Algeria has sought to demonstrate its military power through a series of land and air military manoeuvres conducted by the Algerian army in the Tindouf border area. This is a clear warning to its neighbour Morocco, as it comes amidst an escalation of tension in Western Sahara following the Guerguerat crisis and the return of the Polisario Front to armed action.
The head of the Algerian army, General Said Chengriha, paid a visit to the third military region of Bechar. During this visit Chengriha presided over a tactical exercise using live ammunition, christened "Al-Hazm 2021", near the border with Morocco.
The general also stressed that Algeria "deserves its army to be constantly up to the challenges it faces today, and to remain eternally free, sovereign and tenacious in the face of the enemies of yesterday and today. ".
For its part, the Algerian Ministry of National Defence explained that these military manoeuvres, which were carried out using live ammunition and broadcast for 15 minutes on Algerian public television, "form part of the evaluation of the first phase of the programme of preparation for combat for the year 2020-2021".
The military manoeuvres coincided with the presence of Russian military naval units in Algeria. These naval units consisted of a frigate, a locomotive and a refuelling ship. According to the defence ministry, they 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 knowledge between our naval forces and the Russian navy".
Morocco and Algeria are engaged in a constant power struggle over Western Sahara. Although the option of open warfare seems fairly distant owing to the huge inequality in armaments between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front, the African country has not wanted to miss the opportunity to show off its military capabilities.