Would you like to make English your default language on this site?


US general backs Algeria counter-terror efforts

By Nazim Fethi for Magharebia in Algiers – 02/06/11

  • 13

The commander of US Africa Command (AFRICOM) concluded a two-day visit to Algeria on Wednesday (June 1st), as part of efforts to boost co-operation on counter-terrorism and regional security.

On his first visit to Algeria, General Carter F. Ham addressed a range of issues, from the recent uprisings in Tunisia and Libya, to the terror threat emanating from the Sahel. The American official emphasised his country's willingness to support the joint efforts led by Algeria aimed at countering al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

At a press conference held Wednesday at the US Embassy in Algiers, the commander said his discussions with Algerian officials focused on the situation in Libya and the risk that arms circulating in Libya could fall into the hands of al-Qaeda. These concerns necessitate co-operation by all countries within the region, he said.

"A safe, stable and secure Africa is in everyone's best interests, including the United States," General Ham said.

The US general also spoke of the close co-operation between the Algerian and American armies and praised the role played by Algeria in fighting terrorism. The visiting general met with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Defence Minister Abdelmalek Guenaizia, Maghreb and African Affairs Minister Abdelkader Messahel, and presidential advisor Kamal Rezzag Bara.

"We've talked a lot about how together we can address, particularly, the threat of extremism in the region," the US official continued. "And we remember every day that there are brave Algerians engaged in a difficult struggle against violent extremists."

He also said that NATO strikes in Libya have achieved favourable results, seriously diminishing Moamer Kadhafi's military. The general underlined that several Libyan officers have deserted. AFRICOM is already planning for the post-Kadhafi era and considering the steps to be taken once the conflict has been resolved, he pointed out.

The US commander also refuted accusations that Algeria has sent mercenaries to Libya.

"I will be as a clear as I can possibly be: I have seen absolutely no reporting that indicates that Algeria is supporting movement of fighters to Libya. To the contrary, Algeria has been supportive, and strongly so, of regional security and very strong in countering terrorism and the illegal flow of fighters. But like weapons, there are indeed fighters moving back in forth in open spaces, across the region, to and from Libya," General Ham said. The weapon movements, he emphasised, require a regional approach to security concerns.

Addressing ways to resolve the Libya conflict, the US official said: "There is a consensus about how the situation in Libya will end: Libya must remain intact as a country and it's up to the people to choose their government."

"The American position is clear: Kadhafi must leave," the general said.

At the same time, Algerian Maghreb Affairs Minister Abdelkader Messahel was holding a press conference in which he stated the four Sahel states involved in the fight against AQIM will meet at the beginning of September in Algiers to discuss security in the region, in the presence of their partners from outside Africa.

With regard to the Libya conflict, Messahel said that Algeria was in contact with all Libyan parties as part of efforts to find a peaceful solution by proposing "a seven-point plan to bring an end to the crisis".

"Algeria and other countries in the region know that AQIM has sophisticated weapons. Libya has become an open-air warehouse. The upsurge in attacks in our country is no coincidence. Munitions and weapons are coming in," Messahel said.

The minister also reiterated that Algeria was not supplying weapons to Libya. "We are complying with international law to the letter. There is an embargo and we are complying with it, and our partners know that," he asserted. "Like others, we have received requests from our Libyan brothers, but we are only supplying medicines and food."

What do you think of this article?


Subscribe to our newsletter and get Magharebia's latest articles delivered to your inbox.


Anonymous thumb

You are not signed in. Anonymous comments are subject to moderation. Sign up to have your comment posted immediately - Learn more

Or post your comment using:


  1. Anonymous thumb

    WALID 2011-8-24

    Blessed Ramadan, noble sons that you are, you soldiers of all ranks! Be blessed. You are in our thoughts and in our hearts at all times, good and bad! The brave people that you are, watch over our most precious, our motherland, Algeria! God protect you!


