Morocco and the United States intensify security cooperation
Morocco and the United States are strengthening cooperation in security matters, continuing the trend of recent years of closer ties between the North African country and the United States.
The new step taken by both nations came with the meeting held on Monday in Rabat between Abdellatif Hammouchi, Director General of Homeland Security and Land Surveillance of Morocco (DGSN), and Avril Haine, Director of National Intelligence of the United States, in which security and the fight against terrorism were the central issues discussed between two allied and partner countries with a view to improving and progressing in these areas.
The high-level meeting held in the Rabat capital addressed regional security issues, such as fundamentalist terrorist threats and the activity of groups linked to organised crime, as indicated in an official communiqué distributed by the DGSN. Abdellatif Hammouchi and Avril Haines discussed ways to improve security cooperation at “the level of the current strategic cooperation between the two countries”, the statement said, noting that the two countries will work harder to bring about greater “regional and international stability and security”.
The meeting focused on the major threat posed by links between terrorist groups and criminal organisations, including the issue of cybercrime, as well as other forms of cross-border criminality.
Cybersecurity was therefore another issue that came to the fore as cybercrime is a major concern in today’s age of new technologies. Indeed, the Moroccan authorities pay a lot of attention to this aspect and the General Directorate of Information Systems Security (DGSSI) neutralised more than 500 cyber attacks in 2021, as Morocco World News recalled.
Hammouchi and Haines discussed ways to improve bilateral cooperation between Moroccan and US security and intelligence services and the challenges to be faced to preserve security, the statement said.
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It is hoped that this dynamic will continue with future meetings of this kind that will take place on a regular basis between the two countries.
This new meeting is a clear sign that a country of the size of the United States sees Morocco as an important element in maintaining security in the Maghreb, the Sahara and the Sahel, areas that are the target of the activity of various terrorist and criminal groups that threaten regional and international security. The Alawite kingdom is seen as a relevant actor, and this has led the US giant to seek closer cooperation with Morocco in the security and intelligence fields, and even in the military sphere, something that has been exemplified in recent years by the African Lion military exercises in which both the Alawite kingdom and the US have taken part, along with other African nations.
Abdellatif Hammouchi himself travelled to Washington in mid-June to meet with US intelligence and security officials in working sessions to discuss the current challenges to regional security in Africa, the Middle East and the world at large, with the worrying presence of jihadist terrorist groups and criminal networks operating in critical places such as North Africa, the Sahara and the Sahel. Morocco’s Director General of Homeland Security and Land Surveillance also spent two days in the United States earlier this year to meet with Avril Haines herself, as well as with CIA Director William Burns and FBI Director Christopher Wray to discuss emerging security threats.
The great cooperation between the United States and Morocco, which has been strengthened since the decision of Donald Trump’s administration in December 2020 to recognise Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, which was ratified by Joe Biden’s current administration, is thus continuing, in exchange for the Kingdom establishing diplomatic relations with Israel in the wake of the Abraham Accords sealed in September 2020, under which several Arab countries such as the Emirates and Bahrain established political ties with the Israeli state with the aim of pacifying and stabilising the Middle East and developing the region socially and economically.