Editor's note: Correspondent @JasonUkman reports via the SITE Intelligence group that a Jihadi group in Algeria claims to have beheaded French hostage Hervé Gourdel. We will update when we know more. - Grace
Algeria (/ælˈdʒɪəriə/ or /ɔːl-/; Literary Arabic: الجزائر al-Jazāʼir; Tamazight: Dzayer, ⴷⵣⴰⵢⴻⵔ; French: Algérie), officially People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa on the Mediterranean coast. Its capital and most populous city is Algiers. With a total area of 2,381,741 square kilometres (919,595 sq mi), 90% of which is desert, Algeria is the tenth-largest country in the world, and the largest in Africa and in the Mediterranean. The country is bordered in the northeast by Tunisia, in the east by Libya, in the west by Morocco, in the southwest by Western Sahara, Mauritania, and Mali, in the southeast by Niger, and in the north by the Mediterranean Sea.
The territory of today's Algeria was the home of many prehistoric cultures, including Aterian and Capsian and the "Proto-Imaziɣen" cultures. Its area has known many empires and dynasties, including ancient Amaziɣ Numidians, Phoenecians, Lybio-Punic Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Arab Umayyads, Arab Abbasids, Multi-Ethnic Fatimids, Amaziɣ Almoravids, Amaziɣ Almohads, Turkish Ottomans and the French colonial empire. In recent decades Algeria along with the other nations of the "Desert Belt" has experienced an identity crisis, in response Algeria, along with Morocco, has nationalized Tamaziɣt the language of its 13,000 year old people. Algeria is a semi-presidential republic, it consists of 48 provinces and 1541 communes. With a population of 37.9 million, it is the 35th most populated country on Earth. Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been the President of Algeria since 1999 and has won four consecutive elections. However, according to the Democracy Index Algeria is an authoritarian regime.
Algeria's economy is largely based on hydrocarbons, due to which manufacturing has suffered from Dutch disease. The country supplies large amounts of natural gas to Europe and energy exports are the backbone of the economy. According to OPEC Algeria has 17th largest reserves of oil in the world, and second largest in Africa, while it has the 9th largest reserves of natural gas. Sonatrach, the national oil company, is the largest company in Africa.
Algeria has the second largest military in North Africa with the largest defense budget in Africa. Algeria has had a peaceful nuclear program since the 1990s. Algeria is a member of the African Union, the Arab League, OPEC and the United Nations, and is a founding member of the Arab Maghreb Union.