Mohsen Abdelmoumen: Do you think there will be a change of course with the new US administration?
Dr. Tewfik Hamel: Let’s say “a lot of foam, but not a lot of beer”. Probably the communication strategy. US foreign and security policy is, to quote Arthur Schopenhauer, “a kaleidoscope that, every time you turn it, shows a new configuration, while we always have the same thing in front of our eyes”. Great powers like the United States rarely engage in deep reflection and serious reform in the absence of a major defeat. The change in the international context has not led to a profound adjustment in the great American strategy. It has changed little since the 1890s. The basic assumptions have not been changed.
From the first days of the Republic, the United States was pushed outwards. Territorial expansion lasted more than a century. From 1890 and the “splendid little war” with Spain, the United States began to equate prosperity and security with international engagement and the projection of power throughout the world. It tends to view security in terms of supremacy at the same time that security is invoked to justify imperialist behavior. They have developed a “security ethos”, expressed in successive major strategies (Wilsonian internationalism, containment, strategic globalism), which has altered fundamental values.
Hegemonic states such as the US face vast and complex political, economic and military challenges. The management of limited resources implies a global strategy likely to generate a cognitive overload for the political system. Instead of providing new planning and engagement scenarios to bring strategy and resources into equilibrium, successive US administrations maintain, in different forms, the global engagement model and increase service delivery. As a result of this cognitive overload, the United States is rapidly shifting from one global strategy to another – the “Global War on Terrorism” to the “Pivot to Asia” and so on. This strategic shift occurs regardless of whether the economy is in crisis or not, although the economic crisis is exacerbating the trend towards strategic incoherence. President Joe Biden promises to restore U.S. global leadership at a time when the domestic situation and America’s place in the world have deteriorated significantly.
According to you, the new US administration will be a continuation of the Trump administration, especially in the Iranian nuclear issue, or the economic war against China?
The geographical definition of Asia has been broadened to include the Middle East. This expansive geopolitical vision of geography is marked by the disappearance of the divisions of the Cold War era: now the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia are part of a single organic continuum. In geopolitical terms, American efforts are focused on a major challenge: the emergence of China as a continental and maritime power. The relationship with Beijing is described as a global ideological confrontation. Virtually no American official supports China and official texts that do not cite Beijing as a potential rival or enemy are rare. The rebalancing towards Asia is not associated with any kind of presidency and will not be called into question by the change of administration. There is agreement between the two major parties on the imperative of focusing American policy on Asia/Pacific.
The Trump administration has developed the classic themes of American strategy (rather than rejecting them) and commits the United States to its traditional role as leader of the “free world”. True, there was miscommunication, but contrary to the arguments of many analysts, Trump’s policy was not in disarray. A different picture emerged from the daily turmoil: the United States was preparing for a new era, marked not by undisputed American domination, but by a rising China and an offensive Russia maneuvering for a multilateral world system. This change of direction took time to become operational. Elements of it emerged, mainly in a reactive form, under President Barack Obama. The Trump administration went further, recognizing that competition from the great powers justified a profound rebuilding of US foreign policy, defense strategy and military posture.
The “Asia Pivot” is a bureaucratic code that the US will focus on China, replacing al-Qaeda/Daech as the main threat to US national security. The Pentagon has concluded that the time has come to prepare for war with China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and therefore the focus should be on the ability to engage in conventional combat. While not a periodic effort, it was a conclusion that would shape the defense systems, the posture of force, and the overall strategy of the United States. The rebalancing reflected the shift in the culture of the US national security establishment from counterinsurgency and irregular warfare to new military concepts focused on conventional warfare with major powers as the “central organizing concept” of the US security and defence apparatus.
The March 2015 “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower” identified specific competitors as reasons to maintain a direct presence in relevant regions around the world – the first time since the Cold War that a naval strategy has explicitly emphasized the need to “deter and, if necessary, defeat specific potential adversaries. The United States Military’s Contribution To National Security (2015) acknowledged that a war with a major power is highly likely. It listed four “revisionist” states – China, Russia, Iran, North Korea – that threaten the United States and do not respect global norms and institutions.
