GCC's Morocco invite, A New Saudi Foreign Policy Doctrine

Washington / Morocco Board News--Even though still recovering from the disconcerting effects of the collapse of the Mubarak regime in Egypt, the Saudis are wasting no time to shore up friendly government in the Arab world to avoid a repeat of a Tahrir square revolution elsewhere in the region. If Saudi lost Egypt, it cannot afford to see Morocco destabilized; hence the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) invitation for Morocco to join the “Club.” The Saudi’s invite is a part of a new more aggressive and unilateral strategy by Riyadh to protect its religious “supremacy” in the Muslim world and stop the Iranian continues hegemonic plans in the Middle East.


The Saudi decision to ask Morocco to join the GCC, a unified economic bloc composed of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait, came after years of efforts by successive Saudi Monarchs to bridge the political differences between Morocco and its neighboring Algeria. The Saudis rather have the Morocco-Algeria axis as the basis of a stable North Africa. However, the self-serving attitudes of the Algerian military establishment, the de-facto ruler, became a constant obstacle to Saudi plan in the region. Now that the GCC is welcoming Morocco to its fold, Algeria is left out in the cold isolated and bitter. Comments by Algerian officials criticizing the GCC action as divisive and the recent visit of the Qatari emir to Algiers are sign of panic in the Algerian circles too feeble to react to this bombshell.
Saudi Arabia is reeling from the Obama administrations’ handling of the Egyptian revolt. High-ranking officials in the Kingdom are unhappy with the way the American “threw Mubarak under the bus” when the riots got heated. Saudis expected Washington to assist their long time ally in weathering the social unrests. Riyadh lost a key ally of its regional policy to contain Iran and help pacify the Shiite population in the Gulf region. Since Washington could not be counted on  to stand by its allies, Riyadh decided to go solo in protecting its interest and countering the Persian threat in the Gulf and around the Islamic world.
Second only to Egypt, Morocco is a vital member of the Saudi front to contain the Iranian influence. Morocco has been blunt in its criticism of Iran to the point of cutting off diplomatic relation with Tehran. During his last week’s visit to Riyadh, Morocco’s Foreign Minister expressed his country’s full backing of the Saudi decision to send troops to support the Al-Khalifa ruling family’s crackdown on the Shiite in Bahrain.
If the Moroccans are surprised by the GCC invitation to join their organization, The Khaleeji (people from the GCC countries) elite view Morocco as the perfect addition to their union in political, military and economic terms. As the Moroccans start to digest this news, it is becoming evident that the GCC will be a win-win situation for the Moroccan economy, especially if Morocco implements real democratic and economic reforms.
On the political and economic levels, Morocco does not have to adopt a GCC type of governing style to join. Morocco can always choose to adopt a Parliamentary monarchy if Moroccans decide to. At the end, Morocco and all of the GCC countries are Sunni Monarchies.
Once member of the group, Morocco will have more incentives to continue reforms as the economic integration will help elevate unemployment by having more Moroccan workers working in the Gulf. In addition, Gulf countries will surly increase their direct investments in Morocco creating more jobs for the locals.
Some Moroccans are weary of a Moroccan military involvement in the Gulf. The fact is Morocco will militarily assist any GCC member now if asked regardless of its membership status. Morocco assisted coalition forces during the Gulf War I, Moroccan Armed Forces have been sending military advisors to GCC country for years and backed the Saudi military effort to support Saddam during the Iraq-Iran war.
Moroccans are still absorbing this information. Yet, any economic help coming from the GCC will not make a difference in the life the average Moroccan unless the Moroccan government clean up its act and do away with corruption and nepotism.

Comments (4)  

Jamal de Londres
0 #1 COMMENT_TITLE_R E GCC's Morocco invite, A New Saudi Foreign Policy DoctrineJamal de Londres 2011-05-19 05:37
Well done Hassan!

Nice one
0 #2 Maps will have to be forbidden PolisarioWasher 2011-05-19 05:41
My logic tells me that if the GCC leaders are willing to admit, with such haste and on such a whim Morocco and Jordan, doesn't it signify that they are in a position of weakness -or expect a severe and impending threat to their thrones. This grouping isn't the EU, the functionaries of the GCC work for myopic rulers with reptilian concerns; they want Morocco in the club because it's a Sunni monarchy that has proven itself willing to do an Arabian bidding here and there. That's all the Gulf states really need to help put down (to bloody) their domestic encounter with the Arab spring/insurrec tions, or Iranians leaping across the Gulf to rescue the Shiites. Should such combat arise, we will only earn the masses enmity, and should the masses succeed in overthrowing their rulers, they will become custodians of enough petro-dollars to revenge against us. Such long-term enemies are not what we need.
Secondly, along with the likelihood of Moroccans killing and being killed in the Middle East, there is the certainty that democracy cannot progress among GCC member, sorry club rules. Moroccans will not be happy with any stalling backsliding in democratization.
It's more complicated that that for sure, but not really...like I said, reptilian concerns.
man en blanc
0 #3 FINE. SHOW ME THE MONEY!man en blanc 2011-05-19 11:38
How about 3000 Dirhams for EVERY Moroccan first. Paid upfront, no questions asked. We are due for a huge stimulus, and the frightened trembling oil Sheikdoms have the moolah to pay US for entry into their no-longer-secur e and very shaky club.

And no. I am not kidding. I am never seen a poor Saudi, Qatari,Kuwaiti. ..etc. And I know the region. So, in a club everyone should be more or less equal, Right? why should the Average Moroccan rejoice a membership of the haves while he/she remains havenot?
0 #4 COMMENT_TITLE_R E GCC's Morocco invite, A New Saudi Foreign Policy DoctrineUssef 2011-05-19 22:15
Here again. Somehow every one just assumes that the post revolution Egypt will necessarily be anti-Saudi, anti-American and pro-Iranian. That is extremely unlikely. The recent overtures of Cairo are unfortunate teething symptoms. Whomever comes to the power after the elections will have to meet the demands of his people, that is better opportunities, more equality and economic prosperity. Without the life lines of American and Saudi aid and investment, not to mention trade and remittances, it's simply impossible. Iran is a paper tiger, not even capable of precessing its oil, selling it but, liquefy its natural gas, relying on Qatar for this, or import without the help of Dubai's ports facilities. It retains a noisiness factor and can do harm if it wishes to, but Iran is in no way capable of helping Egypt economically, and will only make it a pariah diplomatically.
So, if not by affinity, Egypt will come around by necessity.

That said, those who till now touted the Arab economic complementarity and routed for it at all occasions are the first to point to the differences between Morocco and the GCC as insurmountable. The transaction isn't clear, what Morocco will give and what it will receive from the GCC, but whatever it is, