elizrael + morocco   279

בישראל ובארה"ב מעצימים את מיתוס סולימאני ומחזקים את מעמדו באיראן | מעריב, Feb 1, 2019
המוסד, שאחראי לנושא, מארגן פגישות בין בכירים ישראלים (שרים או פקידים) לבכירים באותן מדינות, שיש כוונה לקשור עמן קשרים עתידיים. על פי אותו עיקרון גם אנשי צבא נפגשים בחשאי עם עמיתיהם מאותן מדינות. אנשי עסקים מצליחים לטוס לעומאן, בחריין, אבו דאבי או דובאי, אך לרוב באמצעות דרכונים זרים.
במסגרת מאמצים אלה מנסים בלשכת רה"מ ובמל"ל לארגן ביקור במרוקו, כפי שדיווח לאחרונה אתר חדשות מרוקאי. מדינה אחרת שנמצאת על הכוונת היא סודן. עיתונאים סודנים אמרו לי לפני כחודש וחצי כי בחרטום רווחו שמועות שלפיהן נתניהו יגיע לביקור וייפגש עם הנשיא עומר אל־בשיר.
אבל בלשכת ראש הממשלה לא אמרו נואש. נוסף למאמצים לארגן מפגש במרוקו, הועלה רעיון חדש: ממקורות יודעי דבר בסודן נודע לי כי לאחר שאל־בשיר החליט שלא בשלה השעה לארח את נתניהו, בדקה לשכת ראש הממשלה את האפשרות שלפחות יסכים שמטוסי אל־על, וגם של חברות אחרות, יחלפו בשטח האווירי של סודן בטיסות לישראל וממנה. בשלב זה לא ברור אם סודן תסכים למחווה הזו. אם זו תינתן, יזכיר הדבר את הסכמת ערב הסעודית, ולאחרונה עומאן, שמטוסי אייר אינדיה בטיסות ממומבאי לתל אביב יחלפו בשמיהן.
Israel  Normalization  Sudan  Morocco  Mossad  Quds_Force 
february 2019 by elizrael
Roundtable on Political Islam after the Arab Uprisings - Maydan, May 2018
“Are the shifts these movements are experiencing generational or ideational in nature? How has populism influenced the evolution of Islamic movements and their response to the Arab uprisings? Perhaps more significantly, how have the Arab uprisings forced us to rethink grand narratives about the nature of Islamic movements?”
ArabUprisings  Islamists  Muslim_Brotherhood  al-Nahda  Egypt  AKP  Indonesia  refugees  Morocco  repression 
july 2018 by elizrael
Why Jordan and Morocco are doubling down on royal rule - The Washington Post, May 16, 2017
Yet recently, the Moroccan and Jordanian monarchies have adopted a remarkable new strategy: They are no longer hiding their absolutism. For decades, these regimes paraded around halfhearted political reforms whose democratic rhetoric obscured the fundamental reality of royal autocracy. Seldom mentioned or insinuated were the facts that kings wielded vast executive powers, commanded large military and security forces, and could squash opposition through legal and financial means.

Now, Morocco and Jordan have toned down reformism and presented a new bottom line to their societies and the world: Ruling monarchism is here to stay. It may be anachronistic, but is still the best bet for stable, functional governments.

The Moroccan and Jordanian monarchies are flaunting their nondemocratic model after decades of obfuscating it behind the veil of reform. These are no longer “facade democracies,” because they are dropping the facade. Royal autocracy is something to be valued, even cherished, as the conduit to stable and functional governance. Worryingly, few seem to care. The PJD won little public sympathy during its royal tribulations, while most Jordanians shrugged their shoulders at last year’s constitutional amendments. Count these as two more successes for the swell of authoritarianism buffeting the world, and the counterrevolution against the Arab Spring.
elections  Jordan  Morocco  authoritarian_regime 
may 2017 by elizrael
Majority of men in Middle East survey believe a woman's place is in the home | Global development | The Guardian
In reply to almost all questions, men had less progressive attitudes towards equality than women. In Egypt, more than 90% of men agreed with the statement that “a man should have the final word about decision in the home”. Although a majority – 58.5% – of women also agreed.
polls  Egypt  youth  gender  Violence_against_women  Morocco  Palestine  Lebanon  female 
may 2017 by elizrael
Middle East regimes are using ‘moderate’ Islam to stay in power - The Washington Post, Mar 1, 2017
Promoting a vague moderate Islam — through international declarations, religious training centers or interfaith initiatives — has not proven an effective antidote to violent extremism. And as long as moderate Islam remains a state-led project, it is unlikely to be seen as credible by citizens. Yet for many governments, focusing on moderation offers real benefits for regime survival: the opportunity to target political opposition, enhance international standing and ensure foreign support. Statements made during Rex Tillerson’s confirmation hearings indicate U.S. sponsorship of “moderate Muslim partners” is likely to continue.
Jordan  Morocco  Islam  Islamists  authoritarian_regime 
april 2017 by elizrael
The pluses and minuses of monarchy | The Economist, June 11, 2016
Five years on, Morocco is stable, relatively free and increasingly prosperous. Compare that with the rest of the region and it is little wonder that Moroccans are loth to upset the status quo. “Gradualism” is a popular word, even among those who would like to see their country become more like Spain, where the monarchy is largely ceremonial.

But not everything is rosy. The monarchy can certainly get things done: big projects, such as the largest solar plant in the world and 1,500km of high-speed rail lines are moving ahead; but the average Moroccan must deal with a stifling bureaucracy. “The further you get away from the king, the harder things become,” says Merouan Mekouar of York University in Canada. Members of the royal court use their proximity to advance their own projects and win contracts. Morocco ranks a woeful 88th in the world in Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index.

The problem is compounded by a lack of accountability. Take the high-speed rail lines, which should more than halve travel time between Morocco’s big cities. Some have questioned whether the billions of dollars might be better used to help the poor, given that Morocco is in the bottom third of the UN’s human development index. Others wonder if a slowdown in global maritime trade makes the Tanger-Med expansion unwise, or ask why an initiative to boost tourism, Plan Azur, has failed to produce many results. No one in the royal palace seems to be checking.
corruption  Morocco  trade  protests  reform  monarchy  authoritarian_regime 
june 2016 by elizrael
The mixed record of Morocco’s February 20 protest movement. - The Washington Post, Feb 20, 2016
The first sign that the monarchy was not serious about increasing the voice of the people came from the process of constitutional reform itself; activists criticized the regime for appointing a commission, rather than seeking to represent opposition voices, in constructing the constitutional amendments.

Second, the reforms themselves did little to alter the balance of power between the elected parliament and the king and his court (known in Morocco as the makhzen). The king retained his prerogatives and parliament remained a neutered institution with a severely fragmented party system that includes over 30 parties. The most important change was a requirement that the king select the prime minister from the party with the most votes, a change that did little to address the parliament’s overall weakness.