In general, in the United States, the president changes, but the policy remains the same, especially the foreign policy. What do you think about it?
The American elite is a follower of what the American historian Andrew Bacevich called “The Washington Rules”, composed of 1) the “sacred trinity” (“global military presence”, “global power projection”, “global interventionism”) and; 2) the “American creed” which is world leadership. In addition to rejecting isolationism, the creed urges the United States (and only the United States) to “lead, save, liberate, and ultimately transform the world”). Under the “Washington Rules,” the United States has always embodied, and continues to embody, freedom. In order to run for high office and be a player in U.S. foreign policy, you must allude to America’s “responsibility to lead” the world and accept the “Washington Rules”. These are not consciously discussed, because they are the basic assumptions for foreign policy discussions. The “Creed” and the “Trinity” are deeply rooted in the collective imagination.
Any change in the grand strategy is likely to occur at both the tactical and strategic levels. This is because internal inertia (ideological, political, bureaucratic) favours the stability of the grand strategy. The United States varies in its external aggressiveness according to its military power and relative wealth. A fundamental change is unlikely unless an internal shock is combined with an underlying geopolitical change (for example: the case of Germany after 1945, the opening of Japan in the 19th century, Russia at the end of the Cold War). Britain’s status as a naval, imperial and trading power remained stable throughout the 19th century and its grand strategy remained relatively stable throughout this period. In contrast, British strategy contracted in the 20th century as a result of the rise of new competitors and the shocks it underwent, particularly between the Second World War and the Suez Crisis, which preceded the retreat.
Thus, the domestic economic decline (trade deficit, growing public debt, social and racial tensions) and the rise of competitors (China, Russia, etc.) will exacerbate the inconsistency of the American global strategy. The global geopolitical balance is evolving towards a return to bipolarity between China and the United States marked by a struggle for power and influence. This emerging rivalry is already posing difficult choices for Asian countries, caught between the two. While Beijing tends to become the largest economy, in 2011 Washington will borrow 40 cents for every dollar spent. Since China is the largest creditor of the United States, the result is that it is Beijing that is indirectly financing American domination in the Indian Ocean, although American allies in the region are concerned about the financial situation of the United States – particularly an American disengagement from Asia and the conversion of Chinese economic power into military power.
Why do you think the United States always needs an enemy, if it is not Russia, it is China? Don’t you think that we are still living a cold war that doesn’t say its name?
The reasons are to be found in the historical evolution and social composition of the country. The idea that security is strengthened by the expansion of American power is a recurring theme among American elites. Their sense of insecurity cannot be appeased. From the outset, Americans have built their identity credo in contrast to an indescribable and dangerous “Other”. America’s adversaries are always defined as opposed to freedom. Psychologically, the strategic personality of the United States is paranoid and the core of American militarism is not new. Militarism, which has a key specific function in American history, has accompanied every expansionist historical phase. Historically, U.S. strategy has involved incessant pressure for the expansion of capitalism and the political, military and cultural mechanisms that facilitate that expansion.
Rosa Luxemburg emphasized that political violence is the instrument and vehicle of the economic process. In other words, “the duality of the aspects of accumulation conceals the same organic phenomenon,” which stems from the conditions of capitalist reproduction. Indeed, the precious republic has become an imperial power. But the denial of the U.S. as an empire has allowed the nation’s dominant self-image to be perpetually in-nocent. To reduce “cognitive dissonance,” complex situations had to be simplified, attributing to the “Others” the most evil motivations and the most sinister objectives: the fear of an indeterminate “Other” (Bolshevism, socialism, anarchism, or simply “foreign agitators”) became essential to create political solidarities on the home front as well as to strengthen the internal cohesion of an ethnically heterogeneous society characterized by exacerbated individualism and class cleavages.
