It is not simple, rather complicated and conflictive, but one of the main objectives of an organisation like NATO is to eradicate the mafias that traffic in arms, drugs, human beings, money, animals, anything that can bring them a good handful of dollars or euros.
The Atlantic Alliance's strategic concept, which will be agreed at the Madrid Summit, will refer to the threats and importance of the so-called southern flank, but it is not expected to be specific with names and surnames. Will it be enough to face the risks that are growing in the Sahel and affecting North Africa or sub-Saharan Africa, once again hit by drought and an incipient famine aggravated by the shortage of grain and cereals due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine?
The current focus is almost entirely on the confrontation with Russia, following its unacceptable aggression in Ukraine that provides the limited backdrop to a reality: we are at war. Liberal democracies are under attack by authoritarian populisms that take advantage of the circumstances to use force in the name of a big lie under the effects of post-truth and manipulating the polarisation they have created in the different countries where some political leaders manage ambiguity with the sole objective of achieving power and then holding on to it. In addition to modern weapons systems for defence and deterrence, NATO must arm itself to neutralise what the Spanish Foreign Minister calls non-military hybrid threats such as terrorism, cybersecurity, the political use of energy and irregular immigration, which cannot be used to challenge Spain's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
For years, the mafias have enjoyed the chaos in Libya to use the Niger route, without abandoning other options such as Morocco, which offers them two borders with the European Union, Ceuta and Melilla, without the need to throw their blackmailed clients to a more than likely death in a boat in the Mediterranean. Moreover, in its policy of African leadership, Morocco has regularised more than 50,000 immigrants in recent years.
Regulating the flows is very difficult and requires the EU's technological and financial cooperation. The mafias are getting better and better organised every day to break down the fences, as happened in Melilla, and use violence against Moroccan gendarmes and Spanish civil guards and police to achieve their goal: the 'call effect' and more profits. More resources, material and human, are needed in Morocco and Melilla. It is NATO's southern flank.