القوات المساعدة |
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Hamidou Laanigri (southern division)
The Moroccan Auxiliary Forces (Berber: Idwasen Imawwasen or Imxazniyen, Arabic: القوات المساعدة Al-Quwwāt al-Musā`idah, French: Forces Auxiliaires Marocaines) is a paramilitary force legally part of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces but following the command of the Ministry of the Interior, and supplements the military, Gendarmerie and police when needed. It also participated in military conflicts like the Western Sahara war.
Additionally, they contribute to maintaining order and they are also present as border watch, and are the main backup force for firefighters during forest fires. During the Years of Lead, custody facilities such as Tazmamart and Agdz were mainly operated by elements of the auxiliary forces. Today auxiliary forces units are mainly used to repress demonstrations.
The Auxiliary forces are a continuation of a low-rank military unit composed of Senegalese Tirailleurs and Goumiers, used by the French during the protectorate area, to repress Moroccans. Since the official French police patrolled only in the European area, this unit was responsible for maintaining order in the Moroccan neighbourhoods.
They are known colloquially as the mroud (a Berber word for a type of Grasshopper), mkhaznia (from Makhzen) or as imxazniyn in Berber.
Auxiliary Forces' missions are to support security forces and the army, maintain public security, and participate in operational missions of territory defense.
After the Second World War, France is recovering from war and instead of releasing wounded goumiers or those who have reached retirement age, the French army preferred to redeploy them in a subsidiary body. They performed odd jobs and assisted regular troops when needed. Officially named the mokhaznis they are placed under the Ministry of Interior. Their missions were to suppress the various demonstrations and riots that have shook newly independent Morocco. In "time of peace," the mokhaznis provided security of official buildings and assisted in the delivery of mail in remote regions.
In 1971 and 1972, King Hassan II barely escaped two coup attempts by the Moroccan Army which climate of distrust evident between the monarchy and the army. This climate encouraged the growing strength of the police and the revival of the Auxiliary, put on hold since independence. The king personally nominated two senior members of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces to head the Auxiliary Forces in 1974. The Auxiliary Forces were designated to lead in the maintenance of order and quick restoration of order in effected areas. The Auxiliary Forces were given a special status and a budget of nine billion centimes (a fortune at the time). Two thirds of the force were virtually incapable of military service due to age and or health reasons, the King had to recruit again and rebuild the whole force, "recalls one officer who served at that time. There was no shortage of candidates but they needed to be disciplined and healthy. Initial recruitment was conducted primarily in the regions of Ouarzazate and Errachidia. There, people were still naive and did not smoke. The king then created two areas of operation, North and South. In 1975, the Auxiliary Forces was at the front of the Green March.
Western Sahara War
When war broke out in the Sahara in 1976, the Auxiliary Forces are once again first in line. They were armed only with a locally-manufactured version of the Beretta M3 sub-machine guns and received very little combat training and were confined by higher to their isolated bases in the middle of the desert and prevented from changing location. Consequently, they were an easy prey for the Polisario fighters and whole companies of them were slaughtered and captured.
In fact, Moroccan army supreme command (General Dlimi, and Hassan II) underestimated the strength of the enemy and knew nothing of the nature of this region. In addition, King was always afraid to put weapons in the hands of the military but finally, after personally interviewing two Polisario fighters, was the king finally convinced of the military capability of Polisario. Only then did the Moroccan armed forces commit heavily in the Sahara. But the auxiliary forces, serving under the army officers acted as scouts, the camp guards and support troops. Almost two thirds of the casualties of the War of the Sahara belong to the Auxiliary Forces. From 1982, the Auxiliary Forces garrisons stationed at the Sahara participated, alongside the army, in the construction of the wall of defense. Later, operated and secured prisons like Kelaat mgoun or Agdz. Several years after the 1991 cease-fire the Auxiliary Forces remained essential in the management of the Sahara issue. In the mid-'90s, King Hassan II decided to give the region its first football team, he went to the local Auxiliary Forces. Founded in 1978, the Auxiliary Forces of Settat is better known as Bir Baouch, named after a village near Settat. In 1983, the team was transferred to mroud Benslimane before being called again in 1995 the Youth Sports Al Massira, the team that is now the Sahara in the national football championship.
