Sen. James Inhofe wants DoD to find another venue for African military exercise
The Pentagon is looking for alternative locations to stage its largest exercise in Africa after Washington lawmakers said Morocco should be withdrawn as a host nation over its contested control over Western Sahara.
During a hearing last week to consider the nomination of Marine Corp Lt. Gen. Michael E. Langley to head U.S. Africa Command, Senator James Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, accused the Moroccan government of having committed “vicious attacks” against the Sahrawis. people from the region.
“Morocco has done nothing to repair the damage it has caused to the Sahrawi people after all these years, and it has done nothing to show that it is serious about resolving the crisis,” said Mr. Inhofe, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
He accused Rabat of deceiving US administrations for decades about its willingness to enter into negotiations with the Algerian-backed Polisario Front, a Sahrawi independence movement.
” I pushed [the Department of Defense] to consider alternative locations for the annual African Lion military exercise that was held in Morocco previously,” Mr. Inhofe said.
African Lion 2022 took place last month. Thousands of military personnel from several countries took part in the combined arms exercise which included live-fire drills, air combat maneuvers and naval operations.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has agreed to consider other countries to take over hosting duties for future African Lion exercises, Mr. Inhofe said.