North African Wave of Support For Palestinians At Onset Of Israel-Hamas War

Tunisians protest in support of Palestine in 2021. Since the Hamas attack on Israel in October, North African civil societies have shown a wave of support for Palestine.

“President Tebboune [of Algeria] reiterated to the Palestinian President, ‘the unwavering solidarity of Algeria, both people and government, with the brotherly Palestinian people.’”

Civil societies across North Africa have shown staunch solidarity with the Palestinian cause in response to Israeli retaliation for the 7 October attack by Hamas. The first article from the pan-African news aggregator, provides a broad overview of the pro-Palestinian reactions emanating from Morocco, Libya, and Algeria. Namely, it underscores how civil societies have demonstrated in support of Palestine, and in the case of Morocco,[i] and to a lesser extent, Libya,[ii] have used the conflict to call for the cessation of their states’ efforts to normalize relations with Israel. The protests also denounce the role of the United States and France in the conflict. As per the second article, also from, Tunisians gathered to show support for Palestinians, similarly seeking to penalize their own state for its efforts for rapprochement with Israel. The third article from the Algerian government-owned Algeria Press Service emphasizes the unanimity between Algeria’s government and its citizens on the issue. While protestors in Morocco, Libya, and Tunisia sought to punish their leaders for would-be softening stances towards Israel, in Algeria, President Tebboune faced no such backlash. In a call with Mahmoud Abas, the President of the State of Palestine, he underscored, “the unwavering solidarity of Algeria, both people and government, with the brotherly Palestinian people.”


“Manifestations pro-palestiniennes dans plusieurs pays arabes (Pro-Palestinian protests in several Arab countries),” (pan-African news aggregator), 14 October 2023.

Pro-Palestinian rallies, both organized and spontaneous, in response to the conflict between Israel and Gaza-based militant groups have taken the MENA region by storm. In North Africa, demonstrators gathered in Algeria, Libya, and Morocco to show support in favour of Palestine.

“The entire Algerian people are in solidarity with the Palestinian people and stand by their side. The Palestinian people are in distress and need the support of the Arab and Muslim communities,” shared Khaled Sofiane, pro-Palestinian protester in Algeria.

Despite, Morocco’s normalized ties with Israel in exchange for U.S. recognition of its sovereignty over the long-disputed Western Sahara territory, Prince Moulay Hicham El Alaoui, cousin to the Moroccan monarch, has voiced his support for Palestine on social media.

Thousands of Moroccans also protested to ask the government puts an end to the normalization.

“This is a call to the Moroccan state to stop normalization. An appeal to Morocco, which chairs the Jerusalem Committee, to act urgently, to close the liaison office with Israel. And to withdraw from all agreements. This is what Moroccan people demand today,” expressed Rachid Fellouli, pro-Palestinian protester in Morocco.

In Libya, the 5 El- Emad towers illuminated in the colors of the Palestinian flag in support.

The Libyan government has always publicly sided with Palestine and has not recognized Israel. A couple of months ago, Libya’s head of diplomacy was suspended for meeting with her Israeli counterpart. The news of the encounter had created unrest in the already unstable country.

“Guerre Israël-Hamas: des Tunisiens manifestent pour les Palestiniens (Israel-Hamas War: Tunisians protest for Palestinians),” (pan-African news aggregator), 13 October 2023.

Thousands of trade unionists, civil society representatives, political activists, lawyers and high school students demonstrated in the centre of Tunis on Thursday in support of the Palestinian people and called for the criminalisation of any normalisation of relations with Israel.

Denouncing the Israeli strikes against the Gaza Strip, the demonstrators, brandishing the Palestinian flag, gathered in front of the headquarters of the trade union centre, the UGTT, before marching to Avenue Habib Bourguiba, the main thoroughfare in the city centre, AFP journalists observed.

“The people want to penalise normalisation” with Israel, chanted the demonstrators, angry at “Zionist crimes” and “international silence on the genocide in Gaza”, the Palestinian enclave.

The demonstrators also denounced the support of France and the United States for Israel, which had become “allies in the attack on the Palestinians”.

“Algeria: President Tebboune Receives Phone Call From President of State of Palestine,” Algeria Press Service (government-owned news service from Algeria), 9 October 2023.

President of the Republic, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, has received a phone call from his brother the President of the occupied State of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, the presidency of the Republic said on Monday.

Abbas informed the president of the Republic “about the grave abuses committed by the occupying forces against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank,” the statement said.

President Tebboune reiterated, to the Palestinian President, “the unwavering solidarity of Algeria, both people and government, with the brotherly Palestinian people.”He stressed that “these developments remind everyone that a just and comprehensive peace, as a strategic choice, can only be achieved by establishing an independent, sovereign Palestinian State.”


[i] For more on the Israel-Morocco normalization pact of 2020, see: “Israel, Morocco agree to normalise relations in US-brokered deal,” Al-Jazeera, 10 December 2020.

[ii] While Libya has never formally recognized Israel, protests erupted in Libya in August 2023 when Israel revealed that Libya’s Foreign Minister, Najla Mangoush, had met with Israeli representatives. Mangoush was subsequently suspended and fled the country. For more, see: Sam Magdy, “Libya’s foreign minister suspended, flees country after meeting with Israel’s top diplomat,” Associated Press, 28 August 2023.

Image Information:

Image: Tunisians protest in support of Palestine in 2021. Since the Hamas attack on Israel in October, North African civil societies have shown a wave of support for Palestine.
Attribution: BY-SA 4.0

West African States Split on Potential Intervention in Niger

Mohamed Bazoum, the former president of Niger, was deposed by a military junta in July 2023.