“War is hell,” Obama said, but war has defined much of the American imagination to the extent that America regularly declares war on all sorts of things – poverty, drugs, viruses, and so on. Americans have lived and are living in the “shadow of war” and living in the “shadow of war” has led to the militarization of society, while the threat of war has invaded everyday language and thinking. In “A Country Made by War: From the Revolution to Vietnam,” Geoffrey Perret wrote that America’s wars have been like the rungs of a ladder through which it has climbed to greatness. No other nation has triumphed for so long, so systematically, or on such a vast scale, by force of arms. It is a factor as important as geography, immigration, corporate growth, the separation of powers, the inventiveness of its people, or anything else that contributes greatly to its unique identity among the nations of the Earth.
In America’s collective experience and strategic culture, war is a national moral clarifier or purifier and energizer, which tends to unify the national experience of a structurally fragile nation-state. For America, wars are regenerative and redemptive. For a novelist like John Limon, to miss war is to miss America, because it is “a country made by war. American-American literary history is bounded by wars, as if literary eras, like the history of literature itself, require a bloodbath to begin, he says. Every time the supposed innocence is lost, it triggers a national crisis, but it regenerates itself. After every disturbing revelation like the torture in Iraq, the country cleverly manoeuvres to resurrect its belief in its own innocence. The amenisic and fragmentary representation of American history disassociates these intensive and detailed images of destruction from the collective memory. This motivated denial allows for the establishment and reinforcement of a reassuring narrative that justifies the war by insisting on the innocence of its intentions.
In his election platform, he is content with generality, in your opinion does Biden have a clear policy in the Middle East. What is it?
The adaptation of the American strategy has been accompanied by the reformulation of a new perception of geography or geographical groupings by creating a continuity between Asia and the Middle East. The object of American defense strategists and military planners is to progressively move away from Europe and focus on Asia, but with a greater openness. Rather than focusing solely on China and Russia, the center of national security today is the “arc of instability” stretching from the Persian Gulf to North Korea. The American strategy is taking a very “Corbettian” turn with two points of concentration of the American military presence: one in North Asia where important economic elements of the world system are exposed; and the other in the Persian Gulf rich in gas and oil resources. The large amount of imported Chinese oil comes mainly from the Middle East. One more argument for the United States to strengthen its presence in the Middle East, the region that will determine the future power rivalry between Beijing and Washington.
With the rise of China and Russia, the Biden administration will seek to end U.S. involvement in “small wars” while avoiding widespread destabilization of the region and favoring other forms of engagement. The tactical success of Bin Laden’s assassination has convinced many Americans of the effectiveness of the targeted assassination strategy. With a history of success, it is considered militarily effective and relatively profitable from the point of view of the “American model of war. After a decade of counterinsurgency, this recent era is coming to an end. The United States can no longer afford such missions. There are many reasons to suggest that this practice will become more prevalent. Financial difficulties (austerity and public spending cuts) encourage less costly and therefore more attractive strategies for policymakers seeking affordable technical solutions to difficult problems.
Widespread destabilization in the Middle East is not in the interest of the United States. Only a major bargain involving strong security guarantees could defuse the “Mexican impasse” in which Tehran, Riyadh, Tel Aviv, etc. find themselves. American-Iranian relations have rarely been normal, but if the two countries decide to normalize their relations it would not be very difficult to put in place the necessary mechanisms. Iran and the United States are increasingly on a collision course, and decisions taken now in the region and in Washington matter more than ever. Iran is too important a country to be isolated or ignored. The Biden administration’s ambiguity over the 2015 nuclear deal reflects the difficulty of finding a balance that satisfies all parties. Although Iranian policy has moved from ideology to pragmatism, Iranian history has taken complicated paths to make the country a difficult partner in a sensitive region where Iran has a sphere of influence that extends to its Afghan and Pakistani neighbors, the Central Asian republics and all the Gulf states.
Don’t you think we need a multipolar world more than ever?
