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Algeria

Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaïd Salah

Date of Birth: 13 January 1940
Place of Birth: Batna


Displaying 1-10 out of 32 results.

Deep State in plain sight

The officer who signed off on his removal Lieutenant-General Ahmed Gaïd Salah himself died in December 2019 but his successor from the gerontocracy 76-year-old Major-General Saïd Chengriha has been accumulating power (AC Vol 61 No 2 Desperately seeking legitimacy)...


Spy chiefs on manoeuvres

A power vacuum remains following the death in December 2019 of army Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Ahmed Gaïd Salah (AC Vol 61 No 2 Desperately seeking legitimacy)...

His successor Major-General Saïd Chengriha is powerful but not to the extent of Gaïd Salah or the most feared security strongman of all the now retired Mohammed 'Tewfik' Medienne...

Two days later the officer who had driven Gaïd Salah's plans to make the Algerian military an Egypt-style industrial power Major-General Rachid Chouaki was detained by the military tribunal in Blida (AC Vol 60 No 22 Two visions lock horns)...

Despite the incentive to toe the line of a Tebboune-Chengriha axis that this might suggest relatively open jockeying for position – and plotting – continues involving officers who felt marginalised by Gaïd Salah and Chengriha...


In intensive care

And when the army Chief of Staff who threatened to dominate Tebboune Lieutenant-General Ahmed Gaïd Salah then died suddenly it seemed that Algeria's sclerotic political system could finally be rejuvenated (AC Vol 61 No 2 Desperately seeking legitimacy)...


Which way is Tebboune facing?

Graft driveIn recent weeks the government has taken concerted action taken against the business-minded children and relations of the former elite including the family of late military strongman Lt Gen Ahmed Gaïd Salah...

The president's alliance with Saïd Chengriha – whom he confirmed as army chief of staff after Gaïd Salah's death – offers a potentially unprecedented opportunity for Tebboune to build his power base...


Locking down the system

Politics continued during the lockdown including corruption trials in civilian and military courts of oligarchs and other members of the ancien régime including key allies of late military strongman Lt Gen Ahmed Gaïd Salah as well as such fallen luminaries of Bouteflika's rule as ex-premiers Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal and business moguls close to Saïd Bouteflika led by Ali Haddad...

Le pouvoir ('the powers that be') has reorganised to fill the vacuum after Bouteflika and Gaïd Salah (AC Vol 60 No 17 Waiting on the general)...

Many senior officers are in prison where ex-Direction centrale de la sécurité de l'Armée head Athmane Benmiloud has been charged with plotting against senior officers during the Gaïd Salah leadership; he complained of 'psychiatric problems' – a defence thrown out by a military judge...


Territorial armies

In the new constellation of power in Algiers several sources say that the late military strongman Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaïd Salah's successor Major General Saïd Chengriha has control of key security portfolios including the Sahara rather than new civilian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune...


Desperately seeking legitimacy

The sudden death on 23 December of military strongman Lieutenant-General Ahmed Gaïd Salah may prove more significant for Algeria's future than the election on 12 December of a civilian president former Prime Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune...

Urged on by El Hirak the protest movement that has dominated Algerian public life since February 2019 Tebboune could yet live up to his claim to be a reforming leader now that he is free of Gaïd Salah's micro-managing tendencies...

Whether Gaïd Salah's coronary was fact or fiction is unconfirmed; but the fact there are doubts about the corpulent career-soldier's demise speaks volumes for the shadowy world of Algerian politics...

Generals splitDivisions at the top were already apparent during the election campaign when a number of generals broke ranks to back an outsider candidate Azzedine Mihoubi while Gaïd Salah and his most senior aides Land Army Commander Maj...

Some ministers retained in government were identified with Gaïd Salah such as Belkacem Zeghmati at Justice...


First among unequals

Tebboune's links with army chief of staff Lieutenant-General Ahmed Gaïd Salah garnered El Hirak derision but he has a residual 'Mr Clean' reputation gained during his brief spell as PM in 2017...

He will have to prove that what in 2017 seemed like a bold anti-corruption campaign targeting the Bouteflika clan wasn't just evidence of Gaïd Salah driving elite in-fighting to a new level which eventually drove Abdelaziz Bouteflika from office (AC Vol 58 No 17 The state stays captured)...


Two visions lock horns

However despite putting possibly the largest number of anti-regime marchers on the street yet the de facto leader of le pouvoir ('the powers-that-be') Vice Minister of Defence and Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaïd Salah doggedly clings to power...

