by Scander Safsaf. 10/04/2018. Algerian Freedom Alliance.
Loads of Arms.
The bigger the better, they say, and Algeria thinks big. Thousands of armoured vehicles, hundreds of main battle tanks, each probably costing a whole school to build and run for several years, and in contrast, each probably costing few bucks to destroy. Artillery systems able to hit a fly a hundred kilometres away.
Anti-aircraft weapons designed for access denial, able to spot, track and engage targets on the other side of the Mediterranean. Massive investment into a complex anti aircraft grid supposed to protect the country against, and that is the question against what? Rogue single engine aircraft flying from and to Ibiza for a summer day trip? Or may be the daily civilian aircraft flying over the country to reach their destination in Africa and elsewhere? Or could it be against a father’s kite entertaining his son during the hot summer upwellings? And more. Hundreds of combat aircrafts equipped with the latest technology, some of them flying at 3 times the speed of sound. Billions worth of attack submarines, a complete fleet, lurking in the dark waters of a wasted dollar pool, waiting an imaginary enemy made real by the good advices of an ally with real enemies himself and happy to share them. Even Satellites! Very necessary indeed for the daily life of common Algerians. A whole armada of weapons, soldiers, infrastructures aimed at ? Few hundreds of so called tangos sharing handguns and counting bullets? Foot soldiers did the job with their bodies as ramparts, not the latest kilo submarine or complicated S400 system. Few thousands of men and women well trained, nothing more. We are in fact presented with a plethora of weapons supposedly meant to protect this country from « the usual » external threat. An enemy we are sure is about to launch a massive attack, that can only be repelled using such complex systems. If national defense pundits were able to replicate and fully master such tools, we would call that progress, but decades of arms deals with its favourite dealer have proven to be a one way interest as opposed to mutually beneficial. Truth is as for everything else and as dictated by its own strategic view, Russia managed to bunker this north African nation, making of it a key base for its operations along NATO southern flank. One should at least, with such an arsenal and again like many countries managed to do, expect a flourishing defence or maintenance industry able to be a source of extra revenues. Imagining, designing, building defence systems, with the thousands of engineers available, should have been a number one priority for its many financial implications, but also a matter of pride and “marque de fabrique”. Developing an ecosystem of high tech companies, integrating knowledge from academic entities and implying civilian contractors should have been the way ahead to maximize the benefits of such a massive weapons buyout, but regrettably Algeria is still decades away from anything like it. The long awaited weapon industry is at the end no more than another import sector, pumping resources, redistributing nothing apart for the clan and guaranteeing no security. The truth is unfortunately elsewhere. For all this deployment of might and military hardware is there for a reason. Certainly not a protection against turbulent neighbours. None of them possess similar capabilities or is willing to engage into any sort of conflict. As we already discussed above, certainly not against terror groups. Infiltration, intelligence and special ops largely did the job. None of that, but a bicephalous reality. Submission on one side and deterrence on the other.