Morocco resumes compulsory military service

All young people aged 19 to 25 who meet the necessary requirements will be able to register from 13 December until 10 February 2022
ejercito marruecos

PHOTO/ARCHIVO  -   Moroccan brigades

After the hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, Morocco will reinstate compulsory military service. This was announced by the Ministry of the Interior in a decree announcing the recruitment period, which will run from 13 December to 10 February 2022.  

All young people between 19 and 25 years of age by 16 May 2022 who meet the necessary requirements must fill out a form to register on the census; on the other hand, boys and girls who were not called up and wish to perform military service can also, from 13 December, fill out the form via a website provided by the Moroccan government. This option is also available to "the Moroccan community living abroad who are registered in the consular registers and who wish to perform military service", according to the Ministry of the Interior. 

AFP/ WILLIAM WEST - Carro de combate principal M1A1 Abrams disparando a un objetivo durante una demostración de fuego real. Rabat ha adquirido 200 de ellos recientemente
AFP/ WILLIAM WEST - M1A1 Abrams main battle tank firing at a target during a live-fire demonstration. Rabat has recently acquired 200 of them

Young people with a physical disability or a criminal record of more than 6 months in prison are exempted from military service. The same applies to those who are studying or who have a dependent family. According to the EFE news agency, the Alawi government has stipulated a monthly "salary" of between 1,050 dirhams (about 96 euros) for rank and file soldiers and 2,100 dirhams (about 195 euros) for officers.  

Military service was first introduced in 1966 by royal decree, but was suspended in the 1980s due to the country's economic difficulties. Subsequently, as reported by the Arabic daily Aawsat, military service was resumed under the government of Abdul Rahman Al-Yousifi until 2006, when former prime minister Driss Yetou abolished it.   

 AFP/FADEL SENNA  -   El general de división marroquí Belkhir el-Farouk
AFP/FADEL SENNA -  Moroccan Major General Belkhir el-Farouk

Parliament passed a new law in 2018 bringing it back, but the coronavirus pandemic stalled the training process. However, a few weeks ago, Abdelatif Loudiyi, Morocco's defence minister, revealed Rabat's intention to revive military service. Loudiyi announced that the army will create four new centres to train 20,000 young people in the towns of Bensliman, Sidi Yahia Gharb, Benguerir and Tan Tan. 

"The Royal Armed Forces are ready to resume military service in the best conditions," the minister said. He also pointed out that the armed forces, following the instructions of King Mohammed VI, "attach great importance to military service". For Loudiyi, this military training provides "opportunities for professional and social integration" for young Moroccans.  

PHOTO/AFP  -   El Secretario de Defensa de EE.UU. Mark Esper (L) firmó un acuerdo de cooperación militar con el Ministro Delegado de Defensa Nacional de Marruecos Abdellatif Loudiyi (R) el 2 de octubre de 2020, en la capital Rabat.
PHOTO/AFP - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper (L) signed a military cooperation agreement with Moroccan Minister Delegate of National Defense Abdellatif Loudiyi (R) on October 2, 2020, in the capital Rabat.

The military and defence sphere is key for Morocco. In addition to sealing agreements in this sector with several countries such as Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom, the Kingdom decided last October to increase its defence budget. For the first time, it will exceed 50 billion dirhams (almost 5 billion euros) earmarked for armaments.