“Senegal, Benin, Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire have said they are ready to send troops, but face internal criticism and hesitation from other West African countries.”

The overthrow of the civilian government in Niger has prompted talk of military intervention by the standby force of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to restore deposed president Mohamed Bazoum to power. Those threats by the leader of ECOWAS, Nigerian President Bola, have led to ruptures in the African international order.

On one side are those West African states that showed some support for the proposed intervention. These tended to be the region’s more democratic and pro-Western states. Nigeria, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, and Benin have all said at one time or another that they would commit troops, according to the first article from AfricaNews. The article also notes that Niger recalled its ambassador from Abidjan in protest in the aftermath of Côte d’Ivoire’s announcement of its intent to contribute forces.

On the other side are those West African states which, because of their own domestic makeup, have sided with the military junta in Niger and refused to participate in any ECOWAS intervention. As per the second article from, the most prominent among these are Burkina Faso and Mali, both of which are ruled by military juntas that came into power under-girded by anti-French, pro-Russian[i] discourse. Flatly rejecting intervention, they expressed that they would instead send a joint delegation to Niger “in solidarity” with the Nigerien junta. The article also underscores that non-ECOWAS members Chad and Algeria, both of which share borders with Niger, assured Niger that they would not participate. Thus, of the seven countries that border Niger, four have said that they would not support intervention (Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, and Algeria), two stated that they would (Nigeria and Benin), with the seventh, Libya, not having made a clear statement so far of its stance on intervention. Despite the different positions on possible ECOWAS intervention, some broad threads do run through the region. All current, non-suspended ECOWAS members (which excludes Mali and Burkina Faso) have condemned the overthrow and encouraged mediation, even if they do not support military intervention. Broad agreement exists outside of ECOWAS too: such a military intervention poses great risks to the security of the broader West African region, with a significant risk of leading to a region-wide war.


“Les militaires rappellent l’ambassadeur du Niger en Côte d’Ivoire, (Military junta recalls Nigerien Ambassador from Ivory Coast), 15 August 2023.

The coup leaders recalled the Nigerien envoy in Abidjan on Monday (Aug. 14) after remarks by Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara.

On his return from a summit of the ECOWAS August 10, Ouattara said the heads of state had agreed a military operation should “start as soon as possible”…

“Far from being the expression of the will of the brotherly Ivorian people, whose friendship with the people of Niger is unequivocal, this unusual declaration by President Ouattara and his eagerness to carry out an aggression against Niger which is in every way illegal and senseless, reflects in reality an order addressed to him and certain of his peers in the ECOWAS by other external powers, with the aim of preserving interests that no longer match those of today’s Niger.”…

Senegal, Benin, Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire have said they are ready to send troops, but face internal criticism and hesitation from other West African countries.

Mimi Mefo Takambou, “Burkina Faso: Mali and Burkina Faso Send Joint Delegation to Niamey ‘In Solidarity’ With Niger,”, 11 August 2023. 

Mali and Burkina Faso will send a joint official delegation to coup-hit Niger on Monday in a show of “solidarity” between the nations – all of whom are ruled by juntas. Meanwhile a source close to regional bloc Ecowas said an immediate military intervention to restore Niger’s toppled president was not on the cards.

The delegation, announced by the Malian army, is expected to arrive in Niger on Monday, according to Niger’s foreign ministry.

The country’s coup leaders defied a Sunday deadline from the West African bloc Ecowas to reinstate democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum or face possible military action.Algeria and Chad, which are not part of Ecowas but share borders with Niger, have both stated they will not participate in any military operation.”


[i] For more on Burkina Faso’s relationship with Wagner and Russia, see: Jason Warner, “Russia-Supported Military Rulers in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea Continue To Deepen Ties,” OE Watch, 04-2023.; Jason Warner, “Burkina Faso Fights Terrorism With Recruits and Russia,” OE Watch, 02-2023.

Image Information:

Image: Mohamed Bazoum, the former president of Niger, was deposed by a military junta in July 2023.
Attribution: BY-SA 4.0

Algeria Seeks Non-Alignment by Preserving Russia Ties While Welcoming NATO Overtures

Algeria hosts final planning conference for joint Russian-Algerian exercise Desert Shield 2022.

Algeria hosts final planning conference for joint Russian-Algerian exercise Desert Shield 2022.

“Algeria clings to the principle of non-alignment.”

While Russia appears to be courting Algeria in a bid to reduce its isolation, Algeria is keeping its options open by engaging with both Russia and NATO member states. In January 2023, the Algerian government announced that President Abdelmadjid Tebboune would visit Moscow and meet with President Putin in May 2023.[i] At the May 2023 presidential summit, Russia is hoping to sign a new strategic cooperation partnership document with Algeria, if for no other reason than to make the case that Russia is not fully isolated and retains key strategic partnerships. In addition, Russia seeks to finalize a major weapons deal to show that its military export industry remains viable. The deal would be centered on the Su-57 [GRLCUT(1] stealth multirole fighter aircraft, according to the second article excerpt from the Russian-language news network RT Arabic and other news stories regularly recycled by Russian Arabic language media over the past year. Indeed, Russian expectations for the presidential summit are high, and its media and officials are going out of their way to flatter Algeria: as detailed in the first excerpted article, in an early February interview with RT Arabic, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that, in trying to turn Algeria against Russia using pressure, the West was “messing with the wrong guy.”

