Joint military drills between Russia and Algeria

Algeria is one of Russia’s most important military allies on the African continent and also one of the largest regional customers for its weapons. Recently, the two countries have demonstrated close military cooperation, organizing several joint operational military exercises.

In this regard, Algiers and Moscow are conducting joint military drills from 16 until 28 November, 2022 at the Hammaguir testing ground in Bechar Province near the border with the Kingdom of Morocco, involving about 200 soldiers from both countries’ counterterrorism forces.

The joint Russian-Algerian operational military drills are held systematically and traditionally in both countries. In November 2021, the two countries held joint military exercises in South Ossetia. In September 2022, a unit comprising 100 soldiers of the Algerian national army (NPA) participated in the exercise “VOSTOK 2022”, held in the Far East of Russia.

By continuing to conduct these joint military drills, Moscow implies clearly that Algeria is an extended front in its strategy of military confrontation with the West, and the Algerian-Moroccan border is a demarcation line between the zones of Western influence and that of the former socialist clan.

This fact sheds light also on the discrepancy between the official Algerian discourse, advocating non-alignment and neutrality, and the reality on the ground points to an ironclad alliance between Algeria and Russia.

Algeria’s alignment on Russian positions harms the geopolitical interests of the West. Therefore, western countries shall review their strategies and partnerships with Algeria, and supporting raising voices calling on imposing sanctions against Algeria for its purchase of Russian arms. Here, one can state the examples of U.S. Senator Marco RUBIO and Lisa McClain leading groups of members of US Congress, calling for imposing sanctions against Algeria for its purchase of Russian weapons.

At length, Algeria is reaping the benefits of its energy contracts with the West, while it continues to enhance its military cooperation with Moscow. Cooperation between Russia and Algeria is not limited to the bilateral aspect, as Algeria has contributed to facilitating Russia’s military presence on the African continent, not to mention Algerian indirect support to the Russian invasion of Ukraine by continuing to seal huge deals with Russia for the supply of various types of armaments and equipment, especially air and ground weaponry, reminding, in this point, that Moscow has the lion’s share of the Algerian military budget for the year of 2023, estimated at more than 23 billion dollars.