The principles, values and manifestations of current multilateralism are the subject of sustained criticism. Their effectiveness is being questioned, as are their decision-making procedures and representation. Discussions on human rights, democracy and development point out that international society is far from being post-Western in terms of fundamental practices and organizing principles. The continued marginalization of Southern states reflects the moral backwardness of international society that some, such as Andrew Hurrell, justify in the name of so-called “effectiveness”; “Those who reject calls for reform and expansion of the permanent membership of the Security Council often rely on the importance of effectiveness. Yes, reform could promote representation, but at what cost? If a 25- or 26-member council will find it more difficult to act effectively than the current arrangement, how would it enhance the legitimacy of the organization? ». All of this has a corrosive effect on their legitimacy.
The entire international system, as it emerged from the Second World War, has undergone a real revolution. When the UN was created, it contained 50 states, a figure that rises to 193 in 2019. If the UN system had worked, we wouldn’t have had to create the G20. The current impasse in international institutions (UN, WTO, etc.) on many important points reflects the evolution of power dynamics and the spread of power. Hence this instability and uncertainty and not efficiency.
You recently wrote a very interesting article “Pandemic Covid-19: Lessons for Bioterrorism”. Can you explain to our readers the concept of Bioterrorism?
Bioterrorism refers to the intentional use or threat of use for terrorist purposes of micro-organisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites) or toxins to induce a biological malfunction that could result in the death of a living organism in order to influence government conduct or to intimidate or coerce a civilian population. Bioterrorism could include deliberate acts such as the introduction of pests to kill food crops; the spread of a virulent disease between livestock production facilities; and the poisoning of water, food and blood supplies. The act of bioterrorism can range from a simple hoax to the actual use of biological weapons.
Biological attacks-weapons of mass destruction, disorganization, and disruption-can have significant psychological and social effects in a variety of ways, even when the agents cause low rates of physical mortality. One of the first effects is intense social and psychological distress. There are several reasons for this reaction: the invisibility of biological agents, uncertainty about the extent and dangerousness of biological weapons, the possibility of transmission of the agent through human contact, etc. The first reason is the invisibility of biological agents. Because few materials are sufficient to produce the desired effect, biological agents – cheap and relatively easy to obtain and disperse – have proven to be well suited to terrorism to spread chaos and terror among populations. A biological weapons system consists of four elements;
– A payload – the biological agent itself.
– Ammunition that protects and transports the payload to maintain its power during delivery.
– A delivery system, which can be a missile, a vehicle (plane, ship, car or truck), an artillery shell, a human being, food.
– A dispersal system, which ensures that the payload is delivered to the target. Potential dispersal methods include aerosols, explosives, and food or water contamination. Aerosols are the most effective means of widespread dissemination.
Food supplies are easier to contaminate than water supplies. Terrorists can attack the food supply at several stages in the food chain: targeting livestock and crops during production, harvesting, storage or transportation; targeting processed foods during processing, manufacturing, storage, transportation or distribution. Food-borne outbreaks can be considered a natural event at the onset of a bioterrorist attack. Contamination of water supplies usually requires the addition of large (unrealistic) amounts of biological agents to a city’s water supply.
Biological terrorism is often mentioned. What do you think of these theses?
Biological agents have characteristics that make them attractive to a potential terrorist: lower cost than nuclear weapons; difficult to detect; easy dissemination of agents over large areas; perpetrators can protect themselves and disappear before effects appear; induces panic; clogs health care facilities; media effect; significant economic impact. Whatever the likelihood and possibility, effective bioterrorism preparedness would certainly have enabled better management of a pandemic, natural or accidental crisis. Pandemic and bioterrorism preparedness are inseparable. There is a clear continuity between measures to deal with bioterrorism and measures against a pandemic.
More than ever, the biological threat deserves the attention of security and public health politicians and professionals. Biotechnology in the age of synthetic biology broadens the landscape of potential defence issues. While the contributions of synthetic biology are promising, there are also concerns about malicious uses. While this knowledge has improved the ability of governments to detect, prevent and treat infections caused by biological warfare agents, experts recognize the potential to “personalize” conventional biological agents to make them more difficult to detect, diagnose and treat. The possibility of using biotechnology to develop a new class of agents, called Advanced Biological Agents (ABA), should be considered.
