US and Morocco begin Flintlock annual regional exercise


The US and Morocco have commenced the 10th iteration of an annual regional exercise, Flintlock 2017, in Morocco.

Supported by US Africa Command, the exercise is designed to strengthen security institutions, promote multilateral sharing of information and develop interoperability among counter-terrorism partners from across Africa’s Sahara region.

Morocco special operations command exercise instructor said: “Morocco plays a key leadership role in Africa and we are honoured by the continued partnership and friendship between our two countries. We look forward to working with you over the next few weeks.”

The three-week event will witness participation from more than 2,000 military personnel from 24 African and Western nations.

As part of the exercise, US Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command are training alongside their Moroccan peers on small-unit special operations forces tactics, weapons training and fire support, lifesaving first aid and trauma care, command and control, and force protection.

"These types of activities are a golden opportunity to further enhance the ties of military cooperation between our two countries."

Morocco Southern Zone operations commander brigadier general Mohammed Benlouali said: “These types of activities, as well as other joint combined Moroccan-American exercises, are a golden opportunity to further enhance the ties of military cooperation between our two countries.

“We will stand ready and willing to take maximum benefit from this period of training to further promote our knowledge and know-how in the field of special forces.”

The exercise commenced on 27 February and will continue through to 16 March across seven African host nations, including Burkina Faso, Chad, Cameroon, Niger, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.

Other participating nations include Algeria, Cape Verde, Nigeria, Mali, Canada, South Africa, Senegal, Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK.


Image: Members of Morocco's special operations forces clear buildings during a direct action raid as part of the Flintlock 2017 exercise. Photo: courtesy of Marine Corps photo by Maj. Nick Mannweiler.