Morocco cancels African Lion exercise
Written by defenceWeb/Stars & Stripes, Thursday, 18 April 2013
African Lion 2013 was set to begin yesterday but was cancelled by Morocco on Tuesday. Many of the 1 400 US servicemen and 900 Moroccan troops, together with foreign observers, were already in place.
“We’re in the process of redeploying,” said Captain Lauren Schulz, a Marine Corps spokeswoman. “African Lion 13 has been suspended,” she told Stars & Stripes.
US Africa Command (Africom) declined to cite a reason for the change, referring questions to the Moroccan government. But an Associated Press report said the event was cancelled due to Moroccan anger with the Obama administration over its support for having the U.N. monitor human rights in a territorial dispute over the territory of Western Sahara.
Morocco occupied the desert region in 1976 unleashing a decades-long guerrilla struggle by the indigenous Polisario Front group, which ended with a U.N. cease-fire in 1991. Since then talks between the two sides have remained stalemated, with Polisario insisting on an independence referendum and Morocco proposing autonomy for the mineral-rich former Spanish colony.
Earlier this month, the Military Sealift Command’s USNS Dahl, a cargo transport vessel, pulled into a Moroccan port to deliver more than 250 short tons of equipment for the exercise. Marines disembarked everything from 7-ton trucks, armored Humvees and howitzers to Meals, Ready to Eat. Now, all that gear must be reloaded, Stars & Stripes reports.
“We had a plan to redeploy, so we just accelerated the timeline,” Schulz said.
In addition to the 1,400 U.S. troops, about 900 Royal Moroccan Armed Forces were to take part in military drills focused on a wide range of activities. Months in the planning, Africa Lion involves live-fire and manoeuvring exercises, amphibious operations and aerial refuelling and low-level flight training.
Observers from Germany and 12 other European and African countries also were slated to attend.
Marines managed to get in some training with their Moroccan partners during the initial offloading phase of the exercise, which was to formally commence on Wednesday, Schulz said.
While African Lion 13 is cancelled, the longstanding exercises will likely continue in the future, according to Africom officials.
“The Moroccan government has deferred the exercise to a later date,” said Tom Saunders, an Africom spokesman, in a statement. “The US and Moroccan militaries remain long-standing partners. We hope to continue to build our partnership through future military engagements with the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces, as directed by U.S. Africa Command and the United States Government.”to have one of the more capable military forces in Africa", Elliott said.
Top stories this week
- SAAF Museum gears up for 2016 air show
- SANDF not “a petty party political organisation”
- Tunisia seeking Kiowa Warrior helicopters
- SANDF responds to military trade union on ongoing legal action around Union Buildings protest
- Organised crime networks behind ivory and rhino horn trafficking in East Africa targeted
- Militants stage attacks between Libyan stronghold of Sirte and coastal Misrata
- Libyan crude output at risk as east and west tussle for control
- Libya's east tests muscle with oil shipment, troop dispatches
- French Navy’s FNS Le Malin visits Durban
- More than 100 migrants die in Libya to Italy weekend shipwrecks
- France to increase troop numbers in Ivory Coast after beach attack
- Britain sees no immediate threat from Islamic State bases in Libya
- Blacklisted oil tanker returns to Libya's Zawiya port
- German minister concerned migrant numbers via Libya, Italy will rise
- Libyan government urges factions to hold off attacking Islamic State in Sirte
Denel board issues media statement
by Denel Corporate, 6 May 2016
Denel executives have met with National Treasury officials twice, addressing the misunderstanding relating to the establishment of Denel Asia, the company says.
Thales is delighted that DCNS has been selected by Australia for the renewal of its submarine fleet
by Thales, 6 May 2016
DCNS has been chosen as the international partner of the Australian Ministry of Defence for the renewal of its submarine fleet.
Parsec capabilities grow through incorporation into Ansys
by Parsec, 5 May 2016
Parsec has acquired higher level systems design and integration services, which have enhanced the company's portfolio.
Crew training that maximises vessel operation
by Nautic Africa, 5 May 2016
The Nautic Maritime Training Academy has received SAMSA accreditation for a number of their courses relating to Certificates of Competences for skippers.