September 19, 2008: Algeria is
nearly tripling its defense budget from $2.5 billion to $6.25 billion. But that
is a deceptive increase, since most of it is going to establish factories to
produce military equipment and weapons. It's possible to produce a lot of the
basic military equipment (uniforms, tents, protective gear) and weapons
(rifles, grenades, ammunition) in Algeria. It's more expensive that way, and
the quality isn't always as good, but you provide more jobs for Algerians.
That's the main reason behind spending all this money to build this
manufacturing capability. Foreign firms are willing to sell licenses to build
proven weapons in Algeria, and other firms can be hired to help set up
factories for less specialized gear (like uniforms and some types of
ammunition). Training Algerians to run all these new factories may take five
years or more, especially for more complex items.
Algeria sees this as a popular way to spend the additional income they
have been receiving because of the higher oil prices. While there are still Islamic terrorists
operating in Algeria, the security forces are well enough equipped to deal with
that. The fundamental problem in Algeria is unemployment and government
corruption. Anything that creates more jobs address that basic source of
discontent, and removes enemy fighters from the battlefield.