INESG, a subterranean Think Tank

INESG, a subterranean Think Tank

Algeria Interface, 25 February 2000

Ostensibly, Algeria’s Institute of Global Strategic Studies (INESG) studies political, economic and social trends and makes strategic reform proposals. In reality, it is a deeply secretive body at the service of the military establishment.

Algiers, 25/2/00 – Algeria’s shadowy National Institute of Global Strategic Studies (INESG) recently emerged on to the public stage with the completion of its report on reforming the Algerian army from one based on conscription to a professional fighting force.

Created in 1985 following the FLN’s fifth congress as a strategic policy think tank, INESG focuses essentially on economic and political issues and internal security. It also examines social questions, international relations and defence.

Headed by former Minister of Labour, Lounes Bourenane it is currently addressing issues like food safety, local government and educational reform, new technologies and Algerian membership of the WTO. INESG is a member of the Strademed and Euromesco programmes which bring together similar organisations from around the Mediterranean rim to examine key social, economic and geopolitical question.

Yet INESG is a subterranean body that reports directly to the president. Bouteflika is said to have tightened his control over it. Its activities are cloaked in as much secrecy as those of the Algerian military intelligence (DRS), with which it collaborates closely.

It came blinking into the spotlight in 1993 when two of its senior members, sociologists Djillali Liabès and Mohamed Boukhobza, were assassinated within three months of each other. Their deaths briefly drew unwelcome attention to INESG’s murky role in the service of the regime before an even more impenetrable veil of secrecy dropped over its activities.

As a result, the details of the “Algeria 2005” report, which the INESG completed in 1997, have never been disclosed. Intended to set the main directions of the country’s political and economic development, the report’s scope has now been extended to 2010. But what “Algeria 2010” will contain, or what the men in power will do with it, nobody knows – even though its proposals and findings will affect the future of all Algerians.

Baya Gacemi