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  Middle East & Africa
Morocco: Kingdom That Outwitted Its Subjects
Special Contribution
By Prof. Abdelkader Zerougui
American University
The Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco is the largest mosque in Morocco and the third largest mosque in the world
In the middle of the pandemic that swept the world, Morocco has been the center of regression. The government used its muscles to crack on dissidents, foreign reporters, journalists, and civil organizations that are critical to the socio-economic malaise of the country. Thus, there are two Morocco, the one projected by the Moroccan media, and its paid defenders — an open society to foreigners — and Morocco that is according to international observers is a medieval kingdom, that uses all means to shine the image in the world.

According to government reports, illiteracy rate in Morocco is placed between 30 and 35 percent; however, independent reports indicate that the number is more than 40 percent, with 44.9 percent among females. External debt reached $45 billion, which is 40 percent of the GDP. The United Nations Human Development Report (UDI) , in 2020, Morocco ranked 121 out of 189 compared to Gaza (115), and in 2019, it was estimated that 9 million Moroccans were considered poor or threatened by poverty, which is almost 1 1/3 of the population.

The Moroccan Royal Holding — which belongs to the king — a conglomeration of businesses in banking, agriculture, telecommunication, electro-mechanics- phosphate etc. became a dominant economic and financial power, controlling about 25 percent of Morocco's economy, with the rest of the Royal family's presence in all sectors of Morocco. From education to health to entertainment. In short, Morocco under Mohamed VI engineered a new strategy to survive, combining business and wealth with politics, thus reducing the margin of transformation and emancipation to nil.

The October 2021 parliamentary elections, Development and Justice Party (PJD), which was the first Islamist party to come to power in the region in 2011 found its share of the vote decimated from 125 to a mere 12 seats. The 2011 Spring uprising in the Middle East, Mohamed VI called for a new constitution and involvement of the masses; however, the cosmetic changes were a maneuver to deflect the protests. protest. The February Movement –the most promising for change- was suppressed, and most of its activists ended up in jail or chose to exile. The "Commander of the Faithful.," like his cousins in Jordan, and the gulf states hijacked history and religion, and imposed a medieval monarchy as "ordained by God." The so-called descendant of the prophet has drawn a line like his predecessors between him and "his subjects" and not citizens.

Morocco -under financial and economic pressures- joined the Abraham Accords in 2020, and established relations of Israel at the expense of the Palestinians- bringing the traditional relationships to the open. This calculated strategy seeks to receive financial support from the oil producing countries.

The medieval kingdom refuses to yield to the popular demands to make a monarchy like in the Modern world – a symbol- with all its economic privileges. The kingdom was able to use its allies –France. Especially and some gulf states to its support, by allowing these countries to have continuous privileges. At the same time, the kingdom is becoming a center of instability because of it serves now as a center for anti-democratic movements. Military outpost for destabilizing forces,

With most of the opposition fragmented, in prison or forced into exile, and little support from Western nations. Morocco continues to regress into a medieval mentality, where people are becoming more expandable subjects. Morocco, is already the world's largest –albeit-illicit- supplier of cannabis to Europe. The BBC in 2019 estimated that Morocco's illegal exports of cannabis to be worth $8.84 billion USD.

Morocco's survival is only possible because of the internal security forces, the feudal system still in place especially in rural areas, and the support of France and some Gulf States. However, history is often unpredictable, and the general will as portrayed by Jean-Jacques Rousseau can be decisive in bringing a new society with a new social contract.

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Prof. Abdelkader Zerougui is an adjunct professor of sociology at American University in Washington DC, where he received his MA and PhD in sociology. Prof. Zerougui’s writings have appeared on many respected media including the Washington Times and The Seoul Times.






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