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Friday, June 3, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

U.S., Morocco conclude 'African Lion' exercise

CAIRO — Under heavy security, Morocco and the United States have concluded an annual military exercise.


Officials said the U.S. Marine Corps completed a humanitarian exercise with the Moroccan Army called Operation African Lion. African Lion, an annual exercise, took place for five days in several parts of Morocco and concluded on May 27.

"African Lion demonstrates how our relationship with Morocco continues to grow," Sgt. Greg Belgrave, who helped organize the U.S. contingent, said. "This exercise highlights how friendly and accepting the Moroccans are towards Americans."

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No incidents were reported during African Lion, when Moroccan and U.S. officers worked side by side. The exercise, the largest by the U.S. Africa Command, took place amid a major Al Qaida strike on Western tourists in May, in which at least 16 people were killed.

"We have to keep our eyes open for anything that looks out of the ordinary," said Gunnery Sergeant Logan Conway, an anti-terrorism force protection chief with 14th Marine Regiment. "The people here are peaceful, but as the day goes on and heat rises we have to stay vigilant."

U.S. officers were on alert during the exercise, which included aerial refueling, intelligence and live fire maneuvers. Officials said the Marines conducted route reconnaissance and reconnaissance as well as maintained a constant security assessment. The security officers, many of whom had been deployed in Iraq, also developed contingency plans based on a review of all potential risks.

"Because of the security we are provided, we are able to go out to all the way out to these different sites and get the Moroccan villagers easier access to medical care," Petty Officer 2nd Class Sy Johnmario, who provided dental care, said.

African Lion, which contained 900 Moroccans and 2,000 U.S. soldiers, also contained a peacekeeping phase in which U.S. and Moroccan troops conducted non-lethal training. Soldiers from both countries used such equipment as Taser, sprays, batons and non-lethal munitions.


I think if you have a look at this article "Exercise African Lion 2011 features extensive upgrades, highlights strength of U.S.-Moroccan relationship" at you will find that the military exercise does in face not end until June 18th. However, the so-called "humanitarian" part of African Lion 2011 is finished.

David James Vickery      5:00 p.m. / Friday, June 3, 2011

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