A new arms deal between Russia and Algeria threatens to create new tensions between it and its neighbour and even lead to a fresh wave of US sanctions against Algiers, Maghrebi.org has learnt.
Algeria will sign a huge contract with Russia to supply arms worth between $12-17 billion, media sources have revealed during a period where Russia’s relations with Morocco were turning a new page and hope was put on Moscow acting as a mediator in the long running dispute between Algiers and Rabat over the disputed territory of Western Sahara which Morocco controls.
Africa Intelligence newspaper reported that negotiations were under way on a framework agreement on Russian military supplies for Algeria for the next 10 years.
Russia Today reported that the signing of the agreement will take place during the official visit of Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune expected to be held in Moscow in December.
The Algerians have their eyes on Russian kit which will inevitably crank up the stakes in the arms race with Morocco, which has recently been beefing up its arsenal with increased sales from the UK, Israel and France.
The Algerian military leadership is particularly interested in acquiring submarines and “Su-57”, “Su-34” and “Su-30” aircraft in addition to new air defence systems, such as “S-400”, “Viking” and “Antie-4000” (export version of “S-300 in 4”).
Discussions are also taking place at a time when Algeria’s military budget (according to the draft finance law of 2023) could increase by 130%, reaching to $22.6 billion, which would make it Africa’s largest military budget – already attracting the attention of the US congress who are mulling new sanctions against it, which will vex EU leaders who are currently trying to woe it for new gas deals.