Ahmed Gaid Salah (Arabic: أحمد قايد صالح‎; 13 January 1940 – 23 December 2019[1]) was a senior leader in the Algerian People's National Army. In 2004, he was appointed by then-President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to the position of chief of staff of the army. On 15 September 2013, he was appointed Deputy Minister of Defense. Gaid Salah was promoted to the rank of General in 1993. He was married and father of seven children.

Ahmed Gaid Salah
أحمد قايد صالح
Ahmed gaid salah 2006.jpg
Ahmed Gaid Salah in 2006
Chief of Staff of the People's National Army
In office
3 August 2004 – 23 December 2019
Preceded byMohamed Lamari
Succeeded bySaïd Chengriha (acting)
Deputy Minister of Defense
In office
15 September 2013 – 23 December 2019
Succeeded byVacant
Personal details
Born(1940-01-13)13 January 1940
Batna, Algeria
Died23 December 2019(2019-12-23) (aged 79)
Algiers, Algeria
Military service
Allegiance Algeria
Branch/serviceANP.png Algerian People's National Army
Years of service1958–2019
RankLieutenant general
UnitCorps of Artillery
CommandsChief of Staff of the People's National Army
Battles/wars

Gaid Salah served as Algeria's de facto leader in 2019.[2]

BiographyEdit

On 26 March 2019, after months of unrelenting anti-Bouteflika protests, Gaid Salah compelled President Bouteflika to resign.[3] The president handed over his resignation under intense public pressure after having announced that he was seeking reelection for a fifth term. Later, in an effort to ease public tension, General Gaid Salah ordered the arrest of the president's brother and close adviser, Said Bouteflika, alleging that he was conspiring with two former intelligence chiefs, retired General Toufik Mediene and General Tartag, to make changes in the leadership of the armed forces, including the removal of Gaid Salah himself from his top position.[4]

In an effort to remove opposition, General Gaid Salah ordered the arrest of two former prime ministers as well as other former ministers and several business leaders who were close to presidential advisor Said Bouteflika. His actions at that point gained him a lot of public support. The anti-corruption activity that started in the second quarter of 2019 was used by the Algerian anti-government movement as an opportunity to demand that the military hand over power to a civilian government, a demand that was rejected by General Gaid Salah. Instead, General Gaid Salah said that only a presidential election could bring the country out of its political crisis.[5]

DeathEdit

Gaid Salah suffered a heart attack on the morning of 23 December 2019 and was rushed to a military hospital in Algiers, where he died a few hours later. He was 79 years old.[6][7][8] His last public appearance was four days earlier when he received the National Order of Merit from President Abdelmadjid Tebboune.[9] After his funeral, he was buried on 25 December 2019 at El-Alia cemetery, Algiers.[2][10]

HonoursEdit

  • Collar of the National Order of Merit (Algeria)
  • Medal of the Order of Military Merit (Algeria)
  • Medal of Bravery (Algeria)
  • Medal of Courage (Algeria)
  • Medal of Honour (Algeria)
  • Medal of Longevity and Exemplary Service (Algeria)
  • Grand Officer of the Order of the Republic of Tunisia

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "نائب وزير الدفاع الفريق قايد صالح في ذمة الله". النهار أونلاين. December 23, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Algeria buries military chief, de facto ruler amid protests". Associated Press. 25 December 2019. Archived from the original on 2020-01-14. Retrieved 25 December 2019.
  3. ^ "Algerian Leader Bouteflika Resigns Under Pressure From Army". 2019-04-02. Retrieved 2019-09-18.
  4. ^ "Algeria: Military Judiciary Sets Trial Date for Bouteflika Regime Figures". 2019-09-13. Retrieved 2019-09-18.
  5. ^ "Algeria's army chief renews push for presidential election". 2019-06-17. Retrieved 2019-09-18.
  6. ^ eddine, Ait Seddik Baha. "Décès du général de corps d'armée Ahmed Gaïd Salah". www.aps.dz.
  7. ^ "Ahmed Gaïd Salah hospitalisé, un proche annonce son décès". Radio M. December 23, 2019.
  8. ^ "Algeria's powerful military chief Ahmed Gaid Salah dies". France 24. December 23, 2019.
  9. ^ "شاهد آخر ظهور لرئيس أركان الجيش الجزائري قبل وفاته". Al Arabiya (in Arabic). 23 December 2019.
  10. ^ Chikhi, Lamine (25 December 2019). "Hundreds of thousands turn out to mourn Algeria's powerful army chief". Reuters. Retrieved 26 December 2019.