BETWEEN CONTINUITY and CHANGE
By J.-M. Vernochet: Journalist and writer
The case of the Cherifian realm illustrates with brightness the "structural" destiny of a nation and of a State as registered in historical continuity and over-determined by geographical limitation. The past, even the most recent, or better still current events, are read that way " such an open book " on the maps of the Atlas!
While in Syria, Hafez El Assad organized the inheritance of power for the benefit of his younger son Bachar, then 32 years old, thus monarchising the national and Arab Baas state; the succession to the Cherifian throne of Morocco seemed, on the contrary to have to pass by a modernization [for lack of "democratization"] of the very political and even economic and financial structures of the country. However, if both heads of state, Hassan and Assad, applied themselves skillfully to preparing the groundwork, the Syrian Assad had for his part chosen to push far aside from the paths of power all those (including his half brother Rifaat, sacked from his vice-presidency in February, 1998) who could at the time represent a possible risk of thwarting the direct transmission from the command post.
As for the way taken by Hassan II in order to ensure for Sidi Mohamed, age 35 years, the inheritance of the throne, it was the diametrically opposite and as from the outset particularly original: instead of eliminating the anti-monarchic opposition on the political scene and of buttressing himself on the subsisting class of the big feudal lords, the Makhzen, he, began in the last years of his reign a democratization of public life and the conversion of the socialist opposition into support of the monarchy. Process that ends in the appointment at age 74 years, on February 4, 1998, of Abderrahmane Youssoufi, president of the USFP (socialist Union of popular forces) to the post of Prime Minister.
Morocco, renowned for corruption in the leadership spheres, appears today to want to make its own, the masterful words of rigor and of transparency. The Palace, shortly before the king's passing away, had even started to set the example by reducing its participation in the capital of certain private sector companies (such as ONA, whose turnover amounted to some 1,8 % of the GDP estimated at 40 % international), the crown's share no longer to be situated beyond the neighborhood of 17 %.
In 1996 a bill filed by the opposition and concerning possible control by parliament of the royal income, hadn't moreover aroused excessive reaction by Hassan II, whereas through this project were already outlined - certainly still somewhat vaguely - the contours of a future "parliamentary" monarchy, a project which does not seem moreover any more geared to the style of the time, with the return onto the scene by the army whose influence on the management of business seems to have to increase each day.
Actually, accepting the principle of the right to look to the royal patrimony, Hassan II had indicated his desire to clean up the administrative, political, economic and financial bases of the regime. In it, he wanted to make of the modernization of Morocco and of its full integration into the regional economy the surest means of perpetuating an otherwise threatened monarchic system and of assuring there his own succession in conditions of certain dependability.
The Bet was taken up, in as far as transfer without clash goes. However, even there, with the two-year recession, comparison is necessary with Syria. After an initial opening phase - that which nobody in France would name the "state of grace" - and a beginning of a reign that doesn't encumber telegrams from press agencies, power in the guise of a socialist government seems, by leaning on the servicemen to want to take up with the methods of firmness of the late Hassan II in the style of Bachar who returns little by little towards the income experienced by his father Assad.
Naturally, preoccupations associated with the rights of the Man show themselves without ambiguity, notably with regards women's and the child's rights, for such a long time forgotten or neglected in the Cherifian realm. Following the general amnesty of 1994, the return of the outlaws, with which the most famous of all, Abraham Serfaty, after twenty-five years of exile, or even "Abass", M' Barek Bourdarka, after twenty-eight years, marks a net desire not to give in any more to critics of Humanitarian organizations, to the international human rights leagues and to the authors of devastating pamphlets.
But the tree does not have to hide the reality of a power which knew marvelously, under the "brilliant" impulse of this great politician that Hassan II was, to marry the political situation of the millennium's last decade by giving form to a certain extent to the expectations and claims of Moroccan society while assuring the continuity of an almost feudal monarchic power at the gates of Southern Europe.
Which mechanisms, which Moroccan characteristics can explain such a political "miracle" of which neither the existence nor the evidence are obvious, in spite of the appearances which "trivialize" what is and stays an exception in the West Mediterranean Zone and maybe in the world? A return into history is then necessary for whomsoever wishes to understand the originality of the Moroccan "case"!
