A civil war between the radical Armed Islamic Group (GIA) and the
government continues at a low level. While the GIA continues to resist, some of
the smaller Islamic groups are negotiating with the government for amnesty.
Over 100,000 have died in this conflict since 1992, when the military refused
to allow the Islamic Salvation Front, which had won the elections, take power.
The Algerian problems are intertwined with a long and unruly relationship with
France. For centuries, Algerian based pirates were the scourge of the French
Mediterranean coast. Between 1830 and 1842, when France annexed Algeria, French
troops extended their control of the area. In 1945, the first major uprising
against French rule was put down. In 1954, a better organized resistance began,
ending in 1962 when France withdrew. Oil wealth brought Algeria several decades
of prosperity, but economic growth did not keep pace with the population
increase. Islamic fundamentalism became an increasingly popular alternative to
the corrupt government. In 1992 the military took over the government rather
than let a popularly elected Islamic party take power.