Bouteflika Seeks to Weaken Algerias Department of Intelligence and Security

Rabat – French daily newspaper Le Figaro on Tuesday wrote about the measures taken by Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to weaken the DRS, the French acronym of the country’s spy network called the Department of Intelligence and Security.According to the French newspaper, Bouteflika sacked a number of major generals responsible for internal security, presidential security, as well as the head of the Republican Guard as part of a massive purge of the military.The men in question include Major General Abdelhamid Bendaoud who directed the internal security or counter-espionage service, known as the DSI, Major General Ahmed Meliani who headed the Republic Guard and General Djamel Medjdoub, the head of presidential security. The new head of the DSI was announced as Colonel Abdelaziz. The previous head of Algeria’s fifth military region, General Ben Ali Ben Ali will be in charge of the Republican Guard and General Nasser Habchi will be responsible for Bouteflika’s personal security.Although no official reason was given as the purpose of the purge, but the sacked top intelligence generals are believed to have an eye on the presidency.An advisor to the Algerian President quoted by the French daily has also suggested that the purge was Bouteflika’s way to express dissatisfaction with the work of these services. In addition, that he wanted to strip powers from the all-powerful General Mohamed Mediene, the man who has been at the helm of the DRS for the last 25 years.However, an officer of the National Popular Army (ANP) told Le Figaro that the recent measures are an attempt by Bouteflika to weaken the role of the military intelligence service in the political sphere in preparation for his imminent stepping down, especially as  Algerian domestic and foreign policies have for decades been dictated by the government’s secret state intelligence apparatus.Bouteflika had also dissolved the DRS department in charge of the media and the Special Intervention Group (GIS).In 2014, Bouteflika signed a decree to curb the presence of the military intelligence in public institutions and to downgrade his rivals in particular those connected to the DRS.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission

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