Morocco establishes a new command in Al Hoceima

The objectives include tackling illegal immigration and smuggling

PHOTO/REUTERS  -   Two Moroccan soldiers advance in an armoured vehicle.

Rabat continues to expand its efforts to strengthen its military presence and address the challenges that threaten its security at a time of global instability. The Kingdom has established a command in Al Hoceima, in the north of the country, which will serve to "reorganise the units of the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) in order to overcome the challenges facing the kingdom, in particular irregular immigration and smuggling". The Al Hoceima base thus joins other initiatives such as the establishment of a militarised zone in the eastern region near the Algerian borders earlier this year.
Sources consulted by the media outlet claim that the command aims to "guarantee the inviolability of Morocco's land, air and maritime borders in a total and constant manner". To which it added that these actions should be carried out "in a good coordination of actions and a convergence of efforts between the military units and the local authorities". It should not be forgotten that Morocco's situation with its neighbouring countries is not the best. Not only with Algeria, with whom King Mohammed VI has offered dialogue in order to redress the situation, but the crisis with Tunisia is another factor that is putting the Alawi kingdom on alert.


Hassane Erreda, a FAR brigadier general, will be in charge of the command in Al Hoceima, where he has already established the headquarters of the first infantry battalion. His leadership is expected to provide "the greatest flexibility and freedom of action necessary to adapt to the 'emergency conditions' in the region stretching from east of Al Hoceima to north of Moulay Bousselham", in the province of Kéntira, north of the Moroccan capital.
Morocco's new move is a further step in protecting its borders, and comes at a time when Mohammed VI is once again reaching out to Algeria to defuse the crisis that began at the end of August last year. However, the reasons for this rapprochement are not the best indicators of an improvement in relations between the two countries.

AFP/FADEL SENNA - Moroccan and Algerian flags in Saidia, on the border between the two countries.

The king decided not to attend the Arab League Summit in Algeria because Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita did not receive the same reception from the authorities as the rest of the participants, as well as the absence of Morocco's recognised borders with respect to the Sahara on the map shown by the Algerian news channel. Despite all this, Mohammed VI invited President Abdelmadjid Tebboune to "dialogue" in Rabat, signalling Morocco's intentions to resolve the diplomatic deadlock between the two regional leaders.
"Algeria will always find Morocco by its side in all circumstances and situations", Mohammed VI himself assured during his speech on the occasion of the Feast of the Throne in July this year. Morocco's intention is therefore to move closer to Algiers, despite Algerian gestures that do not appear to be in good faith. This is why it is important to improve its efforts to strengthen its presence north of the border and secure the region in the face of the instability surrounding the Alawite kingdom.