Observers consider relations between the Kingdom of Morocco and the United States to be approaching a critical juncture. This is taking place against the backdrop of recent events that have caused heightened tension on the part of Morocco toward the country of Uncle Sam.
The last straw was the most recent report issued by the U.S. State Department concerning what was referred to as “the reality of human rights in Morocco.” It painted a stark image of the marginalization of rights and freedoms in the Kingdom. The Moroccan Ministry of the Interior responded with strong language, describing it as “lies and slander.” These are terms Morocco has never before employed to describe its relations with the United States.
The incident itself occurred against the background of the Moroccan foreign minister summoning American Ambassador Dwight Bush before the Director General of Studies and Documentation Yassine Mansouri at the ministerial headquarters in Rabat. The Moroccan delegation sought to exhibit evidence that there were phony allegations of human rights violations, thereby refuting the information in the report. The Moroccan Ministry asserted that the report gives the impression that those involved with human rights monitoring are not fulfilling their responsibilities, but instead are an insult to the mission pursued by their many committed and dedicated constituents.
Khalid Shiat, a professor of international relations, confirmed to Hespress that the matter is related to a “transformation in the strategic vision of the United States,” which is no longer interested in Moroccan companies. He pointed out that in the past, there was agreement in the two countries’ strategic visions on the big issues. In addition, there were shared interests joining the two countries on various issues, since the U.S. considered Morocco to be a traditional ally in North Africa dating back to the era of the Cold War.
The professor said, “America’s foreign relations are directed by research centers, whose principal aim is to serve America’s strategic interests,” and that these policies take into account Iran’s regional plans in addition to other projects. For that reason, the policies strive to serve some countries at the expense of other countries, all of which plays in favor of the United States.
Shiat believes that Morocco has begun acting according to a strategy of parity on many issues, which is apparent through the “escalating steps” it has undertaken; It resorted to forging relations with other countries, like Russia and China, which “will be to the detriment of its relations with the United States,” in his opinion.
The kingdom has pursued this strategy in the face of what Shiat described as “American harassment of Morocco and its achievements.” This is reflected in the most recent report from the U.S. State Department on human rights, which the professor of international relations considered to be a “dismissal of Morocco’s achievements and the strides it has made on rights and freedoms.”
The professor confirmed that reports released from the United States are usually “tools of extortion against other countries” that adhere to the whims of the U.S. and are used to exert pressure on the decisions of the Security Council. He indicated that these reports have a “negative impact on Morocco in terms of investment, and projects in various domains.”
Commenting on the meeting of Moroccan officials with American Ambassador Dwight Bush, the professor stressed the fact that on this current issue, "there is proof that Morocco is in possession of facts and evidence of the aforementioned lies and slander.” He holds that Morocco “does not need to respond to these accusations, given that it has made major strides on human rights, despite a few instances of exception.”
In that context, Shiat asserted that the most recent report can be read from two different angles: The first is narrow, since it could be said, “the United States may have made a mistake, which must not be repeated.” The issue can also be viewed from a strategic standpoint, and subsequently one can view the report as an attempt to harass and extort, as he put it.