Third, once the reform process had played out, and media attention was no longer focused on Morocco, the state began a campaign of outright repression of protesters and regime critics. Over the past four years, February 20th activists and independent journalists have been detained and arrested for criticizing the reforms and the regime.
Morocco  protests  ArabUprisings  reform  constitution  authoritarian_regime 
may 2016 by elizrael
How cronyism and lack of accountability are holding Morocco back - The Washington Post, Mar 24, 2016
The apparent mismatch between governmental policies and public opinion is the result of the structurally unequal distribution of power and political prestige in Morocco. On the one hand, the King is able to use his considerable financial and political prerogatives to conduct ambitious infrastructure projects such as the Noor Project, the world’s largest solar plant inaugurated in February 2016 or the transformation of the capital city’s riverfront. These projects reflect positively on the monarch, perpetuating the palace’s image as the only effective institution in the country. On the other, the elected government is not only forced to accept these decisions – as well as the budgetary constraints that accompany them – but it is also blamed for all the unpopular decisions needed for everyday governance such as pensions reforms, the end of subsidies of staple products or the reform of the medical and educational sectors.
Morocco  authoritarian_regime  censorship  monarchy 
may 2016 by elizrael
The changing face of women’s political participation in the Middle East - The Washington Post, May 10, 2016
Women’s rights and political aspirations are inextricably interwoven with other political struggles, shaped by local context more than by supposedly immutable cultural patterns. The research highlighted in POMEPS Studies 19 demonstrates the vibrancy of new scholarly efforts to examine the changing political horizons of women in the Middle East.
politics  ArabUprisings  Tunisia  Morocco  female  feminism  Egypt  tribes  authoritarian_regime  Lebanon 
may 2016 by elizrael
Arab Armed Forces: State Makers or State Breakers? | Middle East Institute, July 14, 2015
The mobilization of Arab societies that commenced in Tunisia in December 2010 has pushed the Humpty Dumpty states of Libya, Yemen, and Syria off the wall, with Iraq and maybe even Lebanon perilously close to falling. Meanwhile Egypt is in the clutches of an inept military steadily undermining the already weakened state it seized, and all the monarchies are muscling up their militaries as their civil societies and civilian institutions wither. The challenges then are huge, involving as they do putting Humpty Dumpty failed states back together again, preventing others teetering on the edge from falling, and still others from inadvertently moving perilously close to that edge. In all cases, state weakness results from what Tilly aptly identified as the failure to forge “mutual constraints between rulers and ruled”—the result of overly developed, foreign-supported militaries.



Arab militaries, in sum, whether in direct control or as agents of ruling monarchs, appear not to have fulfilled their promise as state builders, and four formerly military-dominated Arab states have already lost their monopoly over the legitimate use of coercion within their borders, the essential defining component of statehood.

Left unprotected by malformed states long subordinate to militaries, Arab publics cower under either anti-state militias or their states’ militaries, hoping for the best and having little if any confidence in civilian institutions of governance. These are not propitious circumstances in which to commence a renewed effort at state building, but it is possible that the widespread longing for protection combined with other factors, ranging from societal exhaustion to triumph by state challengers, could provide impetus for such an effort.
Military  SAA  Morocco  Jordan  GCC  MAr15  Jan25  ArabUprisings  Sidibouzid  Tunisia  Libya  Feb17  militia  authoritarian_regime  repression  civil_society  militarism 
november 2015 by elizrael
What changes to Morocco’s laws could mean for opposition groups - The Washington Post, April 8,2015
A surprising sense of revolt is spreading across Moroccansocial media after the Ministry of Justice unveiled a new proposed penal code on April 1. The new penal code would supplement numerous provisions already criminalizing extra-marital relations, homosexuality – referred to as “deviant sexuality” in article 489 of the code – and the public consumption of alcohol. Moreover, itintroduces articles that would criminalize the “mocking” of religions with up to five-year prison sentences, while upholding the state’s oversight on a wide range of social activities, from sharing private videos to lewd public comments.

Dubbed the “the law of the underwear” by some pro-democracy activists for its socially restrictive provisions, the proposed penal code is the continuation of a strategy the regime has used since Morocco’s independence: the adoption of a broad range of socially restrictive laws that are largely impossible to uphold, but that can be used to crack down on members of the opposition when the opportunity arises.
Morocco  homophobia  ModestyObsession  repression  corruption  police 
july 2015 by elizrael
Protest culture in Morocco: Vibrant | The Economist, June 11, 2014
Since 2011, Morocco has developed a thriving protest culture. Sit-ins and demonstrations are common, and not only in the big cities. There are up to 50 gatherings a day, according to people who have seen statistics kept by the government, though the number is down from its peak in 2011. Gripes range from unemployment and the environment to workers’ rights.

Moves to open up the political space in the 1990s helped produce today’s lively civil society without fundamentally weakening the largely-unreformed ruling monarchy. "Things changed in 2011," says Khadija Ryadi, former president of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights, a local organisation, and winner of the UN’s human rights prize, referring to the protests that also broke out in Morocco. "The fear has diminished. People are more aware of their rights."
Morocco  protests  repression 
june 2014 by elizrael
Morocco’s Two-Track Approach to the Western Sahara Conflict - Sada, Sep 24, 2013
For nearly 30 years Morocco has embarked on an ambitious plan to bring the Western Sahara territory to a developmental level comparable to the national level, with the political objective that development would bring both domestic acceptance of Morocco’s rule within the territory and tacit international acquiescence of its claim over Western Sahara. This dual track approach to the issue of Western Sahara, which ambitiously targets both economic development and conflict settlement, has not proven fully effective. While the former implies a careful and balanced national policy aimed at economic and human advancement, the latter is currently based on an autonomy proposal, which has not yet reached the negotiating stage. And evidence has yet to appear of this approach giving way to acceptance of Moroccan rule through international support of Rabat’s autonomy plan—chiefly from Algeria and the pro-independence Polisario Front it backs.
Economic_growth  Western_Sahara  Morocco  occupation 
october 2013 by elizrael
Complicity and Indifference: Racism in Morocco | Jadaliyya, Aug 1, 2013
“It is strictly forbidden to rent apartments to Africans,” read a sign in a Casablanca apartment building. France 24’s citizen media section, “Les Observateurs,” initially picked up the story of the signs in the apartment building. They were then later reported on independent Moroccan media. The report accompanying images of the sign gives an account of a student from Cote d’Ivoire who experienced a forced eviction from her apartment building in 2012. Detailing her experience under the pseudonym Nafissa, she describes the process, which neighbors instigated and police carried out: “Our landlord tried to support us but after facing pressure from others, he gave up and asked us to leave, which we refused to do. On 1 January 2013, the police came and asked us to leave. We told them that we know our rights so they did not enter the apartment. We were then taken to the police. A policeman slapped my friend. We still do not know on what legal basis the police acted.”
racism  Morocco  media  bias  segregation 
september 2013 by elizrael
Migrants in Morocco: 'Go Home or Face Death' | Jadaliyya, Aug 9, 2013
Migrants who already endure very harsh daily living conditions in the forests described what the intervention of the Spanish and Moroccan forces, as the “hell,” or the “apocalypse.” Migrants who managed to cross were shot with blanks, seized, handcuffed and beaten by the Civil Guard. They were then loaded into Toyota trunks and brought back to the Moroccan side of the border to be handed over to the Moroccan authorities along with some “small envelopes.” Migrants in the borderlands often decry the practice of illegally returning migrants to Morocco in exchange for money. There, helpless and on their knees, many received more blows with iron bars, clamps, and sticks from the Auxiliary Forces. These paramilitary officers aimed at the migrants’ heads, breaking limbs and crushing faces with their boots. At the end of the ordeal, most of the migrants were loaded into vans to be deported to the Algerian border. From the border, migrants made their way back to Morocco on foot.

