Spanish ship ordered by FAR silences critical voices targeting Morocco

After they have been criticizing Morocco’s recent weapon purchases, right-wing voices in Spain have observed silence after the Kingdom ordered a Navantia deep-sea patrol vessel for FAR.

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On Friday January 8, the Spanish Minister of Finance, Maria Jesus Montero announced at the San Fernando (Cadiz) shipyards that Navantia had won a contract with the Royal Navy of Morocco to design and build a deep-sea patrol vessel.

The latter will provide one million hours of work for the shipyards in the Bay of Cadiz and nearly 250 jobs over the next three and a half years. The project with Morocco is good news for the finances of the public company, especially since it was already excluded, on April 30, from the race for the construction of ten ships for the American Navy for an amount of 5 billion euros. The Trump administration had chosen to entrust the project to Italian group Fincantieri.

For once, the Spanish right-wing has avoided condemning or warning of the consequences of the purchase of arms by Morocco on the stability and sovereignty of Spain. Vox and, to a lesser extent, Ciudadanos as well as the Iberian media have recently been very critical to Morocco, every time it announced a new weapon purchase.

The far-right group, which has made Morocco its obsession, has thus kept its concerns under wraps. Yet in August, Vox MPs proposed spending up to 2% of GDP on the military. «Spain will thus maintain its military superiority in the western Mediterranean» and allow it «to ensure its sovereignty over the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla, and over the Canary Islands», Vox justified.

An obsession temporarily shelved

Less virulent than Vox, the fears of the Ciudadanos party are generally expressed by its MEP, José Ramón Bauzá. The parliamentarian «shone» by his very specific interventions. In April, he did not hesitate to ask the chairmen of the foreign affairs committees in the US House of Representatives and Senate to vote against a FAR order for ten anti-ship missiles worth $ 62 million. «This would constitute a risk for Spain and negatively affect stability in the strategic Strait of Gibraltar», he wrote in his letter. At the end of December 2020, the MEP asked the European Union to defend his country «against aggression from Morocco».

Under the pretext of defending the Polisario and the Sahrawis, the far-left also expressed its opposition to weapons acquired by Morocco. In December, the independence movement Gauche Catalane asked the Sanchez government to suspend the sale of arms to the Kingdom.

However, this obsession is maintained by specific newspapers. On July 8, specialized site devoted an article to new orders for FAR corps entitled: «The Royal Armed Forces of Morocco are strengthening their capacities at a pronounced pace». It warned that its «expenses increased exponentially from 2008 to represent 3.8% of its GDP between 2014-2015». El Confidencial has drawn up a list of the latest orders placed by the Royal Armed Forces.

Critical voices over Morocco's arms purchases have been silenced. Morocco's order of a warship from the Navantia company indirectly responded to the concerns of part of the right-wing. After losing the contract with the United States, Ciudadanos MP (opposition) María del Carmen Martínez requested an urgent intervention of the Spanish government to save hundreds of direct and indirect jobs in the province of Cadiz.

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