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Morocco participates in NATO naval exercise

As it does every year, the Alawite kingdom will be an observer at these training exercises in the Mediterranean Sea, which will be attended by Israel after it practically declined the offer because of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine
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NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organisation - is conducting its operations and training by the organisation's navy fleet. On an annual basis, the fleet is in the eastern basin of the Mediterranean Sea, specifically near Greece, training its naval infantry. This year, many powers are present, including Morocco, which is participating in the event as an observer.

The Kingdom, along with other countries from the MENA region -North Africa and the Middle East- such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Kuwait have travelled to Greece to attend the naval exercise, along with five European countries that will not be taking part in the training either. The navies of Austria, Canada, Cyprus, France, Italy, Slovenia, and the United States will be the executors of this event, where they will test their armies of the sea in the event of any kind of inconvenience

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REUTERS/SERGEY SMOLENTSEV  -   British Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender arrives in the Black Sea port of Odessa, Ukraine, on 18 June 2021.

Among the participating countries are the Israeli Air Force and Naval Forces, which will take part in the exercise after having been hesitant about joining. The Hebrew country had been on the verge of not taking part in the event due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Initially, the nation had considered not taking part in order to keep a low profile, as there is now an extensive conflict between the Western powers and Russia, and taking part could have meant a clear positioning in this battle.

Nevertheless, Aviv Kochavi, the chief of staff of the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) announced to NATO that it will participate. Israel has sent several F-16 fighter jets, air vehicles specialised in close air attack. It has also contributed Boeing 7 refuelling aircraft, Gulfstream G550 surveillance aircraft, as well as Shayetet 3 missile warships and some Shayetet 7 submarines, very modern weaponry on the part of the Hebrew army.

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PHOTO/FAR - Rabat has acquired 25 new F-16 fighters and will upgrade the 23 in its current fleet in a contract worth an estimated $4,747.2 million, the country's largest military purchase.

It should also be noted that Israel's Channel 12 has reported that one of the key points in this exercise will be self-defence, following the events of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Another of the training exercises will be the "Noble Dina", a series of exercises in which the Navy trains for possible anti-terrorist scenarios and other types of drills, such as protecting ports from damage or evacuating them in the event of an attack. Search and rescue training for civilians and soldiers is also conducted, as well as a simulation of a naval battle.

Morocco, for its part, has already participated several times as an observer in NATO naval exercises, either operating in the Atlantic Ocean or in the Mediterranean Sea. The Kingdom has always participated in these events and has sent several ships and vessels to participate and cooperate with the other countries in the many bilateral exercises. In all of them, the high level of the Moroccan navy has been highlighted, which stands out for its modern weaponry, as well as its preparedness to face any problem that may arise.

In recent years, Morocco has been forging closer ties with the United States. The United States is an enormous arms power, so the Kingdom's rapprochement is in line with its interests in improving its naval, air and land systems. For the past two years, following the Abraham Accords, the two countries have been collaborating in all kinds of operations, such as the African Lion, which aims to train the army in the event of terrorist attacks or natural disasters that may occur in Africa. 

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PHOTO/US ARMY - Morocco will receive the first units of the 24 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, a lethal aircraft that is considered the best in its class in the world, starting in 2024.

Similarly, the North African nation has been moving closer to Israel in recent times. The two countries have signed agreements for the sale and transfer of equipment that is improving Morocco's entire defence system. Among them is 'Iron Dome', a defence system that incorporates radars capable of identifying any missile that intends to attack, with the possibility of sending another missile to deflect the attack. There have also been arms and missile sales between the two countries, as well as the installation of new military bases.