Algeria/Mali: best equipped army in Africa conducting impressive military exercise, be careful…


Mali is undeniably a critical component of Algeria’s economic strategy, notably through the establishment of free zones that Algiers has been setting up with its neighbours. Nevertheless, diplomatic disputes require to be addressed, with tensions escalating since the Malian military junta chose to cancel the Algiers Accords at the end of last January. These accords, signed in 2015, sought to establish peace with the northern rebels. For Algerian authorities, managing the dispute with Bamako implicates showing the strength of the People’s National Army (ANP) to maintain both the Malian authorities and all jihadist groups in the region at bay. On Wednesday, February 28, the ANP conducted a significant military manoeuvre on the border with Mali.

This extensive “tactical exercise with live ammunition,” named “Hoggar Storm 2024,” took place in Tamanrasset, within the 6th Military Region (Bordj Badji Mokhtar operational sector), under the supervision of the ANP Chief of Staff, General Saïd Chanegriha. The exercise featured live ammunition attacks…

Additionally, the exercise concerned”an air landing operation operating Special Forces helicopters” and a parachute operation “into the depths of the defences of a non-conventional enemy,” explicitly targeting the terrorists active in the area. According to the Ministry of Defense’s press release, “These combat actions bear witness to the high professionalism and advanced level of training and fight preparation of the various ANP units.”

Although the exercise happened several hundred kilometers from the Mali border (precisely 665 km), the important media coverage it received suggests it was planned as a message to both the Malian junta and jihadist cells, including the JNIM (Support Group for Islam and Muslims), which frequently operate in the area. The ANP, being the best-equipped army on the African continent, showcased its capabilities.

Algiers’ dedication to Mali, akin to ECOWAS’s stance, is seen as a long-term investment, recognizing that Colonel Assimi Goïta’s reign is not indefinite. Despite the coup leaders dodging elections and the transition of power to civilians since the 2000 coup, Algeria is hopeful that civil society will encourage a move away from military rule. This is evidenced by the installation of the “Synergy of Action for Mali” coalition by approximately thirty opposition parties and civil society organizations, aiming to expedite the departure of the putschists.

With the eventual restoration of constitutional order, Algeria strives to become a leading trading partner with Mali, similar to its efforts in Mauritania. Algiers is embracing a broad and forward-looking approach, understanding that military strength alone is insufficient. A comprehensive political and economic strategy is essential for securing its interests. In this regard, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s leadership of the APRM (African Peer Review Mechanism) marks a positive start.


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