  2. Anonymous thumb

    nastradamos 2011-7-22

    I will complete the image after Ramadan although the issue cannot be discussed according to the conditions of the covenant called the charter of national peace and reconciliation. But since Emir Madani Merzag spoke and gave his opinion even though he has signed the charter, I will also speak according to what conditions, conscience and national security. 2- people and humans should know that 98% of officers of the nineties have retired since the access of Bouteflika to power. The last referral was of senior officers this year. This means that we are talking now about senior officers and generals who don’t even know who was really running Algeria, intellectual Algerian young people have reached high positions in the army. We wished to hear that it was the most important reform in Algeria because current officers are young and not as it is said dependent on France. Terrorists, whether they are armed terrorism, press terrorism or economy terrorism don’t believe that Algeria has really managed to get out from strife. We will talk about the strongest man in Algeria after general Taoufik, he is the major-general Sendhaji, the secretary-general of the ministry of defense. Where is he now? As he doesn’t recognise reports he receives from some but only trusts himself. As he says now, he gave up the luxurious office and advantages granted to the secretary-general of a ministry, appointed himself ambassador in the state of Chad. He also says that France might have dropped arms to rebels close to Algerian-Libyan border. So there is no more trust in France's Sarkozy. Since the biggest market of arms in the world now will be effectively the state of Chad, I will be in Chad for direct supervision of the French base in Chad and strict control of arms smuggled from Libya and be totally informed directly and personally about the intelligence games in Chad and Sahel states. This major-general is Sendhaji. 3- Major-general Boustilla, commander of national gendarmerie since the eruption of war in Libya. He is either in his car controlling the Libyan-Algerian border or in the helicopter to control the readiness of his units. This of course happens in the scorching heat of summer and Sahara while most of the people are camping on beaches, wandering in parks or going on trips to Turkey and countries which grant us the visa. However, senior officers have no holidays, rest or recreation while everyone insults them.


  3. Anonymous thumb

    nastradamos 2011-7-22

    In continuation to the comments of brothers , first of all, if we are still talking about generals of the civil war saying they are the ones who have killed the people, I say this is a mistake for me because I was practically on the field. As for the way to deceive the foreign public opinion, I say that the story begins in this way. 1- Algeria cannot be destabilised except in the following ways, that was in the past not today because today there are other ways we can’t announce before 10 years. I say that stirring strife is impossible without eliminating the Amazigh man son of Algeria, former head of the intelligence Kassidi Merbah, hidden powers manage to kill him and thus strife is stirred. Who would replace then Kassidi Merbah. By the way, this position is part of the political balance. If another Amazigh man were to take the leadership of the intelligence, who is he?? Is he general Toufik, Mohamed Lamine Medine to whom we wish a blessed pilgrimage and forgiven sins? Parties were opened up overnight, the people turned from the one-party rule to party pluralism and elections which were won by leaders of Jihad who came back from Afghanistan and who are angry at the state for the loss of basic food stuff and the song - where are 26 billion dollars. After the eruption of war, the enemies of Algeria launched with the collaboration of the press the expression who kills who?? This question was associated with accusing directly the military institution. I was one of the very few in Algeria who didn’t respect the curfew and didn’t recognise terrorism. I was always travelling in Algeria from east to west and from north to south. I haven’t travelled a lot because this requires 4x4 which I don’t have. You can ask the Algerian people from inside and they will tell you what terrorism is. They reached the point of killing each other as it happens in Yemen, Libya and Syria. The number of points I have fallen in fake checkpoints is countless. But since I don’t recognise them of course, they reached the point of threatening me of death; however, God is with me and protects me. I can join any debate with armed groups, God always supports me. I manage to keep on in my way for four years. Therefore, I have gained courage from God. I fear only God the Almighty. I am still living to this day, God willing. The terrorist organisation responsible for killing figures and symbols is called fida.


  4. Anonymous thumb

    nastradamos 2011-7-22

    Salam alikum. I wasn’t willing to comment on the ideas and comments of all intervening brothers because I am not totally happy with broaching ideas whether they are from the opposition or supporters for the people of our greater Maghreb. This is because presenting the ideas, although they are against the thinking of the other, reflects that in the greater Maghreb there is an intellectual action emanating from the interest in the prevalent situation in our region and warning about mistakes in order to avoid them of course. This is the first phase in democracy for the third world countries. Concerning the issue of generals of Algeria, I see that at the world level, we don’t hear any debate about the word generals unless the name of Algeria is mentioned. The first thing used by dishonest opposition is dramatising and slandering the generals of Algeria. Moreover, the other doesn’t accept any clarification of this misunderstanding. Anyone who says a word of right about the military institution is considered a trumpet for the generals or other descriptions I am embarrassed to state on your respectable site. Generals are public servants of the state like any other servant in the public sector. They don’t have any other advantages. But since it is the military institution which has saved us from the claws of blind terrorism and the attempt to divide Algeria in May 1994 and it has protected the republican regime, the people respect it. This is because the Algerian people can’t forget who has offered them protection in the years of strife, chaos between politics and terrorism given the ambiguity imposed by the military regime in the nineties, neutralisation of the press which was not trusted during the war. Revengeful reactions surged in all the world press. It was competing about whom will offer more and defame the reputation of the military as a way of retaliation. But fortunately, the military wasn’t deceived by this plan and didn’t care at all about the press. It has thrown it to hell. Concerning generals, we see that anyone insults generals without giving their names or what they committed supported with evidence or anything discussable. Therefore, those who respect themselves should ask for names and evidence.


