Embattled Syria aside, Algeria is the last of the secular Arab authoritarian governments still standing. Having weathered a bitter fight against an Islamist insurgence that saw 100,000 or more deaths, the Algerian authorities are tougher, better organized and, in some ways, more flexible than the despots who’ve fallen across the region in recent years.Now the governing party has cruised to an unsurprising if not uncontroversial victory in elections that feature a certain amount of limited competition among carefully vetted oppositions. The recent experience of a radical insurgency complete with terror attacks on female schoolteachers and random violence across the country seems to have brought a critical mass (if not an absolute majority) of Algerians into the government camp. Additionally, as in Egypt, the army on whose power the government ultimately rests still has a lot of power and prestige.Algeria is even more critical to the stability and prosperity of the Mediterranean than Libya. It is a major source of immigrants to the former colonial power (France — and many educated Algerians speak French to this day), and what happens in Algeria will often spill over onto the streets of France.For now, the last domino is standing tall, and nobody much in Paris or Washington is anything but grateful for Algeria’s stability — however imperfect it may be.
Last Domino Standing