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Historic Morocco-US Ties Behind Choice of Morocco as Host for African Lion Exercises, AFRICOM Brigadier General

Deputy Director of Strategy, Engagement and Program at AFRICOM, Brigadier General Shawn E. Holtz, said that longstanding historical relations between Morocco and the United States are the reason the US conducts the “African Lion” Exercise, the largest military exercise of its kind in Africa, in the kingdom of Morocco every year.

“Morocco is one of our longstanding partners, and this is the reason why we have chosen Morocco to host the African Lion exercise for 20 years now,” Holtz told Barlaman Today, on the sidelines of the 8th African Peace and Security Annual Conference (APSACO), held on June 10-11 in Rabat.

This year, the African Lion maneuvers, which took place in the cities of Benguerir, Agadir, Tan-Tan, Akka and Tifnit, brought together nearly 7,000 military personnel from around twenty countries, along with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Royal Moroccan Force (FAR), and the US Armed Forces.

The African Lion 2024 exercise consisted of tactical, terrestrial, maritime and aerial drills, conducted around the clock, as well as Special Forces exercises, airborne missions, and strategic planning sessions for Task Force personnel.

The reason behind these exercises, according to Holtz, is to solidify interoperability between Morocco and the USA, as well as other countries around the world, especially those in Africa.

NATO’s participation in the African Lion “exemplifies the meaning of partnership,” shows how cooperation is continuing to grow globally, and evidences how ties are becoming stronger after each annual exercise, he concluded.