Algerian leadership, however, seems less enthusiastic about a singular deepening of relations with Russia: quite the opposite, judging by recent Algerian diplomatic activities. A week before the January announcement that he would visit Moscow in May, President Tebboune hosted Italy’s prime minister and discussed expanding bilateral trade, of which Algerian gas supplies to Europe via Italian pipelines are a centerpiece. Concurrently, Said Chengriha, the Chief of Staff of the Algerian armed forces, led a large delegation to Paris, where he was received by President Macron, met with several high-ranking military and government officials, and signed a security cooperation “roadmap” on his government’s behalf, as reported in the second accompanying excerpt from the Algerian monthly military journal El Djeich. Shortly after returning from Paris, Chengriha hosted U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) Commander Gen. Michael E. Langley, where he reiterated Algerian non-alignment and commitment to dealing “with many friendly countries,” including the United States, as reported in the third accompanying piece, a Facebook post from the Algerian Ministry of Defense. Algeria remains an appealing security partner for Russia, given its strategic location on NATO’s southern flank and the historical links between the Algerian and Soviet militaries; however, Algeria is unlikely to sacrifice its substantial commercial relations with Europe. Indeed, except for arms deals, Russian-Algerian trade remains negligible, and Europe’s embargo on Russian natural gas may ultimately benefit Algerian gas exports. Still, the fact that Algeria continues to value its partnership with Russia will force its government to carefully balance existing relations and new entreaties from both Russia and NATO countries. If Algiers continues to successfully navigate these competing pulls, its approach may well emerge as a model for other Arab countries seeking to do the same, most notably Saudi Arabia.


لافروف: الولايات المتحدة تحاول إملاء سياستها على الجزائر لكنها “هاجمت الشخص الخطأ”

(Lavrov: The United States is trying to impose its policy on Algeria, but it messed with the wrong guy),” RT Arabic (Russian Arabic-language media outlet), 1 February 2023.

In response to a question about whether Western pressures will affect the Algerian authorities’ policy towards Russia, he added, “We have a popular saying that says, ‘You messed with the wrong guy’. Algerians can’t be told what to do in this manner, you cannot expect them to comply with and implement directives that contradict their national interests based simply on a hand signal from across the ocean. Algeria, like most countries, is a country that respects itself, its history and its interests, and draws its policies on this basis.”

هل تحصل الجزائر على مقاتلة روسية تتبع 60 هدفا في وقت واحد؟

(Will Algeria obtain Russian jets that can simultaneously track 60 targets?),” RT Arabic (Russian Arabic-language media outlet), 1 February 2023.

Russian media reported that Algeria might become the first country to possess the fifth-generation Russian Su-57 fighters, as talks were held with Russia at the end of 2020. There is talk of at least 14 aircraft being involved, scheduled for delivery before 2030.

“Monsieur le général d’armée, Saïd Chanegriha, chef d’état-major de l’Armée nationale populaire, en visite officielle en France (Army General Saïd Chanegriha, Chief of Staff of the National People’s Army, on an official visit to France),” El Djeich (Algerian armed forces monthly magazine), February 2023.

The talks examined ways of strengthening military and security cooperation between the two countries. Subsequently, the meeting was formalized by the signing of a joint roadmap.

No title. Algerian Ministry of Defense Facebook Page, 8 February 2023.“I would like to emphasize on this occasion that Algeria clings to the principle of non-alignment, and jealously guards its history full of glories and heroism, as well as its independence and sovereign political decision-making. It interacts in a way that serves its own interests and deals with many friendly countries with which it has military and economic relations, such as the United States of America.”


[i] Although officially neutral vis-à-vis Ukraine, the Algerian government has been accused of aligning with Russia due to its abstention on UN votes condemning the Ukraine invasion and the extensive bilateral high-level security contacts that followed the invasion. The deepening partnership was to be bolstered by two much-anticipated late-2022 events: joint anti-terror exercises on Algerian soil in October (“Desert Shield 2022”), and the Algerian president’s Moscow visit, which was supposed to occur before the end of 2022. In the end, the exercises were unceremoniously called off at the last minute, and the 2022 presidential visit has now been rescheduled for May 2023, though a firm date has not been set. For added context see: Lucas Winter, “Algeria Caught Between Neutrality and Strategic Relations with Russia,” OE Watch, 5-2022.

Image Information:

Image: Algeria hosts final planning conference for joint Russian-
Algerian exercise Desert Shield 2022.
Attribution: CC BY-SA 4.0

Morocco and Algeria Strengthen UAV Capabilities With Imports From China, Turkey, and Israel

TAI Aksungur at Teknofest 2019.

TAI Aksungur at Teknofest 2019.

“Morocco issued a warning to Iran, which is accused of militarily supporting separatist and terrorist groups

Over the past year, both Algeria and Morocco have bolstered their unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capabilities by importing technology from China, Turkey and—in the case of Morocco—Israel.[i] As detailed in the first excerpted article, in October 2022, the Spanish news website OkDiario reported on a video showing a Chinese Wing Loong II UAV flying over Morocco, seemingly confirming that Morocco had acquired several of these platforms after expressing interest in them earlier this year. Also in October, as detailed in the second excerpted article, the independent Algeria-focused military news website Menadefense reported that Algeria, which has a Wing Loong II fleet of its own, had become the first export client for the Turkish TAI Aksungur long-range UAV, after signing a deal to acquire six units.

