By Haïm Zagouri
By Haïm Zagouri
Rabat – Everybody still remembers the failure of Moulay Hicham’s maneuver to have Mounir El Majidi, the private secretary of the King of Morocco, arrested in France when the prince and his protégé, Zakaria Moumni, filed a complaint for torture against this close collaborator of the King.
The unveiling, by Jeune Afrique magazine, of yet another machination confirms the reality of this demonic will the King’s cousin has to gang up, time after time, with scoundrels who have no faith or law in the vain hope of damaging the image of Mohammed VI and his entourage. It is an unvirtuous horde that forms the inner circle of Moulay Hicham’s camarilla who have become notorious for their sulphurous careers more than for their “variable geometry” political dissidence. It is the case of Aboubakr Jamai, who is so attached to his stock-in-trade hackneyed thesis according to which the King of Morocco still has the monopoly on the national agro-food industry, although he is perfectly aware that SNI issued official statements regarding its disengagements from Cosumar, Centrale Laitière, Leusieur Cristal and Bimo which took place in complete transparency.
Nevertheless, Aboubakr enjoys justifying his “exile-escape” in France by his inability to pay a fine of MAD 3 million in damages for having defamed the Belgian Claude Moniquet of the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center (ESISC) while forgetting, strangely enough, to mention the reality of his financial turpitudes.
Together with Fadel Iraki and Ali Amar, Jamai arranged a judicial dissolution of the firm publishing Le Journal Hebdomadaire so as to avoid paying a debt of MAD 14 million to the government, including MAD 5 million to the National Social Security Fund (CNSS) and MAD 7 million in taxes. This tax dodger, who continues to launch his diatribes against the alleged hegemony of the “economic Makhzen,” is the same person who chose to buy a plot of land measuring 2,000 square meters in Bouskoura instead of paying the social security contributions of his employees.
Ali Lmrabet’s profile is no less ambiguous since he was fired from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation for his readiness to use his fist instead of diplomacy. This potential innkeeper of Tetouan thought he could make a living while insulting everything in his newspapers to the extent that other journalists, such as the Spanish Ignacio Cembrero, have become convinced that he is a psychopath.
Following several misadventures in the press, this troublemaker went broke and now recognizes, shamelessly, that it is his Spanish wife who gives him his pocket money. He became a master in the art of signing contracts with Spanish publishing houses from which he raked substantial advances in euros … without delivering any manuscripts. This is surely a “pinching” and “satirical” theft.
The other Ali, Ali Amar, does not need any introduction when it comes to “craftiness” since his bank robbery in 1995 went wrong. Using false documentation, that scheme was supposed to deal a fatal blow to the national exchange reserve. Afterwards, he turned to journalism. However, rumor has it that he kept his old reflex to swindle: he allegedly did not leave the former Le Journal Hebdomadaire empty-handed.
He benefited from “barter” contracts while the employees were deprived of their CNSS rights. Subsequently, his name is once again conspicuous in a vulgar case involving a house burglary that he committed together with his former dulcinea, Zineb Rhzaoui. Later, a French news website with whom he collaborated sacked him for plagiarism. This is what we can call a real “change within continuity.”
Finally, there is Moulay Hicham’s favorite. Obviously, we are talking about Ahmed Reda Benchemsi who managed to obtain a scholarship at Stanford University by including dithyrambic promotional reports about Mohammed VI’s cousin in his admission file to this American university. Nevertheless, Benchemsi, who had to settle with writing Moulay Hicham’s biography, is not only an excellent pen mercenary; he is also willing to break that same pen by denying his identity provided that there is a stack of cash to be made. This is what the American journalist Max Blumenthal unveiled in 2013 following a long journalistic investigation revealing a fishy link between, “Free Arabs Press,” a new website launched by Benchemsi and the American Islamic Congress, an inherently Islamophobic organization linked to American conservatives.
This information did not come as a surprise to Benchemsi’s ex colleagues. They still remember the greed of this “sunflower” journalist who was eager to reap advertisements for his magazine Telquel, and who even negotiated a compromise with the assassins of freedom of speech in Morocco, as he called them at that time. In this regard, it is said that before writing his editorials, Benchemsi would invariably consult with Hamidou Laaniguri, former Head of the National Police. This did happen, of course, before Benchmsi was recruited by Human Rights Watch.
There are still many others amongst the camarilla of Moulay Hicham. There is Ahmed Benseddik who renounced his allegiance to King Mohammed VI and, in return, the cousin of the latter paid his son’s tuition in the UAE. Omar Brouksy cannot be left behind since he occupies a special place among the obsequious in “Hicham’s List”.
