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Algeria holds military exercises using live ammunition on borders with Morocco, Western Sahara

Algerian military members in Oran, Algeria on 16 December 2020 [Mousaab Rouibi/Anadolu Agency]
Algerian military members in Oran, Algeria on 16 December 2020 [Mousaab Rouibi/Anadolu Agency]

On Monday, Algerian television broadcast scenes of massive land and air military manoeuvres performed by the Algerian army at the Tindouf border area adjacent to Morocco and Western Sahara, under the supervision of Chief of Staff Said Chengriha.

Al-Hazm 2021 manoeuvres took place on the second day of the chief of staff's visit to the area to inspect the readiness of military units and upgrade the combat capabilities of the forces stationed on the country's western borders.

The Algerian Ministry of National Defence said that these military exercises, which were carried out using live ammunition and were broadcast for 15 minutes on Algerian public television, "are part of the evaluation of the first phase of the combat readiness programme for the year 2020-2021."

The ministry indicated that the manoeuvres aim at ensuring "the improvement and upgrading of operational performance and combat skills for all the army's formations and components, in order to raise the level of troops readiness to meet all potential challenges."

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In a speech delivered by the chief of staff of the Algerian armed forces on the occasion of these military operations, he said that his country "deserves that its army remains always in line with the challenges that are strongly present today, and deserves to remain forever, free, sovereign and resilient in the face of the enemies of the past and the present."

The Algerian Ministry of Defence said that these military exercises had been conducted "with great professionalism in all stages and at a high tactical and operational level."

The military exercises coincided with the presence of Russian military naval units in Algiers, consisting of a frigate, a locomotive and a refuelling ship, which, according to the defence ministry, were on a technical stop for a period of three days as part of "the military cooperation activities between the two countries in the field of defence in order to strengthen the exchange of expertise between our naval forces and the Russian Navy."

Algerian Army Chief of Staff Said Chengriha said Sunday upon his arrival in Tindouf that "all hostile plans" and "vile schemes will fail today and tomorrow."

These manoeuvres come in light of the escalating tension in this part of North Africa after the Guerguerat crisis in Western Sahara and the return of the Polisario Front to armed action against Morocco, which it considers a colonial power occupying its lands.

As well as this is the establishment of official relations between Rabat and Tel Aviv in exchange for Washington's recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, which constitutes a violation of international law and UN resolutions.

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