Biotechnology may also have applications supporting the militarization, dissemination and delivery of biological agents. As biotechnology continues to advance, the dangers and risks of militarization by governments or non-state actors are also increasing. For example, the DNA equipment required to synthesize a number of deadly contagions is cheaper and easier to purchase than other DNA. According to a 2003 Central Intelligence Agency report, “the biotechnology underlying the development of Advanced Biological Agents is likely to advance very rapidly, creating a diverse and uncontrollable threat spectrum.
Transgenic plants and animals could be modified to produce large quantities of bioregulatory proteins or toxins. Transgenic insects, such as bees or mosquitoes, could be developed to produce and deliver biological toxins. For example, a mosquito could be genetically modified to produce and secrete a biological toxin in its saliva. This same mosquito would then serve as a vector to deliver the toxin during its feeding process. These transgenic insects would likely go unnoticed because many of the detection and medical countermeasures that have been developed for “traditional agents” will be ineffective for ABAs. Five important attributes characterizing these advanced biological agents have been described: High virulence associated with high specificity; Absence of timely countermeasures for the attacked population; Ability to camouflage the agent with relative ease; High degree of resistance to adverse environmental forces; High degree of controllability.
You are a leading expert on terrorism and defense-related issues. In your opinion, didn’t terrorist organizations such as Daech and al Qaeda take advantage of the Covid crisis to reorganize themselves?
Not only jihadist organizations. A quick overview of neo-Nazi forums and white supremacist channels, which also use jihadist tactics to perfect their strategies, shows how right-wing extremists use disinformation and conspiracy theories to fuel extremist narratives and encourage mobilization. Supporters of domestic and international extremist groups encouraged their followers to carry out attacks during the pandemic to create panic, target minorities and immigrants, and celebrate the deaths of their enemies. According to a Department of Homeland Security memo, white supremacists and neo-Nazis advocated that “it was an ‘obligation’ to spread the virus if one of them contracted it. ” Civil society groups, such as the Anti-Defamation League, have identified right-wing forums such as “What to do if you get Corona 19,” which say, “Visit your local mosque, visit your local synagogue, spend the day on public transit, spend time in your local diverse neighborhood.
Some neo-Nazi blogs proposed “exterminating” immigrant populations and excluding ethnic minorities from medical treatment, while claiming that the “swastika” is “the best cure for Covid-19. Their propaganda blamed “inferior” ethnic groups while advocating the permanent closure of borders. For its part, the Islamic state has encouraged jihadists to capitalize on the fear, chaos and stress caused by the pandemic by carrying out attacks on vulnerable populations in Europe and the United States. Proponents of the Islamic state described the coronavirus as a “soldier of Allah” and encouraged followers to celebrate how the pandemic has harmed the U.S. and European economies. They also claimed it was a divine punishment against atheists, Shiites, Christians and minority populations in China, Iran and Italy. Islamist sites and blogs also call for spreading Covid-19 among infidels and Dar-Al-Harb, or what they call the “dijhad coronavirus”.
Various sources of intelligence point to a restructuring of Daech, particularly in Iraq. What can you tell us about this? Where is the cooperation of the intelligence services in the fight against terrorism?
The loss of many states (Iraq, Syria, Libya, Mali, etc.) from the monopoly of legitimate violence has contributed to the proliferation of dysfunctional states where a multitude of threats – insurgencies, terrorists, transnational organized crime, illicit shadow economies – thrive. At the same time, new drivers of conflict combine with rapid cultural, social and technological changes to complicate the global security environment. Daech is one of the products of this. The work of intelligence services is complicated in such chaos marked by the collapse of institutions. Fighting hybrid organizations like Daech is, in the words of former Lieutenant-Colonel John Nagl, “like eating soup with a knife,” so “hard to fully appreciate until you’ve done it. Daech is a hybrid, heterogeneous and narcoterrorist organization, marked by the cooperation-convergence of several terrorist groups, insurgents, criminals and militias and warlords. This relationship can be characterized by three phenomena, sometimes simultaneously:
– Coexistence; occupying and operating in the same geographical space at the same time.
