Morocco is once again planning Operation African Lion for the 14th consecutive time. The Kingdom, under the instructions of King Mohammed VI, Supreme Commander and Chief of Staff of the Royal Armed Forces, will hold the meeting to plan this initiative between 24 and 28 January. According to plans, the sessions will be attended by a number of countries, including the United States, one of the Alawi country's main allies and with which it began forming this operation.
The General Command of the Royal Armed Forces has issued a statement saying that during these events, the main objective will be to try to identify new ways of implementing activities related to the operation. These would involve training related to aspects corresponding to many operational fields, such as training in counter-terrorist group operations, or even activities involving decontamination of areas in the event of nuclear, radiological, biological and chemical warfare, involving land, air and sea operations.
According to sources close to the meetings being held, this year's operation is planned to be organised between 20 June and 1 July. The main locations for the operations will be the cities of Agadir, Tan-Tan, Tarudant, Kenitra and Ben Guerir.
This year, as in all years of the initiative, the main objective is to develop and improve alliances between the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces, in conjunction with the countries that wish to participate, mainly by developing techniques and procedures, as well as the capacity to work in cooperation. Another of the points is to mark the command of operations in the event of any threat at the multinational level.
The African Lion was born in 2007 as a joint military training, which aims to strengthen the forces, in the military field, of the participating countries, in addition to developing field skills. Over the years, the project has been attended by the Kingdom of Morocco, some European and African countries, but especially the United States.
The good relations between the two countries in terms of military cooperation are evident, and are reflected in the good results that have been obtained since the first executions of the operation. The US has become indispensable for this year's exercises. Even before the meetings were held, in the middle of last year the country announced its commitment and drive to proceed with the 2022 military operation.
Last year's exercise was held in June in the Western Sahara, where it was stressed at the end that the presence of the United States reinforces the recognition of Moroccan ownership of the territory.
Over the years, the African Lion has had two clear objectives: to end terrorism and to prevent and deal with natural disasters that can be created through the use of chemical and biological materials in the event of war.
In the first area, US cooperation is key, as the area surrounding the Maghreb continues to harbour terrorist groups and conflicts that threaten the area's wellbeing. Daesh is one of these major organisations operating in neighbouring countries. The data collected on violence in Mali stand out, affirming the presence of a jihadist threat in the nation; Al Shaab in Somalia, a subsidiary of Al-Qaeda; or in Nigeria, groups such as Boko Haram fighting against ISWAP - the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). Elsewhere, there are civil conflicts such as in Ethiopia over tribal and ethnic strife in the area, or the political and civil crisis in Libya.
"Fighting terrorism and adopting humanitarian measures to resolve the migration crisis, based on its role as an actor of regional stability in the Sahel and the Mediterranean," said Abdellatif Loudiyi, Moroccan Minister of National Defence.