By Hajare El Khaldi
Rabat – United States government document indicates that the pentagon approved the delivery of USD 115 million equipment in September, under the Excess Defense Articles program (EDA), which allows US foreign allies to benefit from surplus defense equipment, at a reduced or no cost.
In addition to 162 Abrams, American third-generation main battle tanks, Morocco also received tracked command post vehicles, grenade launchers, howitzers, as well as 419 armored personnel carriers, reported the Arab-American media site Al-Monitor.
The same source stated that the headquarters of the US Department of Defense, Pentagon, deals with Morocco during President Donald Trump’s first year in office, accounted for over a quarter of the USD 430 million total authorized or delivered to the Middle East.
The article notes that US military equipment to Morocco, already largest US weapon buyer in Africa, have increased during the last years, indicating that Pentagon is considering other programs to accelerate the process instead of relying on programs that require extensive approval.
Strategic and research analyst Seth Binder, as quoted by Al-Monitor, confirmed this increase saying that Rabat receives “USD 15 million a year in [regular] military aid from the US, so USD 100 million for one project is pretty massive,” he added, “people complain that the arms sales process is too slow. I have been wondering if they use EDA if that process would speed up.”
Administered by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the EDA program was established in 1961 declares that “excess by Military Departments can be offered to foreign governments or international organizations in support of US national security and foreign policy objectives.”
In Morocco’s case, these deliveries are part of US and European efforts to strengthen Morocco’s military against regional challenges of drug-trafficking, and the escalation of terrorist networks in North Africa as the Islamic State demises in Iraq and Syria.