A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, February 13, 2012

Former Algerian Army Chief During Troubles is Dead

The man who was at one time the real military power in Algeria during the Troubles of the 1990s, General Mohammed Lamari, has died at age 73, reportedly of a heart attack. (Link is in French. An English bio here.)

Lamari was Commander of Ground Forces in 1992 when the Army forced President Chadli Bendjedid from office, sparking the long fight between Islamist movements and the state that wracked Algeria throughout the 1990s. The following year,2003, he became Armed Forces Chief of Staff. He had earlier formed a special counterterrorist unit and became known as a hardliner opposed to negotiation or compromise. He was considered close to President Liamine Zeroual.

In 2004, a few months after Abdelaziz Bouteflika assumed the Presidency, Lamari "retired," "for health reasons," though most have seen it as Bouteflika's effort to weaken the Army's power.

Lamari had begun his military career as a cavalryman in the French Army, only joining the independence struggle in 1961, the year before independence.

No comments: