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Egyptian Revolution Early lessons for Morocco and America

 Washington  / Morocco Board News -- Now that Mubarak is gone and Egypt enters the post-Mubarak period, foreign policy pundits are trying to predict the next revolt. However, at this stage of the Egyptian uprising, American and Arab observers are calling Obama’s handling of the Egyptian crisis into question. As Washington kept changing its messages trying not to give up on Mubarak while sounding sympathetic to the democratic demands of the demonstrators, human rights and democracy advocates grew inpatient and disillusioned with the American reluctance to support the legitimate demands of the crowds.

 Eventough it is still early to draw final lessons from the Egyptian “revolution”, several developments that happened in Tunisia and are transpiring in Egypt must be analyzed, summarized and implemented in several countries in the region, including Morocco and Algeria, to avoid further unrests and to meet the basic demands of the people in the Middle East and North Africa.
What are the first lessons for the rest of the countries in the region? Of course it dependents on the country. For Morocco, the authorities are familiar with the “Moroccans’ demands” that can be recapitulated in fighting corruption and nepotism in government agencies, leveling the field for all citizens to apply for jobs based on qualifications and not connections, and improving education and health services. On the political level, a reform of the judiciary system in Morocco and an overhaul of the press code are overdue. The talk of constitutional reforms is a newly debated subject for the Moroccans. The political scene is full with different views coming from a variety of political entities pondering the merits of a change to the Moroccan constitution.
Moroccans have been asking for an independent judiciary that is free of interferences from “officials” for sometimes now. A speedy and effective restructuring of the judicial system will send the right political message. Furthermore, A more open and transparent government is a “must change” to keep social peace in Morocco. The Moroccans are asking for a deep cleanup of their house, hoping and praying that it would happen hastily and without recourse to social unrests.
With all the talk of the “Morocco exception”, Moroccan officials will be complaisant to assume and believe that business as usually is the answer. In fact, now it is the time for the authorities  to be aggressive and proactive in implementing reforms that were promised to the people in the ”near past” but never delivered, and to coin new plans to address the average citizens valid concerns. Morocco, like the rest of the countries in the region, will be affected by the Egyptian revolution. To think otherwise will be political suicide.
One of the questions that observers and officials in the region will be examining once the dust settles in Cairo is: How did Egypt arrive at this conjunction? Moreover, what could past and present the American administrations have done to prevent the chaos and bloodshed in Tunisia and Egypt and how to help friendly government to deliver reforms in the future?
The Egyptian people have endured under a repressive regime for 30 years while the free world ignored their plights. As Amnesty International’s (AIUSA)representative covering Egypt and Tunisia in the 1990’s, I had little success in convincing major press organs in Washington to cover human rights abuses, independent press restrictions and police brutality by the Egyptian and Tunisian regimes. Few in the US Congress wanted to hear about the cruelty and rights abuses by the Tunisian and Egyptian regimes. The White House and the State department, while understanding and sometimes documenting the ill-treatment of political oppositions figures in the two countries, rarely acted to “effectively” pressure Cairo and Tunis to improve their human rights records, fight corruption and open up the political scene for opposition groups.
Washington knew in details the dark secrets of the Mubarak and Ben Ali regimes and had the tools to address the abuses, and yet American officials chose to overlook the violence, manipulation, and mistreatment of Egyptian and Tunisian human rights and democracy advocates for the sake of stable and friendly relations with two dictators.
In lights of the current developments, some observers are wondering what would have been the results if Washington pressured Mubarak and Ben Ali to clean up their acts and implement basic reforms. Would the US had lost the backing of Mubarak’s Egypt and Ben Ali’s Tunisia? The answer is no. A more “open and democratic” Egypt and Tunisia would have kept the two regimes alive and thus protecting American interests in the regions.
The lesson here is friendly but firm pressures on friendly regimes to implement democratic reforms are in the best interests of the local people, the “friendly regimes” and the national security of the United States.

 By HASSAN MASIKY

Comments (13)  

 
Nour
0 #1 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Egyptian Revolution Early lessons for Morocco and America Nour 2011-02-11 03:16
You are celebrating too soon. Ousting a leader is easy, establishing a fair and democratic system is a long and challenging process. The future will tell whether the people will have the patience for the tough tasks ahead and if the current change is for better or worse...
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Robert
0 #2 The conclusion of your paper is right on spot but...Robert 2011-02-11 03:30
Mr. Masiky,
When you say "The political scene is full with different views coming from a variety of political entities pondering the merits of a change to the Moroccan constitution", you implicitly bring a doubt to the process of changing the constitution. With all respect, let me strongly disagree with you and prove my point. Moroccan constitution is intrinsically anti-democratic and a huge impediment to true, genuine and believable reforms. The famous article 19 of the current constitution translates into "The King is the exclusive owner of the spiritual and material lives of all Moroccans with absolutely no accountability to anyone on Earth", which is the most terrible anti-reform message you can think of. Just put yourself in Mohamed 6's shoes for a moment: he thinks that (1) Alah created him and put him to lead Morocco, (2) Monarchy is not questionable in Morocco, (3) Makhzen is there to serve him (4) Moroccans are not even citizens (they're his subjects) (5) the army is under his commands (6) he is the seventh richest Monarch in the planet (worth 2.5-4 Billion dollars) and (7) he has the backing of USA, UE and Saudi Arabia. What is the incentive for him to do any reforms starting with constitutional changes? I strongly disagree with your opinion that Constitutional Reform (CF) in Morocco is optional or debatable. It is the first priority for any meaningful reform. CF is the most and utmost important step for Morocco and must happen as soon as possible before people take this message to the streets. If I were Mohamed 6, and by just watching TV for the last couple on months, I would IMMEDIATELY hijack the reform message in Morocco and make it my own. I would drive it on my pace starting by a proposal for constitutional reform. I hope Moroccan ear whisperers can take this message to him.
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Apache
0 #3 My 2 CentsApache 2011-02-11 04:02
The US is in a very difficult position.
Supporting Moubarek = Standing against the very same freedoms and liberties that the US prides itself upon.

Supporting the Protesters= throwing Moubarak under the bus affects the diplomatic relations with other leaders in the region.

So the Obama administration tried to play it safe by not calling out Mobarak. In the meantime give tons of lip service to the people of Egypt. Bad strategy, I am under the impression that the Egyptian street feels let down by the Obama administration.

As far as Morocco is concerned I think some elements will try to mimic the Tunisian and the Egyptian revolution but the turnout will not be as impressive. The majority of Moroccans have a hereditary fear of lMekhzen, uneducated, and are too dumb to understand the value of freedom and liberty.

Today I am Egyptian
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Germelou
0 #4 Irhal ya majidi/elhima! Ya qizma.Germelou 2011-02-11 04:45
Right on a Si Hassan! Big time to clean up shop. As primarily mint drinkers as opposed to turkish coffee and shisha, we do not want the mayhem and anarchy. Couscous eaters are by definition peaceful but M6 needs to kick his corrupt entourage out to fully reclaim the title of king of the people eroded in the past years. We'll get there I am sure hopefully before the thugs move their assets overseas. I am being told that Georgetown in Washington DC is full again of Moroccan tourists just like after Hassan II passed away.
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morcelli
0 #5 Long live Morocco!!!!!!!! !!morcelli 2011-02-11 05:43
Mubarak has been toppled and this is what you get from MAP ( Maghreb Arab Press)as a headline.

Moroccan, Senegalese equestrian federations sign cooperation agreement

Long live Morocco!!!!!!!!!!