Suppression of demonstrations
In the northern part of the kingdom, the Khaki uniformed Auxiliary Forces were seen as a force of repression. In Fes, Nador, Casablanca the Auxiliary Forces were accused of being responsible for several atrocities. There was much confusion as the Moroccan Army was often accused of dressing as Auxiliary Forces as they did not think the Auxiliary Forces would fire on unruly crowds because their own children were often in the crowd. Unlike the military, Auxiliary Forces barracks are typically located in the city center. They can be mobilized by the Governor or the Inspector General.
In the early 80s, the Auxiliary Forces were hated by the population. They represented the authority in its most abusive, more brutal form. In addition to the repression of demonstrations, the Auxiliary Forces remain close and daily contact with the street. They are everywhere: in the souks, the prefectures, hospitals, post office, stadiums and even at the entrance of cinemas. More simply, they are the eyes and ears of the system.
In the prefectures, much of the administrative Makhzen is available to the mayors and governors. these are the found today at the entrance of buildings and doors of the important people. They do everything, for example they serve tea, introduce guests, collect the mail, track vendors and chase children playing soccer near the recently renovated public parks by the municipality.
When not used at events or in the prefectures and wilayas, the Auxiliary Forces are assigned to border surveillance. Along the Mediterranean coast to the north, then along the berm to the south and south-west, several units of mobile Auxiliary Forces stand guard. In the early 90s, the units stationed north have gained importance, since Morocco embarked on the fight against illegal immigration and drug trafficking. Personnel posted to monitor the border is risen from 3000 in 1992 to 4,500 in 2004. Morocco is under a lot of pressure from the European Union to combat drug trafficking. In 2001, Spanish television showed a member of the Auxiliary Forces helping load their drug cargo and then to push their boat to the sea.
General Laanigri, former head of the DGSN, was appointed the head of the Auxiliary Forces. He was charged with the modernization of the Auxiliary Forces and prepare it to assume new missions. Following his installation as the Inspectorate General located in Rabat, he created a third operational area which would extend to the borders of Agadir Mauritania. "The geographical distribution that exists today was adopted in 1974. At that time, the Sahara was not yet safe in the geography. Today the region accounts for nearly one third of the national territory. Create a third area is therefore obvious, "said a commander of the Auxiliary Forces. Since the end of the 1990s, nearly 6,000 Auxiliary Forces men are stationed along the berm or in the barracks in the south. The Sahara is still a sensitive area where law enforcement is a major challenge.
Another challenge to General Laânigri, like all security officials of the country: the fight against terrorism. Last year, Cherki Drais, newly appointed head of the DGSN, had requested reinforcements for Laânigri. Thus, joint patrols of police and auxiliary forces of elements have emerged in major cities. Between officers of FA, there is even talk of preparing a new status for their bodies, with new missions and new ways (including weapons and dogs). According to cross the Mobile Intervention Unit (the famous CMI) should be dissolved in the DGSN, to be replaced by units of the Auxiliary Forces. "The units to be trained at the highest level, insists this specialist in military matters. Since Morocco is recycle the body of FA as much to do in depth. An element of the FA should be perfectly versatile intervene with gendarmes, police, military, customs or brigades of Water and Forests. " According to some of his collaborators, Laânigri floor on the thorny issue of image mroud. Further held, communication campaign, training abroad ..."None of these tracks is excluded", they say within the Inspectorate General. But how he campaigns will it take to change an image as tenacious, and the disappearance of reflexes that have the particularity of this body so special? The new chief mokhazni it holds the magic to conjure a curse dating back 50 years?
The auxiliary forces are composed of 45,000 men. In urban areas and cities, they are not usually armed. The auxiliary forces are divided into two parts:
- The administrative Makhzen, a sort of administrative police posted in front of or inside public buildings.
- The Makhzen mobile rapid intervention units, a family who live in barracks and are constantly moving in groups.
- Driss Bennani (n° 273). "Enquête. L'mroud, histoire d'une malédiction". http://www.telquel-online.com/archives/273/couverture_273.shtml. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
- Mahjoub Tobji (2006). Les officiers de Sa Majesté : Les dérives des généraux marocains 1956–2006. Fayard. ISBN 978-2-213-63015-1.
- Morocco has taken delivery of 88 BearCat 4x4 armoured vehicles for the Moroccan Auxiliary Forces - Armyrecognition.com, 1 August 2013
- (French), (Spanish), (English) Portail national du Maroc
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