While China and Turkey appear willing to sell technology and deepen security cooperation with both Morocco and Algeria, Israeli-Moroccan cooperation has likely geopolitical implications given fears of Iranian and Russian meddling in the region.[ii] As shown in the third excerpted article, in September the Moroccan English-language news website Morocco World News reported that Morocco had acquired at least 150 small vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) unmanned aircraft from the Israeli firm BlueBird Aero Systems. The deal includes both the small WanderB model and a larger ThunderB model, as well as an agreement to build two UAV manufacturing plants in Morocco, the first of their kind. In the fourth excerpted article, in early October, as reported by the Moroccan news website Le360, an official from the Polisario Front, the Western Sahara independence movement that is supported by Algeria and opposed by Morocco, claimed that Sahrawi fighters would soon begin employing armed UAVs against Moroccan forces. These remarks prompted Morocco’s Foreign Minister to equate Polisario with Yemen’s Houthi Movement, accusing Iran of arming Polisario with Algerian complicity. Indeed, Moroccan accusations of Iranian support for Polisario are not new, as explained in the fifth article from the Qatari-aligned al-Araby al-Jadeed. While the accusations may have seemed fanciful four years ago, they seem less so now, given Israel’s quickly growing security footprint in Morocco and the fact that Algeria’s key security partner—Russia—is itself relying on Iranian military support in Ukraine.


Pelayo Barro. “Marruecos compra los drones militares chinos más modernos mientras España le regala 4×4 (Morocco buys the most advanced Chinese drones while Spain gifts it 4x4s),” OkDiario (Spanish news website), 2 October 2022.×4-9739842

The latest [Moroccan] acquisition has not been ignored by Spain’s military intelligence: new-generation strategic Chinese drones with air-ground attack capabilities and endurance of over 7,000 kilometers… Mohammed VI’s armed forces had previously eyed these drones – called Wing Loong II – and had even proposed acquiring them to replace a previous Chinese drone they had already employed in their war against the Polisario Front.

“L’Algérie achète des drones d’attaque Aksungur (Algeria purchases Aksungur attack drones),” Menadefense (independent Algeria-focused military news website), 7 October 2022.

The Algerian Air Force has ordered six Turkish MALE drones from TAI. They are the Aksungur, a larger, more modern, and better performing version than its Anka-S counterpart.

Aya Benazizi. “Morocco Purchases 150 Israeli Military Drones,” Morocco World News (Moroccan English-language news website), 22 September 2022.

Morocco has purchased 150 military drones of the WanderB and ThunderB types, manufactured by Israel’s BlueBird Aero Systems, a company specialized in designing and developing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) equipment…

The agreement concerned the construction of industrial units in Morocco for the manufacture of Israeli drones.

البوليساريو تعلن أن الجزائر ستمدها بطائرات “درون” إيرانية لمهاجمة المغرب

Mohammed Ould Boah. “Polisario announces that Algiera will provide it with Iranian drones to attack Morocco,” Le360 (Moroccan news website), 4 October 2022.

According to the so-called “interior minister” of the Polisario, the separatists have obtained military drones, which they will use in their attacks against Moroccan territory. In the face of this dangerous escalation, Morocco issued a warning to Iran, which is accused of militarily supporting separatist and terrorist groups.

إيران والمغرب: تشيّع وصواريخ ودرونز

Abdelhamid Ajmahiri. “Iran and Morocco: Shiization, missiles and drones,” al-Araby al-Jadeed (Qatari-aligned daily), 11 October 2022. Almost four years after accusing Tehran of handing the separatist Polisario Front advanced weapons – especially Strela surface-to-air missiles – last week Rabat accused Tehran of providing Polisario with drones… It is clear that relations between Rabat and Tehran have entered a bleak zone, now that the [Western Sahara] conflict has been resolved in favor of Moroccan national unity.


[i] See: Lucas Winter, “Morocco and Algeria Bolstering Their Drone Fleets as Bilateral Tensions Rise,” OE Watch, Issue 11, 2021; Lucas Winter, “Morocco Denys Conducting Drone Strike Against Algerian Targets in Western Sahara,” OE Watch, Issue 12, 2021; Lucas Winter, “China Arming Algeria To Fight Its ‘New Generation Wars’,” OE Watch, Issue 8, 2022. 

[ii] See: Lucas Winter, “Algeria Sees Threat from Morocco as Western Sahara Conflict Threatens To Reignite,” OE Watch, Issue 6, 2022; Lucas Winter, “Algeria Likely To Deepen Military Ties with Russia as Morocco–Israel Security Cooperation Expands,” OE Watch, Issue 9, 2022.

Image Information:

Image: TAI Aksungur at Teknofest 2019
Source: CeeGee (own work),
Attribution: CC 4.0

“Chronic Instability” Atop Algerian Military’s Foreign Intelligence and Security Directorate

President of the Democratic People's Republic of Algeria Abdelmadjid Tebboune (2021).

President of the Democratic People’s Republic of Algeria Abdelmadjid Tebboune (2021).

…a politico-military regime… which cuts off heads instead of questioning the structural reasons for its inadequacy.

The Algerian military seems plagued by internal rifts that negatively affect leadership and cohesion.  Some evidence of this can be found in what the widely read Moroccan news website Le360 characterizes as”chronic instability” atop Algeria’s foreign intelligence and security agency, the General Directorate of Documentation and External Security (DGDSE).  The Le360 article considers the instability atop DGDSE leadership as proof of a political-military regime that “cuts off heads instead of questioning the structural reasons for its inadequacy,” in ways that “destabilize both the officers and the troops.” 

In early September 2022, Major General M’henna Djebbar was appointed as director of the DGDSE, making him the fifth person to hold the position since current President Abdelmadjid Tebboune assumed office in December 2019.  The volatility is noteworthy, given that for approximately 25 years, from 1990 until 2015, Algerian intelligence services were controlled by a single man: Mohamed Mediene, also known as “Toufik.”  Since then, factional struggles within the military and between the military and intelligence services have led to sudden falls from grace within the DGDSE, as one-time powerbrokers have been dismissed, indicted, or imprisoned for being on the losing side of a factional battle.  Djebbar, who is a longtime associate of Mohamed Mediene, was briefly jailed in 2019-2020, during the purge led by then-chief of staff Ahmed Gaid Saleh, following the ouster of longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.  According to the accompanying excerpt from the France-based online news and analysis website Maghreb Intelligence, Djebbar has become a close ally to President Tebboune but is distrusted by Said Chengriha, the army’s current chief of staff. 