  5. Anonymous thumb

    Essid 2011-6-26

    To Hichem- You are the one who decided to raise the issue of the Black Decade! Firstly, Tell me, since, apparently, your notions of geopolitics are “true”, what would any other country have to gain from falsely accusing Algerian generals of colluding with terrorists or of conspiring to commit terrorist acts? How has the “singular thought” of neoliberalism taken advantage of this? What benefits did the capitalists of the North gain from reports from Algerian soldiers regarding crimes against humanity committed by certain members the Algerian army? Did it make Algerian gas and oil cheaper or increase weapons sales to Algerian army, which was somehow motivated to buy weapons from and sell cheap hydrocarbons to its alleged slanderers? What did the soldiers who reported this collusion and this conspiracy gain from making these accusations? Honestly, your argument makes no sense because there is no clear advantage for the North to slander Algeria’s army. Perhaps you have some evidence to the contrary? Secondly, since your mind is independent of the “singular thought” (although it rather seems to be reactionary to it and thus no more independent than the left side of a scale is from the right side), perhaps you could explain why you brought up this subject. It was to juxtapose the “virtue” of the Algerian army to the “vileness” of UN peacekeeping missions, is this not so? You have brought up the domestic topic of the Black Decade in a international discussion by basing your criticisms on it. Therefore, your statements that “this only concerns the Algerians” and “all the rest is unwelcome, impudent interference” lose all validity since you are the one who injected this topic into the discussion.


  6. Anonymous thumb

    SLAH 2011-6-23

    It was rather the terrorists wearing military uniforms stolen during various attacks on military barracks who massacred the civilians. The civilians, in spite of being terrorised, refused to support them and to let themselves to be extorted. The people even left their isolated villages and preferred the precarious situation around the big cities in order to escape the fanatics’ blackmail and using their homes, food and money or else killing them.


  7. Anonymous thumb

    Hichem 2011-6-21

    To Essid- In order to objectively analyse a subject as sensitive as the Black Decade, which is the subject of outrageous disinformation aimed at manipulating international opinion due to the lack of control over the events, you must have, firstly, the capacity for analysis and true notions of geopolitics; secondly, an independent approach; thirdly, a free mind opposed to the singular thought; fourthly, experienced the events from the inside. I will not debate this subject because the conditions to do so are not met and this concerns the Algerians. Those who shed their blood are the only ones who have the right to make judgements now. All the rest is unwelcome, impudent interference. May everyone take responsibility for themselves and everything will be fine. Here is an example of an idea propagated by the singular thought: “soldiers dress as terrorists to massacre civilians.” This is the sort of defamatory manipulation coming from the singular thought, which places the legal, institutionalised and legitimate violence of the army back to terrorist violence. By putting them on the same level, it is not difficult to see the bias in favour of the terrorists, which these same people name “militants”. The world knows the methods used by the self-proclaimed champions of human rights against the “nationalistic” opposition of the Corsicans, Basques and Kanaks, just to cite a few. In short, the Algerian army did not kill civilians. If this had happened, the international measures would have fallen! Terrorism in Algeria did not fall from the sky. With its roadmap and finances, it tried to subjugate the Algerian people for lack of having rallied them. The massacres were the reprisals against what was a failure of terrorism and the victory of the people and its army!


