According to an article by Julio Sanz published on the website defensa.com, the long-range multiple rocket launchers of the Chinese company Norinco PHL 03 of the Royal Army of Morocco are one of its most secret materials.
Images taken by amateurs and published on social networks show the movement of a convoy of multiple rocket launchers or MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) PHLO3 of the Royal Army in the course of its transfer from the north, where they are usually positioned, to the south of the country.
One of the images shows two MLRS circulating on the highway linking Marrakech with the port city of Agadir and a second shows one of the PHL 03 in the latter city before entering the occupied territories of Western Sahara, the former Spanish Sahara, which Morocco invaded in November 1975.
According to the analysis of Sanz, It seems that the Moroccan army is hardening its tone against the Polisario Front’s attempt to install permanent camps in the liberated territories of Western Sahara, sending reinforcements to the territory, as was published by the Algerian media menadefensa.
According to this, the sending of the area of this MLRS system that launches salvoes from its twelve tubes of other 300 mm rockets, would indicate that Morocco is taking measures to enhance its deterrence and fire capability against possible fixed installations assembled by the Polisario Front.
The choice of this weapon to maintain the military supremacy in the former Spanish territory beyond the 2720km long military and separation wall, which was built by Morocco, is explained by its great reach (estimated between 70 and 130 km), firepower that should be multiplied for the 36 MLRS, which would be the total number of PHL 03 acquired from China.
Specifically they would be those of the export version AR2, very similar to the one used by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, taking into account that the PHL 03 is the Chinese version of the Russian / Soviet system BM-30 Smer (Tornado).
The use of this powerful saturation system, in a hypothetical case of the end of the ceasefire decreed in September 1991, would be more useful and cheaper than the use of combat aviation, says Sanz.
Although the Polisario Front has anti-aircraft systems, both cannon type and mobile missiles SA-6, SA-8 and SA-9, and those carried by combatants SA-7, they are not rivals for the modernized F-16s and the modernized Mirage F-1s from Rabat, continues Sanz, which also operate with air-to-ground intelligent weapon systems such as the North American JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) and the AASM (Annement Air-Sol Modulaire ) French respectively.
These deployment of rocket launchers as well as a massive deploy of military forces in the past month to Western Sahara, is part of Moroccan manoeuvre to stir the discussion of the Security Council at the end of this month, away from the possibility to set a date for the referendum that is long overdue, and also to obstruct the effort of Horst Koehler, personal envoy of the Secretary General of the UN, to re-launch the negotiations.
Stephan Dujarric, spokes person for the SG of the UN answered yesterday several questions raised by the journalists in the daily media conference regarding Western Sahara and the accusations of Morocco against Polisario saying that:
We can say that neither the locality of Bir Lehlou or Tifariti fall within the buffer strip.
Regarding meetings with Frente Polisario: since the arrival, in late December 2017 of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Colin Stewart, MINURSO has preferred to adhere with the longstanding practice of holding such meetings in Rabouni, Algeria. The Mission and Mr. Stewart remains in close contact with the Polisario Coordinator and have met informally outside of the Mission area.
MINURSO reported to the Security Council that on 16 March, in the vicinity of the Tifariti Team Site, MINURSO Military Observers on duty were stopped by armed Frente Polisario members, with shots fired in the air.
After a short discussion, the Observers were allowed to resume their patrol. The local Frente Polisario commander subsequently condemned the unauthorized action of the soldiers involved and indicated that disciplinary action would be taken.
Bir Lehlou and Tifariti have been used for decades to accommodate and welcome international guests, events and conferences, the accusations of Morocco and sudden “fears” of Frente Polisario movements in this locations is nothing more than an added theatre play to the usual Moroccan performances before the security council meetings since 1992.
In the last year of SG Ban Ki Moon, Morocco created an international incident with paid and state organized demonstration calling the SG Monkey Moon and other insults, after he used the word “occupation” referring to the occupied territories of Western Sahara.
Morocco even got so far as to expel the civil contingent of MINURSO.
Since Guterres is the SG, Morocco created several incidents in the Guergarat area , in the buffer zone, with the construction of a road and deployment of military personnel.
This year Morocco claims that Frente Polisario is developing threating manoeuvres, using false accusation that have been repeatedly denied by the SG and MINURSO.
In an Oscar winning performance Morocco even threatens to go to war, an action that would only benefit the Polisario Front and would show the world the true character of the decrepit Moroccan Monarchy.
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