The Mideastwire Blog

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

What is happening to Algeria’s generals?

A major, emerging part of the story for what one may soon consider to be the first “failed region:” The Med.

Translated today by our

On October 20, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following opinion piece by Toufik Rabahi: “It is as though the status, immunity and ranking of Algeria’s generals have faded or retreated, after they made the events and news throughout two decades. And it is as though the era of military control and opened doors upon the presentation of a military ID card… is long gone, as Algeria has thrown two generals in prison and imposed a travel ban on a third, thus revealing major transformations in the ruling regime and its traditional pillars… Indeed, Algeria has not treated its high-ranking army commanders that way since the ousting of Moustafa Benloucif in 1986, who was the first officer in the Algerian army to reach the rank of major general, before he was thrown in prison in the spring of 1992.

“In the 90s of last century, at the peak of Islamic expansion and the armed and doctrinal confrontation with the Islamic extremists, the Algerian army, just like the remaining social and state institutions that included all movements and penchants, witnessed cleansing that affected all those who were suspected of having ties with the Islamic movement or of having affiliations that eliminated trust in their handling of security and military positions, equipment and responsibilities. Despite the seriousness and size of these events that swept the entire country, what happened inside the military institution stayed in it…, and the secretive institution was able to prevent the leaking of its secrets to the outside world. But today, the situation, the facts, interests and enemies are difference, and the conflict and positioning within the ruling institution is no longer doctrinal, just like the opponent is no longer the Islamic movement.

“Out of the cases of three generals, that of Hocine Benhadid appears to be the least mysterious and complicated, and just like a “pinch of the ear” to calm him down a little, at a time when the cases of [Abdelkader] Ait-Ouarab and [Jamel] Majdoub appear to have fallen in the context of a series of steps that paved the way before the dismissal of former Intelligence Chief Major General Mohamed Mediene (a.k.a. Toufik) last month, after one quarter of a century in his post. And this series of steps seems to have started years ago and took all the time it needed. There is not much information for analysis, except the fact that the two men were part of Mediene’s close circle and that it was necessary to get rid of them, as a price to pay for him to end up alone, stripped of his men and tools, and easy to isolate.

“As for the lack of information, it reveals that President Bouteflika’s efforts to strip the intelligence apparatus of its traditional influence over civil and political life and restore the presidency’s power and upper hand are continuing till the end, even if this requires the enhancement of the authority of another military branch, which is the General Staff, that was given many of the intelligence apparatus’ prerogatives. And while the military institution had previously agreed to conceal its secrets, it nowadays seems to have lost the ability to do so, as though someone was intentionally leaking those secrets so that Bouteflika’s steps would have a meaning and message, or else, lest their impact is diminished and their message is delayed.”


Written by nickbiddlenoe

October 20, 2015 at 9:21 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

%d bloggers like this: