Morocco, US Conclude Tenth Annual Flintlock Military Exercise
Washington, DC, March 17, 2017, Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) — United States forces yesterday concluded Exercise Flintlock 2017, a three-week military training exercise in Morocco and six other African host nations sponsored by US Africa Command. More than 2,000 military personnel from 24 African and Western nations participated in the tenth iteration of the exercise, which was established in 2005 to “[strengthen] security institutions, [promote] multilateral sharing of information and [develop] interoperability between counterterrorism partners from across Africa’s Sahara region.”
In Morocco, Marines from Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) trained with their Moroccan counterparts “on small unit special operations forces tactics, weapons training and fire support, lifesaving first aid and trauma care, command and control and force protection.” An opening ceremony was held February 27 at the Tifnit training base in Morocco’s Southern Zone area of operations.
“These types of activities, as well as other joint combined Moroccan-American exercises, are a golden opportunity to further enhance the ties of military cooperation between our two countries,” said Brig. Gen. Mohammed Benlouali, operations commander for Morocco’s Southern Zone, in remarks delivered at the ceremony on behalf of the Moroccan Royal Armed Forces.
“Morocco plays a key leadership role in Africa and we are honored by the continued partnership and friendship between our two countries,” said MARSOC’s exercise instructor.
A press release announcing the exercise stated, “In all of American history, no other country has maintained its treaty relationship with America for as long as Morocco. Flintlock 2017 is the most recent in a long line of actions and expressions of solidarity between the two nations.”
Since the 1990s, Morocco has also served as host of African Lion, the largest annual US joint military exercise in Africa, “designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation’s tactics, techniques and procedures.” Military exercises like Flintlock and African Lion are just one of the many ways the US and Morocco coordinate on security measures. Designated as a “major non-NATO ally,” Morocco was the first Maghreb country to be a member of the US-led anti-ISIS coalition. And this year, Morocco served as co-chair with the Netherlands of the US-established Global Counterterrorism Forum.
Contact: Jordana Merran, 202.470.2049
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