As researcher Mehdi Alioua recalled, migrants who ten years ago were too scared to go out are now part of extensive activist networks. These networks of Europeans, North Africans, and sub-Saharan Africans voice their concerns over the abuses of migrants’ rights and dignity. Migrant associations such as ALECMA need the international community to know what is perpetrated in the name of “fortress Europe.” For Eric William, spokesman of ALECMA, “we activist associations refuse to remain silent. Despite the pressures, we will continue to denounce the violence perpetrated against migrants in Morocco.” In fact, for Camara Laye, coordinator of the Conseil des Migrants Sub-Sahariens au Maroc (CMSM): “It is simple, if we do not do anything, they will suffocate us.”
illegal_migrants  Morocco  Spain  policebrutality  corruption  refoulment  refugees 
september 2013 by elizrael
Western Sahara: the inconvenient uprising nobody wants to talk (or hear) about | openDemocracy, June 17, 2013
In Oct 2010 - before Tunisia, before Tahrir Square, before Occupy Wall Street and Gezi Park - was the Gdeim Izik protest camp in Western Sahara, the first, now forgotten, spark of the Arab Spring. For 28 days, thousands of Sahrawi men, women and children set up camp in the desert, a few miles outside the capital, Layyoune, in protest against Morocco’s three-decades-long occupation, only to see their camp obliterated by Moroccan police and many of its organisers detained, allegedly tortured and sentenced to life in prison after speedy military court trials.

And yet, in the three years since, despite hundreds of arrests, incarcerations, injuries, deaths, and countless systemic abuses, the international community’s apparent indifference towards the Sahrawi question has remained largely unperturbed. While media headlines this month have been heavily dominated by the deepening tragedy in Syria and the street clashes in Turkey, there has been a virtual silence regarding the demonstrations - possibly the biggest in Western Saharan history - that have shaken the country these past few weeks.

Moreover, despite Western Sahara being on the United Nations’ list of “non-self-governing territories” for decades, the UN’s mission in the country, MINURSO, has so far been the only one of its kind in history not to include a human rights monitoring and reporting component, due to staunch Moroccan opposition. Even more absurdly, Morocco has enjoyed the right to vet and amend the UN mission’s reports before their publication. In April this year, the US floated a proposal for the annual UN Resolution renewing MINURSO’s mandate to include an explicit Human Rights remit. The Moroccan response was swift and loud, marshalling the full extent of its diplomatic and political arsenal, including the cancellation of the ‘African Lion’ military training exercises it holds annually with the US. In the end, the strategy worked and the US relented, dropping its proposal.

Moreover, Morocco’s role as one of the west’s most reliable allies has allowed it to position itself as a dependable centre of “stability” in a region of enormous upheavals and uncertainties. This is a framing that has been disseminated with especially renewed vigour in the aftermath of western interventions in Libya and Mali, often featuring absurd warnings that an independent Western Sahara represents a failed Islamist state in-waiting.

Meanwhile, in a further irony, while many have praised the remarkable determination of Sahrawi activists to maintain the peaceful character of their struggle, others have signalled it as a key factor behind their failure to secure a just resolution. As Jenn Abelson recently put it in the Boston Globe, “Western Sahara is emerging as a case study on the limits of the international community’s power to help a people win self-determination when they choose not to be violent, but to follow the rules.”
non-violence  Western_Sahara  Morocco  repression  protests 
july 2013 by elizrael
Breaking the Deadlock in the Western Sahara - Sada, June 10, 2013
The proposal to update or standardize the mandate for MINURSO to bring it in line with other peace keeping missions that assume responsibilities in human rights vigilance was applauded by international human rights NGOs. However, Rabat saw it as an imminent black-and-white victory for the Polisario Front and pro-independence Sahrawi activists, after a decade-long strategic shift that has turned human rights into a central bone of contention.

Short-term developments provide a rationale for the U.S. initiative, including the departure of Hillary Clinton who had been a supporter of the Moroccan government in the first Obama administration. This is compounded by the increased lobbying and influence of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, a group committed to the Sahrawi cause, in Democratic Party circles. Furthermore, Morocco’s withdrawal of confidence from the UN Secretary General’s Personal Envoy for the Western Sahara, Christopher Ross, in the summer of 2012 (eventually re-accepted after U.S. and UN pressure) didn’t bode well for Morocco’s standing in Washington. This past April, Ban Ki-moon’s last annual report on this conflict also recommended “further international engagement” in the monitoring of human rights in both Western Sahara and the camps.

Ultimately, however, the proposal to broaden MINURSO’s role represents the culmination of a medium-term strategic reshaping of the Sahrawi pro-independence movement, a new dialectic between groups on the ground and in exile, not unlike that witnessed in the Palestinian case as a result of the first Intifada. The first conspicuous phenomenon was the emergence inside the Moroccan-controlled territory, less than a decade ago, of an increasingly politicised associative elite that opted for a non-violent discourse based on the principles of international law and human rights; this granted it growing visibility, legitimacy and support in the international sphere. Since 2009, the Polisario Front has tried to regain the initiative by fostering contact and connections with associations such as the Collective of Sahrawi Defenders for Human Rights (CODESA), which formerly operated on a seemingly autonomous basis. The renewed alliance was staged during the unprecedented visits of prominent CODESA activists to the Tindouf refugee camps (the first of which took place in September 2009).

Such innovative approaches caused undisguised anxiety among the Rabat authorities, who had been enjoying great receptivity within the international community after the launch of their Autonomy Plan (under Moroccan sovereignty) for Western Sahara in 2007. This led, in parallel, to increased political repression in the contested territory (as shown by Sahrawi activist Aminatou Haidar’s refused re-entry to Laayoune and hunger strike in November 2009 and the violent dismantlement of Gdim Izik’s protest camp a year later) and to a defensive withdrawal within the diplomatic sphere.

In short, the emergence of on-the-ground actors and human rights issues introduced new parameters to the stalled conflict. The UN-led resolution efforts, legally attached to the Morocco vs. Polisario Front dual scheme, have been rather slow to take the new realities into account. The recent unforeseen initiative of the new Obama administration and its UN Ambassador Susan Rice, who did not consult with other members of the Group of Friends of Western Sahara at the UN or Personal Envoy Ross, was therefore a potential turning point. Yet it was doomed, facing insurmountable resistances. Much to the relief of the Moroccan authorities, the terms of the U.S. draft resolution were watered down, against the clock, during the successive discussions within the framework of the Group of Friends and the Security Council itself before the final vote, on April 25, and eventually the U.S. stepped back from its original proposal.
Western_Sahara  human_rights  UN  obama_administration  hillary_clinton  Morocco 
july 2013 by elizrael
Mudslinging in Morocco - Sada, May 23, 2013
In recent months, Morocco has seen sharp verbal confrontations between the Islamists’ ruling coalition and a number of the political leaders close to the palace—particularly Ilyas El Omari of the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM). These arguments have been over murder accusations leveled against a leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (PJD), Abdel El Ali Hami Eddine, and have generated strong reactions from PJD leaders, including Prime Minster Abdelilah Benkirane. To understand the context of this surge in tension—which could mark the beginning of the end for the Benkirane government—a look at the recent past is warranted.

