According to sources close to the Algerian military command, the latest visit to China by Army General Saïd Chengriha, chief of staff of the Algerian army, revealed deep animosity between Major General Ali Yahia Oulhadj, commander in head of the national gendarmerie and Major General Abdelaziz Houam, Commander of the territory's Air Forces. “A quarrel that has been brewing for several months” they say.
Between the two men, the current no longer flows. They engage in a squabble from a distance which risks ending to the advantage of the last named, considered one of the most obedient lackeys and closest to the strong man of the Algerian regime.
Everyone tries to get their antagonist's dirty laundry out to push him out and why not to the gates of Blida prison. In this quarrel, the territorial defense commander is pulling out all the stops. He pulls with heavy weight. It reveals “the sinister past of the head of the gendarmerie in Sougueur, Tissemsilt, and Tiaret, in western Algeria where he allegedly perpetrated serious crimes against peaceful citizens during the civil war. Added to these crimes are trafficking of all kinds, a source of illicit enrichment,” according to officers who worked under his orders before he took command of the gendarmerie.
To better push Ali Yahia Oulhadj, Major General Houam and his relatives recall that the gendarme was a loyalist of Major General Hamel, today in prison. He owes, in large part, his rise to him. After the fall of his protector in 2018, he put himself under the wing of the new boss of the national gendarmerie, Major General Ghali Belksir, now on the run and sentenced in absentia to a heavy prison sentence. This means that the former mentors of the current boss of the gendarmerie are either in prison or on the run.
His detractors say they are surprised by his ability to bounce back every time he was given up for dead. “He shows unparalleled opportunism,” they say.
When a new leader is appointed, he is quick to express his allegiance and submission. And when things got tough for him, he went to be forgotten by retiring just after the dismissal of his new godfather Ghali Belksir.
A retirement that did not last long. He was able to establish contact with the new boss of the army, General Chengriha who was looking for men with an obedient, faithful and manipulable profile. He placed him first as chief of staff of the gendarmerie for a few months while benefiting from a promotion which raised him to the rank of general in 2020, before propelling him to the head of the same corps. in August 2021 to replace General Gouasmia. Two years later, he received a new promotion and was elevated to the rank of major general. This means that the demons of such a sinister past did not get the better of a man who knows how to navigate his way to reach the peaks. Will General Abdelaziz Houam manage to strip him naked and bring him down?
In private, the boss of the gendarmerie says with confidence that he has nothing to fear from the man he describes as a “cowardly soldier”. Which is true according to those close to him. “There is no one more fearful than Abdelaziz Houam in the Algerian army,” testifies a retired officer from his native region.
Indeed, Major General Abdelaziz Houam (69 years old) born in the town of Ouenza, in the wilaya of Tébessa on the Algerian-Tunisian border, has spent most of his career in operational units since leaving the academy. combined arms Houari Boumediene of Cherchell. He climbs promotions on a regular basis. In 2010, he rose to the rank of general and 6 years later in 2016, he was promoted to the rank of major general.
He is not known to have any involvement in any scandalous affair or corruption, unlike many of his peers. “He doesn’t even intervene to help members of his family,” says one of his acquaintances, adding “it’s not out of conviction but quite simply fear keeps him away from business.” His opponents from the gendarmerie boss's entourage believe "that he is not a man who can be counted on in tough times, he is so soft and timid."
If this unexpected quarrel between two military leaders who everything separates and nothing brings together were to gain intensity, General Chengriha will have to choose between a rogue general and a cowardly general. What a dilemma!