Posts Tagged 'Morocco'

Other views on African Lion 2012

We’ve posted a lot in the past two weeks about the U.S. – Moroccan exercise African Lion, which wrapped up yesterday in Morocco. The exercise involved about 1,200 U.S. and 900 Moroccan military members sharing knowledge and training on everything from amphibious assault landings to water purification to medical and dental treatment.

We’ve brought you stories, photos and videos of it all, thanks to our U.S. Marine Forces Africa and 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit public affairs personnel.

But how was the event viewed in Morocco? Like most such engagements, there are supporters and detractors.

Our on-staff Arab linguist translated some of the local media reports and online commentary for us. Here are some excerpts:

The objective of this exercise is to strengthen the capabilities of both militaries to maneuver, fight terrorism and gather Intel, in addition to conducting other social activities by providing humanitarian services and aid to the local population.

Assdae Al-Maghreb Online

“African Lion aims to ‘reinforce the coordination and cooperation between the armed forces of both countries, and the mutual understanding of their respective military techniques and standard operating procedures.'”

Sheba Center for Strategic Studies

“Ahmed Chnaoui, the General Coordinator of the Movement for the consideration of the tribe of  the ‘Oulad Buaayta’  … directly criticized the Commander of the Southern Military Region, General de Corps d’Armee, Abdelazizi Bennani, ‘who turned the area which belongs to the noble Oulad Buaayta tribe into an international experimental military center which hosts, among others, NATO air forces.’”

Hespress 

“Because of what is happening close to our lovely kingdom, it’s not enough to have a weapon but you must know how to use it as well. So for the people who are living around the military area, it’s not bad to sacrifice for the country.”

— Reader comment on Hespress

” A well-trained army will protect us from the enemies who surround us.”

— Reader comment on Hespress

“Morocco sure needs to conduct exercises with USMC (United States Marine Corps) for our national security because we have three neighbors at risk, Mauritania, Mali and southern Algerian. The world security evolves and so must Morocco.”

— Reader comment on Hespress

African Lion by the numbers

African Lion, the annual training exercise between Morocco and U.S., is underway right now. The exercise is led by Marine Forces Africa and sponsored by U.S. Africa Command. The training includes  command post, live-fire and maneuvering, peace keeping operations, an intelligence capacity building seminar, aerial refueling/low-level flight training, as well as medical and dental assistance projects.

Here’s a recap so far, by the numbers, with links to related stories and photos.

A member of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces prepares to ride in an assault amphibious vehicle with Marines from Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit during the bi-lateral training exercise African Lion 12 on the shores of Morocco, April 12, 2012. The training allowed the Marines to introduce the Moroccan troops to the unique capabilities of the assault amphibious vehicle that the Marines drove to the beach that morning from the USS New York off the coast of Morocco. (24th Marine Expeditionary Unit Photo by Corporal Michael Petersheim)

The first year of African Lion was 2008. Each year, African Lion has been hosted by Morocco, which has about 32 million people.

This year, more than 1,000 U.S. military personnel, including about 800+ Marines, and  900 Royal Moroccan soldiers are working together during the 10-day exercise.

To support the mission, U.S. Marines offloaded 169 pieces of rolling stock assets in under 12 hours at the Port of Agadir.

four-day Intelligence Capacity Building Workshop helped prepare senior staff officers from both countries who will participate in the Command Post Exercise portion.

Marines are using a Tactical Water Purification System, which weighs 10,000 pounds, to purify approximately 10,000 gallons of water a day by pumping it through a series of filters. The water supports the soldiers involved in the training exercises.

Four Rapid Response Kits allowed the military to get up and communicating quickly.

About 70 medical and dental staff will help treat 1,000 local patients daily as part of the humanitarian civil assistance project of African Lion.

On a quieter and tragic note, we can not overlook the two Marines who were killed and two Marines who were severely injured in an MV-22 Osprey crash earlier this week during African Lion 12. Our thoughts go out to the families. The crash is currently under investigation.

African Lion 12 ends April 18, 2012.

For more on African Lion, visit the U.S. Africa Command website.

Africa Snapshot: Morocco

U.S. Africa Command is responsible for military relations with 54 African countries across the continent. Morocco is one of the northernmost, located in West Africa, bordered on one side by the North Atlantic Ocean and by Algeria on the other. This month Morocco is host to African Lion, a Marine Forces Africa partnership exercise that focuses on air and land combat.

CIA World Factbook, Morocco

Population: About 32.3 million people live in Morocco. Of 238 countries listed in the CIA Factbook, Morocco ranks 38th in size.

Languages: Arabic is the official language, but French is also widely spoken, especially in government and business. The indigenous Berber dialects are also spoken.

Religion: Predominantly Islam.

Politics: Hereditary monarchy with a prime minister chosen from the largest party in parliament. In the wake of the Arab Spring last year and protests in his country, King Mohammed VI agreed to some constitutional reforms.