Died in July 1999 at seventy years of age, at the end of thirty-eight years of reigning without sharing, Hassan II was the seventeenth sovereign of the Alaouite dynasty. Descendant of Ali according to the tradition and as such, related to the Prophet, Hassan II was Amir al Muminim, Commander of the believers (title adopted also by Mullah Omar, Guides of the Afghani Talibans), "God's sword on Earth", "Sentry of Islam"....
Legitimacy of the faith of the Cherifian sovereign ("guardian of the Holy Places" following the example of Abdullah of Jordan) favors unmistakably in the temporal exercise of power a particular dimension explaining partially the extraordinary ambivalence of feelings as much among its subjects as among its closest Algerian neighbors, for example: feelings mixed with adulation, with veneration - some will go as far as speaking about idolization - and of rejection. The man who indeed forged modern Morocco with an iron hand fascinated just as much as he inspired a fear, and not only deferential.
Formidable and dreaded politician, he possessed the art of seduction for imposing his views on his interlocutors. When he learns about politics in the shadow of his father, Mohamed V, who worked hard for independence in the early fifties, Morocco is prey to intestine struggle. The French administration has to face strong social instability, which is translated into drafts of popular outburst. Riots, repressed in blood, between 1953 and 1955 made thousands of victims.
On November 6th 1955 France grants independence. Deposed, Mohamed V rejects the abdication, he is exiled in Madagascar. Moulay Hassan, the future Hassan II follows him. He assists his father during negotiations for independence. In 1956, returning to Morocco, Moulay Hassan becomes Chief of Staff of the armed forces, functions that motivate him, besides into a fairly loose life, also to lead the ferocious repression of the Rif revolt. On February 26, 1965, Mohamed V disappears. Confronted with the structural instability of a Morocco badly prepared to administer its own independence and to construct the big turn into modernity, he has to thwart, once again in blood, the Casablanca riots and imposes on Morocco five years of exceptional conditions.
The affair concerning Ben Barka, emblematic figure of the Moroccan leftist opposition, removed in Paris then murdered, tarnished durably its image in Europe and dims his relations with de Gaulle. Hassan II, indifferent to the commotion caused in the European political field, pursues the consolidation of his power and the construction of a personal fortune estimated at the day of his death around ten billion francs.
His contempt of the Western political game, the dreaded censorship imposed on Moroccan opposition, arouse a sufficient potential of hatred to trigger the attempted coup at the Skirat palace on July 10, 1971 during which about a hundred guests die under the bullets of revolted officers. Hassan comes through it all, thanks to a fortunate intervention of circumstances of fate, but his "baraka" does not stop there. Upon his return to Paris, on August 16, 1972, the monarch's 727 is attacked by six Northrop F5 belonging to the Moroccan air force. Having riddled with missiles the cabin of his airplane, and persuaded of having eliminated the sovereign, the air force fighters return to the Kenitra, deserted some days earlier by the American strategic advisers that it usually greets! The king comes through it all again, as if by magic. General Oufkir, the sovereign's own anti-soul, is shot down at the conclusion of an ultimate confrontation and certainly by the monarch's own hand.
These assassination attempts are obviously not harmless episodes, elementary hitches in the program that had created such intolerance by a strangely rough and despotic monarchical regime. Behind Oufkir, the king's right hand man, emerges, as far as in retrospect, time allows to judge, a coalition of varied forces, a convergence of interests paradoxically not very compatible otherwise in antinomy. The past being called upon to enlighten current events, it is consequently fundamental to evoke events whose shadow brought into the present, sketches the contours of forever lively inter-force games.
The blows of Skirat and Kenitra, however spectacular and murderous they may have been, must not make us forget that a violent opposition was already at work for a long time to overthrow that monarchy. Thus the veteran of the anti-French fight, Mohamed Basri, had already been condemned twice to death while absent from the courts in 1964 and 1971 before participating in or being the inspiration of a series of bomb attempts in November 1973, and for which he was able to benefit from support by Syria and Iraq with whom he maintained close contacts. More certainly, with Libya whose support will go down as the fanciful vision of a "Great Sahara" of which it would be the guardian angel! A dream forever unfinished but still active today!