  8. Anonymous thumb

    Essid 2011-6-19

    To Hichem- Algeria has been independent for almost half a century. The members of the original National Liberation Army are almost all dead. Several of the generals of which you speak have proven their bad faith. You can deny this on this forum – and I have no doubt that you will try to – but would you have the disrespect to deny it to the families of the victims? I am sorry, but the only thing popular about any of the armies of the Maghreb is their victims, the peoples of the Maghreb. Moreover, you forgot a fifth function of armies: oppression of the citizens. I doubt that it was a mistake that you forgot this, because even mentioning this function immediately evokes images of Algeria’s massacres in the Black Decade by the FIS, GIA and its own army, Morocco’s oppression of the Western Sahara and now protestors, etc. As for Algeria’s black decade, the FIS and the GIA were not the only guilty parties. Multiple Algerian soldiers have spoken out against the Algerian army and multiple Algerian human rights activists have submitted reports to the UN, Amnesty International, etc. regarding the atrocities that they witnessed, which includes ordering soldiers to dress up like terrorists to massacre civilians. And there is no logical explanation for why the FIS would attack districts that had voted for it and that were located in between two or more military posts. So, while your critical eye for all things foreign is more than welcome, it is hard to take your vision seriously when you deliberately ignore the misdeeds of your own army.


  9. Anonymous thumb

    Hichem 2011-6-15

    To Mourad- Stature is not fatness. In this case, in general, a person may or may not be fat and may or may not have stature. Does being slim suffice for being respectable? Frankly, your response bothers me. You seem to join the two. These generals, of whom you speak with admiration for their slimness - among other things – represent the armies of the super-professional sort that are at the forefront of technology, and their function has not changed for centuries. Firstly, their classical function is the defence of their territorial integrity. Secondly, there is pacification, which is to say colonisation and imperialism. Thirdly, there are humanitarian missions, which is to say the defence of foreign interests. Fourthly, there is supporting the UN forces and peace-keeping missions, which is to say re-dividing up the world. You have the right to place your admiration where you want. Recognise, though, that we may not agree with your decision. The Algerian generals embody the National Liberation Army, a popular army that spearheaded the victory of the brave Algerian people against the most hideous and most brutal form of human enslavement: the 130 years of French colonialism. More recently, these Algerian generals, still as always beside this same heroic people, won a victory against the barbarism of fundamentalism and terror thanks to the sacrifices and unfailing loyalty of all the children of Algeria who are its soldiers. So, forgive me if I extend all my gratitude and all my respect to this army of the people, which continues their fight with dignity and bravery. May it continue to watch over our republic, which is ambushed by various dangers! Evidently, our army does not have the prestige of Saint-Cyr, but we are not from the same world!


  10. Anonymous thumb

    mourad 2011-6-12

    It is shameful to see the calibre of our generals. Next to the thin European generals, who are true soldiers, our generals, who are only soldiers in name, could not even buckle their belts because of their protruding bellies. They are here to monopolise all of the power and all of the people’s money. They will never tolerate a president other than Bouteflika. They brought him back to rule the country on the condition that they could exercise their power under his helmet.


  11. Anonymous thumb

    nastr a 2011-6-9

    You think this thing would leak from the military institution? I think they use other languages which humans cannot understand. Communication between the American army and leaders of Algerian armies after the thunderous collapse of Russians in front of a captain in the air forces of the army have given a new dimension to the relations between the two empires. This is because the fatal error committed by Russians with Algeria put an end to the relationship which was useless ever since its beginning with countries of the east and a 180° turn-around toward modern technologies and balances of power. But for me as an ordinary citizen I consider that what happens in Libya is a fatal mistake. It could have been avoided because even if the small Libyan population wants change, they have the right to and they are free. But not with 30,000 dead people because this is unacceptable, causes our sorrow and grief not for individuals but the Algerian composition is like this. Salam alikum.


  12. Anonymous thumb

    mohamed khali 2011-6-3

    what are u doing in the sahel ? whats going on there and what are u planing again


  13. Anonymous thumb

    BEN 2011-6-3

    The American general is not going to toy around with giving up secrets involving Algeria’s defence – the presence of Algerian mercenaries in Libya – in front of a Prime Minister who is supposed not to know them. You will especially admire the diplomatic style of the general, which even Hoolbrook could not do better. As for the sniper shots on Libyan civilians, the mercenaries and soldiers of the general are practically equal. Terrorism still has a bright future before it. For the Algerian Prime Minister, the explanation is very simple: this is the fault of the Moroccan lobby to America? Is this a justification or a pretext for something else? He will not open the borders even though he just discovered that the Algerians have a right to democracy and businessmen have been suffering from several handicaps for so many years. Whatever the case, it is never too late to start waking up.


Anonymous thumb

You are not signed in. Anonymous comments are subject to moderation. Sign up to have your comment posted immediately - Learn more

Or post your comment using: