By Anthony H. Cordesman

The Maghreb--Morocco, Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia--is a zone overburdened via pointless army charges. regardless of continual civil conflicts and militarized regimes in a couple of nations within the sector, there are literally few actual exterior threats, and the defense force are actually principally used to keep up inner security.

A designated country-by-country review of the effectiveness of army forces, and their effect on nearby economics, indicates that the quarter is still a mosaic of conflicting nationwide objectives, yet strategic pursuits were supplanted via inner conflicts, tensions, and politics. Declining army budgets are resulting in declining army power and potential, yet they belie the Maghreb's strength for armed clash and human pain. even supposing the Maghreb is a provider of oil and usual fuel, which generally guarantees the eye of the West, this tragedy of hands will get little cognizance from the surface international. which means the customers for the quarter are persevered wasteful army spending, and the consequent damage to nationwide monetary and political health.

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This further limited equipment modernization. It also meant major new efforts to politicize the armed forces, as loyalty was given higher priority than professionalism. These problems were particularly serious in Libya and Algeria, and they compounded the problems that were created by the failures to properly fund manpower quality and training and to develop effective systems for manpower management. FUTURE PATTERNS IN MILITARY DEVELOPMENT The irony behind these problems in military effectiveness is that it is not clear that they really matter all that much to the nations concerned.

MAJOR TRENDS IN MAGHREB MILITARY FORCES The trends in the strength of Maghreb military forces become clearer when they are examined by major category of military strength. 29 display the trends in force strength and force quality in Maghreb military forces by nation. While such numbers are not precise, and it often is not possible to distinguish operational equipment from the total inventory of equipment in a given nation, they provide a good picture of levels of force strength in each service, and some data on the relative strength of higher quality major weapons.

Algeria and Libya have taken some steps to acquire weapons of mass destruction, and Libya has chemical weapons. This proliferation, however, is now severely limited by funding problems and access to technology. SIZE, MILITARY FORCES, AND DEMOGRAPHICS OF THE MAGHREB STATES There are important differences in the size and nature of each Maghreb country’s military efforts. Morocco, Algeria, and Libya are spending roughly comparable amounts on defense. Libya, however, has a much smaller population than the other two nations, and has far less skilled human capital to devote to the military.

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