The arms race between Algeria and Morocco worries Spain

Algeria, which is in the top 30 military budgets in the world, announced last October that that for the 2023 financial year will be 22.7 billion dollars or 23.3 million euros, i.e. 130% more than this year.

The budget war largely in favor of Algiers

This budget, which represents more than 15% of Algerian GDP against 5.5% in 2022, has already been included in the 2023 finance law and which, moreover, will be voted by the Algerian parliament at the end of November without having been debated beforehand or even discussed. like that of diplomacy. Since 2004, the Algerian military budget has averaged around 10 billion dollars a year. The regime of the senile capos of Algiers have therefore decided to more than double the budget of the armies in a single fiscal year.

This amount is for the first time more than 5 billion to finance military operations outside Algerian territory, after a constitutional reform in 2020 gave “authorization” to the deployment of units of the People’s National Army ( ANP) to do this. Algeria has also allocated 8.5 billion to finance new acquisitions from international suppliers.

The Algerian army threatened with‘obsolescence

This increase in the military budget is financed, one suspects by the rise in the price of hydrocarbons. It must be said that more than 60% of the Algerian state budget depends on gas and oil export resources. Algeria benefits greatly from the current context (conflict in Ukraine) and has never been so rich. According to an article published by defense analyst Timothy Arsh in the digital media “Defence-Aéronautique”, in addition to the obsolescence that threatens many sectors of the Algerian armed forces (defense electronics, fire control, complex ammunition, etc.) , the most important reason is that 80% of its weapons come from Russia and that the Algerian government is worried about the Western technological superiority seen in Ukraine.

Morocco compensates quantity with quality

For its part, Morocco plans to allocate $5.2 billion to the Ministry of Defense in its draft budget for 2023. This represents an increase of 3.6% compared to the current year. This increase in Morocco’s military budget, however, remains well below that announced by Algeria, which is more than four times that of Morocco, which had increased its military budget by 30% in 2020. The supervision of Defense will be the second department largest consumer of the general budget of the Kingdom during this financial year 2023, after the Ministry of National Education, preschool education and sports, if of course it is voted.

The 2023 budget of the Moroccan Ministry of Defense included in the general budget presented to the House of Representatives, amounts to just over 11 billion dollars. This sum is intended for the acquisition and repair of military equipment and takes into account credits and surpluses from the previous year, which does not represent military expenditure. This will nevertheless allow the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) to continue their modernization programs. In 2022, Morocco spent $4.8 billion on arms (equivalent to 4% of its GDP). Far from the Algerian forecasts.

Spain’s concern

Spain, which takes a dim view of this arms race by its two neighbours, observes with horror that Algeria is spending almost double what the government of Sanchez has allocated to its army (12.9 million euros). The Algerian Air Force operates between fighter interceptors, training and military transport aircraft, special mission aircraft and in-flight refueling aircraft, nearly half a thousand aircraft almost all of which come from Russia , according to Global Firepower data corresponding to 2020. As a reminder since its independence in 1962, Algiers has strengthened its ties with the Soviet Union (USSR), while Morocco has always been under the American orbit.

The Armament of Algiers is mainly Russian

The Spanish newspaper La Razon in its electronic edition indicates that Algiers, which sees with concern the rise in power of the Royal Air Forces (FRA), has, in this context, recently signed a contract for the acquisition of 14 Su-57 fighters from the Russian manufacturer Sukho. It also signed contracts to purchase 14 Su-34 bombers and 14 Su-35 air dominance aircraft.

The Algerian Air Force also has 268 helicopters, including 45 attack helicopters.

Its ground forces consist of 2,024 war tanks, 7,000 armored vehicles, 324 self-propelled guns, 396 field guns and 300 missile launchers. The Algerian navy has 201 naval units, with 8 frigates, 10 corvettes, 8 submarines, 65 patrol boats and two marine minesweepers.

Morocco under the umbrella of the United States and Israel

As for Morocco, the development of the defense industry is a certain objective. Israel is already working to provide some of its most advanced systems to Morocco. The Defense guardianship roadmap (2021) that had been established included, in terms of surveillance drones, three ISR Herons, 150 small Blue Bird drones (IAI) and probably the Hermes 900 (5 units).

Also included are unmanned attack aircraft such as Harop-2 suicide drones as well as Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Barak-MX air and missile defense systems with radar support and various launchers for the best coverage of fighter jets, helicopters, drones, cruise missiles, surface-to-air missiles and surface-to-surface missiles. Among the other weapons that Morocco should acquire, the Spike-NLOS precision missile, the Delilah cruise missiles, from the company Israel Military Industries (IMI) which currently manufactures Elbit Systems.

A targeted and subtle acquisition

Morocco with the help of Israel will modernize the F-5 fighters of its air force. More destabilizing will say the Spanish newspaper, “could come into play”, the arrival of F-35 planes, SIGMA and FREMM frigates which is one of the most modern combat units in the region…. and, above all and most certainly, Scorpène submarines (France).

Another notable operation was the acquisition of 25 Lockheed Martin F-16 combat aircraft, plus the modernization of 23 others of the same model which are already in the country’s air fleet. The purchase of four MQ-9B armed drones, the acquisition of 36 AH-64 E Apache combat helicopters (24 firm and 12 more as an option) and the modernization of 162 Moroccan combat tanks cannot be overlooked. Abrams M1A1.

To all this, we must add the opening of a naval operations base at Ksar Sghir, 30 kilometers from Tangier with the firm desire to equip itself with three or four conventional submarines at the cutting edge of technology.

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