The Algerian Ministry of Defence has appointed Djebbar M'henna as the new director general of Foreign Documentation and Security in a ceremony presided over by the Algerian Chief of General Staff, Saïd Chanegriha. M'henna will replace General Abdelghani Rachedi as head of the foreign intelligence service due to health problems, according to Algerian sources.
However, this replacement also reveals the instability within the national intelligence agency, as it is the second change in less than two months. M'henna is also the fourth general to occupy this post since May.
Until now, the military officer worked in an agency linked to the intelligence service specialising in the separatist movements of MAK (Movement for the Self-Determination of Kabylia) and Rashad, organisations considered by Algiers to be terrorist organisations. This agency, created in the wake of last year's massive fires that killed hundreds of people and dozens of soldiers, also focuses on targeting activists of the Hirak protest movement.
Previously, in 2019, M'henna was sentenced to prison for abuse of power and illicit enrichment during Ahmed Gaid Salah's tenure as army chief of staff. However, he was released a year later, becoming one of the country's leading military figures. M'henna took part in a security-focused meeting on the occasion of French President Emmanuel Macron's visit to Algeria.
The military officer now heads the external intelligence agency, a body with offices in several countries that works with the intelligence services of nations allied with Algeria and monitors Algerian opponents abroad. M'henna's tasks include the current crisis in Algiers with Morocco, Spain and Egypt, as well as the situation in Libya and instability in the Sahel. On the other hand, as Al-Arab notes, M'henna's new mission in the post is likely to be to track down 'activists who oppose the Algerian authorities'.
M'henna is also expected to bring stability to the agency after several years of change and controversy. Youssef Bouzi, one of the most important generals in the secret service, has been at the centre of one of the biggest scandals. As reported by Al Quds Al Arabi, Bouzi was arrested on serious charges such as espionage and illicit enrichment, as well as being accused of collaborating with Gulf countries. As a result, the foreign intelligence service has changed its director five times in just three years, creating a dangerous imbalance in one of the most important defence agencies.