Spanish report warns of Morocco’s ‘hybrid strategies’ to annex Ceuta, Melilla | Saad Guerraoui | MEO
The Institute of Security and Culture urges Spain to monitor Morocco’s activity and not underestimate its rearmament which gives the North African kingdom an advantage in the face of a hypothetical escalation in the grey zone.
Spanish report warns of Morocco’s ‘hybrid strategies’ to annex Ceuta, MelillaThe Institute of Security and Culture urges Spain to monitor Morocco’s activity and not underestimate its rearmament which gives the North African kingdom an advantage in the face of a hypothetical escalation in the grey zone.
Hundreds of migrants stormed into Ceuta last May
LONDON - Spain’s Institute of Culture and Security warned that Morocco was using “hybrid strategies” to reclaim the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla and adjacent islets in its latest report.
The Institute called on the Spanish government to monitor Morocco’s activity and its military rearmament although experts behind the report do not see it as a threat at the moment.
In a report titled "Morocco's claim on Ceuta and Melilla from the perspective of the grey area", experts explain that the objective of the grey zone was to force the relations between two states to alter the status quo, that is, "to achieve ends similar to those of a war, but without war," citing the most recent example that took place last May with the avalanche of thousands of immigrants who stormed into Ceuta, prompting the Spanish army to intervene.
The report explains Morocco’s “strategic patience” with border closures without what it calls motives or for seeking external support for their demands, such as when the Trump Administration recognized Moroccan sovereignty of the Sahara.
Experts point out that "there is a latent conflict" in which, for example, “Rabat seeks to influence Spanish foreign action using as a lever the control of migratory flow, anti-terrorist cooperation or the periodic ratification of the European Union's fishing agreements;”
They consider that these aspects are used by Morocco as “a pressure tool and a bargaining chip.”
Experts suggest that Spanish authorities consider the hybrid perspective when analyzing Moroccan policy towards Ceuta and Melilla, adding that Ceuta’s migration incident was a “wake-up call
The report also highlights Morocco’s equipment or besides security agreements signed with Israel. Experts warn that Rabat’s use military power should not be underestimated because it reduces the military gap between Morocco and Spain although they acknowledge that military power is of secondary importance in the grey area,
Experts warn that the Morocco’s acquisition program of land, naval and air power constitutes another factor to take into account but "without falling into alarmism."
“Although Moroccan authorities do not contemplate an armed action against both cities, the mere possession of these capacities gives them an advantage in the face of a hypothetical escalation in the grey zone,” they say, adding that “it may even generate serious doubts on the Spanish side about the political and military viability of defending Ceuta and Melilla."