For Gaïd Salah the 1 November celebrations signalled that solemn events marking the Front de libération nationale's (FLN) revolution could take place unmolested...

Tebboune's candidacy may be linked to his long relationship with Gaïd Salah – which may also have lain behind his 2017 assault on corruption linked to the Bouteflikas...

Gaïd Salah's strategy may be to maintain this vacuum for as long as possible keeping El Hirak weak and diffuse by arresting hundreds...

The business interests of Gaïd Salah and his family and allies are said to be fuelling his limpet-like determination to remain in power and make as few concessions to El Hirak as possible so as to maintain the old elite's grip on the economy (AC Vol 60 No 17 Waiting on the general)...

Critical to the outcome of the stand-off between Gaïd Salah and El Hirak will be the movement's ability to maintain momentum and to provide a leadership that can hammer out a deal with le pouvoir...

But now Vice Minister of Defence and Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaïd Salah has been muscling out Saïd Bouteflika's oligarch allies and is giving the military potentially even greater control over industry...

Gaïd Salah has been personally involved in the creation of specialist MND companies such as the Entreprise de Développement de l'Industrie Automobile (EDIV)...

Local critics point to a more occult side to these deals overseen by the MND's director of military manufacturing Major General Rachid Chouaki who answers directly to Gaïd Salah...

Gaïd Salah cut the ribbon when the Tiaret plant opened in October 2014...

Allegations of malfeasance in the MND portfolio are unproven but Gaïd Salah and other generals should watch out as the opposition presents even more reasons for them to give up power...

With Gaïd Salah's faction showing no sign of giving up power these plans can be expected to gain momentum...


Waiting on the general

It seems a very long time since Algeria-watchers questioned whether a political beast with ambitions to control the military/security establishment and its 'deep state' structures – known in Algeria as le pouvoir ('the powers-that-be') – was lying within the unlikely figure of Deputy Defence Minister and Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaïd Salah...

In the months since February security force décideurs have been toppled along with ex-President Abdelaziz Bouteflika his omnipresent brother Saïd Bouteflika four-time premier Ahmed Ouyahia and a number of crony business kingpins yet Gaïd Salah has not only retained control of the army but has been calling the shots within the interim government and an empowered judiciary (AC Vol 60 No 7 Protests flush out the old guard & Vol 60 No 13 Rounding up unusual suspects)...

Gaïd Salah's departure is a central demand of Hirak (The Movement) protesters who have filled the streets every Friday since 22 February...

Instead Gaïd Salah has moved centre-stage leading a social media activist to comment on the eve of the Algerian national football team's first African Cup of Nations (Afcon) final for 27 years that the result could be 'critical for the general's future… If we lose the crowd could finally lose its commitment to peaceful protest and turn on the General'...

The army was not deployed to control any backlash as Hirak has largely stuck to its impressive non-violent stance; indeed an attempt to intimidate protesters by organising army live-fire exercises rebounded and Gaïd Salah quickly learned to move more cautiously...

Efforts to involve the former ruling Front de libération nationale (FLN) and Rassemblement national démocratique (RND) parties have won demonstrators' scorn; in recent weeks that dialogue's coordinator Parliament Speaker Karim Younes has been almost as vilified in popular chants as Gaïd Salah himself...

Salah's biddingMany believe Gaïd Salah is pulling the strings...

'They know Gaïd Salah is the one with power at present so they will do his bidding ' commented once close observer...

With so little settled for the long-term Gaïd Salah's position is powerful but potentially vulnerable...

Gaïd Salah is well aware that his rival former military security chief Major General Mohammed 'Tewfik' Medienne kept files on such issues; indeed the chief-of-staff has seized many of them (AC Vol 60 No 7 Protests flush out the old guard)...

To shore up his position Gaïd Salah loyalists have been appointed at the top of the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Intérieure (DSI) military 'counter-espionage' agency...

General Wassini Bouazza was quickly appointed DSI head in April after Gaïd Salah managed to sack previous DSI chief General Lakhdar Abdelkader's boss and Bouteflika clan security supremo General Athmane 'Bachir' Tartag...

Bouazza held a senior post in Gaïd Salah's fief the Ministry of National Defence rather than having the usual military security background...

While Gaïd Salah has more of his men in place it will be trickier to create a political configuration that meets some Hirak demands while largely keeping the traditional structure in place...


Displaying 1-10 out of 32 results.