The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces (Arabic: القوات المسلحة الملكية المغربية, French: Forces armées royales) are the military forces of the kingdom of Morocco. They consist of the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Royal Guard, the Royal Gendarmerie and the Auxiliary Forces.
The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces are large, expensive and well-trained with extensive experience in counter-insurgency, desert warfare and combined air-land operations, Further experience has come from participating in peace-keeping operations. However, as Morocco has not fought a conventional interstate war since the Algerian-Moroccan war of 1963, they have little experience in state-on-state warfare.
But this force still faces many challenges. The U.S. Embassy in Rabat commented in 2008 that: "The military remains plagued by corruption, an inefficient bureaucracy, low levels of education in the ranks, periodic threats of radicalization of some of its soldiers, political marginalization, and the deployment of most of its forces in Western Sahara".
Military history of Morocco
The Royal Armed Forces were created on 14 May 1956, after the French Protectorate was dissolved. 14,000 Moroccan personnel from the French Army and 10,000 from the Spanish Armed Forces transferred into the newly formed armed forces, this number was augmented by approximately 5,000 former guerrillas from the "Army of Liberation", About 2,000 French officers and NCOs remained in Morocco on short term contracts until the training programs at the military academies of St-Cyr, Toledo and Dar al Bayda produced sufficient numbers of Moroccan commissioned officers. Four years later, the Royal Moroccan Navy was established in 1960..
The Moroccan military first Engagement as an independent country in the 20th century was the border war of 1963 with Algeria, In the early 1960s, Moroccan troops were sent to the Congo as part of the first multifunctional UN peacekeeping operation ONUC, The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces fought during the Six-Day War and on the Golan front during the Yom Kippur War of 1973 (mostly in the battle for Quneitra) and intervened decisively in the 1977 conflict known as Shaba I to save Zaire's regime. After Shaba II, Morocco was part of the Inter-African Force deployed on the Zaire border, contributing about 1,500 troops. The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces also took a symbolic part in the Gulf War among other Arab armies.
But the Moroccan Armed Forces were mostly notable in fighting a 16-year war against the POLISARIO, an Algerian backed rebel national liberation movementseeking the independence of Western Sahara from Morocco, from the mid-1980s Morocco largely managed to keep POLISARIO troops off by building a hugesand wall, staffed by an army roughly the same size as the entire Sahrawi population, enclosing within it the economically useful parts of Western Sahara (Bou Craa, El-Aaiun, Smara etc.). This stalemated the war, with no side able to achieve decisive gains, but artillery strikes and sniping attacks by the guerrillas continued, and Morocco was economically and politically strained by the war.
In the 1990s, Moroccan troops went to Angola with the three UN Angola Verifications Missions, UNAVEM I, UNAVEM II, and UNAVEM III. They were also in Somalia, with UNOSOM I, the U.S.-led Unified Task Force (UNITAF), known by its U.S. codename of 'Restore Hope' and the follow-on UNOSOM II, They saw fighting during the Battle of Mogadishu to rescue a U.S. anti-militia assault force. Other peace support involvement during the 1990s included United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) in Cambodia, and the missions in the former Yugoslavia: IFOR, SFOR, and KFOR.
On 14 July 1999, the Moroccan Armed Forces took part in the Bastille Day parade on the Champs-Élysées, which was exceptional for a non-French armed forces, at the invitation of then French President Jacques Chirac.