Military and diplomats do not see a military aggression by Morocco

Military and diplomats do not see a military aggression by Morocco

Poster of the open day that the Galicia assault ship celebrates today in Melilla

They agree that the Spanishness of the two autonomous cities is protected by the Constitution

A military aggression by Morocco to seize Ceuta and Melilla is practically ruled out in the current context since the international community does not tolerate aggressive wars, as has been seen with the one in Ukraine, and since Spain would have the support of NATO in their defense, according to what several experts have agreed to point out during the presentation of a report on the two autonomous cities prepared by the 'think-tank' Europa Ciudadana.

In the opinion of Admiral Juan Rodríguez Garat, «at this moment, in this world situation» a military aggression by Morocco cannot be expected, which would also put the international community against it, since the United Nations Charter defends the territorial integrity of states.

«Russia can afford to turn against almost the entire international community because it has the right of veto in the UN Security Council and 6,000 nuclear warheads,» said the former admiral of the Fleet and professor at the War College. Naval. «Morocco cannot enter with blood and fire because failure is assured not only because of its military capacity,» he stated, «but because the international community does not view aggressive wars well.»

«The problem is in the hybrid war», he has admitted, pointing to actions in which the authorship is not clear, among which he has cited the «manipulation of immigration», in order to «cause problems» for the Spanish Government" so that I end up giving in."

«It happened in its day with the Green March», he pointed out, stressing that the situation in Ceuta and Melilla «is very different» although this type of «hybrid actions will put us in trouble». Admiral Rodríguez Garat has defended that in general, governments «when they have problems to hide» or that they cannot face, «try to unite the people against an external enemy», hinting that this is what Rabat is doing with Spain.


For his part, Lieutenant General Francisco Gan Pampols has indicated that for now Morocco moves in the so-called «grey zone», although what happened with the islet of Perejil in 2002 was a «low intensity action» that had its reaction, and has pointed out that this type of action «can only be counteracted by the mechanisms of the rule of law».

In turn, Javier Rupérez, a diplomat and former ambassador to the United States and to NATO, has called attention to the need not to give in to blackmailers, among whom he first cited Hitler with the Sudetenland and then Russian President Vladimir Putin, and his annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014.

«Since there was no forceful and dissuasive response from the West, they thought that the entire field was oregano,» he stated, thus explaining the «criminal invasion of Ukraine.» «We should all be aware of potential blackmailers and learn the art of deterrence to prevent unwarranted attacks,» she said.

Rupérez has also referred to the Perejil incident, «a clear attempt at blackmail that was responded to forcefully.» «It was a minor but significant case» from which we must learn since «what those who practice this sport do is start with the Crimea, Parsley or the Sudetenland.»


Both the military and the diplomat have expressed the opinion that Spain would have the support of NATO in the event of a Moroccan military aggression in the two autonomous cities, despite the fact that they are not expressly mentioned in the North Atlantic Treaty.. In the end, Admiral Rodríguez has said, everything depends on a «political decision» of the allies, who one by one must decide how to support the country that is being attacked.

The important thing about belonging to NATO, Rupérez has stressed, is that it is a «defensive and dissuasive organization like it has never existed in history.» «No one has ever dared to attack a member country» with the exception of the 9/11 attacks in the United States, he stressed. «The deterrence is blunt, brutal and continues to work,» he stressed.

The three experts have agreed that the Spanishness of Ceuta and Melilla is beyond any doubt — «it is so obvious that it is a bit excessive to reaffirm it,» said Rupérez — and they have referred to the Constitution as the best guarantee that This continues to be the case, even if in the long run there may be governments for independence in both autonomous cities or those that defend Moroccan theses.

The sovereignty of Ceuta and Melilla «is a right of the Spaniards» that is included in article 2 of the Constitution, which stipulates that Spain is «indivisible», recalled Admiral Rodríguez Garat, warning that the only way to change it would be with the agreement of all Spaniards and reforming the Constitution, something in which Lieutenant General Gan Pampols has agreed. «Today (the Constitution) is a tool of extraordinary solidity.»


As regards the turn of the Government with respect to the Sahara, they have not wanted to enter into an assessment of the reasons that led them to support the Moroccan autonomy plan. In this sense, Admiral Rodríguez Garat has been convinced that it was not the «defense of Ceuta and Melilla» while Rupérez has trusted that it was not the result of «any type of pressure or blackmail but rather the recognition of all mutual interests that there are many».

However, he stressed that there are still many «pending and important questions» to be resolved, starting with whether it was the decision of the United States, with Donald Trump as president, to recognize the Moroccan nature of the Sahara.

Likewise, the diplomat has also maintained that the use of the Pegasus system should be investigated, «apparently», by the Moroccan intelligence services to spy on the President of the Government, as well as «indications of electoral fraud» during the 28M elections in Melilla «by a political formation that apparently has a strong Moroccan influence», in reference to the theft of votes by mail and the alleged involvement of the Coalición Por Melilla.

