Gen Milley in Rabat as Drone Wars are Proliferating
General Mark. A Miley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States military, recently had a multi-stop trip overseas, Including visiting US Forces in Syria, meeting with the Ukrainian Military in Germany, and stopping in Rabat to confer with Moroccan Military and Diplomatic officials. Since 1786 Morocco has had one of the longest-standing diplomatic relations with the US through its initial treaty of peace and friendship. Miley’s trip was to solidify current diplomatic and military efforts, including the African Lion 2023 exercise in Morocco.
Morocco has always contributed to peace and stability in the Maghreb, Sahel, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East.
Since October 2022, the POLISARIO has announced that they would receive an offensive drone capability from Algeria via Iran that has been proliferating the technology to nations not conducive to peace and stability in Africa and the Middle East to Russia in Ukraine. Morocco has raised concerns to the West about these new developments in North Africa.
In his visit to Rabat, State Anthony Blinken thank Morocco for its contributions to peace and stability and for conferring on the Middle East.
As the War in Ukraine drags on, Iran has provided material support to Russia, Algeria, and through the proxy military of the POLISARIO Front and Russia’s Private Military Corporation, the Wagner Group, throughout Africa and the Middle East. Why is this important?
Although the Abraham Accord has contributed to Peace and Stability in the Middle East, Algeria, and the POLISARIO have voiced their dissatisfaction with this accord.
The US and Spain have recognized Morocco’s sovereignty on the Sahara and Morocco’s Autonomy Plan, yet the POLISARIO wants to further the conflict despite 30 years of relative peace within a UN Brokered Cease-Fire.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the POLISARIO was known for its ability to disperse and quickly mass forces for an attack in a “hit and run” asymmetric fashion. Morocco became the main force against the POLISARIO, so they developed an Air Power capability providing overmatch for the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces.
The POLISARIO now tries an asymmetric approach hoping to use the drones as “the Poor Man’s Air Force” as they have little overhead for operations, and the training time is minimal for new operators.
The Iranian Drones are military-grade technology, but we have seen in Syria, Armenia-Azerbaijan, and Ukraine that commercial drones are developed and employed, allowing belligerents to use “swarm tactics” to overwhelm a combatant’s air defense capability.
So as in Ukraine, the United States and other Western Nations must come to Morocco’s aid to counter this new Drone capability provided to the POLISARIO by Iran, Hezbollah, and Algeria. Turkey has provided some initial drone capability to Morocco, but much more needs to be done to include tactics development and air defense capability.
Moroccan ground forces will find it challenging to conduct ground maneuvers if countermeasures are not quickly developed, and possible terror attacks may target civilians and urban areas.
Since its creation, the POLISARIO has been known for its strong ties to socialist and communist nations that have provided material and ideological aid. Today Iran is trying to distract the West from its troubles at home with massive civil unrest over Human Rights issues.
So the relationships built up for over 200 years by the United States and Morocco are crucial for Peace and Stability in Africa and the Middle East. As we have seen the rapid proliferation of Drone technology in both military and commercial sectors, the US Must provide Morocco with material and political support to counter this capability.
Iran uses Algeria and the POLISARIO Front to destabilize North West Africa, a foundational anchor on the Straits of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean gateway to commerce with Europe.
General Milley may make one more trip to Morocco again or ask General Langley, as the AFRICOM Commander, to do so.
AFRICAN Lion 2023 could be at risk, and that risk must be managed with a coalition of Western, African, and Middle East countries to counter the growing threat of drones provided by Iran.
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