[ACCI-CAVIE] In this year 2023, the arms race has never been so intense between Morocco and Algeria. The two countries continue their military purchases, the ambient air at the borders being more to the powder currently, than to the calm sand of the desert.
Algeria, bulging as never before its chest, has planned for this for its ANP, a military budget of 22.7 billion dollars for the year, an increase of 130% compared to 2022. It is that on a continental scale, Algeria occupies the second position of the most powerful countries militarily, after Egypt.
The Kingdom, which comes far behind in this little game of ranking, is more in humility by arming intelligent. Forced to do so, it counts on relieving itself of only 5.2 billion dollars, which represents, all the same, an increase of 3.6%. Algeria, by dangling its petrodollars, has managed to attract some thirsty for money, especially in these times when we are starving ourselves to feed another war. France, Italy, Germany and other nations more discreet, are jostling at the door greeting in passing, Algeria to have changed tack.
Indeed, for a few more dollars, Algeria is slowly disengaging from its historical ally, Moscow, as the Ukrainian conflict evolves. That said, the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) remain true to their principles and are working to acquire new advanced weapons. The United States, Israel and Turkey, and even China, are the ideal partners for this. Also, new weapons acquisitions are underway or will be, according to the Moroccan Institute for Policy Analysis (MIPA) think tank. This year, 23 F-16 fighter jets will be configured as F-16Vs, recalling that last year 2022, the U.S. State Department approved the sale of 25 F-16C/D Block 72 fighter jets to the Kingdom.
This, in addition to 12 Boeing ordered, in 2020, for 4.25 billion dollars, 24 AH-64 Apache helicopters should be delivered to Morocco soon in addition to a first batch already acquired and we will not forget the four MQ-9B Sea Guardian drones, devices, it is said, equipped with laser-guided ammunition and GPS. In this first month of 2023, Rabat incessantly awaiting the delivery of kamikaze drones Harop, Israeli manufacture, Morocco has already received the Israeli anti-missile system Barak MX. The Kingdom also expects to receive more during the year. From an air perspective, Morocco has nothing to envy some.
In the same year, the United Arab Emirates is expected to deliver the Mirage 2000-9 aircraft promised to Morocco when it purchased the French Rafales. You do not care about the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 combat drones acquired by the FAR and which have already proved their worth in the southern and south-eastern regions of the Kingdom. Also expected, the French VL MICA ground-air defense system, ordered and soon to be deployed. Acquisitions made in the context of tension between the two neighbors in North Africa. Now, the installations in Morocco of factories manufacturing drones (Israeli) would amplify some old-fashioned rumors that are cultivated on the side of the senile regime of Algiers and which really worries the ANP in the East of Eden.
Indeed, Algiers, which has just turned its back on one of its main arms customers, Russia, suggests that there is concern about the partnership between Morocco and Israel and the kingdom’s constant efforts to strengthen and modernize its army. Morocco, without being outrageous or wasteful, is gradually becoming a regional and global military power in view of its geostrategic position and its carefully selected alliances.
By Mohamed Jaouad EL KANABI and LB