At that time, one can confidently suppose that Americans played the card of opposition with the laudable intention of eliminating French influence in Morocco - this is a constant element of American policy in the South and east Mediterranean of which they have made their "Mare Nostrum". The opposition being democratic and socialist, the delivery in January 2001 of the review "Arabias" puts into question the current Prime Minister Abderramane Youssoufi in the context of the Skirat coup. Whatever the real facts, they are not inconceivable: by welcoming M' Barek Boudarka upon landing in the company of Abraham Serfaty, he reminded us indirectly that Abass was, till the beginning of the seventies, one of the dominant figures of the national Union of popular forces ( UNFP) whence was intended the arrival from was created the UFSP of which M.YOUSSOUFI is current first secretary. M' Barek Boudarka forced to exile, had been condemned to death in 1973 on the charge of "having introduced weapons from Algeria with the aim of overthrowing the monarchical regime".
Between the personal ambitions of the Oufkir "clan" (whose family photos show his children together with those of Abraham Serfati at the edge of his swimming pool), Tripoli's aims of Saharan extension, the dispute connected to borders in the South of Oued Draâ with Algeria, big American maneuvers in France's African footsteps, a profound internal instability, the Cherifian realm must face a converging of implosive forces of big amplitude. It was then that the brilliant move of the "Green March" took place.
On November 6, 1975 subsequent to an appeal by the King, three hundred and fifty thousand Moroccans brandishing the banners of the Cherifian monarchy marched peacefully towards the Spanish Sahara. A symbolic wall is built stone by stone. By it and through it, it is the unity of Morocco reconstructing itself. Faced with the threat of internal destabilization, Hassan II has just launched a prodigious outside challenge. The lively forces of the nation found there a release, they are channeled into a project which binds into the inmost depths of Moroccan history: the push southward...
Continuing on his thrust, Hassan II leads, following the Camp David summit, an audacious policy of mediation between Israel and the Arabic world. In 1994 the doors of the camps half open towards the general amnesty. He authorizes the Oufkir family to leave the realm and contains the push of radical Islam. He has constructed the big mosque of Casablanca whose minaret now reaches two hundred meters high. In 1998 the socialist opposition is called to the head of the government...
The "modernization" of the State is on the way and "democratization" of the institutions emerges under the administration of Abderrahmane Youssoufi. Upon the death of the king on July 24, 1999, the perpetuity of the monarchy seems indefinitely assured. Only shadow in the picture: the relations with Algeria, which remain imbued with strong tension. The resolution of the Saharan question is at a dead end, but Rabat plays cunningly the card of time and patience.
Then, from elements of recent history sketched out above and which constitute the anteroom of the country's current modernization, there is a question of starting there to anticipate the essentially geographical structural constraints, that are further sociological (on top of which the situation is well enough summarized from this point of view in the cold brutality of certain statistical data), to have a rather precise idea of the guidelines which will govern the "exterior" policy of Morocco for the years to come.
Being agreed that since the Green March (but it is there question of a constant valid at any time and everywhere: internal and foreign policies mutually maintain a purely dialectical relationship, as well as phases of self-examination succeeding phases of expansion) the foreign policy of the Cherifian realm constitutes a powerful regulator of the internal situation.
Without really paraphrasing Yves Lacoste who asked the question "What use is geography? To make war!" We shall be able to say in the case that preoccupies us that "geography will serve us for understanding the specific destiny of Morocco and to evoke the field of possibilities as for its deployment in the geopolitical space which is its own".
In the South, the desert. In the East also. On the West the Atlantic oceanic space. Morocco amounts therefore to arable plains crossed with mountainous barrier and leaned to the desert. A succinct résumé but heavy with consequences.
It is southward that the multitude of the Green March has directed its steps. Historically the South is at the same time for Morocco natural space for expansion (in the 17th century a Moroccan dynasty reigned at Tombouctou - The Arma - whose power extended as far as Djene at the bottom of the Nigerian buckle) and control zone for land communications channels with sub-Saharan Africa. Today these channels have practically disappeared, there remains that the South represents the "soft womb" of Morocco by which the Almoravides in the 11th century and the Almohades in the 12th and in the 13thh centuries, were able to spread their hegemony over Morocco. Certainly periods of conquests by the realms in the South is completely over, nevertheless the "depth of strategic field" that the Saharan no-man's land draws up, remains a disputed space and from then on a space of insecurity. The Sahara question testifies to this under the double aspect of extension and of territorial control.
