The Polisario and Samuel Doe’s Algerian Helicopter

samuel-doeAlthough the secret revealed by a former French arms dealer on the Algerian gift to Samuel Doe, the bloody president who ruled Liberia in the 80s, to buy his recognition of the Polisario came late, it speaks volumes about the methods used by Algeria to impose the separatist Front in Africa.
Samuel Doe who was faced with a growing opposition at home was seeking to purchase weapons at any price, revealed the arms dealer in a testimony reported last week by a French magazine. It was then that senior officers of the Algerian military intelligence services (DRS) got in touch with the arms dealer and asked him to pressure his friend, the Liberian President, to recognize the Algeria-backed separatist front.
The French go-between did not find it hard to convince Samuel Doe to recognize the Polisario in exchange of a combat helicopter from the Algerian army as the Liberian president was primarily eager to consolidate his arsenal. The method may seem simplistic today, but it was extremely effective in the 70s and 80s. At the time, many African leaders came to power by force of arms and were fighting for their survival in the face of resolute opposition movements.
Most of these dictators had meager funds and had emptied State coffers in their desperate attempts to remain in power. To pay the troops defending their rule, these dictators were ready to accept any deal, was it a blatant blackmail. And that was the case of Samuel Doe.
The Algerian DRS and also Libya’s Gaddafi did not hesitate to exploit this weakness. However, if the process was initiated by the Algerian regime at the beginning of the Western Sahara conflict in 1976, it was later on adopted and systematized by Gaddafi. Petrodollar arguments were luring and had a fascinating effect on African Heads of State who were ready, in their desperate need of financial and material support, to silence their consciousness, if they had any.


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