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General Larbi Belkheir Dies

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The End of an Era: Algerian army General Larbi Belkheir, a figure that has been largely insignificant in today’s Algerian politics, died on January 25, 2010 at the age of 72. Belkheir has been a central figure in the Algerian ruling system in the past, though his activities and exact role are shrouded in mystery.

So much so that over the past two decades he was rarely seen in public settings and remained largely distant from media scrutiny. General Belkheir’s last battle was against a rare disease that left him stuck on a wheelchair for months.

 

While Belkheir was a major player in securing the role of the military in civilian governance and on overall policy making prior to the mid 1990s, he has become much more irrelevant and unimportant in the Algerian governing system.  Rumors and news of him as being a central figure in Algerian politics today are greatly exaggerated. His generation of comrades have all faded away or died and have been replaced by a new generation of officers with no links or allegiance to him. His relationship with the president was greatly strained, leaving him no impact on the presidency whatsoever. Furthermore, the deaths of his brother in the 2003 earthquake and that of his son pushed him into a state of depression that made inefficient and less interested in political matters. 

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