The increase in Morocco’s defence budget has multiple objectives. The tension in North Africa, stirred up by Algeria, is not leaving the Kingdom untroubled. Faced with a possible Algerian move, the Kingdom has decided to reinforce its armaments and prevent possible offensives by Abdelmajdid Tebboune’s government. The increase in terms of budget is 3.6 per cent compared to 2022, with an amount of more than five billion dollars. However, the defence spending ceiling more than doubles to eleven billion, including for systems such as the recently acquired PULS.
Israel’s PULS (Precise and Universal Launching System) missile launcher has a maximum range of 300 kilometres. Manufactured by Elbit Systems, the PULS launcher is attractive to countries because it can be easily retrofitted to existing systems and can be used with different types of missiles. As reported by Far-Maroc, after months of studying the possibility of acquiring these missile launchers, Rabat will finally make the purchase. In fact, the definitive step that finally convinced the Moroccans was a visit by representatives of the Kingdom to Israel where they obtained information about these missiles.
In terms of technical specifications, according to the company that produces this launcher, it can carry out a firing mission in barely a minute. In addition, it has the launch capability of the Accular 122 mm – which consists of 18 rockets – with a range of up to 35 kilometres. For loads with fewer rockets, such as the Accular 160 mm – ten rockets -, the Extra – four rockets -, or the Predator Hawk – two rockets -, it can have a range of 40, 150 and 300 kilometres, respectively.
This is an acquisition that follows the line established by Morocco with the purchase of armoured cars, Predator drones and modernised F-16 fighters. Israel, like its most important ally, the United States, continues to expand its relations with the Alawi kingdom in what is becoming one of the key partnerships for both countries. Arms cooperation is key at a time of heightened tensions in the Maghreb, especially with the increasingly estranged positions between the Alawi kingdom and its Algerian neighbour. Hence, this purchase is considered a “balance of power” due to the purchase of ballistic missiles by neighbouring countries.
If the situation between Morocco and Algeria has been complicated since their diplomatic rupture in the summer of 2021, recent events leave little room for optimism. The internal crisis in Algiers is causing the country’s official news agency, Algérie Presse Service (APS), to fill its international section with news about Morocco in what observers interpret as yet another episode of Algeria’s fixation on its Alawite neighbour and at the same time a diversion of attention from its internal problems. Moreover, access to the news agency’s website has been blocked for Moroccan internet users for two days.
What could be a new wave of anti-Moroccan propaganda by Algeria, coupled with the Algerian president’s constant declarations urging countries to “protect themselves from Morocco”, is not sitting well in Rabat. However, the regional leadership of Aziz Akhanouch’s country, coupled with Morocco’s increasingly strong ties with the main international powers, provide room for calm. However, given Algeria’s unpredictable future moves, Morocco will continue to reinforce its military armament and balance the scales for what might happen in the region.
Source : Atalayar