– Cooperation; the different groups have realized that their mutual interests are best served if they work temporarily together and are threatened if they do not.
– Convergence; each begins to adopt the behaviours, strategies and tactics that are most often associated with the other. Daech is one example of the phenomenon of gangsterization of terrorism and radicalization of gangsters.
Local actors do not disappear in the new global networks. In the fight against narco-terrorism, the government has an initial advantage in terms of resources, but balanced by the obligation to maintain order and protect the population. Narco-terrorists succeed by sowing chaos; the government fails if it does not maintain satisfactory order. So if it merely kills or takes prisoners, the state cannot win. Winning wars and winning peace are thus two very different missions. Faced with this type of threat, neither tanks, warships nor planes could guarantee strategic victory.
Armed groups are living organisms, not mechanical structures. They change, transform and recombine in infinite permutations that force strategies and concepts to change over time. Daech is a “system of systems” that a terrorist organization is: a complex organism that depends on several factors; leadership, resources, infrastructure, populations and defenses. Lose one of these key elements and the enemy is paralyzed. Lose them all and the enemy is eliminated. Without addressing the causes that led to the emergence of Daech, including foreign interventions, it is highly likely that it will regenerate in a new form.
Why do Western governments tolerate the presence of notorious terrorists on their soil? In your opinion, have Western intelligence services adapted to the jihadist threat?
Terrorism is a polysemic concept. Despite the recurrent nature of this larger and more encompassing phenomenon, it is still ill-defined, open to misinterpretation, confusion, misuse, abuse and moral justification. The lack of a clear and unanimous definition has seriously hampered the fight against terrorism. The real problem is that the term has been used as an ideological weapon rather than as an instrument of analysis. In the West, there is a tendency to define terrorism not as an act, but by the perpetrator. The fight against terrorism is based on many false and reductive orientalist assumptions, which seek to impose moral clarity at the expense of strategic and operational clarity.
The fight against terrorism requires that the purpose and practice of security and military forces be governed by liberal and democratic values. The integration of the fight against terrorism with civil society makes the application of liberal values difficult. There are structural reasons that hinder the Western strategy. Gil Merom explains that what causes democracies to fail in “small wars” is the interplay of sensitivity to victims, repugnance for brutal military behaviour and commitment to democratic life. It is these tensions that provide the substance of an internal debate about the utility and legitimacy of coercive measures.
The strategy imposes discrimination of threats and harmonization of ends and means, and requires clear objectives, at least one identifiable enemy. But the West does not know what to think or do about the different terrorist groups, because of an orientalist and ideological debate. Wearing the veil and wearing an explosive belt are not the same thing. This does not facilitate the work of intelligence services and security practitioners. Policy is made not by a rational center but by a complex process. The state responds to multiple centers of interest and political pressure – parliament, lobbies, the public, advisers. The fight against terrorism is the result of a series of compromises and the government machinery, a vast and complex bureaucracy, does not facilitate the formulation of coherent and rational policies.
Do you think that the Biden administration will back down on the Western Sahara issue as opposed to the Trump administration? How do you see the outcome of this conflict?
Although traditionally it has always supported Morocco, its long-time ally in the region, the United States is now more cautious in trying to balance its relations with Morocco and Algeria, the latter has become a key partner in the global war on terrorism. There is a strong possibility that the Biden administration will reconsider the U.S. position on the Western Sahara issue and return to the status quo, which existed before Trump. In a bestseller “Strategy and Arms Control” (1961), Thomas Schelling and Morton Halperin argued that arms control and military policy must be committed to the same fundamental security goals: preventing war, minimizing the costs and risks of the arms race, and restricting the scope and violence of war should it occur. Particularly vulnerable and dangerously provocative weapons systems should be limited because states might be tempted to pre-empt or even encourage preventive war. In other words, the United States would seek to maintain a balance in the region. The evolution of the internal situation in Algeria and Morocco will determine the position of the external states, including the final outcome of the Western Sahara conflict.
