Military cooperation between the United States and Morocco continues to be strengthened through operation 'African Lion' with the aim of bringing the two states together in the face of common threats. The exercise is also part of Morocco's programme to modernise its military and defence industry.
The multinational joint force, 'African Lion 21', is part of the exercises jointly conducted by the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) and the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces. Its mission pursues the objective of cooperation and training, thus promoting the possibility of sharing knowledge and different experiences among the different military components, according to the communiqué.
These operations are conducted in the southern provinces of Tan Tan, regions with a population of about 10,000. In this area, the United States has a military base for the purpose of dealing with terrorism and natural disasters. This project reinforces the US presence on the continent and is an endorsement of the Mohammed VI monarchy.
In addition to Agadir and Cap Draa, the exercise took place in Tifnit, Mehbes, Tafraut, Ben Guerir and Kenitra, with the participation of thousands of multinational military personnel and a very large number of ground, air and maritime teams.
Colonel Hassan Idouch, in charge of the exercise at Cap Draa, indicated that the exercise, in which several units took part, was a great success, specifying in a statement to MAP that it made it possible to measure the degree of preparation of these forces for the execution of tactical and technical missions.
For Commander Ismail Ouaninech of the Moroccan Aramdas Forces, this exercise made it possible to achieve the expected results thanks to the participation of all the forces and units involved.
Moreover, the US presence in the area facilitates the control of the transit of supertankers arriving in Europe via the Cape of Good Hope route. Similarly, the military base monitors the region's energy complexes, as well as the network of gas pipelines running through the Sahara and the Sahel.
The spokesman for the US forces involved in the African Lion 21 exercise, Colonel Rayan Dillon, paid tribute to the good coordination between the Moroccan and American artillery, stressing that the "African Lion 2021" is one of the most important military exercises organised by the US command for Africa "Africom".
"We aspire to develop this exercise in future editions," he said, saluting the secular nature of the relations and friendship between Morocco and the United States that go back more than 200 years.
The 'African Lion 21' Army takes advantage of its regional organisation and international training to maintain stability in the region, through peace operations, including strategies to combat the growing problem of jihadism, especially present in the Sahel area. Its mission is to "confront violent extremist organisations, maintain border security and counter transnational threats", AFRICOM explains on its website.
Thousands of soldiers from the United States, Morocco and various European and African countries are involved in the 'Lion' manoeuvres. The joint military training, which began in 2007, is intended to further strengthen military relations and develop the field and combat skills of the participating states.