France prepares to arm the Algerian regime

And suddenly, a red lamp began to flash over the entire Maghreb region. What was envisaged as a mere school hypothesis suddenly became a conceivable reality.

Direct or proxy warfare. And for good reason. An ultra-militarized country like Algeria, whose doctrine of existence and survival is permanent tension and the threat of war, has approached France, a European power, to acquire modern weapons. A leap into the unknown that plunges the Maghreb region into the great black hole.

The visit of the head of the Algerian army, Said Chengriha, to Paris is an unprecedented event for many years. It intervenes in a context that concerns all the countries of the Mediterranean.

Under the cover of coming to prepare the next visit of the Algerian President, Abdelmajid Tebboune, to France, which is already a diplomatic oddity, Said Chengriha came to Paris to try to develop a military partnership with France through the signing of gigantic contracts arms, a historic first between France and its former colony, Algeria.

This military rapprochement between Paris and Algiers raises a lot of questions and concerns. The pedigree of Said Chengriha, his fiery and arsonist personality adds regional anguish to this new page which is being written between Algiers and Paris. The head of the Algerian army is an assumed warmonger who perceives Morocco as a classic enemy.

Its desire to acquire French armament, more modern and more sophisticated than the Russian arsenal which has demonstrated its limits on the Ukrainian war field, is a dangerous turning point in the regional balance of power. Because if Morocco arms itself, it is with the sole objective of defending its territory, whereas if Algeria chooses this military escalation, it is with the undisguised intention of attacking other countries, including its neighbor Moroccan.

This aggressive reality of the soldiers of Algiers, Paris knows it better than anyone. And yet Emmanuel Macron agrees to make available to them the flagship of his arsenal.

French diplomacy can cite several reasons behind this choice. The first is to take advantage of the Algerian military cake whose budget has been dramatically increased to allow the Algerians to display their forces in front of the countries of the region. Knowing that under American pressure, the Algerians are obliged to diversify the purchases of their armaments so as not to be accused of financing the Russian war machine in Ukraine, France has positioned itself to pick this fruit.

Except that this French opening on the Algerian war market is not without risk and can encourage escalation and increased regional tension. The weapons that the Algerians will acquire in Paris will no doubt be shared with their instrument of war against Morocco, the Polisario.

In this specific context, attention is fixed on the Algerian possibilities of buying drones on the French market that Said Chengriha, driven by his desire to do battle with Morocco, will be able to make available to the separatists of the Polisario. There is a precedent in this rise in power, it is the Algerian will to obtain Iranian drones to inject them into the arsenal of the Polisario.

By signing arms agreements with Said Chengriha, Paris cannot ignore the fact that it is helping to create the conditions for unprecedented tension that could go as far as a regional explosion. Unless we think that the French could impose strict conditions on the use of their armament on the Algerians, as the Germans had done against Poland in the case of the Leopard 2 war tanks, it is clear that this visit of Said Chengriha in Paris contributes to increasing the threats on the region of the Maghreb and to favor the conditions of an increased tension.

Paris will always be able to argue that its military alliance with Algiers aims primarily to compensate for its forced withdrawal from the Sahel countries, as the positioning of Mali and Burkina Faso recently showed. But there is a form of naivety in believing that the soldiers of Algiers will fulfill the mission of the French in this region. Because that supposes a direct confrontation with the Russian paramilitary forces of Wagner. Which is unimaginable in the current context and which would be perceived by Moscow and Vladimir Putin as a declaration of Algerian war.

Moreover, if the Wagners were able to spread with some success in the countries of the Sahel bordering Algeria, it is partly thanks to the support of the Algerian soldiers who were only fulfilling part of their military partnership with Moscow.

During his visit to Paris, Said Chengriha was received by President Emmanuel Macron. Strangely, no image, no photo has filtered from their meeting. As if there was a French will not to publicize a meeting with an Algerian personality accused of war crimes and other atrocities in Algeria.

But rolling out the red carpet for him, responding to his requests for arms is equivalent for French and Algerian opinion to clearing him of all charges and to making people forget his criminal record as a war criminal and drug and arms trafficker.

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