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Morocco turns south and contributes to military and religious training in Africa

A new report by the Carnegie Middle East Center revealed that in recent months the Kingdom of Morocco has strengthened its support for the regional group known as the Sahel countries in the context of its competition with Algeria over influence in the Sahel and the rest of Africa. Plays a key role in the European focus on the security and stability of the Sahel.

Morocco’s relations with African countries in the post-colonial era have not been as close to decades as their relations with Morocco. Countries with Algeria as an example.

The report revealed that Morocco, in the face of this reality, sought to improve its bilateral relations with the African countries, especially in West Africa and the Sahel, where long-standing links have been based on soft power, adding that engaging with the five Sahel countries is a means of demonstrating During which Morocco is a supporter of Africa’s fundamental security priorities – not least in the backyard of Algeria – and of the African Union’s vision of promoting regional peace and cooperation.

Morocco’s support for the G-5 is a relatively low-risk approach aimed at promoting Morocco’s wider range of goals in Africa, the report said. It also allows the Kingdom to become a strategic security force, as the United States and the European Union can not engage in direct military intervention. The Moroccan cooperation in the fight against terrorism and the fight against violent extremism is of great value, as it gives Morocco an additional means of exerting influence on the Moroccan Sahara issue, which face diplomatic and legal challenges against the de facto control of the region, according to the report.

“Morocco’s main contributions to the G-5 are military and religious training,” the report said. On the security front, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita announced in September 2017 that Morocco would help the five Sahel countries manage border security and promised to help counter radical Islamic teachings in the region in general. Delegates from Morocco attended the High Level International Conference on the Sahel held in Brussels in February 2018, during which they highlighted a number of areas of cooperation, including border control, food security, social development, military training and religious training for imams. In June 2018, Morocco pledged to support the joint force of the Group of Five Sahel countries, which focuses their operations on combating terrorism and countering transnational crime.

Morocco has been working for a long time to train a large number of elements and military leaders in the five Sahel countries, including Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, and the joint force commander of the Group of Five Sahel countries, Lieutenant General Hanna Ould Sidi, Also a Mauritanian, at the Royal Military Academy in Meknes. In November 2018, Media reported that more than 1,300 foreign officers – mostly from sub-Saharan Africa – were receiving military and technical training in Morocco.

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