Major security challenges, including Libya’s civil war, Morocco’s annexation of the Western Sahara, and lawlessness in the Sahel are also likely to affect Algeria’s military performance.  Indeed, some recent DGDSE directors seem to have been appointed expressly to deal with the various crises of the moment.  The first head of the DGDSE in the Tebboune era, Major General Mohamed Bouzit, was a Libya specialist appointed in April 2020 at a time of growing Turkish influence in Libya.  After nine months on the job, he was dismissed and subsequently arrested on espionage charges. A report published at the time in the Africa-focused political weekly magazine Jeune Afrique argued that failure to curb Turkish influence in Libya was behind his fall.  His replacement, nicknamed “Polisario” due to his strong ties with leaders in the Western Sahara independence movement, was likely appointed to deal with Algerian concerns over growing international support for Moroccan claims on the Western Sahara. Domestically, the military-controlled Algerian government seems to be in a position of relative strength, having largely neutralized the protest movement that overthrew Bouteflika in 2019.  Algeria’s natural gas reserves and relatively stable relations with both Russia and Europe have yielded newfound geopolitical leverage in the shadow of war in Ukraine.  The Algerian military is strong on paper, thanks to substantial purchases of advanced Russian and Chinese weaponry in the past decade. Still, the chronic instability atop the DGDSE may be symptomatic of internal leadership and cohesion issues which, while not visible on the surface, should be considered when assessing Algeria’s military capabilities.


Mohammed Ould Boah. “Les non-dits des nouveaux changements  à la tête des services du renseignement algérien (What goes unsaid about new changes in the leadership of Algerian intelligence services),” Le360 (widely read Moroccan news website), 16 July 2022.

This chronic instability at the head of Algerian foreign intelligence is indicative of the improvisation, mistakes, even casting errors, of a politico-military regime visibly incapable of scoring points and which cuts off heads instead of questioning the structural reasons for its inadequacy. At this rate of purges, the Algerian army has become leaderless – in the sense of lacking a head. Decapitated, this army capsizes according to the news and thinks of reassuring the chain of command by changing commander each time. This destabilizes both the officers and the troops.

Ilyes Aribi. “Algérie: la cruelle désillusion des partisans du général M’henna Djebbar (Algeria: the cruel disillusion of General M’henna Djebbar’s supporters),” Maghreb Intelligence (French-based online news and analysis website), 20 July 2022.

In 2021, M’henna Djebbar convinces Tebboune to include him in his inner circle to consolidate his faltering presidential power… But since June 2022, M’henna Djebbar’s plans have been troubled by the strong comeback of his number one opponent: Said Chengriha, the head of the Algerian military institution, who has worked to slow down the rehabilitation of former generals from the 1990s, fearing their stranglehold on Algerian power.

“Algeria: Is the Russia-Turkey rivalry at the heart of the Bouzit affair?” Jeune Afrique (Africa-focused political weekly magazine), 24 September 2021.

Major General Mohamed Bouzit (aka Youcef ), the former head of Algerian foreign intelligence, was appointed in April 2020 and replaced in January 2021. He was placed in detention in the Blida military prison, 60km south of Algiers, following his arrest on 7 September 2021…

Bouzit… is accused of having left the field open for Turkey to extend its field of intervention in Libya by installing several military bases, among other things… [and] is suspected of having misled Algerian diplomacy and favouring Ankara’s Libyan interests…

Therefore, the Bouzit affair is just another episode in the clan struggle that dominates the Algerian political-military seraglio. This muted war is taking place between President Tebboune’s close advisors, Chengriha’s entourage and even generals from Ahmed Gaïd Salah’s former team, who are all prepared to ally themselves with one or another of the factions to avoid joining their comrades in prison.

Image Information:

Image:  President of the Democratic People’s Republic of Algeria Abdelmadjid Tebboune (2021)

Algerian Military Deepening Ties to Russia

“… [Israel Defense Forces’ Chief of Staff] Kochavi’s visit to Morocco resulted in a series of technical and strategic agreements between the two armies and the two governments.….”

Russian-Algerian security cooperation has not been dampened by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  Last March, a high-level Russian military delegation visited Algiers, where the two sides agreed to hold join anti-terror military exercises in southern Algeria this November (see “Algeria Caught Between Neutrality and Strategic Relations with Russia,” OE Watch, Issue 5, 2022).  Following a visit to Algiers in May, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke of “a new strategic cooperation document” that was being drafted to replace the 2001 agreement that currently guides Russian-Algerian relations.  In early June, the new director of Algeria’s Advanced Warfighting School led a group of officers on a tour of General Staff colleges in Russia (see “Algeria Inches Closer to Russia Amid Frosty Relations with Morocco and Spain,” OE Watch, Issue 7, 2022).  Also in May, as reported in the influential Saudi daily al-Sharq al-Awsat, a high-level Russian delegation led by Viktor Bondarev, the former head of the Russian Aerospace Forces who is now Chair of the Russian Federation Council’s Committee on Defense and Security, visited Algiers to discuss military cooperation and developments in Ukraine.  In late June, the general director of the Russian defense export entity Rosoboronexport visited Algeria, where he met with top military leadership. 

