The Algerian national army held a military exercise with live ammunition near the border with Morocco on Monday, January 18.
During the exercises, the army used several armed aircrafts and land vehicles, as well as “all types of weapons,” according to a press release from Algeria’s Ministry of National Defense.
The military exercise, named “Hazm 2021” (Determination 2021), was a tactical training seeking to evaluate the degree of readiness of the Algerian army.
“This tactical exercise aims to evaluate the combat aptitude of engaged units and to train commanders in the preparation, planning, and leading of operations in circumstances very similar to real battles,” the ministry said.
The Algerian army organized the exercise in Algeria’s third military region. Algeria divides its territory into six military regions.
The third military region is located in southwestern Algeria, covering the country’s borders with Morocco and Mauritania. Its “capital” is the city of Bechar, located only 60 kilometers east of Morocco. The region also hosts the Tindouf refugee camps, controlled by the separatist group Polisario Front.
The Algerian defense ministry did not disclose the exact location of the exercise, but it mentioned that military officials from the Tindouf region were present. This indicates that the training likely took place near the headquarters of Polisario and that some of its members appear to have attended.
The Algerian army’s Chief of Staff, Said Chengriha, currently on an official visit to the third military region, supervised the exercise.
After the exercise, Chengriha declared that the Algerian army should always be prepared for the “current challenges” and the “conditions of instability” in the region, in an apparent hint at the narrative of a fake war against Morocco, which Algeria and Polisario have been promoting.
“The Algerian army must always be up to the challenges that it faces today, and must remain free, sovereign, and tenacious against the enemies of the past and the present,” Chengriha said.
The Polisario Front has been claiming for over two months that its militias are fighting a relentless war against Morocco. Meanwhile, Algerian state media have been sharing similar propaganda to support the separatist group.
The Hazm 2021 military exercise could also be one of Algeria’s attempts to fuel the war narrative, by showing that the Algerian army is prepared for combat.