North Africa

Morocco Recent History

Foreign policy strategy of Morocco

In foreign policy, Morocco (member of the Arab League) has pursued a policy of non-alignment since gaining independence. It supported the decolonization of Africa and in 1963 helped found the Organization of African Unity (OAU). In the Middle East conflict, Morocco took a moderate line towards Israel. The close economic ties to France could not prevent tensions in the relationship between the two states, for example in October 1965 when Ben Barka was kidnapped from his exile in Paris. In 1969 Morocco became an associate member of the EC.

In the mid-1970s, Hasan II headed thean expansionist foreign policy. After hundreds of thousands of Moroccans, with strong propaganda support from the government, had declared their Moroccan claim to the Western Sahara dominated by Spain in a “green march” (November 6, 1975), Spain renounced a treaty in favor of Morocco and Mauritania (November 14, 1975). 1975) in this field; Morocco also won the part awarded to Mauritania in 1979. With this policy Morocco came into conflict with the liberation movement Frente Polisario, which, supported by v. a. of Algeria, in the area of ​​Western Sahara proclaimed the independent “République Arabe Saharaouie Démocratique” (“Democratic Arab Republic of the Sahara”, DARS). A long-lasting military conflict broke out, the v. a. strained Moroccan relations with Algeria and Libya. In 1984 Morocco declared its exit from the OAU, as it had recognized the DARS as an independent member. No matter how much the Western Sahara question put a strain on Morocco’s foreign policy, it won so strongly Hasan II received domestic support with this policy, especially among those nationalists who once defended Allal al-Fassi championed ideas of Greater Morocco (including Mauritania, parts of Algeria and Mali). The military clashes between Moroccan troops and Frente Polisario were finally brought to an end on September 6, 1991, mediated by the UN, by means of a ceasefire. Following a UN peace plan for Western Sahara that had been in place since April 1991, Morocco and Frente Polisario agreed in September 1997, through American mediation, to hold a United Nations-supervised referendum on the independence of Western Sahara. The voting date (originally planned on December 7, 1998) was postponed several times due to the controversial voter registration. Various autonomy plans have also been changed several times.

In 1987, according to Cheeroutdoor, Morocco joined the GATT and in 1988 participated in the establishment of the Maghreb Union. In view of the process of understanding in the Middle East conflict that began in 1993, Morocco set up a liaison office with Israel in 1994. In the same year, it decided to set up a free trade area in this area with the other states of the Maghreb. In February 1996 Morocco signed an Association Agreement with the European Union.

Morocco after Hasan II.

Domestic political contradictions (including the bloody suppression of the general strike in 1981) have intensified, especially since 1990, and led to a refusal of the opposition parties. The government’s readiness for democracy, which was signaled by the constitutional revision in 1996, prompted the opposition to form an electoral alliance and to participate in the local and parliamentary elections in 1997, to which moderate Islamist parties were also permitted for the first time. The socialist electoral alliance »Koutla« prevailed against the government alliance »Wifak« in both local and parliamentary elections. Prime Minister Abderrahman Youssoufi (* 1924; USFP) became Prime Minister in March 1998. The formation of the two-chamber system was completed with the constitution of the House of Lords in December 1997.

After the death of Hasan II (July 23, 1999), his eldest son was named Mohammed VI. who intensified the economic and democratic reforms introduced in the mid-1990s and the development of a modern monarchy. After the parliamentary elections on September 27, 2002, in which the Islamist party achieved high increases in votes, but the socialist parties again emerged as the strongest force, was of King Mohammed VI. on October 9, 2002 the former Minister of the Interior Driss Jettou (* 1945; independent) appointed the new Prime Minister. A conflict with Spain broke out in July 2002 after the Spanish Parsley Island was temporarily occupied by Moroccan troops. Bilateral working groups were set up in December 2003 to clarify controversial points between Spain and Morocco (including fishing rights, illegal migration, drug trafficking, Western Sahara conflict). The African migrants who came to Europe via Morocco (partly via the Spanish enclaves Ceuta and Melilla) were a particular problem. – A series of suicide attacks by Islamist fundamentalists on Jewish and Western institutions on May 16, 2003 in Casablanca claimed more than 40 lives. A little later, more than a million people turned against terrorism at the largest demonstration since the country’s independence. Since then, the security forces have acted with increased severity against radical Islamists (including the “Salafija Jihadija”). In November 2005, the Mohammed VI The »Commission for Justice and Reconciliation« set up a report which, among other things, Documented political murders and persecutions, acts of violence and violations of human rights from 1956 to 1999. Similar to the Republic of South Africa, which had set up a comparable committee of inquiry in 1995, the aim was to deal with a significant period of the history of Morocco, which was mainly shaped by King Hasan II.

From the parliamentary elections on September 7, 2007, the Parti Istiklal emerged as the strongest political force. Talks brokered by the United Nations between Morocco and the liberation movement Frente Polisario on the Western Sahara question remained unsuccessful in the same year. The first EU-Morocco summit took place in Spain in 2010.

Protest movement »20. February”

Against the background of the political upheavals in Egypt and Tunisia, demonstrations for democratic change also took place in Morocco in February 2011. The opposition united in the “Movement of February 20” called for an improvement in the political participation of the population. Riots following peaceful protest rallies left dead and injured. The king responded to the protest with constitutional reforms (including strengthening the power of parliament and the head of government), which the population approved in a constitutional referendum on July 1, 2011 with 98.5% of the vote. The “February 20th Movement,” which called for more extensive measures, had called for a boycott of the vote.

Morocco Recent History