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Spanish Pacification Campaigns in Morocco (1909-1927): Developing Indigenous Forces in Counterinsurgency

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Technical Report,05 Jul 2016,25 May 2017

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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In September 2016, military forces of several western nations were conducting operations aimed at developing host nation forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Mali. For years, in those scenarios, part of the effort to eliminate endemic insurgencies has been to raise and employ indigenous troops, which is probably one of the hardest military tasks in building local capabilities. From that perspective, the Spanish experience in Northern Morocco from 1909 to 1927 is one of those cases worthy of examination. When Spain assumed the establishment of a protectorate in 1912, its army faced a large and persistent insurgency. Extensive documentation exists concerning the Spanish operations in Northern Morocco. However, not much has been written about the impact that the creation and employment of indigenous troops had in relation to it. To fight such an enemy, the Spanish authorities soon established different models of regular and irregular indigenous-based units to secure and stabilize the country. The Indigenous Police, the Indigenous Regular Forces Regulares, and the Xeriffian Mehal-la were of special importance.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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