Despite other Algerian sentiment, the Algerian military seems likely to deepen military ties with Russia.  Over the past decade, Algeria has invested a substantial percentage of its GDP in new weapons purchases, particularly from Russia.  In recent months, high oil prices and new demand for natural gas in Europe have provided Algeria with a revenue windfall, parts of which will likely be channeled toward importing advanced weaponry.  Morocco, in turn, is set to boost its own military expenditures and capabilities through a blossoming relationship with Israel.  The Algerian-Moroccan arms race of the past decade is poised to intensify in the coming years, in the shadow of growing geopolitical tensions between Russia and the West.


“مسؤول روسي رفيع يبحث بالجزائر التعاون العسكري 

(High-level Russian official discusses military cooperation in Algeria),” al-Sharq al-Awsat (influential Saudi daily), 17 May 2022.

Yesterday, a senior official in the Russian Federation Council discussed with local Algerian officials the ongoing war in Ukraine, the development of military cooperation between the two countries, and the previously announced joint military exercises scheduled in the Algerian desert in November.

“Lieutenant General Said Chanegriha, Chief of Staff of the People’s National Army receives in audience the General Director of the Russian company Rosoboronexport, Mr. Alexandre Mikhaeev,” People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria Ministry of National Defence (Algerian Defense Ministry), 28 June 2022.

The Lieutenant General Saïd Chanegriha, Chief of Staff of the People’s National Army, received in audience, this Tuesday 28th June 2022, at the headquarters of the People’s National Army, the General Director of the Russian company Rosoboronexport, Mr. Alexandre Mikhaeev. 

Algerian Media Dismissive of Morocco-Israel Security Cooperation

IAI Harop UAV at Paris Air Show 2013.

IAI Harop UAV at Paris Air Show 2013.

“China controls 80 to 90 percent of global capacity. This is an extremely dominant position for a country at a time when everyone is trying to expand.”

Security cooperation between Morocco and Israel has expanded rapidly since the two countries formalized relations as part of the 2020 Abraham Accords.  As reported in the Saudi daily al-Sharq al-Awsat, the two militaries will institutionalize regular joint training and education programs.  In addition, Morocco has agreed to purchase Israeli weapons systems, including the BARAK MX Integrated Air & Missile Defense System, Heron unmanned aerial vehicles, and Harop loitering munitions[RG1] .  Seeking to bolster its domestic defense industry with Israeli know-how, Morocco is set to eventually manufacture Harop munitions domestically. 

Against this backdrop, Algerian media outlets have been dismissive of the extent to which deepening Israeli-Moroccan security links will shift the balance of military power in North Africa.  A recent opinion article in the Algerian daily El Chorouk interprets Moroccan outreach to Israel as a sign of desperation and insecurity within Morocco’s ruling elite, due to both regional strategic challenges and uncertainty over royal succession.  In this view, Israel is the only party willing to “rescue Morocco from Algeria’s military power,” something that in the author’s view it will not accomplish.  Algerian pundits may be dismissive of Morocco’s growing power, but Algerian military leaders are undoubtedly paying attention to the challenge of the Israel-Morocco security partnership. 


“كيف يستفيد المغرب من التجربة الإسرائيلية؟ 

(How does Morocco benefit from the Israeli experience?),” al-Sharq al-Awsat (influential Saudi daily), 22 July 2022.

Kochavi’s visit to Morocco resulted in a series of technical and strategic agreements between the two armies and the two governments. At the core of them is cooperation in various security fields, as well as an active and persistent exchange of experiences, including study exchanges and joint training of combat units throughout the year… Morocco also agreed to buy a set of [Harop kamikaze drones] and to start manufacturing them domestically…


“الصهاينة لنجدة المخزن ضدّ قوة الجزائر العسكرية

(Zionism to rescue the Makhzen from Algeria’s military force),” El Chorouk (Algerian daily), 9 August 2022.

As for its dispute with Algeria, it led Morocco to an accelerating arms race in which it was difficult to keep pace with its eastern neighbor, leaving it far behind due to the strength of the latter’s resources, in contrast to the scarcity of Moroccan resources… [Morocco] has found no refuge except in the Zionist entity, which cannot provide what Rabat is looking for.

Image Information:

Image: IAI Harop UAV at Paris Air Show 2013
Source: Julian Herzog,
Attribution: CC 4.0

China Arming Algeria To Fight Its “New Generation Wars”

Wing Loong II.

Wing Loong II.

“… For some time now, the leaders of the Algerian army have been constantly talking about the need to prepare for new forms of war, especially regarding virtual and electronic warfare, and the benefits of cybersecurity…”

Chinese weapons and technology continue to play a prominent role in meeting some of Algeria’s contemporary military needs, most notably unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).  Algeria operates several advanced Chinese platforms, including Wing Loong II and CH-4 drones.  Earlier this year, several media outlets reported that Algeria had placed an order for six Chinese CH-5 combat drones.  According to the Algeria-focused, military affairs website Menadefense, in late 2021 Algeria placed an order for four Chinese WJ-700 “Falcon” UAVs.  The WJ-700 is arguably China’s most capable export platform: a high-altitude, high-speed drone similar in design and performance to the MQ-9 Reaper. 

