The African Lion (largest annual joint maneuvers on the African continent) for its 2022 edition, took place mainly in Morocco but also in Tunisia, Senegal and Ghana. In the Kingdom, the operations took place in Agadir, Tan Tan, Al Mahbès about fifty kilometers from Tindouf, Taroudant, Kénitra and Ben Guérir…
The first objective of the exercise is to improve our level of preparation, the skills of the participating armies and strengthen our partnerships “, said the head of the American command for Africa (Africom), General Stephen Townsend at the end of the international military exercise “African Lion” co-organized by Morocco, host country since 2004. More than 7,500 soldiers from twenty nations took part in the “African Lion 2022” exercise on Moroccan soil.
This largest joint military exercise (Morocco-United States) on the African continent was held in a very particular geopolitical context, while instability in the region is increasing. Indeed, in the background of “African Lion”, the rise of violent extremist groups and the arrival of Wagner in the Sahel but not only, since we can gladly add, other geopolitical and geostrategic issues in the scenarios of these military exercises.
“Si vis pacem, para bellum“
Political scientist Mohamed Tajeddine El Housseini, professor of international relations at the Faculty of Law of Agdal in Rabat, requested by MoroccoLatestNews.fr, deciphers this and as usual a relevant analysis. And it starts strong: I think that these military exercises have a political impact of course, but geostrategic, economic and paradoxically also peaceful. Why ? because the Latin phrase “Si vis pacem, para bellum (“If you want peace, prepare for war” in French), which represents the concept of armed peace, has never been so topical as it is now in this region of the world. Must say, we are under the yoke of deterrence, as in the good old days “.
Moreover, continues the political scientist, “the fact of organizing these military maneuvers with a superpower in the Sahara is not given to everyone, whatever their rank in the world hierarchy. The fact also to organize African Lion regularly and permanently each year, in disputed regions is a de facto recognition of the Moroccanness of our southern provinces or at least a complacency with Morocco on the part of the community. international and United Nations.
Furthermore, he adds, “the fact of bringing the United States to organize military maneuvers in Mahbès, for example, about fifty kilometers from the sequestrated camps of Tindouf in Algeria controlled by the separatists, is an act which, in addition to being courageous, is significant in more ways than one. He warns the enemies that the regional balance is shifting and that the balance of power has completely changed”.
Diversification of partners is a strength
We remember, he continues, “The United States was not complacent a few years ago with Morocco, especially when Barack Obama’s administration had integrated respect for human rights into Minurso’s mission in 2015 or 2016. The Sovereign had received the message well and had sought other powers as proof of his visits to India, China and Russia where the Kingdom had even signed strategic agreements with these countries. Morocco had taken the decision not to put + all its eggs in one basket + if we can say so”.
For Tajeddine El Husseini, “ diversify its partners, be in a position of strength to be able to dictate its conditions. This is why there has been a radical change in the position of the United States with regard to Morocco, which has moreover been reinforced by the Abraham Accords. But what is important, to impose yourself you have to be able to have other partners in your relations at the international level. I already think that Morocco will succeed in concluding this kind of pact with the United States, considered as a strategic partner beyond the Atlantic”.
Moreover, he says, “The United States has begun to organize regularly what is called the strategic dialogue with Morocco chaired by the heads of diplomacy of the two countries and in which even the representatives of the Royal Armed Forces and other authorities participate. strategic order. The United States is an essential partner for Morocco”.
Cold War and alliances
On his way, the political scientist underlines that today “We are on the brink of a cold war. But let it be said, it does not at all resemble that of the sixties with its characteristics (peaceful coexistence, policy of detente, etc.) and where there were not as many nuclear powers as there are today. Also, if a confrontation takes place it will be fatal to the planet and to humanity. So looking for valid allies of a certain level is no longer an option or a choice but a necessity”.
“This kind of alliance formationhe believes, is gradually becoming more and more evident. There is even talk of creating a new “NATO” at the level of certain countries in the region. Joe Biden’s visit to the Middle East, to Saudi Arabia goes in this direction and there will even be negotiations in this regard. Morocco should join this Middle Eastern alliance. It is because if tomorrow there are going to be attacks from Algeria or other enemies like Wagner’s mercenaries, the Kingdom of Morocco will find itself within the framework of a well-reinforced alliance”.
The geographical position of Morocco is a huge asset
Referring to another aspect of the matter, the expert notes that he ” Morocco’s position in this region of the continent must be considered as a strategic platform for establishing a stronger link between Europe and Africa. The fact of having normalized relations between Morocco and Spain is of extreme importance. Future infrastructure such as the Strait of Gibraltar tunnel, which the Moroccan-Spanish commissions have been working on, is in the process of being completed or the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline, which will cross 14 countries to discharge its gas towards Europe, indicates how much Morocco’s position is strategic for both continents“.
Moreover, he will say, there is also huge port infrastructure in Morocco on two different seafronts such as Tangier-Med or the huge port of Dakhla-Atlantique for which a budget of just 1 billion dollars for its launch has already been granted and will also serve African needs. Investments and economic cooperation are not lacking and the Morocco platform is well placed for this. Unfortunately there is an obstacle called Algeria and I am not saying Algeria itself, but the Algerian regime which, instead of collaborating in the development of the Maghreb for a +Win-Win+ beneficial to the whole region is ruining everything by refusing the outstretched hand of King Mohammed VI“.