Morocco and Algeria are two neighbouring Arab nations that share a 1,700-kilometer border and cultural bonds. However, hostilities between the two countries have simmered for decades owing to multiple reasons. One of the most contentious issues between Algeria and Morocco is the Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara. Morocco accuses Algeria of supporting the Polisario Front. Conflicts of interest have been a major factor in the long-running conflict in Western Sahara, which has included a diverse spectrum of local and international players, including the United States and France.
Apart from the Western Sahara dilemma and border disputes between the two countries, Algerians are concerned about Tel Aviv’s expansion in North Africa and the emerging relations between its arch-rival, Morroco, and Israel.
Recent wildfires in about 20 Algerian districts have given the two countries’ past hostility a new dimension. Several large forest fires have lately raged throughout Algeria, killing 69 people, including 28 military personnel. Algerian security forces detained members of two terrorist groups reportedly supported by the Moroccan and Israel, involved in the country’s forest fires.
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune stated during an official announcement that Algerian police had arrested 22 individuals on suspicion of being engaged in the wildfires, with two terrorist groups, the “Rashad Movement” and “MAK,” being the primary suspects.
Algeria has severed diplomatic ties with Rabat due to the recent developments, according to Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra, adding that Algeria will continue to block the Zionist regime’s entry into the African Union.
Besides Algiers’ accusations that Rabat and Tel Aviv were behind the recent fires, Israelis and Moroccans collaborate closely on certain aspects, the most significant of which is military cooperation. Morocco is in talks with Tel Aviv, according to the website “Africa Intelligence,” about establishing a massive project in Morocco to manufacture suicide drones that may be deployed against the Algerian Army.
Furthermore, Morocco is also said to have been in negotiations with Israel’s Aerospace Industries (IAI) for months. Earlier this year, reports surfaced that Morocco and BlueBird Aero Systems Ltd., a subsidiary of IAI, were negotiating about developing tactical drones.
The regime in Rabat avoids using the word “normalisation” with Israel to maintain its dwindling legitimacy in the eyes of the Muslim Moroccan population. However, the current situation indicates that Moroccan-Israeli ties are expanding, albeit at a slower pace than Israel’s relations with the United Arab Emirates.