The African Lion 2022 military exercises that Morocco and the United States launched Monday, June 20 from Agadir, end today. The maneuvers included the participation of some 7,500 troops from some 20 nations, including Brazil, France and Britain. NATO observers were also present and, no offense to Algeria, for the first time, Israeli officials were present at these maneuvers.
The military maneuvers began in Agadir and have since taken place in Kenitra, Tan Tan, Taoudant and Mahbes. According to a statement issued by the US Africa Command, maneuvers took place in Tunisia, Senegal and Ghana as well, “ the exercise enhances interoperability among partner nations and supports U.S. military strategic readiness to respond to crises and contingencies in Africa and around the world added the memo from US Africa Command.
The first joint exercises of the African Lion took place in 2007 and already intervened in a context of increased tensions between the Kingdom and neighboring Algeria, in particular concerning the southern regions of the Kingdom that Algeria is contesting against us and that the United States has since recognized it as Moroccan territory. Algiers had severed its relations with Rabat for “hostile acts” and Morocco was strengthening its defense cooperation with Israel.
A ceremony was organized on Wednesday at the headquarters of the South Zone General Staff in Agadir to mark this 18th “African Lion 2022” in the presence of representatives of the participating countries. In a speech delivered on this occasion, Lieutenant General Belkhir El Farouk, Inspector General of the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) and Commander of the Southern Zone, welcomed “the objectives of the 2022 edition, achieved with satisfaction,” noting that “ the African Lion Exercise, which is now in its 18th edition, was born of a visionary will of two great nations, the United States and the Kingdom of Morocco, aiming to consolidate their military cooperation, but also to bring a stone to the building of prosperity and stability in the world “.
The Moroccan Army Lieutenant General added that “ one of the highlights of this event is the last two days of each edition of Exercise African Lion. They dedicate the work of a whole year of work to planning and conducting a series of activities of a military nature, and even to preparing the engagement environment worthy of a well-established coalition. “.
Taking the floor, the American Major General Andrew Rohling, commander of the SETAF-AF, underlined the importance of this event, expressing his satisfaction with the achievement of the objectives of the exercise. ” “African Lion 2022” is an opportunity to exchange experiences with partner countries and consolidate military cooperation “, he noted. “African Lion is a combined joint exercise organized each year by the Royal Armed Forces and the United States Armed Forces.
Commenting on the event, Mohamed Talib, member of the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs (CORCAS) told MoroccoLatestNews.fr that the “ African Lion has become an unmissable annual meeting since 2007 and is now part of the tradition of Defense strategy between the United States and Morocco with a trend towards internationalization with regard to the twenty or so countries that participate. This demonstrates Morocco’s manifest credibility as a partner of the United States, which is becoming increasingly stronger in the eyes of international public opinion as a country that fulfills its commitments. “.
On the military level, said Mohamed Talib, ” this is an opportunity for the FAR to further develop their capabilities, new technologies and new war strategies with the US Armed Forces “.
On the other hand, he continues, the image of the FAR at the world level is reinforced even more ” especially since they play a major role in peacekeeping as UN Forces across the planet and more particularly in Africa. In short, these maneuvers in addition to their importance strategically speaking, also demonstrate that the Kingdom is a regional power while next to it we practice alone in one night in Tindouf in the little game of what I will call ” fires of artifice“ and which have nothing to do with the maneuvers of African Lion “.
The Member of Corcas will continue by saying that the military exercise in addition to including training and simulations with the activities of the command, “also puts the accent on the operations of fight against the terrorist organizations of by specific trainings”.
So these maneuvers that take place annually, show for Mohamed Talib, ” to what degree Morocco and its FAR are ready to take up the challenge of terrorism in the region. A terrorism that feeds the neighbor, in the Sahel and even beyond with regard to its shenanigans in Mali, Niger and Chad… It is an open secret, Algeria never ceases to encourage and arm the terrorist groups in these regions”.
As far as the Kingdom is concerned, our interlocutor will conclude, “ Morocco has committed itself to world opinion in a relentless fight against terrorism in all its forms, including State terrorism, such as that which is exercised next door, in the East. Algeria is enraged and we saw it with the last operation of the assault on Melilla, where the tap of the migratory flow was opened to clandos from the far east of the continent. It was a message to say + I’m here and I’m ready to muddy the waters +, but unfortunately it’s a wet firecracker, world public opinion is not fooled “.