A public statement published by the Algerian Ministry of National Defence on its website surprised many observers with the news that a military exercise had been organised in Jijel, in the east of the country, in which Libya and Egypt were participating alongside the Algerian army and the Polisario's armed wing.
Tunisia and Mauritania refused to participate in the exercise, precisely because of the presence of what is described as "the army of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic".
This exercise, organised from 18 to 25 November by Algeria, which hosts the North African Regional Capabilities Logistics Base in Jijel, in the 5th Military Region, was not the subject of a major media campaign, as is usual when it comes to military manoeuvres by the Algerian army. Only a few headlines in the French-language press reported on the exercise. Even the website of the Ministry of National Defence did not mention the subject until the day after the end of the manoeuvres. This secrecy was intended to avoid embarrassing the Egyptians, who were undoubtedly misled by the presence of Polisario troops.
The manoeuvres were organised from start to finish by Algeria, the host country. The launching ceremony, held on 23 November 2023, was overseen by General-Major Belkacem HASNAT, head of the Employment-Preparation Department of the Algerian Army General Staff.
The "North African Regional Capabilities Command Post", which was the subject of a scandalous embezzlement of 240,000 US dollars by its former commander-in-chief, Major-General Mustapha Oudjani, has just made the news again with the trap set for the Libyans and Egyptians, who found themselves in an exercise that excluded the main North African countries, namely Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia. Prior to this date, little was known of their existence. One need only consult the search engines of the electronic web.
Algeria seems to be trying to sell the idea that the Polisario participates in international military exercises and that states that do not recognise SADR carry out military exercises with their army. It is inevitable to wonder whether such practices would help Algeria to emerge from its diplomatic isolation, due in large part to its blind support for a moribund Polisario that lives off its sole Algerian support.