Under bilateral or multilateral agreements between states or coalition of states or on the basis of cessation of hostilities agreement signed between third parties, Morocco has often used its armed forces for peacekeeping missions. From 1977 to 1978, Morocco deployed some of its battalions in Zaire (now the DRC) under the Operation Shaba I and Shaba II to preserve the integrity of Mobutu’s regime, which was threatened by forces from neighboring Angola (under the joint control of the Soviet Communists and Cuban armed forces).
On the Arabian Peninsula, over 1,500 Moroccan soldiers were dispatched to Saudi Arabia on the basis of a bilateral arrangement during the Gulf War in 1991. Morocco is also trying to increase its diplomatic influence as mediator in the Arab-Israeli conflict, to expand it’s moderate Islam in African areas where extremism is whipping with force, and to provide medical-surgical field hospitals in countries devastated by war or forces of nature. Since, Morocco was involved in peace efforts in many countries.
The Kingdom of Morocco has long been committed to respond positively to calls from the international community to prevent conflict or restore peace and security worldwide. A military elite force of the size of a brigade, with a special training in intervention techniques, and always ready to intervene at any time outside, whether for humanitarian aid operations or peacekeeping operations.
One of the areas in which Morocco has strengthened its role in peacekeeping is undoubtedly Africa. It is true that Morocco’s initiatives in Africa are first to be compared with the continued dispute to oppose the Polisario Front over Western Sahara. Morocco left the OAU on 12 November 1984 following the admission of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic as the government of Western Sahara in 1982.
The organisation was widely derided as a bureaucratic “talking shop” with little power. It struggled to enforce its decisions, and its lack of armed force made intervention exceedingly difficult and limiting pacification initiatives led by Morocco. Civil wars in Nigeria and Angola continued unabated for years, and the OAU could do nothing to stop them.
The policy of non-interference in the affairs of member states also limited the effectiveness of the OAU. Thus, when human rights were violated, as in Uganda under Idi Amin in the 1970s, the OAU was powerless to stop them.
The Organisation was praised by Ghanaian former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan for bringing Africans together. Nevertheless, in its 39 years of existence, critics argue that the OAU did little to protect the rights and liberties of African citizens from their own political leaders, often dubbing it as a “Dictators’ Club” or “Dictator’s Trade Union”.
However, within the African region, Morocco has always contributed significantly on peacekeeping missions, all along with France and The USA, under UN ressolutions or not, in various scenarios. First, as part of ONUC, an UN mission that lasted from July 1960 to June 1964 in the Republic of Congo, Morocco provided an infantry and a paratroopers battalions and members of the Royal Guard to maintain the order and peace between belligerents and stabilize the country. In 1979, after the September coup that freed the Central African Republic of a military dictatorship, the Moroccans dispatched a security contingent in equatorial Africa to restore order to the Central African Republic. Morocco also participed in other UN peacekeeping missions, including Angola (UNAVEM I, II & III) between 1989 and 1996, sending 15 military observers and 11 members of the CIVPOL. From April 1992 until March 1993, Morocco deployed over 1,000 troops and 60 Civilian Police (CIVPL) to the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM I). The military and civilian personnel were in charge of monitoring compliance with the ceasefire in Mogadishu (with five military observers), to ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid, the protection of personnel and facilities of the UN. Around 1430 soldiers from the RMA were then deployed after the creation of the Unified Task Force (UNITAF) in December 1992. They also participated in the Second United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM II ), which took over from UNITAF in March 1993 until March 1994.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, from November 30th 1999, the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces contributed to the MONUC. As part of this mission, which was still ongoing, the Kingdom of Morocco deployed a contingent of 750 soldiers, four officers of Staff and four members of the civilian police. Morocco has also made available to MONUC a medical Hospital Level II with 51 soldiers.
In the Ivory Coast, Morocco contributed alongside 39 other countries in the United Nations Operation (ONUCI), established by the Security Council since April 4 2004, to restablish peace and stability in the West African country. Morocco’s participation in this mission has been highly praised by the United Nations, notably awarded a commemorative medal operations peacekeeping during the 50th anniversary celebration of national Independence Day. According to several UN reports, the Moroccan military contingent deployed in Ivory Coast, has been distinguished by his dedication, selflessness and courage to build a stable and lasting peace in Côte d’ Ivoire.
The Moroccan GOV, under the sponsorship of His Majesty the King of Morocco as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, has also committed military resources for humanitarian aid. Not only providing or sending food and basics, but also contributing and promoting medical and humanitarian aid for displaced by civil wars or victims of natural disasters. Recently, field hospitals and small security forces had been deployed in Gaza, Palestine (Israeli Operation “Pillar of Defense”), in Ras Jdir, at the Tunisian-Libyan border (Lybian Civil War), in the Zaatari camp in Jordan (Syrian Civil war), in the Malian capital, Bamako (Malian Civil War), and in Conakry, the Ghanaian capital.
In the European region
Several Moroccan initiatives demonstrate the interest of this country for peace operations can foster cooperation with European institutions. For example, Morocco has proposed the establishment of consultation mechanisms between Europe and the Mediterranean on the issues of peace in 1995. The Kingdom of Morocco has taken a concrete step deciding in December of the same year, the sent of contingent of 1400 soldiers to Bosnia – Herzegovina under IFOR (The NATO task force for the implementation of peace in Bosnia).
Moreover , Morocco was still involved in two other peacekeeping operations that are under the banner of the Treaty Organization North Atlantic Alliance (NATO). They were the SFOR and KFOR. As part of SFOR (Stabilisation Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina) , a strong contingent of 350 Moroccan soldiers participated since December 1996. Morocco was also involved alongside NATO in Kosovo as part of KFOR. In Kosovo, in addition to sending a battalion of 409 soldiers , Morocco has also sent since December 1999 a medical battalion to provide health and social care to local populations and to perform some humanitarian tasks.
The RMAF has participed in some UN peacekeeping missions in the rest of the world, as it’s contribution in Cambodia (UNTAC) between August 1992 and June 1993, sending 100 members of the CIVPOL. In Haiti, Morocco deployed with Spain, a contingent of 364 soldiers, including 164 for international UN Mission for Stabilization in Haiti (MINUSTAH) . These Moroccan and Spanish troops were sent on November 11th 2004, over the Chilean battalion at Fort Liberté and Terrier Rouge in Northeast Haiti. the latest, with the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS), sending a small contingent for monitoring the situation during the conflict. One additional Moroccan battalion with 360 men is deployed in Equatorial Guinea, and 5,000 soldiers in the UAE since 1986, including a permanent 700-man paratroop unit. Recently a Special Forces contingent has been sent to Saudi Arabia as part of the Operation Scorched Earth in Yemen to restore peace in the northern Sa’dah Governorate after Houtu’s rebellion with terrorists help in 2009. There have also been unconfirmed reports of the presence of Special Forces units in Mali, as part of the French intervention to help Malian regime in its fight against the Touareg/AQIM rebelion.