The depth of the Sarharaouie question must resume itself in very broad outline, as the will of Algerians to cut the route of South Morocco whose "natural" extension has to include after all and rather logically, Mauritania with its mineral resources (iron, phosphates) and also oceanic, whereas its own are tiring out and remain the object of an annoying dispute with Europe (300 Spanish fishing vessels reduced to technical layoffs because of non renewal of the 1999 agreements, question which comes in addition to the demands for retrireview of the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla and of the Alhucemas, Gomera and Chafarinas islands).
Let us return to the historic change that was Green March, in order to understand things more finely. As Hassan II launches on November 6, 1975 his 350 000 volunteers, of whom (35 000 women) "in an assault" against the West Sahara, this later is placed under the protection of 5000 Spanish legionnaires belonging to elite units. Madrid had announced its firm intention to use force to defend the territory. Now on November 14, a tripartite Spain-Morocco-Mauritania agreement, is signed and in March 1976, the division of the West Sahara between Morocco and Mauritania became a reality.
In the East, Algerian forces and Polisario oppose the progress of the Moroccan forces. From there, and in spite of significant concessions granted by Rabat, Algeria, acting under cover of Polisario, launches hostilities against Mauritania - the ally of Morocco until the summit of the OUA in Monrovia in July 1979, date upon which Mauritania asks for a self-determination referendum. In answer to the Mauritanian initiative, the following month the tribes of the litigious zones of Oued ed Dahab come to Rabat to pledge allegiance to the king, ending in this way the integration of the West Sahara into the Moroccan realm.
This "push" southward, this return to former "frontiers", appear well in the contemporary history of Morocco as a "stressed" tendency. The Saharan question, born from the process of decolonization which is frustrating Morocco, for the benefit of the new States and of a territorial extension consecrated by history, seems to have to stumble over the political will of the Alaouites (present in the big South, as stated previously, since the 16th century - a time when Moroccan sovereignty extended to the river Senegal, shortly before the entry into power of the Alaouite dynasty). So, with the exception of Morocco or of Tunisia, the States of the region were born either from colonization (such as Algeria), or from liberation (such as Niger, Chad and Mauritania). As such, they are deprived of a historic depth that Morocco does not hesitate to call to mind.
Without going as far as qualifying Algeria as a "circumstantial" State, it is useful to keep in mind that it did not exist as a unified territorial entity under the Ottoman Empire, whereas Morocco, which extended even then into the West of Tlemcen still on the eve of the French conquest, had preserved a very wide autonomy within an Empire to which it only belonged in a very formal way.
Colonial sharing succeeded finally in amputating Morocco of its South territories, in particular the West Sahara whose dependence with regards the Alaouite crown had not yet been questioned at the eve of the First World War. In 1891 the Spanish government declared again to the French representatives: "... We have always recognized that the Sultan's territorial sovereignty extends as far as his religious sovereignty and, as it is beyond doubt that the Cap Juby populations are submitted to him from a religious point of view, we can consider his sovereignty as not requiring discussion." (Kabbaj Tawfik. The West Sahara Affair. Rabat 1980)
Let us note in passing, the importance of the Alaouite sovereign's accumulation of religious and temporal power which in this precise case widens the domain of juridical sovereignty into that of "religious sovereignty", a concept that is foreign to the modern juridical field. This double dimension is indeed absolutely essential to whomsoever wants to completely understand the apparently paradoxical aspects of internal and external Moroccan Politics. This politico-religious dimension of Cherifian power enlightens the specificity of an extra-normal regime and allows one to grasp some otherwise incomprehensible ambivalence.