Thus, when Hami Eddine leveled what was an unusually direct criticism at the king and called on him to “respect the constitution,” it appeared as though he was also challenging the king’s role as commander of the faithful. Supporters of the monarchy saw this as a breach of etiquette—biting the hand that feeds— and particularly offensive coming from an Islamist leader whose party heads up the ruling coalition. Hami Eddine is not new to such crossfire; he was one of the most vocal supporters of the youth-led demonstrations of February 20, 2011 against “despotism and corruption,” despite the PJD leadership being officially opposed to street demonstrations. During recent years has also pushed for more Islamist-secularist cooperation to consolidate the ranks of those opposed to absolute monarchy. Accusations were then leveled against Hami Eddine both for pursuing his campaign for what he calls a “democratic interpretation” of the constitution, and for driving a wedge between potential allies against the monarchy’s authoritarianism.
monarchy  Makhzen  Morocco  Muslim_Brotherhood  Islamists  leftists 
july 2013 by elizrael
The PJD’s Balancing Act - Sada, May 1, 2013
Recent opinion polls published on March 29, show that the Justice and Development Party (PJD) leading the ruling coalition in Morocco still enjoys significant public support. Even though the party’s most prominent plans (such as the amending of broadcasting terms—part of the journalism code overhaul—reforming the judiciary, combating corruption, and revamping state subsidies and social security programs) have stalled, the PJD’s popular support remains strong. It fact, this support has steadily risen, as seen in the results of the partial elections held in Tangiers, Marrakesh, and Fez. Furthermore, the party has been expanding its reach, adding new local branches in rural areas traditionally dominated by the parties close to the palace

Palace loyalists—both in government and in parliament—can and have easily stalled the PJD’s initiatives, particularly if they threaten royal interests. The first example came in April 2011 when Minister of Transport Abdelaziz Rabbah (of the PJD) published a list of those benefiting from inter-city transport licenses (many of these licenses are arbitrarily granted as royal favors, with beneficiaries selling or renting them out). This attempt at transparency was sharply criticized by the two coalition partners as a populist move that had not been sufficiently studied beforehand. A second example came when the Minister of Communications Mustapha Khalfi (also of the PJD) moved to modify public broadcasting terms as part of a broader initiative to revamp journalistic practices in the country. After the Higher Council of Audiovisual Communication approved Khalfi’s proposal (which included an initiative to broadcast the call to prayer five times a day and to ban the promotion of gambling), a group of influential journalists—including the prominent Salim Cheikh and Samira Sitail of the national channel 2M—resisted the decision and publicly denounced it, claiming the PJD was seeking to “Islamize” broadcasting in the country. Some observers, however, pointed out that these journalists’ were perhaps more fearful of new standards of transparency and good governance required in the terms. Following a bitter dispute, the king intervened and scrapped these terms, and the ministry of communications is set to introduce a revised draft.

These standoffs have reinforced the PJD’s conviction that real headway is not possible without royal support. Benkirane has been doing his utmost since to stay in the palace’s good graces and avoid conflicts—even when it requires forgoing some of the executive authority invested in the government through the 2011 constitutional amendment. His reluctance to ruffle royal feathers has essentially meant that Justice and Development’s campaign promises will not yet see the light of day. In weighing short term survival (appeasing the palace) against an aggressive pursuit of the significant reform agenda that party supporters were hoping to see, Benkirane has proven pragmatic. But then again, he may just be hoping this is the right way to wear out the palace opposition. Such policies might indicate to many that the prime minister is not really the captain of the ship of state and that that wheel remains firmly in the king’s hands. Benkirane is simply trying to hold on amid rough waters—without losing too many of his own people.
Muslim_Brotherhood  Morocco  monarchy  Parliament 
june 2013 by elizrael
ישראל מכרה ציוד ביטחוני לפקיסטאן, אלג'יריה, מצרים, מרוקו והאמירויות - מדיני-ביטחוני - הארץ
ישראל מכרה בחמש השנים האחרונות ציוד ביטחוני לפקיסטאן ולארבע מדינות ערביות: מצרים, אלג’יריה, איחוד האמירויות ומרוקו. כך פרסמה ממשלת בריטניה, בדיווחים רשמיים שלה על היתרי ייצוא לנשק וציוד ביטחוני.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-selling-military-wares-to-mideast-countries-britain-says.premium-1.528993
Israel  UK  arms_trade  Pakistan  UAE  Algeria  Morocco  Egypt 
june 2013 by elizrael
From Opposition to Puppet: Morocco’s Party of Justice and Development | Jadaliyya, Nov 24, 2012
Even when the PJD attempts to establish itself as a legitimate political force, it avoids threatening the monarchy’s unchecked power. With Benkirane fully accepting the conditions under which him and his government can “rule”––conditions shaped by the power structures tilted in favor of the monarchy over an elected government––the PJD ventures into a realm where political parties are manipulated for the sake of preserving the monarchy. The PJD, like previous ruling parties, are useful to the monarchy as shock absorbers for political dissent. Meanwhile, the bickering ruling coalition of Islamists, socialists, and conservative nationalists allows the monarchy to maintain distance from critiques of political deadlock and emerge as a “neutral” institution that “enforces change” for the “good” of the Moroccan people, as was the case for the constitutional referendum. But even the distance the monarchy enjoyed from direct opposition within civil society continues to lessen as economic conditions worsen. Just last week, members of the February 20th Movement and the Moroccan Association for Human Rights were beaten for protesting against the palace’s 895,000 USD daily budget. Pundits may continue to describe Morocco as an “exception,” but it was the combination of “exceptional” circumstances, including authoritarianism, repression of freedoms, and dire socioeconomic conditions that brought down neighboring regimes less than two years ago.
Muslim_Brotherhood  Morocco  authoritarian_regime 
december 2012 by elizrael
'Arab Spring,' Moroccan Winter | Jadaliyya, Sep 9, 2012
The World Bank reports official unemployment in Morocco at ten percent, although a recent World Bank study indicated that forty-nine percent of young people in Morocco – making up thirty percent of the population - were neither in school nor employed. Coinciding with regional unrest and the protests in Morocco, the government increased food subsidies from seventeen billion to twenty billion Moroccan dirhams (roughly two billion USD) and by the end of the year, the subsidies bill had reached $5 billion USD. This then prompted the government to cut subsidies in June 2012, driving up the already rising cost of gas by twenty percent, affecting the cost of transportation and of nearly all commodities. In addition to increasing subsidies, the government had increased the salary of public sector workers by 550 million USD;
repression  Morocco  Feb20  economy  corruption  freedomofspeech  MohammedVI 
november 2012 by elizrael
A Monarchical Affair: From Morocco to the Arabian Peninsula | Jadaliyya, April 10, 2012
The timing of the proposal to include Morocco—as well as Jordan—in the regional organization of the only monarchies in the Arab world, suggested the move was beyond a matter of political interests. Morocco’s inclusion in the GCC was never detailed, nor publicly mentioned much after the initial statement, save for a couple of summits. The May announcement came at a peculiar time in Morocco’s response to its own pro-democracy movement. The spike of police violence against protesters in the month of May contributed to mounting dissent, resulting in some of the February 20th Movement’s biggest marches and demonstrations. Yet, leading up to the 1 July constitutional referendum, followed by the 25 November parliamentary elections, police repression saw a decline. The February 20th Movement’s momentum also hit a stagnant wall. The movement had failed to garner popular support on the scale of the protest movements in other parts of the Maghreb, such as Tunisia and Libya. In order to quell a popular uprising, the Moroccan regime increased public wages at a record thirty-five percent, in addition to food subsidies. It appeared that the GCC announcement was a mere knee-jerk reaction to what appeared to be the rise of a popular uprising, meant to solidify the Moroccan-Gulf alliance under the guise of a relatively vague “membership.” When it was clear that the pro-democracy movement failed in gaining popular support, the urgency of the proposed membership diminished.

