A Royal Moroccan Air Force CH-47 Chinook military helicopter takes off during the second annual "African Lion" military exercise in the Tan-Tan region in southwestern Morocco on June 30, 2022. (Photo by FADEL SENNA / AFP) (Photo by FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Supply and demand: North African military expenditures raise stakes for global defense suppliers

July 2023 Al-Monitor PRO Trend Report 

3467 words


As a column of Wagner mutineers bore down on Moscow in June 2023, imperiling President Vladimir Putin’s grip on power, Russia’s capital was only a few days removed from receiving a far more welcome guest: Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who arrived in Moscow on June 13 for a state visit.

It wasn’t without consequence. At a time when Putin has few friends left following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Algeria has remained committed to its strategic partnership with Russia, and the two leaders pledged to deepen that relationship during Tebboune’s visit. "Algeria is a key partner for us in the Arab world and in Africa," Putin said then, adding that Russia wanted to strengthen already-strong military ties with the North African country, which imports around 75% of its arms from Russia

Yet, this strategic partnership’s future looks increasingly complex following Wagner’s failed revolt, which further called into question Russia’s ability to serve as a reliable partner and weapons supplier at a crucial moment. Algeria’s rivalry with Morocco has escalated recently, amplifying a long-running arms race, with Rabat loading up on Western weaponry as Algiers sizes up Moscow’s support. It’s a glimpse of the geopolitical complexity at play in North Africa — a region on the frontlines of a new era of competition in the global arms trade.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.