Algeria remains a permanent target of various hostile circles. In your opinion, isn’t a possible destabilization of Algeria a very risky option for everyone?
Algeria faces problems of internal fragility and external vulnerability. Algeria’s national security circles (Maghreb, Arab, African and Mediterranean) are in a phase of reconfiguration and even disintegration of certain circles (Arab and Maghreb). The question of securing borders constitutes a “security dilemma” imposed by the growing unrest in the Sahelo-Maghreb neighbourhood and the intensification of rivalries between major powers. The threats are diverse, multifaceted and ambiguous. Algeria’s desire to be a free electron is not welcomed by the major powers.
Algeria’s Achilles Tallon is its internal fragility. When security dilemmas are the product of states’ external security policies, states can defuse tensions through confidence-building measures. The psychological basis for the perception of internal vulnerabilities is much more difficult to mitigate. Internal insecurity presents a particular challenge for policymakers. Fears of external interference are generated not by the policies of other states but by the internal vulnerabilities of states themselves. Thus, states with internal vulnerabilities cannot be easily alleviated by confidence-building measures”.
In your opinion, why is the Algerian army the permanent target of certain circles hostile to Algeria?
The sad reality is that international politics has always been a ruthless and dangerous business. The Algerian identity has been forged in adversity, but to its defending body. Algerian nationalism is rooted in the certainty that the country is the victim of a conspiracy. Algerian leaders perceive their country’s geopolitical position through the obsidian prism that Algeria is under constant threat. The constant recourse of Algerian leaders to the “external enemy” reflects an internal fragility. Faced with the economic, social and political crisis and the growing demands of the Hirak for transparency and governance, the state can no longer maintain its way of life. The Ministry of Defense is aware that budget cuts are necessary and that it is necessary to rationalize military spending. Alarming rhetoric serves to mitigate or delay such cuts. Without the establishment of a modern democratic state, Algeria will remain an inverted pyramid – that is, its stability remains fragile.
Interview realized by Mohsen Abdelmoumen
 * SIR JULIAN CORBETT (1854-1922), British naval historian, specialist in geostrategy, described two traditional points of concentration for the Royal Navy, one near the French island of Ouessant in Brittany for the control of the English Channel, and the other in the roadstead of the Dunes (near Dover) to guard against threats of invasion of the North.
Who is Dr. Tewfik Hamel?
Tewfik Hamel is an Algerian researcher in Military History & Defense Studies at CRISES (Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Humanities and Social Sciences) of Paul Valéry University in Montpellier and consultant. In charge of research at the Foundation for Political Innovation (2008-2009), Tewfik Hamel is a member of RICODE (Interdisciplinary research Network « colonization and Decolonization ») and the Reading Committee of the Geostrategic Review (geopolitical Academy of Paris). He is also the editor of the French version of the African Journal of Political Science (Algeria), a correspondent for The Maghreb and Orient Courier (Belgium) and a member of the Cabinet de Conseil Strategia (Madrid).
Tewfik Hamel is the author of numerous publications in collective works as well as in major newspapers specialized in France and the Arab world (Global Security, National Defense Review, Geo-Economics, Geostrategics, STRATEGIA, Common Market and European Union Review, Materials for the History of Our Time, NAQD, Magazine of Political Studies & International Relations, etc.). Author of reports on the geostrategic situation in the Middle East and North Africa, his latest study is entitled « Hybrid security threats: what answers to the crime-terrorism junction? » (National Institute for Global Strategy Studies, Presidency of the Republic, Algiers, 2017). His article in the magazine Global Security was published in the United States under the title « The Fight Against Terrorism and Crime: A Paradigm Shift? An Algerian Perspective ».