Despite the Moroccan and Gulf monarchies’ similar neotraditionalist policies and close ties with the United States, public opinion on both sides opposed the proposal. One of the reasons for this opposition is rooted in a lucrative underground sex trafficking market that has been a major issue between Morocco and the Gulf, forging many misconceptions. Morocco’s lax policies with regard to job recruitment to the Gulf, has allowed for extensive prostitution rings. Despite Morocco’s ratification of various international treatises and conventions that address sex trafficking, such as the 1949 Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, Moroccan lawmakers have failed to draft comprehensive legislation that applies these international conventions at a national level. Additionally, while the new Moroccan constitution calls for the precedence of international law over national law, courts have indicated adherence to national law, as was evident in the case of Amina Filali. Aside from the lack of legislation that addresses sex trafficking, high illiteracy and poverty rates, especially in rural areas, have turned the sex industry in Morocco into a lucrative market.
Morocco  prostitution  UAE  GCC  Saudi-Arabia  Feb20  economy 
april 2012 by elizrael
Morocco: Man jailed for flying Israel flag - Ynet, Mar 3, 2012
Jadidi was arrested on Monday and was charged with "sacrilege" via the "undermining the Moroccan national flag."
Morocco  freedomofspeech  Israel  verdict  blasphemy 
march 2012 by elizrael
Jailed Moroccan Rapper Released: A Case of “Long Live the Makhzen!”? | Aslan Media, Jan 30, 2012
The judge’s pronouncement prompted supporters in the Casablanca courtroom to start shouting, “Long live the people!” echoing the rapper’s subversion of a national motto (El Haqed’s song, “Long Live the King” is transformed into “Long Live the People.” ) The country’s motto “God, the Nation, the King,” is changed to “God, the Nation, Liberty.” As an activist of the February 20 movement—which won major concessions from the king after mass demonstrations inspired by the region’s uprisings—El Haqed maintains that these allowances are cosmetic at best. The new constitution simply reinforces the king’s role as the sole arbiter of Morocco’s political system without establishing explicit checks on limits to his authority.

Extracting the king from the text of the national motto reverberated profoundly in a country where the King has amassed more wealth than the Emir of Qatar—one of the richest countries in the world, where the GDP is $179,000, compared to Morocco’s $4,800. In his song “Stopping Being Silent,” El Haqed challenges Morocco’s uncontested genealogy of authority by singing, “As long as I am still alive, his [Mohamed VI] son will not inherit.” His provocative lyrics mock the King for being too “busy giving orders,” so much that he has little time to count his money in Switzerland or take advantage of the clientelism he fosters.
Morocco  music  freedomofspeech  incomegap  corruption  MohammedVI 
january 2012 by elizrael
Morocco king keeps checks on new Islamist govt  | AP, Jan 3, 2011
Morocco's ruling coalition formed a new government on Tuesday that gives top posts to an Islamist party but also keeps close allies of the king in powerful positions.

Benkirane's PJD party is not expected, however, to radically change the politics of this North African kingdom because it had to ally with three other parties close to the palace, and the king still retains veto powers over most decisions.

Aziz Akhannouch, one of the wealthiest men in the country, has retained the powerful Agriculture Ministry, despite the fact that his party is not in the ruling coalition. Four other posts were directly appointed by the palace, including religious affairs.
PJD  Morocco  government  monarchy  authoritarian_regime 
january 2012 by elizrael
Morocco reveals location of oil drilling in occupied Western Sahara - wsrw.org, Nov 6, 2011
Yet, the Moroccan state oil firm ONHYM proceeds with its illegal operations on its onshore Boujdour II block. The drilling operation is named BJD-1 and takes place 28 kilometres to the east of the Western Sahara coastal town of Boujdour.

The information about the exact location of the drilling operation is mentioned in a recently published tender document on ONHYM’s webpages. The tender document was written 25 of October 2011, and published earlier this week. The tender closes on 17 November this year.
exploitation  Western_Sahara  Morocco  oil  naturalResources  international_law 
november 2011 by elizrael
Arab Attitudes Toward Syria: 2011 | The Arab American Institute
The overwhelming majority of Arabs in the six nations covered in the survey side with those Syrians demonstrating against the government (from 83% in Morocco to 100% in Jordan). And when asked whether Bashar Al Assad can continue to govern, the highest affirmative ratings he receives are 15% in Morocco and 14% in Egypt.

Most telling is the scant support the Syrian leader receives in Lebanon. From other results in the same poll, we can see that the Lebanese haven't stopped giving Hizbollah a net favorable rating and more than one-half of Lebanese Shia have a favorable view of the role played by Iran in Syria. But in questions dealing with the Syrian leader, it is clear that whatever support he might have commanded in the past is now gone.
polls  Arab_world  Syria  Mar15  Lebanon  Shia  Iran  Turkey  Morocco  UAE  Jordan  Saudi-Arabia  Egypt 
october 2011 by elizrael
Another #feb20 activist killed in Morocco -- The Arabist, Oct 28, 2011
The tenth victim of police brutality, use of thugs and popular incitement against Morocco’s February 20 movement died yesterday, after being stabbed in a neighborhood of the northern city of al-Hoceima.
murder  Feb20  Morocco  dissident 
october 2011 by elizrael
[Against] Essentializing North Africa « The Moor Next Door, Oct 9, 2011
Any effort to marginalize or delegitimize Arab identity in North Africa will be fruitless despite the opinions of intellectuals and identity politicians. Most Algerians do not regard Arab identity as a ‘failure’ and hold to it strongly, which is a large part of why many Algerian politicians attempt to appeal to Algerian identity using Arab nationalist tropes. Their sympathy and attachment to Arab causes is not imagined or put on by the regime.
Berber  identity  Arabs  Algeria  Libya  Morocco 
october 2011 by elizrael
Moroccans protest polls, violence in the capital | Reuters, Oct 23, 2011
Thousands of Moroccans demonstrated in cities across the country Sunday, calling for a boycott of early parliamentary polls next month whose outcome will be key to the future of reforms crafted by the royal palace.

n the capital Rabat, a Reuters reporter saw dozens of riot police with truncheons beating and kicking protesters who had gathered in front of the parliament building at the end of a march by around 3,000 people.

A local elected official in the country's biggest city, Casablanca, said about 8,000 people took part in a similar protest there. Several thousand took part in protests in other cities including Fes and Tangier.
Morocco  Feb20  policebrutality 
october 2011 by elizrael
New Security Council members likely to vote against Palestinian UN membership, diplomats say - Haaretz, Oct 23, 2011
The new composition of the UN Security Council after the election Friday of temporary members to the body will be friendlier to the United States and less inclined to vote for Palestinian inclusion in the council, diplomatic officials and news analysts in New York have said.

Pakistan, Morocco, Togo and Guatemala were elected to the body in a secret ballot; a second vote early this week will give the fifth place to either Azerbaijan or Slovenia, neither of which garnered the necessary majority on Friday to win in the first round.
UNSC  Palestine  Morocco 
october 2011 by elizrael
Morocco continues attacks on Western Sahara’s population – Newstime Africa, Oct 18, 2011
On September 25 this year, Moroccan settlers and security forces again attacked peacefully protesting Saharawis, this time in Dakhla in occupied Western Sahara. Many were injured in these attacks, including women and children, and 28-year-old Saharwi activist Maichan Mohamed Lamin Lehbib was assassinated by Moroccan forces, according to the Saharawi liberation movement, Polisario. And last Monday, October 10, Moroccan forces brutally attacked peaceful protesters in El Aaiun in the occupied territories. According to the Polisario, approximately 30 Saharawis were injured and many others arrested.
Morocco  occupation  Western_Sahara  repression  protests 
october 2011 by elizrael
Clock is ticking against Arab autocracies, Benchemsi said | Stanford Daily, Oct 14, 2011
He went on to detail the discrepancies between appearances and reality in Moroccan politics, starting with a video showing corruption in the referendum votes. He also reintroduced some of the new constitution’s articles, drawing attention to what he called “tricks in the text.”

One of these “tricks” was a difference in the French and Arabic versions of the article declaring the King’s status.

“The article sends a double message to Francophone cosmopolitan opinion-makers and Arabophone average Moroccan citizens,” Benchemsi said. The difference was an additional word in the Arabic version implying the sanctity of the King.

