… The army has now firmly entrenched itself as an integral feature of the political system—a system in which the legitimacy of the military’s political influence is hardly questioned by Algerians. It goes beyond popular acquiescence about the generals’ role in politics. In Algeria, the military constitutes the most trusted state institution, and by a wide margin. According to a 2017 survey of a broad spectrum of Algerian society by the Arab Barometer, an overwhelming 75 percent of respondents said that the armed forces were the most trusted institution in the country. Parliament and the political parties were the least trusted, by only 14 percent and 17 percent, respectively.
For all the attention on Bouteflika’s extensive shuffling of the army ranks, they hardly reveal a shift in civil-military relations, even at a time of political uncertainty in Algeria. The one certainty is that the army is powerful, and popular, and that is likely to continue.
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