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Morocco between terrorism, Islamism and democratisation: a cosmetic approach

[working paper]

Fattorelli, Erik

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Please use the following Persistent Identifier (PID) to cite this document:http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-118834

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Abstract Morocco is situated in a peculiar geo-political position, which makes it a catalyst of Western attention. This position is not only represented by the spatial proximity to Europe and the few kilometres of sea that separate it from Spain. The closeness to Europe and the western world is political and economic. Despite the lack of a vast amount of natural resources as in Algeria, the country has been integrated in the international economy for most of its post-independence existence. This not only for being favourable to some sort of a market economy, but most of all for its links with the West. In the last years this geostrategic relevance for the American and European interests has been increasing due to the "necessity of reliable partners in a volatile region". "Morocco is generally well respected by world powers as a stable constitutional monarchy... and an Islamic voice of moderation". This fundamental characteristic of Morocco, the fact that is an Arab-Islamic country with western pronounced features, makes it a fundamental bridge with the Arab world for the EU and the US. The US after having lost credibility with the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, needs now more than ever the support of the Moroccan regime to take part in the dialogue which involves the region, and so they granted Morocco major non-Nato ally status in June 2004 . Everything is explained much better if we recall the relatively good relationship between Morocco and Israel. Although the natural and genetic brakes in the relations of the two states, as the Moroccan Islamic sensibility first of all, the interaction between Morocco and Israel still continues on a positive binary, promoted by the confluent interest of both. For the Moroccan authorities, a positive attitude towards Israel and the pacific conclusion of its conflict are useful for “bolstering the country’s image in the West and bringing in foreign currency” . So we arrive to a crucial point. Morocco owes its importance and its sparkling inclusion in the Western economic market to this image that it has been able to build during its post-independence history. The image of an economic liberal, pro-Western and Islamic-moderate country in a democratizing process makes it attractive not only for tourists, but for the USA, the EU and Israel policymakers as well. The problem is the following: in order to maintain this façade, Morocco had and still has to face very strong challenges like terrorism, Islamism and the democratisation issues. This paper aims to analyze how the country is dealing with these issues and how the image that it wants to show for maintaining its international relations influenced its attitude towards those questions. The analysis focuses on how Morocco responded to those three challenges. Exploring these issues, terrorism (par. 2), Islamism (par. 3) and democratisation (par. 4) I will highlight the particular attitude that it took, which I would define the Moroccan cosmetic approach.
Keywords Morocco; North Africa; international relations; Europe; democratization; islamism; politics
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; International Relations, International Politics, Foreign Affairs, Development Policy
Document language English
Publication Year 2009
Status Preprint; not reviewed
Licence Basic Digital Peer Publishing Licence
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