In an interview with the television channel “Russia Today” on 1 February 2023, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov made affirmation that the military maneuvers between Russia and Algeria called “Desert Shield 2022” did take place from 16 to 28 November 2022 in Bechar, nearby the Algerian-Moroccan border.
The statement contradicts the denial of the joint exercise announced by the Algerian Minister of National Defense in late November 2022. Pressure from the West may have resulted in the Algerian approach of denying the holding of the military exercise as Algeria was forced to distance itself from Moscow.
Despite the warnings addressed to Algiers, the decision-makers there remain determined to serve the interests of Russia, by offering it strategic access to the western Mediterranean.
The Algerian approach of denying the holding of this military exercise raises several questions as to the real motivations of this deceptive act, aimed at misleading international public opinion. This act provides, once again, irrefutable proof of the hypocrisy surrounding the North African country.
Algiers, adopting an opportunist stance, did not want to offend its relations with the West. its main energy customer, by falsely advancing the cancellation of maneuvers.
The statement by the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, which came days after the visit of the Chief of staff of the Algerian Army, General Said Chengriha to Paris, was a retort to the West, at conveying a message about the unchangeable nature of relations and the high degree of cooperation that characterizes the two countries.
All these developments confirm once again the dilemma facing Algeria in trying to meet Western expectations while keeping its strategic and historical relations with Russia intact.
This situation is confirmed in particular by the visits that Abdelmadjid Tebboune will make next May to Paris and Moscow, during which Algeria will be misrepresented as a non-aligned country and position itself equidistant between the belligerents internationally.
With heavy Russian firearms at the doorstep of neighboring countries in Southern Europe, citizens are left puzzled and in fear of getting caught in the crossfire of this conflict.