Algeria has also invested in Chinese-manufactured counter-UAV systems.  Some of these were on display at the recent armed forces’ military parade in Algiers, held on 5 July to mark the 60th anniversary of the country’s independence from France.  The parade included a recently acquired, integrated Chinese electronic warfare (EW) system that social media observers specialized in Algerian military affairs called “a CEW-03A mobile EW system,” although it has also been referred to as a LDK-190 and CHL-906 system (see “Algeria Obtains Chinese Integrated EW Reconnaissance/Jamming System,” OE Watch, Issue 2, 2022).  The Independence Day parade also featured two self-propelled Chinese radar systems—the JY-11B array radar and a DWL-002 passive detection radar.  As noted in the accompanying excerpt from the Qatar-aligned daily al-Araby al-Jadeed, Algerian military leaders have repeatedly mentioned fighting “new generation wars” as a top priority, with EW highlighted as a principal area of focus. High-tech EW platforms were not the only type of Chinese weapons on display at Algeria’s Independence Day parade.  As noted by the military news website 21st Century Asian Arms Race, marching infantry soldiers were seen carrying old Type 56 Chinese assault rifles, which the Algerian military has been producing domestically for many years.  The juxtaposition of advanced UAVs and EW systems, on the one hand, and inexpensive, outdated assault rifles on the other, may hint at the Algerian military’s priorities.  The fact that they are all of Chinese origin serves as a reminder that the evolving Chinese-Algerian military relationship is rooted in historical ties that go back decades.  Chinese technology seems likely to play an increasingly important role in helping Algerian forces prepare for the type of wars its leaders foresee across the horizon.


“l’Algérie commande quatre drones HAL de combat à la Chine (Algeria orders four HAL combat drones from China),” MenaDefense (non-governmental website focusing on Algerian military affairs), 24 January 2022.

It turns out that Algeria is the mysterious customer who bought the Chinese high-altitude/high-speed WJ-700 combat drone.  The signing of the contract was announced on December 21, 2021.

Source: @nuwangzi, Twitter, 5 July 2022. #Algeria #EW First clear image of the CEW-03A in Algeria – A Chinese Mobile 6×6 truck EW system. 

Source: @kmldial70, Twitter, 4 July 2022. jy-11b radar, dwl 002 passive detection radar system, #Algerian #AirDefense #Algeria #AlgerianArmy #MilitaryParade.

Source: @kad_ghani, Twitter, 4 July 2022. Chinese CETC Self-Propelled JY-11B 3D Electronically Scanned Array Radar Hunter-1 makes his first appearance with the Algerian Army.


 ”حديث متوالٍ عن الحروب الجديدة لدى الجيش الجزائري

(Continuous talk about the Algerian army’s new wars),” al-Araby al-Jadeed (Qatari-aligned daily), 2 July 2022.

For some time now, the leaders of the Algerian army have been constantly talking about the need to prepare for new forms of war, especially regarding virtual and electronic warfare, and the benefits of cybersecurity.

Source: “Cheap Chinese Assault Rifles Are Made In Algeria,” 21st Century Asian Arms Race (military news website), 7 July 2022.

… during a recent military parade to mark 60 years since independence it became apparent its soldiers are issued with the most basic, even completely outdated, assault rifle supplied by China. It turns out a state-owned factory called the Mechanical Construction Establishment of Khenchela has been mass-producing Type 56 and Type 56-1 assault rifles since the 1990s.

Image Information:

Image:  Wing Loong II
Source: Photo by Mztourist,
Attribution: CC 4.0

Algeria Inches Closer to Russia Amid Frosty Relations with Morocco and Spain

Ville de Tindouf مدينة تندوف.

Ville de Tindouf مدينة تندوف.

“…Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that relations between Russia and Algeria are reaching a new level…”

In need of allies and with deteriorating relations with neighbors, Algeria’s relations with Russia are firm and potentially deepening following multiple military-diplomatic visits from Russia.  Russia-Algeria links “are reaching a new level,” according to statements Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently made to the Russian media outlet RT Arabic.  A new strategic cooperation document is being drafted to replace the 2001 agreement that currently guides bilateral relations.  According to the excerpted article from influential Saudi daily al-Sharq al-Awsat, Algeria plans to hold joint military exercises with Russia in November.  In early June, the new director of Algeria’s Advanced Warfighting School led a group of officers on a tour of General Staff colleges in Russia.  Deepening Russian-Algerian relations may reflect an emerging strategic alignment that could turn the western Mediterranean into a new flashpoint in the brewing conflict between Russia and NATO.

This is all against the backdrop of Algeria’s perceived threats from Morocco and Spain.  Both Algeria and Morocco have taken steps to reinforce military presence along their shared border in recent months.  Earlier this year, the Moroccan military established a new “eastern military zone” along its border with Algeria.  More recently, as reported in the Qatari-aligned al-Araby al-Jadid, the Algerian military conducted nighttime joint maneuvers and set up a new base near the oasis town of Tindouf, where the borders of Algeria, Morocco and the disputed Western Sahara converge.  Tindouf is home to the largest concentration of Western Saharan (Sahrawi) refugees, and a key center of gravity for the Polisario Front, Western Sahara’s pro-independence movement. 

In early June, Algeria downgraded its political relations with Spain in response to Spanish recognition of Moroccan claims on the Western Sahara earlier this year.  The Algerian government is threatening a near-total trade embargo with Spain, from which only natural gas exports would be excepted.  It has also threatened to shut off the remaining pipeline that carries Algerian gas to Spain.  Stopping the flow of Algerian gas to Spain would leave Italy as the only European country with pipelines bringing in Algerian natural gas.  Algeria’s diplomatic rupture with Spain also includes suspending cooperation on migration.  Given the Ukraine-related pressures on the EU’s eastern borders, increased immigration and decreased gas flows along Europe’s southern borders would undoubtedly put substantial strain on the European Union’s social and political order.


“لافروف: علاقاتنا مع الجزائر تصل إلى مستوى جديد

(Lavrov: Our relations with Algeria have reached a new level),” RT Arabic (Russian Arabic-language news site), 26 May 2022.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that relations between Russia and Algeria are reaching a new level. He also emphasized the need to formalize them in a new document, the preparation of which is underway.