Geography: Morocco covers about 446,000 square kilometers and is slightly larger than the size of California. The northern coast is mountainous and prone to earthquakes.

Strategic importance: The country sits on the Strait of Gibraltar, an important trade route that allows ships to pass from the Mediterranean Sea directly to the Atlantic Ocean. At its narrowest point, the strait separates Europe and Africa by just 8 miles.

CIA World Factbook Morocco

Border controversy: Morocco claimed sovereignty over the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara, to the south, in 1979, prompting a guerrilla war that ended in a 1991 UN-brokered ceasefire. A referendum was promised to decide Western Sahara’s fate but so far has not happened.

U.S. Partnerships: African Lion, currently taking place in Morocco,  is the largest bilateral exercise on the continent.

You might know it because: Morocco is home to the city of Casablanca, made famous in America by the iconic 1942 film named after it. The movie was not actually filmed in Morocco, but on studio sets in California.

Sources: CIA Fact Book, U.S. Department of StateBritannica.com

(To learn more about Africa, watch for our occasional “Africa Snapshot” series. Our previous snapshot featured Benin, a small country on the Gulf of Guinea.)


African Lion kicks off in Morocco

Marines with Joint Task Force African Lion 2012 prepare to board a C-130 aircraft at the Inezgane Airfield, in Agadir, Morocco, April 6. During AL-12, C-130's will transport more than 1,000 U.S. and Moroccan armed forces and supplies to six different exercise locations throughout the Kingdom of Morocco. AL-12 is a U.S. African Command-sponsored, Marine Forces Africa-led exercise designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of U.S. and Moroccan military tactics, techniques and procedures. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Hugo Brito)

Some 1,000 U.S.  service members are in Morocco this month for African Lion, the largest bilateral military exercise on the African continent.

Sponsored by U.S. Africa Command, the annual exercise is a partnership between Marine Forces Africa and the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces. Participating units include 3rd Battalion, 14th Marines, 4th Combat Engineering Battalion, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Battalion, 24th Marine regiment infantrymen, 4th Combined Anti-Armor Team and 4th Marine Logistics Group, plus multiple sub-units. More than 900 Royal Moroccan soldiers will join U.S. military personnel in the exercise.

The bulk of Africa Lion takes place over the next two weeks. Highlights include field and aviation training, amphibious assault training and humanitarian and peacekeeping training. U.S. and Moroccan forces will conduct arms fire and maneuver ranges and aerial refueling and deliveries of supplies, as well as command post and non-lethal weapons training, according to a press release from U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe. Six different locations around Morocco will be involved.

African Lion will also include medical, dental and veterinarian assistance projects. Medical professionals from Utah Army National Guard and 4th Medical Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group, expect to assist thousands of local residents and provide more than 1,600 prescription glasses to Moroccan children, according to the African Lion lead medial officer.

The first African Lion exercise took place in 2008. This year’s exercise took about six months to plan.

Look for much more coverage on our website, Facebook, and Twitter sites this week.

Read more:

Last Marines land, prepare to begin field training at African Lion 2012

African Lion 12 ready to roar: Marine Forces Africa conducts final planning conference

Results: Your favorite AFRICOM-related photo of March

Thanks to everyone who voted on their favorite AFRICOM-related photo in March. View the five contenders here, which represent a variety of efforts the U.S. is engaged in Africa, including well development, relationship building with our partner nations, theater security cooperation and maritime security operations.

The results are in, and the winner is …

… this well-drilling photo by Master Sgt. Hector Garcia of the U.S. Army 257th Engineer Team in Djibouti

U.S. Army Sgt. Clayburn Johnson (left) and Spc. Michael Knee (right), U.S. Army 257th Engineer Team members, observe the well development process of the second of four newly drilled wells just outside Camp Lemonnier here, March 12. This project allowed the team to evaluate the water tables in the aquifer and make plans for camp expansion. The well development project directly supports Camp Lemonnier’s initiative to identify alternative well locations and assist in development of camp infrastructure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Hector Garcia)

Check out more photos by Master Sgt. Garcia in this photo album from the water drilling tests.

“The wells are part of a study to determine if pulling water from a beach aquifer is a viable option for removing Camp Lemonnier from the Djiboutian Fresh Water Aquifer and leaving that resource solely for the Djiboutians,” said U.S. Army Captain Joseph Bzdok, 257th Engineer Team commander. Read the full story here.

