The situation in North Africa leaves no room for calm. Morocco, as a regional leader, prefers to anticipate the movements of its neighbours and, given the tense situation with several neighbouring countries - especially Algeria since the breakdown of diplomatic relations at the end of August last year - it prefers to protect its borders by increasing its efforts to maintain security in the Kingdom. They are now mobilising material and human resources to guard the 3,330 kilometres of land and 3,500 kilometres of maritime borders.
Abdellatif Loudiyi, delegate in charge of the National Defence Administration (NDA), says that "border surveillance, as well as strengthening operational capabilities to deal with threats, are among the main concerns of the Kingdom's armed forces (FAR)". Loudiyi said during the debate on his department's budget by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives that "the mission of the Moroccan army, as well as the royal gendarmerie, is to mobilise significant material and human resources to control and monitor the borders".
This increased surveillance effort to which the delegate refers is based on a system of fixed and support points, intervention units, an electronic surveillance system - composed of a network of fixed and mobile radars - as well as audiovisual means and drones. In addition to this deployment, the Royal Air Forces will deploy a series of fixed radars to warn of any incursion into Moroccan airspace.
Finally, with regard to the maritime borders, the Royal Navy is, in the words of Abdellatif Loudiyi, "permanently vigilant in the fight against illegal activities in territorial waters by means of maritime surveillance radars and the mobilisation of intervention units along the Moroccan coast".
The Royal Moroccan Gendarmerie also plays a key role at all levels in border surveillance and protection. Loudiyi has announced the mobilisation of 50,000 military personnel for these tasks, as well as the investment of a large sum of money for the repair and maintenance of the electronic border surveillance system.
This new move by Morocco follows on the heels of the establishment in February of a military zone on the border with Algeria and the establishment of a command in Al Hoceima just a few weeks ago. The aim of the latter is to provide "the greatest flexibility and freedom of action necessary to adapt to the 'emergency conditions' in the region stretching from east of Al Hoceima to north of Moulay Bousselham". In addition, Hassane Erreda, a FAR brigadier general, will be in charge of the installation in Al Hoceima, where he has already established the headquarters of the first infantry battalion.