The Navy sends an assault ship to Melilla as problems with Morocco grow

The imposing silhouette of this ship can be seen in Melilla at a particularly difficult time in relations with Spain. The delay in putting commercial customs in Ceuta and Melilla into operation is undoubtedly eroding the climate between the two countries. This same week it has been learned that the Moroccan authorities are systematically failing to comply with the agreement established more than a year ago, in which a calendar was set to restore the flow of trade.

While all these conflicts grow, the assault ship will undoubtedly have a great public success again today. All the demonstrations of the Navy in the autonomous cities generally have a great popular acceptance. Today it will remind the people of Melilla, as the billboard says, that the Navy defends Spain in and from the sea.

At the end of November 2022, the frigate Reina Sofía (F-84) arrived in Ceuta; and the frigates Navarra (F-85) and Canarias (F-86), went to Melilla. In January it was the Atalaya Patrol Boat of the Spanish Navy, one of the main surveillance units of the Maritime Action Force. Last March it was the turn of the Maritime Action Ship (BAM) Rayo P-42, which called at the port of Melilla. And now the amphibious assault ship Galicia (L-51) is visiting the autonomous city, with its 160-meter length and its displacement capacity of 13,000 tons. The main mission of this type of ships is to project the expeditionary force (the marine infantry) in any conflict zone or place where any type of natural catastrophe has occurred. In addition, it is a floating hospital and can provide all kinds of medical help anywhere. In this sense, it should be remembered that on April 2, 2020, he arrived in the city of Melilla to provide health support during the Covid-19 epidemic. In mid-April, she moved to Ceuta for the same reason.

The European Parliament has demanded that Spain carry out a complete investigation of the espionage with the Pegasus program against members of the Government, including President Pedro Sánchez, and of which it assures that there are «clear indications» that it has been Morocco.

As if that were not enough, at the beginning of June the Government sent a verbal note to Morocco to convey its complaint about the letter in which the Government of the neighboring country stated before the European Union that Ceuta and Melilla are Moroccan cities.

The diplomatic complaint, sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Moroccan embassy in Spain, «categorically» rejects the protest letter to the European Commission for the repeated references to the «Spanishness» of Ceuta and Melilla of the vice president responsible for Immigration, Margaritis Schinas.

In this sense, the president of Melilla, Eduardo de Castro, accused Morocco a few weeks ago of forcing relations with Spain through «artificial conflicts for many years», among which he mentioned the unilateral closure of the border in March 2020, which reopened in 2022, and the Melilla commercial customs office in August 2018, still inoperative.

It cannot be forgotten that Moroccan provocations on territorial issues are constant. In fact, it is now targeting the waters of Spanish sovereignty in the Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla. In October 2022, Morocco assured, in a letter addressed to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, that his country «does not have land borders with Spain» and that Melilla «continues to be an occupied prison», for which reason «You will not be able to speak of borders, but of simple points of access.»

As if all this were not enough, the question of the fishing agreement with Morocco, which expires six days before the elections, has caught fire. The European Union and Morocco renewed the fishing agreement in 2019 so that 128 European vessels could fish on their coasts in exchange for 52 million euros per year. Of these, 92 vessels are Spanish and the majority fish in the Cádiz fishing ground with 47 vessels. The rest are distributed in Conil, Barbate, Tarifa and Algeciras with some 500 crew dedicated to sardines, sea bass, tuna or pomfret.

The agreement expires on July 17 and Minister Luis Planas assumes that it will not be renewed, so those boats must return to the Spanish coast without being able to fish. The Government provides millions in aid to alleviate the effects of the long hiatus that can last until the first quarter of 2024.

The important rearmament that the neighboring country is sponsoring cannot be forgotten either. The budget item allocated this year to defense exceeds 5,100 million dollars. This amount represents an increase of 3.6 percent in relation to 2022. However, the spending ceiling assigned to the defense department is much higher and exceeds 11,000 million, double what was budgeted. Modernized F-16 fighters, Abrams armored cars, Predator drones… are just part of the weapons that the neighboring country has been acquiring in recent years.

In early June, Morocco has acquired the Chinese HJ-9A man-portable anti-tank missile system, also known as Red Arrow 9A. These missiles are designed to fire against static or mobile targets such as armored vehicles or tanks and have a range of more than 6 kilometers. In addition, as El Debate announced, Morocco has acquired an Israeli-made PULS (Precise and Universal Launching System) missile launcher with a capacity to hit targets at 300 kilometers. Likewise, the Government of Morocco has requested the United States, its great geostrategic support, the purchase of M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (Himars) launchers, Tactical Missile systems or guided multiple launch rocket systems. From Rabat, it has also invested in the acquisition of new US-made F-16V Viper fighters and AH64E Apache helicopters.

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