Over the last decades, many political changes have happened around the world making it easier for Morocco to press forward its agenda in the Western Sahara conflict. Yet, Rabat has never developed an intellectual school of geopolitical philosophy to take advantage of the new “regional order”, score diplomatic success at the United Nations and secure the backing of reluctant capitals.
Washington DC – Morocco’s lethargic diplomacy is more evident in its strategy dealing with the political upheaval in neighboring Algeria. Conscious of Algeria’s old guard propaganda line accusing foreign hands of being behind all of the countries’ ailments, Moroccans have been overly guarded in their efforts to sidestep the political quagmire in Algiers.
While it is wise and understandable for the Moroccan government to stay out of the internal affairs of other countries, Moroccan politicians outside the government, political and human rights activists, and non-government organizations are entitled to discuss, comment and take stands on the situation in other countries including Algeria.
Consequently, the Moroccan foreign ministry’s recent attack on its former chief diplomat Mr. Salaheddine Mezouar for applauding the peaceful political movement in Algeria and “imploring” the military to share power with civilians is incomprehensible and unfortunate.
Rabat issued a harshly worded statement, as if a major diplomatic incident occurred, calling Mr. Mezouar’s statements “irresponsible, clumsy and ill-considered.” Actually, it is the Moroccan diplomacy’s reaction that is ill-advised, hasty and defeatist.
Mr. Mezouar is a citizen who does not represent the positons of any government, and therefore he is entitled to his opinions. He made his comments as The President of the General Confederation of Morocco’s Enterprises (CGEM) and not as a Moroccan diplomat.
It is rather a pity to hear Rabat describing Mr. Mezouar’s account as “a meddling in a other nations affairs” when it is rather Algeria’s former Prime Minister and current presidential candidate Abdelmadjid Tebboune declaration describing the Western Sahara conflict is a case of decolonisation that represents a flagrant interference in the businesses of the Kingdom.
Mr. Mezouar who was ineffective as foreign minister and uninspiring as a leader of a major political party is the victim of an archaic Moroccan foreign policy based on “hear no evil see no evil speak no evil”.
This approach has not succeeded, expectedly so, as the uptake in the hirak (social and political protest movement) has yet to lessen the Algerian military support to the Polisario despite calls from current and former Algerian high-ranking government officials for normalizations of relations with Morocco.
Rabat’s docile diplomacy toward Algeria underscores a level of low esteem and a lack of confidence in the legitimate rights of Morocco on the Western Sahara. What make the Moroccan government’s response also egregious are the constant anti-Morocco reports in the official Algerian press that go an answered.
The real question is why Rabat feels the need to control the statements of a former diplomat when Algerian official television stations are covering the activities of Saharan separatists calling Moroccans invaders.
It is time for Moroccan diplomat to move away from a policy focused on the containment of a discredited military establishment and move toward drawing a blueprint aimed at highlighting to the Algerians the truth and cost behind their government policy of support to the Western Saharan separatists.
Many aspects of Morocco’s foreign policy have remained the same for years. The dynamics of the hierarchical relationships between the foreign ministry, Royal advisors and the intelligence community have further impeded the elaboration of a multi-faceted diplomacy able to adjust and adapt as fast as development around the world.
The Moroccan diplomacy has scored some successes in recent years with more nations supporting its positions in the Sahara conflict, however, Rabat is still in need of a long-run perspective and a core strategy that instill political confidence and diplomatic aggressiveness.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial views.
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