According to Maghreb Intelligence, Chengriha has submitted a proposal confirming the military escalation with Rabat from September. The deployment coincides with the African Lion 2023 manoeuvres between Morocco and the United States

Algeria reinforces its military presence on the border with Morocco


An unprecedented massive deployment on the Algerian-Moroccan border. This was the order given by the Algerian army chief of staff, Said Chengriha, after the last meeting of the High Security Council, held in restricted session on 1 June, according to 'Maghreb Intelligence'. 

Chengriha, under the verdict of the President of the Republic, Adbelmadjid Tebboune, has ordered the deployment of several troops of the Algerian armed forces near Hammaguir, located 110 kilometres from Béchar and opposite the border with Morocco. According to this media, the Algerian army chief of staff is said to have presented Tebboune with an action plan that foresees a high risk of military escalation with Morocco as of September. 

The casus belli of this border rearmament is framed by Chengriha in the context of Rabat's military operations against the Polisario Front beyond the Moroccan wall, and the alleged incursions into Algerian airspace by Moroccan drones and new aerial equipment which, according to Algiers, are intended to spy on or monitor Algerian military units. A scenario that adds to the tension in the Maghreb in recent months.

PHOTO/ARCHIVO - Border between Morocco and Algeria

However, this is not the first time that Algeria has amassed the bulk of its army on the border with its Moroccan neighbour. Last November Algeria and Russia carried out joint military manoeuvres in Béchar, the former theatre of war of the so-called Sands War between Algiers and Rabat. 

A dangerous arms race 

Relations between the two neighbours are at their most delicate moment since Algeria broke off diplomatic relations with Morocco in August 2021 because of "repeated hostile acts", as Tebboune described them. Several months have passed since then, during which the two countries have been engaged in their own arms race.

In this context, alliances are strategic for both countries. While Algeria is strengthening its alliance with Russia, Morocco is doing the same with its most important partner: the United States. This is the backdrop for the Africa Lion-2023 manoeuvres, the main annual exercises to strengthen cooperation and training between the armies of Washington and Rabat.

PHOTO-FILE - El rey Mohamed VI inaugura un nuevo centro de formación profesional
PHOTO/FILE - The King of Morocco, Mohamed VI

Eastern Sahara, the latest struggle  

Alarm bells rang in February. In that month Morocco once again claimed sovereignty over Eastern Sahara following statements by the director of the Moroccan Royal Archives, Bahija Simou, who claimed that there are not only historical documents attesting to the sovereignty of Western Sahara, but also that of Eastern Sahara. These claims have already been denounced by the Algerian regime. 

Rabat maintains that this region was handed over by France to Algeria in the context of decolonisation, despite the sovereignty that the Kingdom claims over Eastern Sahara. This is a bone of contention that is fuelling Algeria's misgivings about a lost territory. The possible germ of Algeria's rearmament against the borders with Morocco.