Abdelmadjid Tebboune flexed his military muscles amid rising regional tensions. The Algerian president supervised, for the first time, the implementation of a tactical exercise with live ammunition in the “Al-Fajr 2023” maneuvers, which were carried out in Djelfa, south of the capital, within the framework of the armed forces’ preparation program.
The Chief of the General Staff, Saeed Chenegriha, received Tebboune at the shooting range, almost a month after the two chaired the Supreme Security Council, which expected great risks in a military escalation with Morocco.
• Rare participation… elite forces #Algeria 🇩🇿 Private participates in the Fajr 2023 exercise and excels in front of the president
➖ Elements of the 104e RMO regiment participated in full equipment and carried out various tasks
➖And once again, thanks to those who covered this exercise, which showed the real level of the members of the Directorate of Information and Communication.
Good luck, God willing pic.twitter.com/Usq5p2OnEP
— HALIM | Halim (@shadowh55543098) June 25, 2023
Warmongering rhetoric was the order of the day. For Tebboune, Algeria “is not a source of threat to anyone,” but “it is no secret that gaining strength is one of our priorities to protect our sovereignty from attempts to threaten stability in our region.” He did not refer to any specific threat, but it is not the first time that the Algerian regime has avoided mentioning Morocco in its speech in a message addressed directly to its neighbor and main rival in the region.
At the conclusion of the exercises, Tebboune said, “The regional contexts increase our determination to modernize and monitor our defense system and equipment to keep pace with advanced technologies and control their technologies, with the aim of protecting our security and vital national interests.”
The same security risks with which he justified the largest defense budget item since the country’s independence: more than $23 billion in an endless arms race.
Russia is Algeria’s main arms supplier. Tebboune’s rush to build up the bulk of his army coincides with Moscow’s biggest military adventure in decades: its invasion of Ukraine. Over sixteen months into the Russian invasion, the Kremlin’s top priority has been to ensure its military readiness using the most advanced technology.
In the recent meeting between Abdelmadjid Tebboune and Vladimir Putin in Moscow, the two leaders signed a contract according to which Russia would provide Algeria with military materials worth between 12 thousand and 17 thousand million dollars.
In his speech regarding the “Dawn 2023” maneuvers, Tebboune stressed the need to modernize the entire army to give an appropriate response to any “threat.” Algeria spends 15% of its GDP since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The arms race between Morocco and Algeria has strained relations in the Maghreb region, after Tebboune cut ties with Rabat in August 2021.