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US to Build Military Base in Morocco

   
InternationalThe US is reportedly building a permanent military base in Morocco, despite American assertions that its forces are only on humanitarian mission in the North African country.

“Rabat has already given Washington the go-ahead to construct the base in Tan-Tan,” well-kept Moroccan sources told IslamOnline.net on Sunday, April 10, on condition of anonymity.

The site was chosen to host the American base due to its proximity to a harbor on the Atlantic Ocean, which will facilitate the delivery of military provisions and reinforcements, they added.

“The city is also located near the Western Sahara, seen by Washington as a hotbed for fleeing Al-Qaeda members,” the sources said.

Moroccan, European and American newspapers have been reporting on the ongoing construction of the American base in Tan-Tan.

They believe that Washington is trying to undermine the French military presence in Africa and protect untapped oil resources in the continent.

The Moroccan weekly Al-Sahifa said on April 6 that construction works are in full swing in Tan-Tan under watertight security measures.

It added that the area, which used to be a tourist hub, has almost turned into military barracks.

The Spanish ABC newspaper earlier said the base will be a transit for American forces in the Middle East.

Humanitarian Mission

Washington was quick to deny the reports on the construction of a military base in the Arab-African country.

Col. Brandi Kerne, the commander of the US forces in Morocco, ruled out any intention to build a base in the area.

He said on April 8 that American forces will leave the country after the end of the joint military drills, scheduled for April 1-10.

On April 5, a representative of the US embassy in Morocco told reporters the marines were carrying out humanitarian projects in the county.

Local Moroccan authorities earlier said the Americans were building five school classes in Tan-Tan.

The state-run news agency also spoke of the humanitarian nature of the marines’ mission.

Inconceivable

Local residents in Tan-Tan have, however, ridiculed the claims that US troops are only serving humanitarian purposes.

“Is it conceivable that American troops have been staying here for months only to build four classrooms and distribute school stationery among children?” Ahmed Ismail, an employee in Tan-Tan, asked.

“Even if this was true, would it take US soldiers the whole summer to build the classrooms!”

The New York Times reported on July 5, 2003, that the US military wants to expand its presence in Africa, where it sees potential havens for alleged terrorist groups.

The Pentagon is seeking to enhance ties with allies like Morocco and Tunisia, gain long-term access to bases in Mali and Algeria and build on aircraft refueling agreements with Senegal and Uganda, the US daily said.
  

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