Iranian Drones in North Africa with Algeria’s Help
After several warnings by Moroccan officials, Iran’s deployment of drones in North Africa has now become a reality and a threat to the security and safety of Morocco, and even to the security and stability of the region and the world.
Moroccan diplomacy is racing against time by raising the issue of the Iranian incursion into North Africa to the attention of Western governments, considering that this incursion would not have been possible without the support, assistance and coordination that Iran receives from Algeria.
While the world was preoccupied with Iran’s nuclear program, the latter directed towards the development of drone technology until it has become one of the most important suppliers of these aircraft to dictatorial regimes and extremist movements and Iran’s affiliated wings.
Iran’s supply of drones to the Russians is not a secret, as is the case with all its terrorist wings in the Middle East.
Iran’s experience with drone technology began during the years of the Iran-Iraq war between 1980 and 1988, and at that time it was limited to surveillance and espionage missions.
Since then, Iran has built generations of increasingly sophisticated drones. The Iranians have re-engineered the American drones that they captured during their war against Iraq.
They also smuggled engines and spare parts to Iran from the West, such as engines capable of operating drones until the tricks they were following during these smuggling operations were discovered, but it was too late and after the Iranians had the ability – according to their claim – to manufacture engines and all parts local drones.
On the Iranian drones threat Llewellyn King wrote:
“Han Berman, senior vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council, told me that Iran has gone to the conclusion that its strength is not in force-on-force competition, but in aiding asymmetric conflicts “which is why they spent so much money and time on terrorism, and so much money and time on ballistic missiles. Then they hit upon drones as the evolution of precisely this strategy.
Morocco is right to be worried about its new vulnerability. Drones, while they might not win a war, can inflict severe damage on a variety of targets, from tourist centers to military installations to vital power grids and power stations.
Drones are light, cheap and easily transported and hidden. Today’s generation of Iranian drones can carry substantial ballistic loads, as well as loitering for as long as 24 hours and sending back vital material on critical infrastructure.
There is a drone arms race in the Middle East region. After Iran, the largest manufacturer of drones in the region is Turkey — even small but wealthy countries such as the United Arab Emirates are building up drone- manufacturing capability. Turkish drones were critical in Azerbaijan’s recent conflict with Armenia, and they were used by both sides in the Libyan conflict.
What is lacking is adequate defenses against drone attacks, whether these are single mischief-making assaults or swarms designed for substantial damage. Berman said the only effective defensive system against drones is the Israeli “Iron Dome,” built with Israeli technology and assisted and financed by the United States.
Israel has so far been reluctant to sell Iron Dome, which catches low-flying projectiles fired from as close as 2.5 miles from the place of intercept. It is a complex, radar-based, portable defense arrangement, designed to destroy incoming rockets and drones from Gaza and its neighbors Syria and Lebanon, both of which host non-state Iranian proxies.
Berman believes that since Morocco is a signatory to the Abraham Accords, Israel might sell the Iron Dome system to Morocco, but that would take years of negotiation and sales are subject to a U.S. veto.
At present, Morocco’s strategy is to alert the world to the changing dynamics in the region and to the vulnerability of almost any country to drone attack — a new addition to guerrilla warfare and a deadly vulnerability of countries like Morocco, where state and non-players can cause mayhem without winning on the ground.
“What the Iranians bring to the table is that it is known that they are the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, now moving into Africa, enhancing the capability of their proxy groups,” Berman said.
Morocco is right to be worried, but so is the world. Drones are a lethal infection, spreading fast.”
Iran – Iranian Drones – USA – Algeria Iran – Morocco US Relations
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