Morocco seeking to boost intelligence, military ties with Israel

Muslim-majority Morocco is seeking greater military cooperation with Israel after it became the fourth Arab country to normalize ties with the Jewish state in 2020.

Moroccan army said Tuesday it had agreed with Israel to strengthen military cooperation including in intelligence and cybersecurity, following defense meetings in Rabat.

The two countries “agreed to further strengthen cooperation and expand it to other areas, including in intelligence, air defense and electronic warfare,” the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces said in a statement.

The announcement Tuesday follows the first meeting of the monitoring committee for Moroccan-Israeli defense cooperation in the Moroccan capital.

The two-day meeting examined military cooperation including in the fields of “logistics, training and the acquisition and modernization of equipment.”

The two countries formalized ties in 2020, following similar agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain.

It followed the United States’ recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara region, in a quid pro quo for reestablishing ties with Israel.

That sparked concern in neighboring Algeria, long-time backers of the Polisario movement, which seeks an independence referendum for Western Sahara.

In November 2021, Israel’s then-defense minister Benny Gantz signed a memorandum of understanding in Rabat outlining security relations with Morocco.

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