A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Retired General Urges Bouteflika to Retire

The ongoing tug of war between President Bouteflika and the DRS Military Intelligence establishment continues. Hocine Benhadid, a senior retired general, has now publicly called on Bouteflika not to run for a fourth term, saying he should retire "with dignity and let Algeria catch its breath." 

Benhadid also denounced FLN Secretary General Amar Saidani's recent call for the resignation of the DRS head as "treason." From the AFP report:
But for Benhadid, the country's stability cannot be guaranteed by someone who was "sick" and the "hostage of his entourage."
He singled out for criticism Bouteflika's brother Said, the "main actor" in the presidential clan, as well as army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah, one of the ailing leader's key allies.
"The chief of staff has no credibility, and no one is fond of him," Benhadid said.
He accused Bouteflika's entourage of "playing with Algeria's destiny" in order to "save its skin, because corruption has reached dangerous levels."
Benhadid, who retired in 1996 during Algeria's decade-long civil war, said Bouteflika's clan was guilty of "treason" for calling on Mohamed "Tewfik" Mediene, the veteran chief of the DRS military intelligence agency, to quit over alleged security failings.
Saidani, the leader of Bouteflika's National Liberation Front and a key supporter of the president standing for re-election, made the call last week in unprecedented public criticism of the secretive general who many consider the hidden force in Algerian politics.
Bouteflika himself, in the wake of the recent fatal military aircraft crash, denounced any who criticize the Army, perhaps seeking to distance himself from Saidani's remarks.

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