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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.

 


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