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Algeria Sources Predict Dramatic Army, Intelligence Shake Up

Algeria Sources Predict Dramatic Army, Intelligence Shake Up

Thursday, 23 August, 2018 - 11:15
Algerian soldiers and citizens walk in Boufarik, about 30Kms south of the capital Algiers, Algeria, April 11, 2018. Getty Images

The Algerian presidency is preparing for significant changes pertaining to army and intelligence personnel following anti-corruption judicial proceedings which have led to the dismissal of civil servants, Algerian sources said.

“The presidency is in the process of dismissing Major General Saeed Shankarijah, commander of the third military zone (southwest of the country near the Moroccan border) and Colonel Kamal Bin Mouldi,” an official source told Asharq Al-Awsat under the condition of anonymity.

Listing more names up for forced resignation, the source said that the information has not yet been communicated to Algerian media and is expected be made through official announcement in coming days.

Mouldi is in charge of the military security in the capital, and Maj. Gen. Mohammad Tirash, also facing termination of duty, is the director of a central military security center in the Defense Ministry.

Tirash has a mission to monitor the behavior of army officers during service and normal life.

Ground Forces Commander Maj. Gen. Ahsan Tafer was also removed.

According to the same source, these changes were proposed by Chief of Staff of the People's National Army Ahmed Gaid Salah and submitted to the presidency, which later gave it the green light for the fires.

The source pointed to “the great trust shared between Saleh and President Abdelaziz Bouteflika,” which made the army and intelligence reshuffle a lot easier.

More so, the source noted that the process began five years ago and is primarily orchestrated by Bouteflika, 81, and 78-year-old Saleh.

The path of reshuffling in the security and military apparatus began in 2013, the source specified.

Notably, changes have not been officially announced, and have only been leaked.

Observers disagree on the interpretation of the reshuffle.

Some believe it is to further consolidate the powers of Saleh and Bouteflika by placing pure loyalists in power.

"The rebalancing is aimed at prolonging the life of the regime, not anything else," said the outspoken anti-regime surgeon Salahuddin Sidhom.

For his part, political science professor and military expert Qawwi Bouhaniyeh said it is wrong to consider the changes a reflection of tension between the army and the presidency.

“State institutions have never been as much in harmony as they are today,” Bouhaniyeh added.

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