The Algerian Army chief has signaled that Algeria aims to “restore the reputation of the Algerian navy” as the country struggles economically
Rabat – Algeria’s top military official has announced new ambitions to increase the Algerian navy’s combat capabilities and restore its reputation. Algerian Chief of Staff Said Chengriha made the announcement during an August 27 speech in Oran, Algeria. The top military leader was in the coastal town in northwestern Algeria to attend naval exercises.
Chengriha told a crowd of military personnel that the North African country intends to “restore the reputation of the Algerian navy, which witnessed a golden period in our glorious history, and reigned the surrounding waters as a prominent force in the Mediterranean.” He specifically mentioned the August 27 exercises as paramount to the navy’s combat abilities.
Chengriha aimed to boost troop morale amid the country’s economic difficulties and military restructuring by President Anbdelmajid Tebboune. Said Chengriga replaced notorious strongman Gaid Salah as Chief of Staff on December 23 after Salah died of a heart attack. He has been given the difficult task of reinvigorating the Algerian navy during tumultuous times.
Algeria’s top brass is facing a push by President Tebboune to dislodge a network of connected officers set up by Chengriha’s predecessor Salah. Salah had intended to centralize military command by installing loyalists in key positions. Tebboune now faces the difficult task of dismantling this network while Chief of Staff Chengriha advanced Algerian ambitions.
Chengriha, in his speech to the navy on Thursday, highlighted Algeria’s history of naval power in the Mediterranean. Five centuries ago the Algerian navy controlled vast swaths of the Mediterranean using nimble Corsair galleys that outmaneuvered heavy European ships. Algiers became the naval base of Hayreddin Barbarossa, arguably one of the greatest naval leaders in history.
The Algerian Chief of Staff highlighted the historic role of the navy in restoring Algerian national pride. Chengriha stated “this past is truly a source of pride and motivation for us to put the navy on the right track and make it a de facto deterrent force.” On July 29, the Algerian Navy received the second of three new Italian-built El Kasseh-class minesweepers to underscore its ambitions.