Moroccans can only take this for some time, if our dear government does not change, we will end up in a revolution as well.
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man en blanc
0 #6 J'ACCUSE! Exception, Shmexion!man en blanc 2011-02-11 08:22
Morocco, contrary to the sunshine scenarios spewed up by the "experts" in D.C. and elsewhere, has all the required ingredients for mass uprisings, and deadly months-long riots.
The King MUST choose between his kleptomania-aff licted friends or the CHA3AB Maghrebi.

A healthy cell, surrounded by cancerous cells will be turn malignant! Hence its insignificance!

And what's make it frustratingly aggravating : We know their names! We can pinpoint the diseased components of the decades-long oppression! We even know the names of banks where they stashed their loot!

PEACE!


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Morcelli
0 #7 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Egyptian Revolution Early lessons for Morocco and America Morcelli 2011-02-11 10:57
I feel sorry for those who will be responsible for removing Mubarak's picture from all over Egypt.
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Mohamed1
0 #8 Right on RobertMohamed1 2011-02-11 12:07
I cannot help but agree with Robert. even if the king is a well meaning and respected king, the constitution is really against the very values of Arab people, who ought to be free and dignified people. because the constitution puts the institution of the monarchy outside the law, it triggers a spiral of corruption. If accountability is instituted on the monarchy as well, then the band of would be thiefs surrounding it would think twice before stealing or corrupting others. It is human nature to want to emulate the highest example in the land, and so if a few are never called to account you can be sure there will be many who will be accountable either. Meaningful constitutional reforms should be started NOW! make everyone's rights sacred not just a few.
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AnaWanta
0 #9 Big pictures and kissing hand ... AnaWanta 2011-02-12 00:28

I agree with Robert. Changes should start from the top.
My estimate is that more than 90% of Moroccans agree that Morocco should stay a monarchy but it should be a real constitutional monarchy.
What happened in Egypt can always happen in Morocco. Social class disparities, corruption and nepotism are very apparent in Morocco too.
King's pictures should never be so big! They are more noticeable than in the time of Hassan's era and that is not a good sign. Something you see only in countries that are ruled by dictators. "Kissing hands" is also outdated..
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Morcelli
0 #10 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Egyptian Revolution Early lessons for Morocco and America Morcelli 2011-02-12 05:55
Here is a picture for you guys,
Can you imagine Hillary Clinton kisses Obama's hand every time she sees him?

M6 since he was little he would always pull hands as to not be kissed, it's the ass kissers of our government who always jumps to devour his hands.

I guess he could advisers to tell them not to kiss his hands any more but apparently he enjoys to be kissed.
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madmo
0 #11 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Egyptian Revolution Early lessons for Morocco and America madmo 2011-02-12 11:26
There is no doubt governance in Morocco has to be brought into the 21st century. The question is how? If M6 and the few elite who rule Morocco today have been paying any attention, they should heed the experience of Tunis and Cairo and start delivering the inevitable real reforms immediately. Otherwise, there surely be blood on the streets of Morocco sooner or later.
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ZII
0 #12 Morocco King and civilians should take it easy to change ZII 2011-02-15 12:21
in an era of fast growing technology , multimedia and innovations ,Morocco can not stay far from this phenomenon , can not stay retarded .It should cope with the world fast development ,otherwise Moroccans will stay outdated , poor , and humiliated .it s high time to convert morocco from donkeys and camels ,deserts and tents , ignorance and odd mentalities, corruption and nepotism , into a heaven modern society where Moroccan people can enjoy development,fre edom,modernity, peace,happiness ,dignity,equali ty,same as their neighbors in Spain and France .To achieve these , Moroccan civilians hand in hand with the king should topple and sack all the parliaments and the ministers and officers who were sleeping and cheating and ...they are responsible for all these economic and social problems in morocco because they never do their duty and work in the proper way .the king and the protesters should sack all of them and change them to more active honest people through fair and clear elections .
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JoeC
0 #13 Gaddafi Flash GameJoeC 2011-03-10 22:50
This game goes viral now: http://gaddafibash.flashgressive.de
Throw shoes at Gaddafi!!!
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