Arms race in Algeria and Morocco

Is this a sign of an arms race between Algeria and Morocco? According to the Algerian site Mena Defense, which revealed the deaths of Algerian truck drivers at the border with Morocco in early November 2021, the Algerian military has just acquired a Chinese electronic warfare system.

This Chinese electronic warfare system is both defensive and offensive. It is responsible for neutralizing the adversary’s radar and communications. The system is also capable of fighting armed drones. Morocco has actually purchased Bayraktar TB-2 type armed drones from Turkey.

Read: Morocco: for what purpose does the Cherifian kingdom arm itself with drones?

Beijing arms supplier to Rabat and Algiers

The announcement of the purchase of this Chinese electronic warfare system was issued by the Algerian press. This has not been denied by the Algerian authorities. This electronic warfare system is provided by two Chinese companies, ELINC and CEIC. it will be according to MENA Defense Website The first surveillance and electronic warfare system of this magnitude on the African continent.

Beijing not only delivers military equipment to Algiers. This purchase by the Algerian military responds to another delivery of weapons from China to Rabat, that of the Mistil battery. Morocco just recently acquired its first battery of Chinese missiles, the FD-2000B. According to the American magazine Defense News, three more batteries should be delivered. In 2017, Rabat also acquired the Chinese missile, the Sky Dragon 50.

Read: Algeria – Morocco: what is the weight of their military forces?

rising military budget

Algiers and Rabat Sahrawi are debating the question in particular. Morocco claims sovereignty over Western Sahara. Algiers supports the Polisario Front, a Saharawi political and armed movement opposed to the Moroccan presence in Western Sahara.

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In this context, Algeria and Morocco have increased their military budgets for the year 2022. Morocco has thus adopted a budget for 2022 that focuses on economic recovery measures and is marked by a sharp increase in military spending in the context of the health crisis and regional tensions. North Africa. According to AFP, for the first time in the state’s history, the budget of the armed forces exceeds 50 billion dahram, or 5 billion euros.

WATCH: Western Sahara: Could tensions escalate?

Read: Western Sahara: How far could tensions between Algeria and Morocco go?

Algiers, which is the second largest arms importer on the continent after Egypt, is not to be left behind. Algiers is in discussions with Moscow to acquire the S500 anti-aircraft missile and the fourth generation Russian SU-57 fighter aircraft. According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)Algeria spent $10.334 billion on weapons in 2019, compared to $9.584 billion last year. 7.83% growth

Madrid expects diplomatic action from Washington

The border between Algeria and Morocco has been closed for twenty-five years. Since the end of its diplomatic relations this summer, Algiers has closed its border with Morocco. highly sensitive military area Tensions between the two countries escalated with the deaths of three Algerian truck drivers in November 2021.
According to Algiers, they were killed by Moroccan drones near Mauritania. Rabat denies.

Read: Three Algerians killed in Western Sahara, Algiers blame Morocco

Algiers has also not digested the November 24, 2021 agreement between Tel Aviv and Rabat on security issues. Algerian Daily l’expression Title close to power: “Mossad on our borders”. It summarizes the mood prevailing in Algiers.
Rabat must purchase an Israeli system, the Skylock Dome, from the company Skylock Systems, which is designed to detect and neutralize drones.

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This arms race is not conducive to easing relations between the two countries. Visiting Washington, Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares wants Washington to find a “solution” to the crisis between Rabat and Algiers, in particular the question of Western Sahara. Donald Trump has recognized Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara. President Biden’s new US administration has yet to reconsider this recognition.

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