discussed, let alone concluded, the EU will have effectively collapsed. And the key factor could be the demise of Algeria’s leader of 17 years. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is 79 and has needed a wheelchair since having a stroke in 2013. ‘His mind is even more infirm than his body,’ one observer tells me. Bouteflika returned home recently after a week’s stay at a private clinic in France. His prognosis isn’t good.
Officially, Bouteflika underwent standard ‘periodic medical tests’ in Grenoble. But no one believes this. Among people who know Algeria well, there is little doubt that he is severely incapacitated and does not have much time left. That means that his regime does not have much time left either. The consequences of that will stretch far beyond Algeria.
When Bouteflika goes, Algeria will probably implode. The Islamists who have been kept at bay by his iron hand will exploit the vacuum. Tensions that have been buried since the civil war will re-emerge. And then Europe could be overwhelmed by another great wave of refugees from North Africa.
Yet almost no one outside Algeria is remotely aware of what is about to happen. Other, that is, than western intelligence agencies. They may have been caught un-awares by the misnamed Arab Spring in 2011, but they are all too aware of what is on the cards in Algeria. Behind the scenes, governments are readying themselves for another civil war — and its consequences.
It was only 24 years ago that 150,000 died in an Algerian civil war between the Islamists and the state. This time, things will be far more bloody, not least because of the development of armed Islamism over the past few years.