US Marines to Morocco for ‘African Lion’ exercise

Under an agreement signed Jan. 30 in the port of Agadir, 1,400 US Marines and 900 Moroccan soldiers will join in April on the North African country’s Atlantic coast for a training exercise dubbed “African Lion.” The joint forces will land more than 200 vehicles at Agadir and advance with weapons and equipment 300 kilometers before returning to the starting point where they will disassemble the equipment for re-embarkation within 24 hours. The forces will deploy long-range missiles that can reach targets more than 60 kilometers away accurately—a first for an exercise involving Morocco.

During the exercise, a team of US and Moroccan military doctors will undertake medical consultations for the populations of villages and douars (nomadic camps or unincorporated hamlets) on the itinerary. But the maneuvers, part of an annual joint exercise carried out since the 1990s, will also include live-fire battle drills. A military spokesman at the US embassy in Morocco said other nations in the region will be invited to participate, making African Lion a “true multilateral exercise.” (Maghreb Daily, Feb. 23; USMC press release, Feb. 14; USMC press release, Feb. 6)