“The constitution has a great façade, but is misleading,” Benchemsi said, pointing out other issues with the constitution, including an article protecting the economy from monopolies, trading of privileges and abuse of dominant positions.

“King Mohammed is the number one banker, grocer, landowner and farmer in Morocco,” he said, citing that the royal holdings include the largest private conglomerate in Morocco, a company with total revenue reaching 8 percent of the nation’s GDP.
Morocco  MohammedVI  authoritarian_regime 
october 2011 by elizrael
Video: Today is the fifth National Day of LGBT Algerians | LGBT Asylum News, Oct 10, 2011
Across the country, but also across the world, LGBTQI Algerians are asked to light a candle precisely at 8 PM, whether in their home or in their windows. Other events are planned, be they dinners, film screenings and discussions. Locations, however, are kept secret until the last minute and are known only to the activists to avoid unpleasant surprises. Since a video announcing the event was put online, the number of views (as well as homophobic comments) has greatly exceeded expectations, which says a lot about the importance of this day and of the precautions to take.
Morocco  Suicide  Algeria  activism 
october 2011 by elizrael
WESTERN SAHARA: Africa Should Slap Sanctions on Morocco - IPS, Oct 7, 2011
"I think the AU should take its own resolutions and recommendations into practice. Despite the resolutions that have come through from the U.N., security councils and human rights bodies etc, each affirming the rights of the Saharawi, Morocco is still not willing to accept any of them.

"If they are not sanctioned they will continue to act as they are doing in Western Sahara, because they feel they are supported by international powers," El-Haiba said.

Salah El Abd Mohamed, the Saharawi Ambassador in South Africa, told IPS that the embassy was very satisfied with the report that was presented before PAP.

"The team saw what was really happening on the ground and how the Saharawi people are struggling for their self-determination. We thank PAP for the delegation that was sent to the Saharawi and welcome their recommendations," El Abd Mohamed said.
SADR  Morocco  sanctions  AU  Western_Sahara  occupation 
october 2011 by elizrael
Two Moroccan parties to boycott parliamentary elections | Al-Arabiya, Sep 20, 2011
Two Moroccan parties have decided to boycott the upcoming Nov. 25 parliamentary elections, citing the lack of legal and political guarantees the vote will be fair, transparent and democratic.

The national congress of the Unified Socialist Party on Saturday voted 55 -12 in favor of boycotting the first legislative elections under a new constitution that was passed in a national referendum on July 1. A second party, the Democratic Socialist Vanguard Party, had voted earlier also to boycott the elections.
Morocco  elections 
september 2011 by elizrael
Morocco: Multiple Arrests Against Activists · Global Voices
There has been a sudden surge in arrests among pro-democracy activists and online campaigners in Morocco in recent days. Three have occurred in the past week alone. Little has been reported in the press and it took bloggers to report on the arrests for the traditional media in Morocco to pick up on the stories.
arrest  dissident  Morocco 
september 2011 by elizrael
כיצד חרץ אלטון ג'ון את גורל הפליט ממרוקו - חינוך וחברה - הארץ
רדואן, בן 42, הגיע לישראל לפני 12 שנה, לאחר שהתחבר עם ישראלים שפגש במרוקו. הוא ברח מארצו, שבה קיום יחסים הומוסקסואלים אסור על פי חוק, לאחר שסבל מהתעללות מתמשכת מצד משפחתו וחבריו בשל נטייתו המינית. נציבות האו"ם לפליטים שטיפלה בתיקו בעבר העריכה כי רדואן לא יקבל הגנה במרוקו אם
Morocco  LGBT  Israel  asylum  refugees  WTF 
september 2011 by elizrael
Whither the Arab Spring in Morocco | Muftah, Aug 19, 2011
The regime has also benefitted from the increasingly fragmented February 20th protest movement. The movement lacks organization and a coherent strategy for its protests, which have been dwindling in strength and numbers. I attended the movement’s post-referendum protests in Marrakesh in July, where the number of protesters did not exceed 200 to 300 people. Numerous bystanders gathered to deride and mock the demonstrations, which many view as an exercise in futility. If the movement hopes to remain relevant, it must shake off this image.
Feb20  Morocco  constitution  Berber  Jewish  ArabJews 
august 2011 by elizrael
The Never Ending Story: Protests and Constitutions in Morocco | Aug 12, 2011
unlike the past patterns of protest and reform, the approval of a new constitution did not in fact end the protest and political debate on the monarchy’s role in democratizing the country. Since independence, Morocco has had a number of constitutions, born of the monarch’s proposals for change in response to negotiations with political parties. These negotiations never undermined the monarchy’s pre-eminence; they were intended to appease opponents who were grateful for having been partly listened to. This strategy of “constitutionalising” political and institutional reforms under the guidance of the monarchy and relying on the advice of King-appointed committees and commissions was also a feature of Hassan’s reign. It allowed him to remain the central figure of the reformist effort

for the first time there is today a movement of citizens coming together from different ideological currents that all refuse to accept such gradualism even after the regime has met some of its demands.
Morocco  reform  MohammedVI  protests  Feb20  constitution  referendum  fraud 
august 2011 by elizrael
Popular Upsurge and Political Pacts in Morocco | Jadaliyya, Aug 3, 2011
most Moroccans I spoke with emphasize the necessity of a peaceful transition that reforms rather than rebuilds the country’s political institutions. Despite the misgivings enunciated by many about the limited measures of democracy promotion in the new constitution, the majority wants—at least for now—an orderly transition.

the movement needs to refocus its strategy and slogans. Continuing to protest against a constitution endorsed by the majority of the electorate and to shout provocative slogans (No to a ruler who steals public money) is a losing strategy that only exacerbates tensions with the regime. As one a member of the February 20th movement told me, there is a growing realization, even within revolutionary forces, that adopting more aggressive protest strategies while waiting for the monarchy to falter or social protests to evolve into a revolution, would not advance the group’s proclaimed goals of fighting corruption and promoting democratic practices.
Morocco  protests  constitution  democracy  stability 
august 2011 by elizrael
North-west Africa’s minority: Springtime for them too? | The Economist, Aug 13, 2011
A written script for the various Berber dialects was created only in the 20th century. Algeria’s Kabyles, a Berber people said to number 4m, have usually preferred the Latin alphabet, whereas a Tuareg alphabet, called Tifinagh, is now officially used in Morocco and has been adopted by Libyan Berbers who were banned from using it under the colonel. (The Tuareg are nomadic Berber pastoralists living mainly in southern Algeria, eastern Mali and western Niger.)

The Berber revival has rekindled enthusiasm for pan-Berber solidarity.
berber  ArabUprisings  Morocco  Libya  language 
august 2011 by elizrael
MOROCCO: Arab Spring Brings Little for Women - IPS, Aug 10, 2011
According to a study by the High Planning Commission carried out in 2010, women represent only 25 percent of the working population. Women are also disproportionately illiterate - more than 50.8 percent of Moroccan women cannot read and write.
Morocco  protests  women_rights 
august 2011 by elizrael
Poll: Sharp drop in Iran's popularity in Arab world - Haaretz, July 29, 2011
The poll, conducted in June in six Arab countries - Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates - shows that Iran has become a regional irritant.

When asked whether Iran plays a positive, negative or neutral role in the region, majorities in all countries but Lebanon saw Iran as influencing the region negatively.

