Document Type: 
Document Number (FOIA) /ESDN (CREST): 
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Document Creation Date: 
November 11, 2016
Document Release Date: 
January 27, 1999
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Publication Date: 
October 3, 1975
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PDF icon CIA-RDP86T00608R000300030002-5.pdf227.61 KB
ci~a~i ~:: iAM ~5aoo~ Memo~andurn 9999/9/26 : CfA-RDP86T00608Ft000304d30002-5 3. `~7c1 S/I~IFQ/ND~C/CQ 1 o~F - 'Approved For Release 1999/09/~-RDP86T00608R000300030002-5 CCNTRAL INTELLIGENCf+: AGENCY WASH1NfiTON, ~,C, 20505 MEMUIiAIJDUM FOR: The Honorable Henry A. Kissinger Assistant to the President (National Security Af:airs) 25X1X6 SUBJECT Moroccan Pland to Invade Spanish Sahara 2. With the Spanish military still in the Sahara, a serious conflict could develop. If Morocco loses this gamble, it could ultimately lead to the downfall of the present government in Rabat. On the other side, prolonged fighting and heavy Spanish casualties could provoke a political crisis in Madrid. There is also potential for drawing Algeria into the conflict. Mauritania, which also has claims to Spanish Sahara, is likely to avoid any military involvement. 3. The attached Intelligence Alert Memorandum examines this situation and its implications in greater depth. Ic has been discussed at the working level with CIA, DIA, State/INR and NSA. The collection and analytical element-~ of the Intelligence Community have been alerted acid will report further developments though normal channels or in further Alert Memoranda, as appropriate. 25X1A9a Approved For Release 1999/09/26 :CIA-RDP86T00608R c(o..~f).d br 038Q97 Ex.mpt from pp.mra dalas~ificoiion uh.duli of E.O. 11652 .x.mplion caNyory 58(1),(2),(7) 003 ~440fi~J (~~~:'~m ~: ? 'Approved For Release 1999/09/26 :CIA-RDP86T00608R000300030002-5 SECRET NO FOREIGN DISSEM/NO DISSEM ABROAD BACKGROUND USE ONLY/CONTROLLED DISSEM SUBJECT: Moroccan Invasion of Spanish Sahara 25X1X6 2. King Hassan has pursued a high-risk policy on Spanish Sahara for Fome time. Last August, he reiterated his int%ntion to acquire Spanish Saha~ a before the end of the year, with force if necessary. :~lthoug',i he promised then to await an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on Moroccan-Mauritanian claims to tha territory, he may now have decided to act to a moment of what he perceives as Spanish weakness. Thera is also increasing anxiety in Rabat that the Court's decision may be ambif,uous or unfavorable to Morocco and that the report of a fact-finding mission of tha UN Committee nn Deco lonizatiorc will favor independence for the Territory. Finally, it_ is possible that Hassan has concluded that armec intervention will provoke favorable international mediation. To date most Moroccans have supported Hassan's position on Spanish Sahara, bur if a mili~ary gamble fails he could be in serious trouble and vulnerable to a coup. 3. Rabat expects effective rasi.stance only from some 5,000 Spanish legionnaires in the Sahar,s and Spanish air force units stationed in t}~e Canary Islands and possibly from Algerian ground fore`s. The Moroccans are skeptical that Algeria will intervene militarily, but Morocco reportedly is arranging for a token presence in Rabat of troops from Syria, Egypt, the PLO, and possibly Saudi Arabia ,3s a psychological deterrent to an Algerian mi] i+_ary reaction. We have n ~ evidence, ~tiowe~~e~ , that other Arab troops are arriving in Morroco, although small contingents BACKGROUND USE ON:.Y/CONTROLLED DISSEM NO FOREIGN DISSEM/NO DISSEM ABROAD SECRET Approved For Release 1999/09/26 :CIA-RDP86T00608R000300030002-5 - 'Approved For Release 1999/09/26 :CIA-RDP86T00608R000300030002-5 SECRET NO FOREIGN DISSEM/NO DI"aSEM ABROAD BACKGROUND USE ONLY/CONTROLLED DISSEM could arrive quickly by air without being detected. We doubt that most aastern Arabs would involve themselves in a potential Inter-Arab conflict except in a mediating role, although the PLO may be an exception. 