14 août 2022

"African Lion 2022": a large-scale military exercise in Africa

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The United States and Morocco, the host country, launched in Agadir (south) the 18th edition of the military exercise "African Lion 2022" on Monday. This military training aims to strengthen the skills of law enforcement agencies on the African continent. This is in response to the climate of regional tension with neighbouring Algeria. 10 days of intensive military training These annual manoeuvres will take place until 30 June. They will take place not only in Morocco but also in Tunisia, Senegal and Ghana, according to the US Africa Command (AFRICOM). It mobilises more than 7,500 soldiers from ten nations, including Brazil, Chad, France and the United Kingdom. Military observers from Nato and some 15 "partner countries", including Israel for the first time, are also taking part. The aim of "African Lion" is to "strengthen our common defence capabilities to counter transnational threats and violent extremist organisations", said a statement from AFRICOM. For his part, the number two of the Moroccan army, General Belkhir El Farouk, called on Monday in a speech to face the "security challenges". The sensitive issue of Western Sahara As in 2021, airborne troop jumps and artillery fire are planned in the desert, on the edge of Western Sahara, not far from Tindouf, the base of Sahrawi independence fighters of the Polisario Front in Algeria. The issue of Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony considered a "non-self-governing territory" by the UN, has for decades opposed Morocco to the Polisario, supported by Algiers. Sahrawi independence fighters want a referendum on self-determination while Rabat promotes autonomy under its sovereignty. Under a deal brokered by former US President Donald Trump, the US recognised Morocco's sovereignty over the vast desert territory in December 2020, in return for a resumption of diplomatic ties between Morocco and Israel. Algeria broke off diplomatic relations with Morocco in August 2021, accusing Rabat of "hostile acts" and denouncing its military and security cooperation with the "Zionist entity" (Israel).

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© Photos Credits : Air Combat Command