A Tragedy of Arms: Military and Security Developments in the by Anthony H. Cordesman

By Anthony H. Cordesman

The Maghreb--Morocco, Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia--is a sector overburdened by means of pointless army costs. regardless of chronic civil conflicts and militarized regimes in a couple of international locations within the quarter, there are literally few real exterior threats, and the militia are actually mostly used to take care of inner security.

A distinctive country-by-country evaluate of the effectiveness of army forces, and their effect on local economics, indicates that the quarter is still a mosaic of conflicting nationwide targets, yet strategic objectives were supplanted via inner conflicts, tensions, and politics. Declining army budgets are resulting in declining army power and strength, yet they belie the Maghreb's power for armed clash and human pain. even if the Maghreb is a provider of oil and typical gasoline, which typically guarantees the eye of the West, this tragedy of fingers will get little cognizance from the skin global. which means the clients for the sector are persevered wasteful army spending, and the ensuing damage to nationwide fiscal and political health.

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7 have shown, there was a slight rise in military expenditures following the Gulf War, but this was driven largely by internal security concerns. 11 show there was a general decline in the early and mid1990s, followed by a rise in the late 1990s. Most of this spending during the 1990s was on military manpower, operations, and maintenance. 10 have shown that arms import expenditures are miniscule compared to central government expenditures and military expenditures. 3 North African Military Demographics and Forces in 2001 Country Total Population Egypt Algeria Libya Morocco Tunisia Chad Mauritania Western Sahara 68,360,000 31,194,000 5,115,000 30,122,000 9,593,000 8,425,000 2,668,000 245,000 Males Reaching Military Age Each Year 704,000 374,000 62,200 335,000 102,000 79,595 - Males Between the Ages of 13 and 17 18 and 22 23 and 32 3,634,000 1,955,000 375,000 1,750,000 524,000 396,000 145,000 3,218,000 1,787,000 310,000 1,583,000 496,000 324,000 119,000 - Males Between 15 and 49 Total Medically Fit 5,067,000 2,871,000 475,000 2,698,000 856,000 508,000 189,000 - 18,164,000 8,523,000 1,415,000 7,962,000 2,670,000 1,749,000 605,000 - 11,767,000 5,220,000 841,000 5,026,000 1,524,000 916,000 293,000 - - Note: Totals include non-nationals; total population, males reaching military age, and males between 15 and 49 are generally CIA data, the rest are IISS data.

In the past, Libya has attempted to make up for its lack of manpower through lavish spending on air, land, and sea equipment, but it could never make adequate use of its purchases. Tunisia is a small military power that has no hope of competing against its larger neighbors. 2 shows the defense budgets, manpower statistics, and land, air, and naval forces of each North African state. These figures disguise deep problems in force quality that limit the importance of force numbers. For example, Libya dominates the Maghreb in terms of weapons numbers, but lacks meaningful military capability because of its limited active manpower, poor training and technical skills, weak support system and infrastructure, and poorly organized mobilization base.

The lack of alternative employment and career paths, coupled with the role of the military in the nation’s power structure and the sheer momentum of global military expansion and technological change, leads to military expansion almost regardless of local political conditions. • Morocco’s forces should be able to limit the Polisario threat to militarily, politically, and economically acceptable levels. Morocco should also be able to maintain adequate relations with Algeria so that both states can avoid an arms race.

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