The Moroccan and US armed forces conducted a live fire exercise using the HIMARS system in the Agadir region of southern Morocco. They did it with US Marine Corps missile launchers, but as a prelude to the imminent delivery of 18 HIMARS systems to Rabat, previously approved by the US State Department for a value of $582 million.
Training on these missile launch systems is part of the African Lion 2023 joint military exercise coordinated by Washington and Rabat, the largest on the continent. In this scenario, the Moroccan and American military also conducted a counter-weapons of mass destruction exercise to assess the response capability of the Royal Armed Forces Relief and Rescue (FAR) unit in the face of a crisis involving radiological, chemical or biological nuclear risks.
— Far-Morocco (@FAR_MOROCCO) June 13, 2023
The exercise also extended to the greatest modern military innovation of the moment: drones. Several units of the participating militaries calibrated their reaction ability to counter a suicide plane (kamikaze) attack on a target containing chemicals. The goal is added to the land, sea and air tactical maneuvers that occupy the agenda of the African lion.
Beyond the purely military aspects on the battlefield, the exercises also deal with how to act in legal cases, in terms of general information and medical planning with the establishment of field hospitals, cyber security and the most innovative solutions in contemporary conflicts that are already taking place in regions such as the Sahel and the Sahara.
Rabat is an impregnable bulwark against threats that extend to the continent. The jihadist threat and the influence of the Wagner mercenary group and the countries sponsoring it are, in the eyes of the Pentagon, one of the most important sources of tension in the region. The African Lion maneuvers aim to support Morocco in this battle, but also the necessary rearmament led by the United States and its integration into the Royal Armed Forces.
In approving the shipment of HIMARS missile launch systems to Rabat, Antony Blinken’s State Department stated that it will “improve Morocco’s ability to deal with current and future threats, contribute to its ability to detect threats and control its borders, and contribute to regional stability and security.”
Algeria deployed its forces intensively and unprecedentedly on the borders between Algeria and Morocco in the same weeks as the African Lion maneuvers. The Chief of the General Staff of the Algerian Army, Saeed Chenegriha, ordered the concentration of military units on the border with Morocco and warned of the military escalation awaiting the two North African countries, starting next September.