Algeria Defense and Security

By | December 13, 2021

Defense and security

The country’s army, the Armée Nationale Populaire (NPC), traditionally exerts a strong influence on Algerian political life and is the largest in Africa, after the Egyptian one. It was only in the early 2000s that the president managed to reduce the power of the establishment military. Notably, since 2005, Bouteflika has directly assumed the post of defense minister and has created a new position of deputy minister for defense affairs, held by General Abdelmalek Gueneiza. The equipment of the armed forces comes mainly from Russia, a historic military partner: imports have been constant since 2000 and, since 2007, there has been a significant increase in expenditure, especially for the purchase of military aircraft, missiles and armored vehicles. Inland, the country was only marginally affected by the ‘Arab Springs’, although popular demonstrations in the Maghreb began in Algeria between 2010 and 2011. For Algeria defense and foreign policy, please check

Socio-economic hardships are a potential risk factor for stability, even if the Algiers government has resisted the wave of revolts that have affected the Arab world. In recent years, the government and military intelligence have worked hard to combat jihadist cells more or less connected to al-Qaida in the Maghreb and recognized under the acronym AQIM, a terrorist organization born on the ashes of Groupe Salafiste pour la Prédication et Combat (Gspc) and took root in Algeria over the past decade. The presence of Aqim cells poses a serious security threat of the country: in recent years there have been several attacks, mainly against the police forces. The government’s commitment and international security agreements with the EU and the US have only partially reduced the danger deriving from Islamic terrorism in Algerian cities and in the Maghreb in general. Despite the arrests of numerous jihadists, the Algerian authorities have failed to secure the country’s hot spots, in particular the wilayat (administrative district) of al-Oued, on the border with Tunisia, and the southern desert areas along the border. with Libya, which became famous for the attack on the Algerian gas plant of In Amenas on January 17, 2013.

Therefore, Algeria remains one of the nerve centers of the fight against regional terrorism. At the same time, it continues to be a potentially unstable country. Meanwhile, the militants of Aqim have also extended their objectives to the Sahel region and more precisely to the territories of Mali, Niger and Mauritania, where the government authorities struggle to patrol the inhospitable and very vast territory. AQIM and other fundamentalist groups took advantage of the Libyan crisis to arm themselves and occupy part of northern Mali, constituting a further danger to the stability of Algeria. To make up for this organizational deficit, President Bouteflika can count on the support of the Tuareg, some of whom also live on illicit trafficking in the Sahel-Saharan area. The Tuareg, concerned about the growing presence of international anti-terrorism contingents, such as Africom, they share the interest of the Algerian government in preventing the rooting of radical Islamist cells, thus maintaining the monopoly of criminal trafficking on the trans-Saharan route. Some Tuareg, after having been briefly allied with the Qaidist groups, are now collaborating with the Algerian government for the resolution of the Malian crisis.

Algeria Defense