“We are looking for other locations to stage, in part or entirely, the next African Lion military exercises,” General Townsend announced on July 26. On the occasion of the end of his mandate, the commander of American military activities in Africa (Africom) thus evoked the departure of the African Lion military exercise from Morocco.
Since their creation in 2004, these maneuvers have taken place in cooperation with the Cherifian kingdom. But the question of Western Sahara has sown discord within the American legislature. The Congress made the continuation of the African Lion in Morocco conditional on the evolution of the conflict.
The multilateral military exercise, the 18th edition of which took place in June, is the largest organized by Africom on the continent. Led by the US Department of Defense, it brings together African and non-African countries, as well as international organizations.
The 2022 edition of the African Lion notably brought together Morocco, Tunisia and the United States, but also NATO et Brasil. For the first time, Israel was represented among the observer countries. Most of the exercises took place on Moroccan territory, with some maneuvers in Tunisia, Senegal and Ghana.
Morocco – African Lion 2022: show of force on the edge of the Sahara
The reason for this measure mentioned by General Townsend, the American budget law 2022, pushing the Ministry of Defense to “consider diversifying the exercise, and by diversifying the exercise, consider moving the exercise or elements of the exercise to other regions of the continent”. Contacted by JA, the Department of Defense did not give any further information on where the next African Lion will take place.