Overall, the poll showed that Arabs would prefer to see the Middle East free of nuclear weapons - 62% in Morocco, 53% in Egypt, 88% in Jordan, 94% in Saudi Arabia, 76% in the United Arab Emirates. But again, in Lebanon only 23% want to see the Middle East as a nuclear-free zone - whereas 39% of the Lebanese think the region will be more secure if Iran had a nuclear bomb, with 75% of Shi'ites supporting this view.
Iran  polls  Nuclear_Weapons  Morocco  UAE  Jordan  Egypt  Lebanon  Saudi-Arabia  sectarianism 
july 2011 by elizrael
Myths & Facts -The Treatment of Jews in Arab/Islamic Countries | Jewish Virtual Library
Similarly, in 1465, Arab mobs in Fez slaughtered thousands of Jews, leaving only 11 alive, after a Jewish deputy vizier treated a Muslim woman in "an offensive manner." The killings touched off a wave of similar massacres throughout Morocco.25

Other mass murders of Jews in Arab lands occurred in Morocco in the 8th century, where whole communities were wiped out by the Muslim ruler Idris I; North Africa in the 12th century, where the Almohads either forcibly converted or decimated several communities; Libya in 1785, where Ali Burzi Pasha murdered hundreds of Jews; Algiers, where Jews were massacred in 1805, 1815 and 1830; and Marrakesh, Morocco, where more than 300 Jews were murdered between 1864 and 1880

Decrees ordering the destruction of synagogues were enacted in Egypt and Syria (1014, 1293-4, 1301-2), Iraq (854­859, 1344) and Yemen (1676) Jews were forced to convert to Islam or face death in Yemen (1165 and 1678), Morocco (1275, 1465 and 1790-92) and Baghdad (1333 and 1344).27
antisemitism  ArabJews  arab_world  anti-Zionism  history  murder  Massacre  Morocco  Islam  Christians 
july 2011 by elizrael
Morocco carves out new oil blocks in the occupied territory - wsrw.org, July 17, 2011
According to international law, this oil exploration is illegal, since the Sahrawis' wishes have not been taken into account. Western Sahara is under Moroccan occupation, and is defined by the UN as an unresolved colonial issue. In 2002, the UN's legal office gave a statement on the legality of Morocco's oil agreements. Yet, Morocco proceeds with their oil programme.
Morocco  oil  Western_Sahara  exploitation  International_Law 
july 2011 by elizrael
Thousands rally in Morocco over reform plan - - Al Jazeera English, July 18, 2011
Both supporters and opponents of constitutional changes offered by Morocco's king have protested in their thousands, indicating debate over the country's future sparked by the "Arab Spring" uprisings has not ended.

Sunday’s opposition protests organised by the youth-based February 20 Movement took place in three cities and passed off without any clashes. The movement is a loose national network that was inspired by uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

The biggest show of strength by the opposition was in the northern city of Tangier where witnesses said about 12,000 marched to press the 47-year-old king for deeper reforms.
Morocco  Feb20 
july 2011 by elizrael
Dear NYT, Thank you! « Moroccans For Change
See in Morocco, it’s pretty simple. Why would anyone ask for less than 100% agreement? Some say that with 43 % illiteracy and high poverty it’s easy to grease the voting machine and lure people into voting yes. Some even pretend that street children and baltajiya were paid to harass protesters…Nonsense! It’s all propaganda…
Morocco  referendum  fraud  media  orientalism 
july 2011 by elizrael
NOREF - The Western Saharan autonomy proposal
Generally speaking, autonomous arrangements in non-democracies have tended to function less well and/or to be more unstable. Both analysis and emerging international norms on the matter point in the same direction: autonomy can only truly exist within a democratic system.

More fundamentally, the rule of law and full respect for human rights, widely considered key to the smooth functioning of autonomous regions, would have to be instituted – a major step which the Moroccan government has so far been unwilling to take. Lastly, the clientelistic networks that underpin the current system of power in Morocco and which are also entrenched in Western Sahara would have to be uprooted.
Morocco  Western_Sahara  autonomy 
july 2011 by elizrael
Referendum day in Morocco - Blog - The Arabist, July 1, 2011
One interesting thing about the new constitution is that while it creates many new institutions to improve the technocratic, managerial aspects of the state it does not actually address the way power really flows in the country. For instance, royal counsellors who are critical decision makers and policy architects are mentioned nowhere. Nor is the baya (allegiance) ceremony that senior officials, military leaders, religious figures and others must renew annually — a ritual as old as the Alawite dynasty itself. None of the Makhzen's informal nature is codified in it. The constitution represents in part a technocratic state, and in part a (praiseworthy and positive) public commitment to individual liberties, gender equality and cultural diversity. But what eludes it is any real sense of where authority lies, aside that all roads — directly and indirectly — still lead to the king
Morocco  Feb20  analysis  referendum  constitution  MohammedVI 
july 2011 by elizrael
Morocco’s Constitutional Face Lift | The Middle East Channel, June 30, 2011
In fact, the draft constitution ...doesn't provide for a real separation of powers. The new constitution enshrines the absolute power of the king, while offering only token changes.

In the current system, the king reigns and rules arbitrarily through his appointees and closest advisers, who in turn delegate bits of power to clients or even friends or relatives. This form of government, based on a long political tradition, is embodied in a constitution which allows the state to operate thanks to the goodwill of an executive monarch. The poorly representative government only serves as a front for an authoritarian regime. While consecrating the king as "sacred," the current constitution also makes him the undisputed head of the executive, the senior legislator (the king can rule by decree) and the first judge, disabling the people's very ability to hold the government accountable.
morocco  constitution  protests  authoritarian_regime  reform  Press_freedom  religion 
june 2011 by elizrael
18th c. Jews tried, and failed, to alleviate their lot | Point of no return, June 23, 2011
In the depths of despair, the Jews hit on a stratagem to improve their lot. They dug up an old Arabic document which has only just come to the notice of contemporary scholars. It purports to be a deed of privileges delivered by the Prophet Mohammed himself in 628 to the Jews of Khaybar in Arabia.

Among the privileges the Jews claimed had been promised to them was 'Allah's protection'. For this they were not to pay more than four dirhams a month if they could afford it.

They also asked not to have to wear the dhimmi belt or zunnar, and the right to don the red or white turban - regal headgear reserved for Muslims. (Jews had to wear a black cap, the colour of mourning.)
Morocco  ArabJews  discrimination  history 
june 2011 by elizrael
The North African Masada at Oufrane | Point of no return, June 23, 2011
But things turn ugly when a ruler dies and leaves a power vacuum. Jews suffered the worst of calamities. One descendant of Rashid was his great-grandson, named Yazid. His hatred of the Jews showed no bounds. In 1790, he forced all Jews to depart from Meknes and Fez. Even Marrakesh was not spared, although few had remained. Most flocked to cities like Casablanca, Mogador, and Oufrane.

Back to the Oufrane Jewish "kingdom" of Morocco. There in 1790, 60 Jewish brave souls jumped to their deaths by fire rather than convert to Islam, under the order of some local thugs incited by Moulay Yazid to inflict suffering on their already marginalised and humiliated lives.
Morocco  ArabJews  history  suicide 
june 2011 by elizrael
Leading Moroccan journalist is sentenced to one year in prison - CNN.com, June 10, 2011
One of Morocco's most controversial journalists and publisher has been convicted of publishing misleading information and sentenced to one year in prison after articles he wrote enraged the government.

Rachid Niny is the publisher of Al-Massae, a leading newspaper that on Friday devoted its front page to coverage of his case. Niny had previously clashed with authorities and been fined for his work.

The publisher was convicted on the charge of "disinformation" after writing articles criticizing the Moroccan intelligence agency and calling for it to be put under parliamentary control.

