Israel’s drone sales to Morocco rises sharply, as regime infiltrates North Africa
Morocco has purchased a large number of drones from the Israeli regime in recent years, where people in North African nation now live under Israeli-sponsored surveillance and face harassment, a report says.
The purchased drones has enabled Morocco to carry out attacks deep in Sahrawi territory, the US-based Intercept news organization said in a report.
Sidi Owgal, a senior military official within the Polisario who currently serves as the head of presidential security, told The Intercept that Israeli drones being used in Western Sahara were doing both jobs of providing surveillance and also directly attacking targets.
Abwa Ali, a commander within the Polisario had personally seen missile fragments with Hebrew lettering on them.
Some of Morocco’s Israeli drone arsenal could indeed be used as attack drones: The Heron TP and the Hermes 900 can be used for both surveillance and attacks, while the Harop is only for strikes.
“The Harop are what we call ‘loitering munitions’; they are expensive and they can hit only once because they destroy at the impact,” said Borsari. “They would most likely be used against high-value targets.”
Senior officials in Sahrawi territory say that the proliferation of Israeli drones in Morocco makes an already unequal war between Morocco and the Polisario completely asymmetrical.
“Sahrawi people feel that every day, we become similar to Palestinians,” said Mohamed Sidati, the foreign affairs minister of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.
Owgal and Sidati have said that Israeli advisers are on the ground on the Moroccan side of the berm counseling the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces on their use of drone technology. “They are there … not far from the berm,” said Sidati.
Federico Borsari, a researcher specializing in unmanned technologies at the Center for European Policy believes “it is not only possible but very likely that Israel sent advisers on the ground in Morocco to train the Royal Armed Forces in the use of drones.”
Moroccan media has also stated that Rabat plans to manufacture “kamikaze” drones in partnership with Tel Aviv, and Israeli company Elbit Systems recently announced the opening of the two factories in Morocco to produce “defense systems.”
In December 2020, a month after the end of the ceasefire between Morocco and the Polisario, then-President Donald Trump declared US support for Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara. The recognition contravened the United Nations’ position, which considers Western Sahara a “non-self-governing territory,” a euphemism for a colony.
In return for US support on Western Sahara, Morocco joined the so-called Abraham Accords, a series of deals brokered by Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, that resulted in some Arab states normalizing ties with Israel.
Since then, Rabat has gone from having covert ties with Tel Aviv to becoming its open ally, and Israel has sold at least 150 drones to Morocco.