Algeria and Morocco participated in an arms race

Is this a sign of an arms race between Algeria and Morocco? According to the Algerian site Mena Défense, which was the first to reveal the deaths of Algerian hauliers on the border with Morocco in early November 2021, the Algerian army has just acquired a Chinese electronic warfare system.

This Chinese electronic combat system is both defensive and offensive. It is responsible for neutralizing the opponent’s radars and communications. This system is also capable of fighting armed drones. Morocco has bought armed drones of the Bayraktar TB-2 type from Turkey.

Read: Morocco: for what purpose does the Sheriffy empire equip itself with drones?

Beijing arms supplier to Rabat and Algiers

The announcement of the purchase of this Chinese electronic war system was passed on by the Algerian press. It has not been denied by the Algerian power. This electronic warfare system is supplied by two Chinese companies, ELINC and CEIC. It would be according to Mena Defense website of the first surveillance and electronic warfare system of this magnitude on the African continent.

Beijing does not only supply military equipment to Algiers. This purchase of the Algerian army is similar to another supply of weapons from China to Rabat, namely mist batteries. Morocco has just acquired its first battery of Chinese missiles, the FD-2000B. Three other batteries are to be delivered, according to the American magazine Defense News. In 2017, Rabat also acquired Chinese missiles, the Sky Dragon 50.

Read: Algeria – Morocco: what do their military forces weigh?

Moroccans have bought Turkish drones like this model exhibited in Kiev, Bayraktar TB2

Rising military budgets

Algiers and Rabat quarrel especially over the Sahrawi question. Morocco claims sovereignty over Western Sahara. Algiers supports the Polisario Front, a Sahrawi political and armed movement that opposes the Moroccan presence in Western Sahara.

In this context, Algeria and Morocco have just increased their military budgets for the year 2022. Morocco has thus adopted a budget for 2022 focusing on economic recovery measures and characterized by rising military spending, in the context of health crisis and regional tensions in North Africa. For the first time in the kingdom’s history, the budget of the armed forces exceeds the limit of 50 billion dihrams, or more than 5 billion euros, according to AFP.

See: Western Sahara: can tensions escalate?

Read: Western Sahara: how far can tensions between Algeria and Morocco go?

Algiers, which is the second largest arms importer on the continent after Egypt, is not to be surpassed. Algiers is in talks with Moscow to acquire S500 anti-aircraft missiles and fourth-generation Russian SU-57 fighter jets. According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Algeria spent $ 10.334 billion on weapons in 2019, compared to $ 9.584 billion the year before. An increase of 7.83%

Madrid is hoping for diplomatic action from Washington

The border between Algeria and Morocco has been closed for twenty-five years. Since the end of their diplomatic relations this summer, Algiers considers its border with Morocco a ” very sensitive military sector “. Tensions rose between the two countries with the death in November 2021 of three Algerian truck drivers.
According to Algiers, they were killed by Moroccan drones near Mauritania. Discount rejects.

Read: Three Algerians killed in Western Sahara, Algiers accuse Morocco.

Algiers has also not digested the agreement between Tel Aviv and Rabat of 24 November 2021 on security issues. The Algerian daily Expression close to power with the headline: “The Mossad at our borders”. It sums up the prevailing mood in Algiers.
Rabat is to buy an Israeli system, Skylock Dome, from the company Skylock Systems, designed to detect and neutralize drones.

This arms race is not conducive to easing relations between the two countries. On a trip to Washington, Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Alabares wants Washington to find a “solution” to the crisis between Rabat and Algiers, especially on the issue of Western Sahara. Donald Trump has recognized Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara. The new US administration of President Biden has not yet reconsidered this recognition.

Leave a Comment