4. Morocco has kept appro~simately one fourth of its more than 55,000-man army in southern Morocco since mid -1974, despite considerable supply problems, and low troop morale because of the primitive conditions. We estimate that most of the 12,000 to 15,000 Moroccan troops in the southern zone have been tactical infantry, with some armor, artillery, and air defense units. Although the army has established a command-and-support structure in the south, the Moroccans would nonethelec~s face considerable obstacles in launching and sustaining a mayor offensive against either Spanish or Algerian forces. 5. Madrid could muster sufficient strength from its own forces to defeat a Moroccan Invasion. The Spanish have some 16,000 army and air. force personnel in the Sahara, with an additional 20,000 locaCed nearby in the Canary Islands. The. Spa~iish have 5.l medium tanks and 35 armored cars that could provide immediate armored support. Spanish forces are well-equipped and trained, compared tc- the Morocca~~ army. In terms of air power, Madrid has more than 50 sub-sonic fighter-bombers immediately available; two squadrons of P-S fighter-bombers and a total of four squadrons of air defense command Mirage I]:I and F-4C Interceptors are in reserve in Spain. 6. If he has decided in favor of war, we believe King Hassan has seriously misjudged the likely Spanish. response to an invasion. Although Madrid does not want to remain in Spanish Sahara or fight a colonial war, Spanish troops in the Sahara would resist a forcible eviction. At the same time Madrid would call on the UN to restore peace dad ask Washington for its support. The US response to this request would strongly influence Spair's attitude toward accommodating the US position in the current base negotiations. The Spanish government would expect that longstanding US- Spanish defense cooperation should justify at least US diplomatic support, particularly if the Moroccans, contrary to early assurances, employed US- made weapons in any attack. The Moroccans, on the other hand, will also look to us for a.*_ least dialomatic support and read strongly eo anything we do that might be interpreted as favoring Spain. A position of strict neutralism is probably about the most that King Hassa:Y will tolerate with- out serious strain -in our bilateral relations. BACKGROUND USE ONLY/CONTROLLED DISSE~~ NO FOREIGN DISSEM/NO DISSEM ABROAT~ SECRET Approved For Release 1999/09/26 :CIA-RDP86T00608R000300030002-5 ? 'Approved For Release 1999/09/26 :CIA-RDP86T00608R000300030002-5 SECRET NO FOREIGN DISSEM/NO DISSEM ABROAD BACKGROUND USE ONLY/CONTROLLED DISSEM 7. Initially, an armed conflict with Morocco would unite most Spaniards and help the regime divert the public's attention away from internal problems. If the fighting dragged on, however, the war could becorie another issue tha t would divide Spaniards. Divisiveness would also appear in the military -- heretofore the moat stable element in Spanish society -- who eventually would disagree over the merits of f ighring a war for a territory the government has already announced it is p~?~pared to give up. 8. Algeria, which favors indepP:~dence for Spanish Sahara will prob~ibly stop short of d irect military intervention. It would, however, create as many problems for Mor~~cco Pe possible. We would expect Algiers to support the POLISARIO Front ~ pro-independence Saharan group, in waging a sustained insurgency effort. Algiers might also move troops to Morocco's northern border to exert pressure on King Hassan and renew its support of Moroccan dissidents. The Algerians would almost certainly mount an intensive international diplomatic effort to denounce Moroccan aggression. 9. In the less likely event that Algiers did intervene with direct military force, the Moroccans might achieve some initial success because they outnumber the 4,000 to 6,000 troops estimated to be in southwestern Algeria. The Algerian air force of some 200 coml:at aircraft could, however, turn the tide against Morocco's 40 combat aircraft, and play a decisive role in support of Algeria's ground forces, which are about the same size as Morocco's, but better trained and equipped. BACKGROUND USE OIvZY/CONTROLLED DISSEM NO FOREIGN DISSEM/NO DISSEM ABROAD SECRET Approved For Release 1999/09/26 :CIA-RDP86T00608R000300030002-5