Friday, February 22, 2013

Impatience in Morocco

Impatience in Morocco

While Morocco was on the outer skirts of the Arab Spring, the revolution still touched the minds of many of the young restless members of the population. While dictators where falling in Tunisia and Egypt, the monarchy in Morocco held strong through the Kings decision to voluntarily share his power as well as instate a new Constitution. The win of the moderate Islamist party called the Justice and Development party was praised by the U.S. in 2011 however, Moroccans are growing impatient with the so called “new democratic order.”
            As was discussed in lecture many countries influenced by the Arab spring are beginning to grow impatient, some even claiming it a backwards revolution, but the real problem seems to be the impatience of these populations within these transitioning countries. Only a few years since the Arab spring have left very little time for the dust to settle from violent and non-violent revolutions throughout the Middle East and South Africa.
            However the case of Morocco seems to be different. Instead of a complete downfall of the government, Morocco has an opportunity to non-violently shift into a more democratic reign with powers split between the king and the newly elected PM. With the significant infrastructure rebuilding and deduction of pay flowing into the council under the King, it seemed that the face of change was arising. Today critics say all efforts are floundering and that the real problem lay in the new Constitution.

“Drafted by a committee appointed by the king – it did not go nearly far enough in shifting power to elected officials. The king remains head of the council and the Ulama council, which runs the mosques. He also runs to military, the security forces and the intelligence service.”
It seems as though the impatience of the population is being translated into stagnation of the government and in my opinion the dust it still settling from these movements. Giving the government time to implement the reformed constitution is much needed however, as far as infrastructural progression Morocco is on a slippery slope.
Meeting between Mr. Abdel-'Ilah Benkiran and members of the E.U.
In order to have an environment for democracy there must be a foundation to build upon, which is what was discussed in a meeting on the first of February between the Head of Government Mr. Abdel-Ilah Benkiran and members of the Euro-group Morocco European Union. The main issues discussed were the adoption of various resolutions for the implementation of Moroccan proposal for autonomy Sahara which would basically revive the Maghreb building and overall regional security. If cooperation continues between King Mohammed Vi and the EU there could be beneficial changes made for the new Constitution and democratic path. 



  1. While I advocate nonviolent resistance, I doubt that there will be a nonviolent resistance movement or a violent resistance movement in Morocco, in the near future. It is true that Moroccan's are frustrated with the government. However, the benevolence of the government, which gives all Moroccan's free healthcare, among other things, will keep the people at bay. Moroccan's are repressed but they also have free health care something that most democracies do not even have. This is a trend seen in many Arab monarchies. The regimes are repressive yet they give their citizens housing or jobs, etc. The benefits given to the people from the government allow regimes to keep their people satisfied enough to complain but not seriously rebel against the government. After spending a significant amount of time in Morocco, this certainly seems to be the case in this country.

    1. I think that this is just as important in explaining the stability of monarchies in the MENA region as the resource rents we discussed in class. The majority of the Moroccan population holds a favorable view of the monarchy, especially since Mohammed VI took steps to distance himself from, and even condemn, the human rights abuses of his father Hassan II. There is definitely a cultural difference in stable monarchies, in which the monarch is seen as a benevolent figure and an important part of the national identity.

  2. One thing is important to underline in order not to misunderstand the issues at stake. There certainly is impatience among the Moroccans and the youth most importantly which is experiencing a sad 30% (official number...certainly higher in real life) unemployment rate, however the position and role of the King was never concerned by this impatience. It is key to remember the longevity of the Moroccan monarchy, which is older than the British one for instance to understand the unshakable aspect of the king's figure. Therefore I believe that if the expectations of the international opinion are to see democracy in Morocco, they will be disappointed. The Moroccan people understand the central role of their king as a "referee" in the Moroccan political realm, and his ability to intervene when lines are being crossed in an environment where political infrastructures are still very weak. One example of this supervising status is mentioned in the article as the King is described as the head of the Ulama council. The article then explains that this function entails that the King supervises all the mosques in the country. In an environment where Al Qaeda in the Maghreb Islamic is involved more than ever, and where poverty often leads to politically motivated extremists being able to convince young men to give up everything for blasting themselves, it is in my opinion valuable to have a powerful and reasonable voice as a leader who can cut short to these activities by regulating what can be taught and what cannot.