Tindouf's question illustrates perfectly the process of post-colonial "carving up" of a part of the Moroccan South. In 1962, France detaches the city associated with Moroccan sovereignty, and attributes it to Algeria. The French army withdrawing in conformity with the so-called Evian agreements, leaves the ALN (Algerian army of national liberation) to take its place, occupying de facto a territory historically and juridically Moroccan. This reflected finally France's general policies that were followed during over a Century, a strategic policy of southward Saharan expansion for the necessity of pacification and of security. Quite naturally, French policy continued to favor Algeria when there was question of setting its Saharan frontiers to the detriment of Morocco with which links were of quite other nature.
Algeria the "French political creation" was thus destined by vocation to receive as inheritance the legacy of colonial conquest, that is to say a Saharan space to which a priori no historical past related it. (Bernard Lugan. History of Morocco. Criterion)
It is necessary here to date as September 5, 1961 the recognition by France of the "Algerian character of the Sahara", upon the occasion of a press conference given at the Elysées Palace by the head of State, Charles de Gaulle. A declaration heavy in consequences, since Algeria "claimed to be a territorial heir of France" (quoted opus).
Morocco was itself forming opposition at the same moment, to the creation of an independent Mauritania, because in its eyes that too was just a colonial creation finally confirmed on October 31 following by the general assembly of the United Nations which voted for admittance within its bosom of the " Islamic Republic Mauritania". Coveting through the West Sahara a doorway onto the Atlantic and the explotation of its underground resources (iron and phosphates), the Algerian game consisted from then on in supporting the "fiction" of a Saharan people accession to sovereignty would allow Algeria to exercise a disguised protectorate right on a territory of evident economic and strategic value.
Algeria therefore had to contest with total coherence the validity of the tripartite agreement of November 1st, 1975, which it did, and to give to the Polisario Front the military means with which to conduct its war for independence, first against Mauritania then against Morocco itself. In February, 1976 Algeria recognized officially the "Arab Saharan and Democratic Republic" struggling against Alaouite "feudalism" and Alaouite "imperialism".
In 1973, Spain, in application of United Nations resolutions, requested the organization of a self-determination referendum, and on July 23 Hassan II met at Agadir with Ouari Boumedienne and Ould Daddah, president of Mauritania. Morocco was dropping its territorial claims concerning the Algerian west, admitted the existence of Mauritania in return for recognition of its sovereignty over the West Sahara. The Meeting failed, naturally.
On August 20, 1974, the king put his veto against the organization of the referendum claimed by Spain. The idea of forcing destiny and of organizing the Green March began then to germinate....
The "Southern Axis" of Moroccan policy is today consolidated paradoxically by its "North axis". Is it necessary to insist on the links which unite Morocco with France - number one economic partner (22 % in front of Spain's 10 %, United States 7 %, Germany 6 % and Italy 6 %) and whose emigrated community numbers, very precisely 500 000 persons, generate an enormous financial flow? Partner of France, candidate for entrance into the European community's bosom, influential member of the French-speaking world, Morocco has a natural vocation to support French policy in West Africa. Thus one came to see it alongside French troops during operations for restoring order in Congo Brazzaville where upon the occasion of multiple-headed conflicts that bloody central Africa. Everything lets suppose that Morocco does not intend to give up its African role, even independently of any "objective alliance" with the French partner. Last proof to date, at the end of the month of March Mohamed Benaïssa spoke in Paris with his counterpart Hubert Védrine of the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo...
Moroccan push, fits, as we have seen, into the long term, it's slow but sure. It is likely that Morocco shall in the future be reunited with the larger part of its historic Sovereignty or of its traditional influence to the North of the Senegal river and in the buckle of Niger. Recurrent ethnic conflicts in Mauritania plead this way. Foreseen already in July 2000 and postponed for the third time, the United Nations referendum in the West Sahara is for the present still postponed without date. The check of 79 000 persons refused on electoral rolls, which in the sociological context of the region amounts to squaring the circle, is often interpreted as the means for Mohamed VI to push away the term announced for independence.
Would the success of Polisario open, as some believe or pretend to believe, a major breach of crisis in the regime? Rabat seems in fact to be playing rather credibly the delaying card. Proposing a compromise solution consisting of wide autonomy for West Sahara, which presupposes agreement of all parties, first of all Alger, one is far from satisfaction, especially since the internal situation of Algeria places the Sahara question into the background.