“الجيش الجزائري ينفذ مناورات تحاكي قتالاً ليلياً قرب الحدود مع المغرب

(The Algerian army carries out maneuvers simulating night combat near the border with Morocc”),” al-Araby al-Jadid (Qatari-aligned daily), 7 June 2022.

The Algerian army conduct nighttime military maneuvers with live ammunition. The exercises included various units and weapons, and the intensive use of missiles, rocket launchers and aircraft. They took place in the Tindouf region, which lies directly on the border with Morocco, not far from the disputed Sahara region between Rabat and t“e “Polisario Fro”t,” and coincided with the opening of a military base in the area.


“مسؤول روسي رفيع يبحث بالجزائر التعاون العسكري

(High-level Russian official discusses military cooperation in Algeri”),” al-Sharq al-Awsat (influential Saudi daily), 17 May 2022.

A senior official in the Russian Federation Council held discussion with Algerian officials yesterday regarding the ongoing war in Ukraine, the development of military cooperation between the two countries, and the previously announced joint military exercises, scheduled for next November in the Algerian desert.

Source:“”Students of Algerian Armed Forces Advanced Warfighting School visit Defence Universi”y,” Republic of Serbia Ministry of Defense, 6 June 2022.

Students attending the Algerian Peo’le’s National Armed Forces Advanced Warfighting School have visited the Defence University in Belgrade today, thus starting their study tour of the Republic of Serbia which will last for several days.

Image Information:

Image:  Ville de Tindouf مدينة تندوف
Source: Photo by Habib kaki via Wikimedia Commons,تندوف.jpg
Attribution: CC 1.0.,

Algeria Sees Threat from Morocco as Western Sahara Conflict Threatens To Reignite

Morocco from space.

Morocco from space.

“…Algeria strongly condemns the targeted assassinations by the Kingdom of Morocco using advanced military weapons outside of its internationally recognized borders…”

The long-frozen dispute over the Western Sahara, in which Morocco claims sovereignty over the territory and Algeria supports the Polisario Front’s independence aspirations, continues to thaw amid sporadic military activity.  The latest incident occurred in early April, when a Moroccan UAV purportedly struck a convoy near the border between Mauritania and the Western Sahara. There are conflicting reports of what happened.  The Algerian government, through its foreign affairs ministry, called it “a targeted assassination” carried out by Morocco outside of its internationally recognized borders.  The Qatari-aligned daily al-Araby al-Jadid cites a source that claimed a Moroccan drone had fired eight missiles at two Algerian trucks that had delivered their commercial cargo in Mauritania and were returning to the Algerian city of Tindouf.  The Moroccan government did not comment on the matter, but according to the Facebook page of the quasi-official Moroccan military chat forum FAR Maroc, Moroccan authorities had conveyed to the UN that 10 trucks transporting weapons and ammunition were struck within territory that the Polisario Front controls.  It added that Polisario had prevented UN forces from accessing the site for 72 hours, during which the group altered the scene to make it appear as if the missiles struck a civilian convoy. The Algerian military’s main articulated concern vis-à-vis Morocco are not UAVs, but rather the broader threat of “new generation warfare.”  In a speech immediately following the incident described above, Saïd Chengriha, Chief of Staff of the Algerian military, emphasized the importance of maintaining national cohesion amid external attempts to sow discord through misinformation and influence campaigns.  Chengriha has stated on more than one occasion that the key battle for Algeria’s youth is a battle of conscience, “in which new and unconventional weapons are used, and which uses virtual space as its theater of operations, in an attempt to manipulate opinions, especially young people.” 


Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Twitter account, @Algeria_MFA, 12 April 2022.

Algeria strongly condemns the targeted assassinations by the Kingdom of Morocco using advanced military weapons outside of its internationally recognized borders against innocent civilians from three countries of the region.


“قصف جديد لشاحنات جزائرية في الصحراء قرب الحدود الموريتانية

(New attack on Algerian trucks in the Sahara near the Mauritanian border),” al-Araby al-Jadid (Qatari-aligned daily), 10 April 2022.

Local sources told al-Araby al-Jadid that Moroccan drones fired eight missiles at two Algerian trucks, which caused their destruction and the injury of more than two people. They added that the two trucks had unloaded their cargo in Mauritania and were on their way back to the city of Tindouf, in southern Algeria.

Source: FAR Maroc (quasi-official Moroccan military news forum), Facebook page (Arabic), 21 April 2022.

Regarding the Bir Lahlu operation on April 10, the [UN] mission confirmed that Morocco had informed that it targeted, in a specific operation, about 10 trucks and vehicles loaded with ammunition and weapons targeting the security of Morocco. However, the Polisario prevented members of the mission from inspecting the site for 72 hours, after which they found only two trucks and a vehicle. It also monitored the presence of another operation near the location of the two trucks, confirming that Polisario had manipulated the scene to prove its allegation that Morocco had targeted civilians.

Source: “Les nouveaux défis exigent la consolidation du front interne,” Algeria Press Service (Algerian oficial news agency), 8 May 2022.

According to El Djeich, “the various challenges which Algeria is currently facing, and which it will have to take up in the future, have led the High Command of the People’s National Army (ANP)… to carry out a vast program of modernization and capacity-renewal of the ANP battle corps and its implementation on the ground, in order to achieve a high level of competence at all levels and therefore operational availability”

… “The real battle that our young people must win today is essentially a battle of conscience, Lieutenant General Saïd Chengriha has said on numerous occasions,” per the Editorial. “It is a battle in which new and unconventional weapons are used, and which uses virtual space as its theater of operations, in an attempt to manipulate opinions, especially young people…”

Image Information:

Image:  Morocco from space
Source: NASA,]  
Attribution: Public Domain