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The runner-up for favorite March photo is …

… this United Nations-Armed Forces of Liberia photo by 1st Lt. Mark Lazan

An Armed Forces of Liberia soldier, right, jumps to receive the tip against his Pakistan opponent during a basketball match between the AFL’s Armed Forces Training Center and their United Nations Mission in Liberia counterparts at Camp Sandee Ware, Liberia, March 21. The game was the final event of a three-day sports festival between the two organizations. The AFL team defeated the UNMIL team 19-17, giving them the overall title. The two organizations also played each other in soccer (won by the AFL) and volleyball (won by the Pakistan-based UNMIL squad). (photo by 1st Lt. Mark Lazan)

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Look for another monthly photographic round-up at the end of April. In the meantime, check out many more AFRICOM-related photos on our Flickr photostream.

Vote for your favorite AFRICOM-related photo of March

Here are a few of our favorite photos from March from around U.S. Africa Command, our components and partner organizations and nations.  (You are also welcome to nominate a photo that’s not listed here, as long as it relates to U.S. Africa Command’s mission and the photo was taken in March.)

Which is your favorite and why?

Tell us your vote in the comments section. We’ll announce the winner next Monday.


USS Simpson performs daily operations

Senegal: USS Simpson performs daily operations

DAKAR, Senegal (Mar. 10, 2012) – Ensign Tom Callahan uses a laser rangefinder while standing junior officer of the deck watch aboard the guided-missile frigate USS Simpson (FFG 56) as the ship leaves Dakar after refueling. Simpson is conducting theater security cooperation and maritime security operations in the U.S. Naval Forces Africa area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeff Troutman/Released)

Watch a slideshow of more photos from USS Simpson.

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Liberia:

An Armed Forces of Liberia soldier, right, jumps to receive the tip against his Pakistan opponent during a basketball match between the AFL’s Armed Forces Training Center and their United Nations Mission in Liberia counterparts at Camp Sandee Ware, Liberia, March 21. The game was the final event of a three-day sports festival between the two organizations. The AFL team defeated the UNMIL team 19-17, giving them the overall title. The two organizations also played each other in soccer (won by the AFL) and volleyball (won by the Pakistan-based UNMIL squad).

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Djibouti:

U.S. Army Sgt. Clayburn Johnson (left) and Spc. Michael Knee (right), U.S. Army 257th Engineer Team members, observe the well development process of the second of four newly drilled wells just outside Camp Lemonnier here, March 12. This project allowed the team to evaluate the water tables in the aquifer and make plans for camp expansion. The well development project directly supports Camp Lemonnier’s initiative to identify alternative well locations and assist in development of camp infrastructure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Hector Garcia)

View the photo album from the water drilling tests.

“The wells are part of a study to determine if pulling water from a beach aquifer is a viable option for removing Camp Lemonnier from the Djiboutian Fresh Water Aquifer and leaving that resource solely for the Djiboutians,” said U.S. Army Captain Joseph Bzdok, 257th Engineer Team commander. Read the full story here.

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Benin: Daily life at the fish market

Staff Sgt. Olufemi Owolabi, U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs, covered the Maritime Safety and Security Conference hosted and facilitated by U.S. AFRICOM and the Africa Center. The seminar brings together nations of West and Central Africa to discuss maritime safety issues, including ways to combat piracy and illicit trafficking. Femi got to visit the fish market during a break. (U.S. Africa Command photo by Staff Sgt. Olufemi Owolabi)

Read a story about the Maritime Safety and Security Conference  gathering of representatives from Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

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Morocco: U.S. Soldiers Observe Training at Moroccan Field Artillery Center

MOROCCO, Mar 26, 2012 — In order to help improve the security of Morocco, 20 members of the 15th Royal Artillery Group purchased approximately 60 armored vehicles called M109A5 howitzers through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program.

At the request of the Royal Moroccan Field Artillery Training Center, an artillery tactics military-to-military exercise was executed in the cities of Fes and Guercie, March 4-10, 2012 to help provide the Moroccan soldiers with training on the maintenance, safety and firing of the M109A5 system.

Read the story here.

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Travel Diary: Secretary Clinton Travels to Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, and Cape Verde

 

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, and Cape Verde on January 16-17, 2012, to demonstrate U.S. commitment to post-conflict return to peace, good governance, and economic development as well as to emphasize U.S. focus on democratization.

While in Liberia, Secretary Clinton will attend President Sirleaf’s inauguration and preside over the ribbon-cutting of the New U.S. Embassy Compound in Monrovia. In Cote d’Ivoire, she will meet with President Ouattara to showcase our support for national reconciliation and strengthening democratic institutions following successful legislative elections in December 2011. In the first visit of a Secretary of State to Togo, Secretary Clinton will meet President Faure to demonstrate U.S. support for Togo’s democratic progress and economic reforms and to congratulate Togo on its recent election to the United Nations Security Council, where it holds a non-permanent seat for 2012 and 2013. In Cape Verde, Secretary Clinton will meet Prime Minister Neves to discuss cooperation on regional issues like counternarcotics, good governance, sound economic policies, and Cape Verde’s second Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact.

This blog can be found at: http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/site/entry/clinton_liberia_cote_divoire_togo_cape_verde


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