Paradoxically time is therefore on Morocco's side. Excepting brutal degradation of Algerian-Moroccan relations, if the economies do not reach sufficient modernization to assume the human and demographic destinies of the two countries. Recessions have "always" found an exit in the outside adventure corresponding to the law of "excesses" of whatever nature. History is not " cynical", it "is" with its laws and its rules, entirely inflexible.
Still on the North-South axis, Rabat must not count on Spain to disentangle the threads of the Sahara imbroglio. In spite of unmistakable and strong links between the royal families - nobility obliges - the dispute is latent and multiform. Dispute on fishing in Moroccan territorial waters, already evoked, concerning European agreements not renewed since 1999, with in return Spanish protectionist measures taken against Moroccan farm produce.
Dispute which is translated onto the west bank of the Strait of Gibraltar by recourse to a certain "demographic pressure" on immigration that Rabat lets itself discreetly exercise. In spite of hyper-sophisticated systems of location and detection, despite electrified fences, electronic walls, the migratory stream continues indeed to cross the strait to join the "lands of abundance" that West European countries are to the African imagination. An often tragic mirage for the hundreds of unlucky ones who perish every year at sea off the Spanish coasts (four - five hundred just for the one year 2000).
Not only Moroccan but also African immigration comparable to the migratory pressure practiced in hush-hush by Turkey on Greece, on duty to welcome an important flow (2000 a year) of Kurdish, Iraqi and other refugees having transited Turkish territory without known administrative controls. Dispute, there also hush-hush, but very real, with such development that Rabat felt recently obliged to bring to bear a denial against persevering rumours of logistic support for the Basque ETA...
Melilla and Ceuta remain unmistakably two big apples of discord of which the evidence must not mask the importance. "Time seems to me to have treated differently the destinies of our two peoples", thus expressed himself Juan Carlos in the Zarzuela palace, at a dinner offered in honor of Mohamed VI. Sentences sometimes announce political changes, even though riots of ethnic character such as at Eljidoen in 1999 in Andalusia would rather seem to announce that certain critical thresholds could be exceeded as for immigration rates. Sociological gravity exists and it would be absurd even dangerous to deny it.
In the second row behind France in trade (excess benefiting Spain to the tune of a billion francs) a conversion mechanism for Moroccan debt in investment (800 million $) was set up on the model of the reconversion device of the debt towards France (the total foreign debt of Morocco reaches 19 billion $!). Madrid also finances 50 million dollars for dismantling of cannabis plantations that furnish the networks of all Europe.
Answering the king of Spain, Mohamed VI defined thus in echo his conception of the necessary connections with Spain, from Rabat's point of view: "Limits naturally impose themselves on our partnership, in the domains of agriculture, fishing and displacement of people, of products and of services between our two countries. These limits and these disputes will disappear only in a revised and corrected framework of our cooperation and of our relations. A dynamic and ambitious context which would make resound differently the legitimacy of our imperatives of political, economic and territorial sovereignty". One would not better know how to state, and addressing Spain, Rabat speaks by intermediary of its interpreter to the European Community as a whole, just as also to the international community.
It is here that it is necessary for us to return on the intrinsic specificity of the Moroccan regime. National entity cemented by a common faith, Islam (Christians represent 1,1 % of the population; and Jews 0,2 %), without any minority problem, Berbers being numerous enough (at least 40 %) to have no complex in front of the Arabic-speaking majority, political Morocco speaks with a single voice, that of its monarch.
Religious leader, the sacral character associated with the royal function confers upon him an uncommon legitimacy and place at once his decrees and decisions beyond ordinary criticism. In a sense an "aura" looking enough like "papal infallibility" and which gets him sufficient authority to practice convenient exegesis of the sacred texts when there is question of consolidating his political choices.
The monarch is in him, as from this religious legitimacy a counterweight in the Islamic opposition (notably Adl Wal Ishan of Sheik Yassine) only opposition in measure to dispute power since monarchy had the inspiration of neutralizing the socialist left by installing it in posts of command. The socialist Union of popular forces (USFP) in the person of its leader the current Prime Minister Abderrahmane Youssoufi, thus became one of the pillars of royalty. And even the communist opposition, by the voice of its General Secretary Ali Yata, does not question any more these days the monarchic principle...