Moulay Hicham, who is not at all embarrassed to be the godfather of such a clique, never missed an opportunity to hurl insults at the narrow circle of individuals surrounding the King. In his account of the occasional private conversations he had with the prince at that time, journalist Abderrahim Ariri revealed that Moulay Hicham asked him to use MAD 50 million to finance an “anti-system” newspaper. However, it is known that Mohammed VI has always been a stickler for the respect by his close collaborators of the power of ethics, and does not accept, under any pretext, that a member of his entourage evade taxes, indulge in corruption, or greedily take up any advantage, profiting from their proximity to the monarch. Those who have tried to do so got nothing for all their trouble.
It is this royal intransigence towards every abuse of power that torments the mind of Moulay Hicham. Instead of asking himself if the sharks surrounding him are as irreproachable as the people in the royal entourage, he continues to exude slander and calumnies about the aptitude of the King’s narrow circle to manage state affairs, while asking perfidiously, “Where did the influential people that surrounded Hassan II go?”
One swallow does not a summer make and Moulay Hicham’s amnesia needs a reminder of the powerful family ties among the Moroccan monarchy and the unfailing loyalty of its members. Such a thing would expose the acute conspiracy mania of the “Red Prince” who claims to want “to disrupt the Makhzen” while he secretly dreams to embody it in a despotic or even a tyrannical way. And so is the conviction of some of his scapegoat servants.
It might be true that no truth can be retrieved from comparison; yet, Moroccans will never forget the brave decision of the prince Moulay Ali Alaoui, Mohammed V’s nephew, who voluntarily joined the royal family during their exile in Madagascar. Throughout his life, he worked very hard to defend the strategic interests of Morocco. It is rather during hard times that this “dignified cousin of Hassan II” wanted to express his unfailing loyalty to the late King.
What about Mohammed VI’s cousin Moulay Hicham? Would he have reacted with the same nationalism to defend the legitimacy of the monarchy? Of course not. It is most likely that, from the point of view of his very western culture, he would have rather swindled Ben Afra, not to demand the return of Mohammed V, but to take his place.
At least, this is the logic that is reflected in Moulay Hicham’s schemes, including the one he managed to make a certain gutter press swallow before bitterly regretting, at the end, having been trapped by a manipulative prince who aspires to completely fabricate a profile of an opponent tracked by the Moroccan security services and who has no choice but self-exile in the United States, nurturing an unconfessed hope of coming back to the Kingdom as a revolutionary of cumin.
It is exactly this logic of obsessive victimization that sums up the whole life of Moulay Hicham. As it was pathetically staged by the ghostwriter Benchemsi in the autobiography of the prince, Moulay Hicham would be the one, the only and the exceptional whipping boy of the royal entourage who decided to use him as a punching ball.
Consequently, it is the King’s close collaborators who would have ordered Bank Al Maghreb to reject, for lack of sufficient funds, a check for MAD 2 million, recently issued by Moulay Hicham to pay his debt to late Omar Slaoui, the brother-in-law of his wife Malika Benabdelali, although he was perfectly aware that he was terminally ill.
In the face of such an embarrassing situation, it is not Moulay Hicham’s condition that stopped the deceased’s family from enforcing their rights and resorting instead to a procedure of bank protest. Rather, it is that the family wanted to avoid any scandal that might indirectly malign the royal family; all the more so that every member of the Slaoui, Kadiri and Benslimane families know that the “Red Prince” is a bottomless pit.
It is also an invisible hand from inside the palace that incited Moulay Hicham to stand Michel Azeroaul up once the businessman demanded the settlement of his debts of millions of dollars. It must be a wave coming from the palace that pushed the businessman Abdelaziz El Mnezhi to put up, almost on a daily basis, with the humiliation of begging Moulay Hicham to pay his dues so that he can pay his daughter’s tuition abroad.
The list of victims of the insolvency of Moulahom (their master) Hicham gets longer and longer. Seek advice from Abderrahman El Cohen, the dean of the scapegoats of the prince, or from Omar and Hicham Kadiri and even from the Chaabi family.
The financial collapse of Moulay Hicham is such that even his administrative staff frequently complain of late payments of salaries and other monthly charges. Not to mention Ali Sqalli Houssaini, the attorney, and Jaouad Chraibi, the notary, who have had enough of piling up unpaid fees and are now threatening to make a public scandal in order to obtain their dues.
Everybody has come to understand it. By dint of plotting all his life against other people, Moulay Hicham ended up becoming the shadow of his failures and the main actor of his own decadence. He was so busy trying to prove how well-founded Hassan II’s premonition was when he gave the prince a punctured dollar. It was a gift that, seventeen years after the death of the late King, continues to symbolize the actions of Moulay Hicham and his braggarts responsible for hatching dirty tricks to tarnish the image of Morocco and that of the regime, the regency of which the prince hopes to inherit.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy