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Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

Major political developments, unrest linked to austerity over falling oil prices, upsurge in “terrorist” activity all in the cards for Algeria, says Al-Akhbar….

Translated in part today by our Mideastwire.com:

On July 28, the Al-Akhbar daily newspaper carried the following report by Adam al-Saberi: “The political arena in Algeria has started to witness rapid developments that might push the opposition to revive its criticism of the re-election of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika for a fourth term on April 2014. These changes might also revive the general attention concerning the events taking place in the Algerian authority’s pyramid in preparation for the upcoming phase.

“While two cabinet amendments took place within a short period of time (around 70 days knowing that the last amendment took place last week), and amidst the continued amendments in the governors’ body, last Friday saw changes consisting of sacking prominent military and security figures in the intelligence service as well as the presidential security service. The changes affected the commander of the internal security directorate (the anti-spyware service), Maj. Gen. Ali Ben Daoud who has been in office since September 2013 and has now been replaced by Col. Abd al-Aziz. In addition to replacing the man in charge of the presidential security directorate, Brig. Gen. Jamal Majzoub who has been in office for around ten years by Col. Nasser Habchi, in addition to replacing the commander of the Republican Guards, Maj. Gen. Ahmad Moulai Meliani who has been in office since 2010 by officer Ben Ali Ben Ali.

“A source told Al-Akhbar that the two colonels, Nasser Habchi and Abd al-Aziz, had accompanied Bouteflika on his treatment seeking trip at the Hopital Val-de-Grace in France on 2013… Yesterday, more military officers were ousted. Al-Akhbar learned from high ranking security sources that “four colonels have been ousted from the presidential team” in suspicious and secret circumstances. Moreover, the vice defence minister, Ahmed Kayed Saleh, appointed Officer Ben Ali Ben Ali as a new commander for the Republican Guards…

“The present changes are reminiscent of the September 2013 changes that took place in the framework of re-structuring the intelligence and security circles in the country. Currently however, the concerned parties have been radically divided between two positions. The local Al-Khabar newspaper quoted the head of the National Liberation Front parliamentary bloc (the ruling party), Mohammad Jumei’i who reportedly said that the changes were “normal…” However, opposition parties indicated that all these events indicate that “the wings’ clash” at the top of the authority pyramid has increased, which implies that the country could be stepping into a new phase amidst the growing fear from the return to the phase of the 1990s.

“Algerian opposition parties believe that the dismissals performed by President Bouteflika are caused by “the clash of the authority wings mainly between the office of the president led by the president’s brother, Al-Said Bouteflika, and the intelligence service led by Gen. Mohammad Medyen (Gen. Tawfik), over the preparations concerning the post Bouteflika phase.” A source said that the ongoing changes “indicate that the time of settlement has come especially with the return of the Director of the Office of the President, Ahmad Oweihi, to the political limelight amidst the increasing activities of the Prime Minister, Abdelmalek Sellal. These two figures are expected to compete over the president’s post with the support of the conflicting wings.”

“On the other hand, a former military officer told Al-Akhbar that the changes “fall in the framework of keeping pace with the internal and external developments seen in the country especially with the strong comeback of the terrorist activities.” He further pointed to an important point: “the fears that the Authority has concerning the possibility of a Street uprising because of the economic austerity measures announced by the government as a result of the falling oil prices and the drop in the national currency.”

“The present changes also led to fears stemming from the fact that these services used to be affiliated to the Algerian intelligence services and then shifted by President Bouteflika in 2013 to the military Chiefs of Staff under the command of the vice minister of defense, Kayed Saleh. In addition, these changes were performed following a talk that emerged around the Al-Fitr holiday concerning skirmishes that occurred in front of the president’s headquarters…Some parties also said that these skirmishes represented a “coup attempt.” It is worthy to mention that, during the last Al-Fitr holiday, a shootout occurred near the headquarters of President Bouteflika… Opposition sources said that “fires were shot in the direction of the president’s brother.””

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Written by nickbiddlenoe

July 29, 2015 at 11:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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