The US Senate proposes merging Morocco with the US Central Command

The US Senate proposes merging Morocco with the US Central Command

Senator Mark Kelly has suggested that the Royal Armed Forces of Morocco cooperate with US Central Command (CENTCOM).

In the context of the debate in the US Senate on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) referring to fiscal year 2024, a law that supports the Armed Forces, modernizes the Air Force and enhances the national security of the United States, Democratic Senator from Arizona Mark Kelly proposed merging the Royal Armed Forces of Morocco In military exercises led by the US Central Command (CENTCOM).

Part of this act raises the need to assess threats related to Iran’s nuclear capabilities: “Seeks to improve coordination between the United States and regional partners to counter the common threat from Iran, and to support Morocco’s integration into military exercises directed by Central Command.”

The operations carried out by this body seek to “improve coordination” between the North American giant and “regional partners” in order to confront the threat posed by Iran to the entire group. US Central Command is one of nine unified security commands of the US Department of Defense and is responsible for US interests in 27 countries operating in the Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia.

Iranian threat

The Islamic Republic of Iran is referred to on the international scene for being a destabilizing element in the region due to its hostile policy and interference in the internal affairs of other countries, by similar groups of the Shiite current: the Mobilization Forces in Iraq, the Fatemiyoun Brigade in Afghanistan, Hezbollah in Lebanon or the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Iran considers the United States an enemy, and there is also a confrontation with Morocco after the Moroccan government severed relations with the Persian state in May 2018 over the delivery of Iranian weapons to the terrorist Polisario Front, a separatist entity that threatens Morocco’s territorial integrity.

Although Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian recently indicated, on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, that Iran is ready to resume its relations with the Kingdom of Morocco, as well as with Egypt. “One of the foreign policy priorities of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s administration is special attention to the country’s relations with the Islamic world and the countries of the region (…) We welcome the expansion and normalization of relations with other countries of the region,” Amir Abdollahian said.

The importance of the Abraham Accords

Senator Mark Kelly was part of the seven-member US Congressional delegation related to the Abraham Accords that visited Morocco last January. Its members were received by Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch and Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita. After visiting Morocco, the delegation headed to the UAE, Bahrain and Israel to further strengthen relations.

The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces are present in part of the area in which the US Central Command operates. Moroccan fighter jets participated in air strikes targeting sites occupied by ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Iraq, which suffers from Iranian interference in its internal affairs, called on Rabat to establish “constructive cooperation between the two countries in the fields of security, intelligence and information exchange, in order to eliminate terrorism and achieve stability in the region and the world.” This request was expressed by the Iraqi National Security Adviser, Qassem Al-Araji, during a meeting in Baghdad last January with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita.

Specifically, the Abraham Accords marked a diplomatic milestone since various Arab countries, such as Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, or Morocco, established diplomatic relations with Israel with the goal of pacifying the Middle East and developing the region socially and economically, all by forming a common front against common enemies. Like Iran. Although the Persian state, for its part, has recently achieved rapprochement with historical rivals such as Saudi Arabia, with which it agreed to reopen embassies, or even partially with Israel, because improving relations with these countries can help the ayatollahs’ regime out. From the isolation he suffers at the international level and has political benefits such as returning to the nuclear agreement, which was broken in 2018 with the United States leaving it after Donald Trump’s government denounced Iranian violations of the agreed terms regarding the development of the Persian nuclear program.

HIMARS launchers launch bursts of missiles at a range of 300 km in the Moroccan region of Mahbas, as part of the African Lion 2021 maneuvers.
HIMARS launchers launch bursts of missiles with a range of 300 km in the Moroccan region of Mahbas, as part of the African Lion 2021 maneuvers.

Morocco is a permanent partner of the American Command in Africa (AFRICOM)

Morocco is a permanent partner of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) and an important player in the annual “African Lion” exercises, in which a large number of African countries cooperate with the United States to enhance defense and security against threats such as jihadists, terrorism or organized crime. Now, it appears that Morocco may be about to join the US military command in the Middle East (CENTCOM). Thus, in addition to the exercises scheduled by AFRICOM, Morocco could be invited to participate in the exercises organized by the US military in the Middle East region, thanks in part to the proposal of Senator Mark Kelly.

Senator Kelly is a former astronaut who has spent more than 50 days in space, and traveled more than 20 million miles. He retired from NASA in 2011 after commanding the space shuttle Endeavor on its final flight and entered politics to be a part of Senate committees related to various areas such as defense, environment or energy.

With this possible entry into the US Central Command as the second African country after Egypt, Morocco, which is a major US ally on the African continent, will thus strengthen its military and security cooperation with the North American country, and therefore with other allied partners such as Israel. This privileged position gives Morocco the option of accessing a large market for arms and technology produced by the United States and Israel, which increases the strength of the Moroccan army.

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Written by rfrfx

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