Algeria prepares for war with Morocco, panics due to Israel - report

In November, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz signed the first-ever defense and security memorandum of understanding with his Moroccan counterpart.

A demonstrator waves an Algerian flag (photo credit: REUTERS/CHRISTIAN HARTMANN)
A demonstrator waves an Algerian flag
(photo credit: REUTERS/CHRISTIAN HARTMANN)

Algeria is in a state of acute anxiety and paranoia over the growing military cooperation between Israel and the Moroccan military.

“The tension rises every day a little more between Algeria and Morocco, to the point that we are now talking about war between the two Maghreb countries,” according to a recent report in the Paris-based newspaper L’Opinion.

The news outlet quoted sources close to the Algerian military who said, “Algeria does not want war with Morocco, but it is ready to do so.”

A self-described “hawkish” source close to Algeria’s military told the French paper that, “if it has to be done, it is today, because we are militarily superior at all levels and this may not be the case in a few years.”

What is upsetting the Algerian regime “is Israel’s support for Morocco,” the source said. “This will change the situation, within an estimated three-year period.”

 DEFENSE MINISTER Benny Gantz and Morocco’s Defense Administration Minister Abdellatif Loudiyi sign a defense memorandum in Rabat last month. (credit: ISRAEL DEFENSE MINISTRY) DEFENSE MINISTER Benny Gantz and Morocco’s Defense Administration Minister Abdellatif Loudiyi sign a defense memorandum in Rabat last month. (credit: ISRAEL DEFENSE MINISTRY)

According to a L'Opinion source, “the weapons that worry Algerians the most are those related to electronic warfare and drones."

“For now, the Americans are telling the Israelis not to supply weapon systems that could cause an immediate military imbalance in favor of Morocco,” a source told the daily paper.

In November, Defense Minister Benny Gantz signed the first-ever defense and security memorandum of understanding with his Moroccan counterpart.

“The Moroccan military has purchased the Israeli counter-drone system Skylock Dome,” Defense News reported in November.

In the same month, media outlets reported that Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) secured a $22 million deal to provide Morocco with “kamikaze” drones.

The appointment of former defense minister Amir Peretz as head of the AIA, who was born in Morocco, creates additional worries for Algeria’s regime, L’Opinion reported.

The battle between Morocco and Algeria is for “leadership in the region.” the paper’s sources said, adding that Algeria “must implement a more aggressive diplomatic strategy.”

“Over the last 10 years, Algiers has bought [more than] twice as much equipment ($10.5 billion) as Morocco ($4.5),” it said.

IN 2018, Morocco, which established diplomatic normalization with Israel in 2020, said the Iranian Embassy in Algeria aided the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah in support of the Polisario independent movement in the Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara.

“Hezbollah sent military officials to Polisario and provided the front with... weapons and trained them on urban warfare,” Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said then.

The US and scores of governments in Europe, the Middle East and Latin America have classified the Iranian-backed jihadi movement Hezbollah as a terrorist entity.

In 2018, Morocco evicted Iran’s ambassador from its territory and shuttered its embassy in Tehran due to Iran’s support for Hezbollah and for the Polisario Front, a Western Saharan independence movement.

The US government declared that the Western Sahara region is part of Morocco’s territory.

“A first shipment of weapons was recently” sent to the Algerian-regime backed Polisario Front through an “element” at the Iranian’s regime embassy in Algiers, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said at the time.

“Morocco has irrefutable proof, names, and specific actions to corroborate the complicity between the Polisario and Hezbollah,” Bourita said.

Observers of Algeria have noted that the nation is a hotbed of antisemitic and anti-Israel rhetoric over the years, including efforts to undercut Israeli-Moroccan diplomatic normalization. Algeria’s then-prime minister Abdelaziz Djerad said following the US negotiated breakthrough in 2020 to establish relations between Morocco and Israel: “There is now a desire by the Zionist entity to come closer to our borders.”

Algerian Communication Minister Ammar Belhimer said in September that his country was “the subject of a real and systematic war from several parties, foremost of which is the Moroccan-Zionist alliance,” according to Morocco World News.

Algeria has been in a state of enormous volatility since the Hirak movement – also known as the Revolution of Smiles – started in February 2019 to protest the announcement by then-president Abdelaziz Bouteflika that he was running for a fifth-term. The Hirak movement seeks a democratic Algeria.

The Jerusalem Post reported last year that Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune sacked his country’s mediator Karim Younès on May 18 due to his daughter’s reported marriage to an Israeli Arab.

Michael Rubin, a US foreign expert for the American Enterprise Institute, has long argued that Morocco should be hailed as a model Muslim Middle Eastern country for such things as its pro-American policies. In 1777, the Kingdom of Morocco was the first country to recognize American independence.