Under Moroccan law, a journalist or publisher can be fined for making errors in reporting about matters concerning the state.
Press_freedom  Morocco  verdict  Journalist 
june 2011 by elizrael
Rachid Nini Sentenced to Jail | Maghreb Blog, June 9, 2011
An update: a few post ago, I commented on the case of columnist Rachid Nini accused of "offense against national and the security of citizens." Today, the journalist has been sentenced to one year in jail and a fine of 1,000 DHs (around US $128). This is another sad day for freedom of the press in Morocco and a further negative signal pointing to the state intentions to stifle any impulse for the liberty of expression.
Morocco  Press_freedom  verdict  Journalist 
june 2011 by elizrael
Sixty-three years since Oujda and Djerada pogroms | Point of no return, June 7, 2011
Sixty three years ago today, on the morning of 7 June 1948, a riot broke out against the Jews in Oujda (Morocco), a city in the north-east of the country close to the border with Algeria. Five Jews were killed and many wounded.

The following day, 8 June, the rioting spread to the small mining village of Djerada, 60 km south west of Oujda. There, the Jewish community numbered some 100 souls: 38 were slaughtered, sometimes entire families. Among the dead was the community's rabbi, Moshe Cohen, and his wife, his mother, 13-year-old son, daughter aged six and a baby of one year. The badly wounded were left for dead. Material damage was great, especially in Oujda.
Massacre  ArabJews  Morocco 
june 2011 by elizrael
Anonymous reveals passwords for Middle East government email accounts | TNW, June 5, 2011
As reported on Twitter, a document was released on PasteBin, a site that already bears the reputation as a hangout for hackers, revealing the log-in details of hundreds of government officials from Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco and Jordan.
hactivism  Jordan  Morocco  Bahrain  Egypt 
june 2011 by elizrael
Deciphering Morocco’s Military Procurement Strategy | A Moroccan About the world around him, May 31, 2011
Morocco has many enemies, but none against whom it will engage in a declared and conventionally weaponized skirmish. The Royal Armed Forces participation in joint and combined war games such as Phoenix Express and African Lion with European and U.S. militries, its billions of dollars in military procurements, at a time when the national budget deficit rose by more than 20 percent to 6.3 billion dirhams and the state is struggling to keep its 2011 budget deficit at its targeted 3.5 percent, aims at keeping NATO and the U.S. commited to supporting its regime. More than any military hardware, Morocco’s military engagement is its strongest defense. It didn’t work quite well for Hosni Mubarak, but the Moroccan government is hoping for the best.
Morocco  arms_trade  US  AQIM 
may 2011 by elizrael
Beyond Mercenaries: Racism In North Africa | Think Africa Press, May 27, 2011
In spite of evidence showing widespread violence against migrant workers trying to escape the turmoil, the foreign press suggested that these attacks were regrettable but to be expected given the atrocities committed by Gaddafi's mercenaries. Few, however, picked up on the fact that these attacks are symptomatic of a racial prejudice that is deeply rooted and widely spread throughout North Africa and the wider Arab world.

in 2000, following a series of attacks that left several migrant workers dead, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions condemned "racist attacks on migrant workers". The UN had repeatedly criticised Gaddafi's government for aggravating the problem by flatly denying the existence of any kind of racism in the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Peoples Jamahariya.

Arabs descended from African slaves suffer racism on a day-to-day basis because others still believe that they are a lower class of humankind due to their ancestry.
Egypt  Libya  racism  Africa  xenophobia  MigrantRights  Tunisia  Morocco 
may 2011 by elizrael
Moroccan police violently disrupt pro-democracy protests in Casablanca and near capital - AP, May 29, 2011
lub wielding Moroccan police riding motorcycles drove into crowds of thousands of demonstrators in the country’s largest city to disperse a protest by pro-democracy activists on Sunday.

Phalanxes of police motorcycles cruised through the main roads and back streets of Casablanca’s lower income Sbata neighborhood, scattering any attempts by the protesters to regroup.

Heavily armored riot police were also deployed throughout the neighborhood blocking streets to cars and discouraging people from congregating in large groups. There were no official reports of the number of injured.
repression  morocco  protests  PoliceBrutality 
may 2011 by elizrael
Muftah » Rapping the Revolution
These uprisings called attention not only to the shifting nexus of power from the elites to the masses, but also to the virtual spaces in which these revolutions have been underway long before surfacing onto the streets. While the region’s revolutions are now on their own distinctive paths, they have all nevertheless emerged from the margins, inspiring and animating thousands of Hip Hop fans and artists in the Middle East. However, even before the upsurge of Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, rappers in the region were already speaking truth to power. During the recent uprisings, a new generation has used homemade studios and shared YouTube clips to spread Hip Hop music and its long-held desires for change through the streets. This music, in turn, has inspired its listeners to reclaim their neighborhoods, vocalize their frustrations, and demand their rights.
music  Morocco  arab_world  Tunisia  sidibouzid 
may 2011 by elizrael
Showdown in Morocco | The Middle East Channel, May 26, 2011
Police violence in recent days has escalated. On May 15, peaceful demonstrators who wanted to protest in front of an alleged secret detention center in Temara (dubbed Guan-Temara by protesters) near the capital Rabat faced repression. A week later, anti-riot police systematically and violently disrupted peaceful gatherings in public squares. This may be the sign that the regime is shifting its attitude toward the street and taking a much more hardline stance. As with other Arab regimes, the makhzen faces a dilemma: if it clamps down hard on peaceful protesters, it risks loosing its reputation as a model of democratic reform in a region often perceived in the West as averse to the liberal ideals of democracy. If it loosens up, then it will have to face the challenge to its own existence posed by a determined and organized street.
Morocco  Youth  protests  repression 
may 2011 by elizrael
RUSI - The GCC's anti-revolutionary expansion
In military matters, the Peninsula Shield force too, comprising elements of all the GCC countries, is a shell of a fighting force. A study conducted in 2000 by a Lieutenant Commander at the US Naval War College is scathing of the Peninsula Shield as a whole. [1] Not only was there a 'nearly complete lack of interoperability' among the various units ...Since 2000 things did not improve much given that the Peninsula Shield force was all but abandoned as the 2000s wore on. In 2008 it was resurrected under the mandate of a 'Rapid Reaction Force' but little was heard of it until its surprising intervention in Bahrain in February.

Following on from the Damascus Declaration precedent, the GCC could be motivated by the notion of facilitating an official path for the stationing of Jordanian troops in the Gulf. Not only are the Jordanian armed forces the most professional Arab force, but the Gulf Kingdoms clearly do not trust their own forces.
analysis  GCC  Saudi-Arabia  Morocco  Jordan  military  ArabUprisings 
may 2011 by elizrael
Vague thoughts on Arab uprisings (II) « The Moor Next Door, May 11, 2011
The pull of Islamist factions in general (whether in Tunisia, Egypt, Mauritania or elsewhere) should not be overstated: young people, largest part of the Arab public, very often have limited experience with the major Islamists groups whose heyday was often during their childhood or before, as has been noted by keen observers, and others have been unimpressed by the compromising tendency of Islamist parties in the last ten years. Additionally, internal ideological and generational tensions within older Islamist parties and competition from other emergent Islamist parties is likely to dampen their ability to deliver sweeping results (especially if parts of them break off to form new parties), especially if non-Islamist parties and factions organize effectively. Furthermore, the behavior of particularly conservative factions, like that of Salafi groups in Egypt who have victimized Coptic Christians in recent weeks, may alienate them from key demographics
algeria  democracy  jan25  mauritania  Feb14  SidiBouZid  Morocco  protests  ArabUprisings  Mar15  Muslim_Brotherhood  Islamists  analysis 
may 2011 by elizrael
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