Religious monarch but also secular king, Mohamed VI following his father knows only "subjects" what leaves him the free hands to treat " people of the Book " according to a strict observance of the Koran precepts. Historically the king is a defender of the Jews and he knew how to show it during Second World War. Morocco plays from this point of view a unique, original role in the Israeli - Arabic dialogue.
If the "Jewish" advisers of the king hold in Rabat a still dominating place in the canal of the political affairs, the Moroccan "lobby" is not either unimportant in Israel: David Levy, Minister of Benyamin Netanyahou's foreign affairs quite as Ben Ami, Minister of Ehoud Barak, are two representatives of it among the most visible. Both played a role of foreground in negotiation with the Palestinian Authority that allows to say that one of the keys which would permit to settle Israeli-Palestinian question has certainly to be between the hands of the Cherifian monarchy authority of which is unmistakable within the Arabic world always because of its legitimacy with sacred character and that, independently of the questions of persons.
Time is not remote where the family Rotchild appealed to the kindness of a Moroccan rabbi to marry one of his or "sold" to Hassan II prestigious domain of Armainvilliers's castle in the Seine and Marne. As we one could go so far as to say that Hassan II, with the aid of the Moroccan Diaspora, would have "penetrated" into Israeli diplomatic game, it would be doubtless excessive. Question is worth however to be ask. Did he not know how to give back in 1973, to the most hardly attempts of destabilization of the regime, Moroccan nationality to the 400 000 Jews who had fled Morocco in 1949? Reinstatement which had heavily weighed in the diplomatic balance and calmed numerous resentments.
America which had bet very certainly at the beginning of the seventies on the democratic opposition, and maybe encouraged by letting make the attempts of reversal of the monarchy by the force (American forces used Kenitra's base from where took off the air-fighters which tempted the interception of royal Boeing!) apparently changed their rifle of shoulder. Because monarchy knew how to give evidence of its capacity to maintain a relative stability in a country where population growth is a true problem (30 million inhabitants - growth rate: 1,74 % - birth rate: 24,6/1000), stabbing question which does not resolve by massive immigration.
The stability of Morocco is more again strategically indispensable to the United States which has to have absolute the guarantee of the straits for the passage of its V-th fleet and the total control of the oriental Mediterranean Sea until the Dardanelles *
Morocco also offers a flat one valuable shape for the stations of listening of the HAARP program by completing the system installed in the British Islands and in continental Europe. In addition, necessary listening as far as the transit of possible ships of the Russian navy. However as strange as it can appear to those that buried a little bit hastily the military power of ex-Soviet Union, Koursk, submarine of attack launches with nuclear missiles, was programmed for operations in the Mediterranean Sea when the Palestinian State was scheduled to be proclaimed that was in Autumn, 2000, some months after those of the Sea of Barentz during which Kourks died.
Morocco, only Arabic country of the Atlantic facade, ground access road to the Arabic Maghreb (here is more than five years when foreign secretaries of the UMA, the Union of the Maghreb Arabic - Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia - did not meet; the construction of the UMA already in itself hardly problematic had been brutally interrupted in 1994 further to a renewal of Algerian-Moroccan tension) is clearly a key position for the stability and the safety of the region.
The last World war showed well that the Maghreb constituted one of possible options for an offensive on continental Europe. Base of support and fold, Morocco, Atlantic power, is an essential parameter in any conflict that would involve the center of Europe. Moreover, Balkan crises in rehearsal show that it is not there only a hypothesis of school.
In the final, as the last world war amply demonstrated, Morocco with the Saharan space which is adjoining to it, constitutes for Europe as for the organization of the treaty of the North Atlantic Ocean (NATO), one strategic vital depth of field in the display of the "allied" capacities. Dimension at the moment darkened by the peace and the regional stability but that never lose sight, States chief staff officers who never have certainly that the worst. The only reasonable means to avoid or to administer crises being to foresee them.
* Kabbaj Tawfik. The affair of the Western Sahara. Rabat 1980.
* Bernard Lugan. History of Morocco. Criterion.