Mohamed Mediène

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Mohamed Mediène
Birth name Mohammed Medien
Born (1939-05-14) 14 May 1939 (age 76)
Guenzet, Algeria
Allegiance  Algeria
Service/branch Algerian People's Army
Years of service 1960 - 2014
Rank Général de corps d'armée

General Mohamed Mediene (Arabic: الجنرال محمد مدين‎), also known as Toufik (توفيق), is head of the Algerian secret services, the Intelligence and Security Department (Département du renseignement et de la sécurité, DRS), a position he's held since 1990. He has been described as the world's longest serving "intelligence chief".[1]

He was born in 1939 to a Kabyle family from Guenzet (Sétif Province), but grew up near Algiers at Saint-Eugene (Bologhine). He joined the National Liberation Army in 1961, a few months before Algeria's independence. He was an officer for the NLA.[2]

Little is known of him, but he is regarded as a leading power behind the scenes, and a leading general in the eradicator military faction. Only two known public photos of him exist; they are both unclear.[2][3]

Career[edit]

Post Algerian Independence[edit]

Shortly after independence, he joined other NLA military members in studying at a KGB school in the USSR. He was then posted to the 2nd military region (around Oran, bordering Morocco), then commanded by future President Chadli Bendjedid, where he established ties with Larbi Belkheir. In 1983, he was posted to Tripoli (Libya) as military attaché. Soon after returning, he became head of presidential security for Bendjedid.[4]

He later became head of army security in the Sécurité Militaire, lead at the time by Mohamed Betchine. After Betchine's departure in 1987, Mediene was appointed general and a temporary chief of the intelligence organization.[2] He still holds the position 24 years later. Soon after taking charge, he oversaw a reorganization of the Sécurité Militaire, and renamed it the Département du renseignement et de la sécurité (DRS).

Post 1991 Election[edit]

During the Algerian legislative election of 1991, when the Islamic Salvation Front, Mediene joined a group of ruling generals in the Eradicator faction. This name derives from the goal of eradicating the Islamists, as opposed to negotiating with them. This group is regarded as behind the military coup that followed the election's first round. The Eradicator faction is regarded to have gained and held power during the civil war triggered by the military coup.[2]

During the civil war, the DRS, lead by Mediene, headed efforts to repress Islamist groups. DRS agents, which reportedly number as high as 100,000, infiltrated and manipulated terrorist groups, and stopped efforts in both ruling and opposition groups to negotiate with the ISF.[2] In 1993, he was promoted to general-major, and in July 2006, he was promoted to Lieutenant General (Général de corps d'armée.)

Although he has supported the current president's appointment Abdelaziz Bouteflika as part of the Eradicator faction, Mediene through the DRS is believed to be currently in a power struggle against Bouteflika. After supporting Bouteflika's first three terms, he did not support his fourth term bid, announced in January 2014.[5] Preceding this, Ahmed Gaid Salah, the vice minister of defense accused the DRS of complacency in preventing the In Amenas hostage crisis. And in September 2013, the DRS was reorganised to bring more of it under state control. In February 2014, secretary general of Bouteflika's party, the FLN, accused the DRS of infiltrating and destabilizing several political parties.[6]

Through the DRS' networks, he is believed to hold significant power in Algeria's media, business lobbies, army, and different political parties.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Keenan, Jeremy (29 September 2010). "General Toufik: 'God of Algeria'". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Duteil, Mireille (14 April 2014). "Mohamed Mediène, l'homme le plus mystérieux d'Algérie". Le Point. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  3. ^ Mansour, Baki. "Algeria'sDarth Vader". Free Arabs. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Algeria Interface: Mohamed Mediene at the Wayback Machine (archived November 14, 2004)
  5. ^ Duteil, Mireille (6 March 2014). "Algérie : le temps des généraux est terminé". Le Point. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "Saidani:"Toufiq est responsable des fiasco sécuritaires, celui de Tibhirine, Tiguentourine etc."". AlJazeera. 3 February 2014. Retrieved 7 May 2015.