chapter  1
48 Pages

Opposing the FIS: Perceived Risks

ByCamille Bonora-Waisman

The view that an Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) victory might generate turmoil elsewhere and, especially, in Morocco and Tunisia was a central factor in leading Paris to support the Algerian regime's eradication strategy. The reconstruction of their projections, however, points to two major connected concerns. First, the region could become highly unstable with risks of intra-regional tensions. Second, anti-Western Islamist regimes could eventually emerge on Europe's doorstep, multiplying the problems generated by the presence of an FIS regime in Algiers. Their morale boosted by an FIS victory, muzzled Islamist movements would conclude that violence could pay, if not in overthrowing regimes, at least in forcing an overture of the political game. In September i994, Foreign Minister Juppe, indeed, argued that a political compromise would lead to an Islamisation process that not all Algerians would accept. The FIS' primary objective might not have been re-Islamisation for its own sake but for political control of the Algerian community living in France.