1 thought on “Morocco-Qatargate”

  1. To put this interesting article in a broader perspective, Morocco’s interest in the workings of the European Parliament results from its fight, since 1975, to get its de facto occupation of the Western Sahara recognised de jure. That is unlikely to happen at the United Nations whose position is that the territory remains in international law a Spanish colony, i.e. as a non-decolonized territory with Spain as the de jure administering state. The European Court of Justice ruled last year that the commercial agreements signed between Morocco and the EU which grant the fishing fleets of countries such as Spain and France the right to fish in the rich waters off the coast of Western Sahara are not valid. This does not stop European boats from plying their trade but is a major irritant for Morocco.

    Moroccan diplomacy has been increasingly hardball, notably towards Spain over the past two years. On the 17-18 May 2021, more than 10,000 illegal Moroccan immigrants poured into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. The European Parliament called on Morocco to stop pressuring Spain but its hardline tactics bore fruit, when early last year, Spain’s official position on the Western Sahara shifted in favour of Morocco, thus leading to a major crisis in Madrid’s relations with Algiers. Spanish exports to Algeria dropped by 85% in 2022.

    Morocco’s Direction Generale de la Surete Nationale (DGST) under its hardline and controversial head Abdellatif Hammouchi has long since taken charge of the country’s diplomacy on matters related to the Western Sahara from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs whose titular head Nasser Bourita is seen as lightweight. Some seasoned observers of the kingdom believe that the poor state of health of King Mohammed VI gives Hammoudi greater freedom of manoeuvre than would normally be the case.

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