Newspaper Plural Echoing this concern, Algeria emphasized its desire to modernize its arsenal, particularly with Russian submarines equipped with missiles, a move in response to Morocco’s improving military capabilities, which receives weapons from the United States and Israel.
Spain maintains tense diplomatic relations with the two Maghreb countries. Although relations with Morocco are generally good, relations with Algeria have deteriorated following Madrid’s recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara. The decision marked a turning point in Spain’s position on this sensitive issue, the newspaper recalled, after Madrid had previously adopted a more neutral approach.
Read: Arms race: Spain pledges to Morocco
Algeria strongly opposed Spain’s reversal of position on the issue, describing it as morally and historically unacceptable. Algiers recalled its ambassador to Madrid in March 2022. Algerian President Abdelmadjid Debon lamented the change of course, saying Spain had “failed in its duty to resolve the conflict”.
The crisis also has consequences for Spain’s domestic politics. Many representatives voted against the change in foreign policy, including the left and right opposition and the Unidos Podemos party, a partner in Sánchez’s socialist government. Madrid is concerned about an arms race between Morocco and Algeria, which raises concerns in Spain’s military circles, which it fears will further erode Spain’s military advantage.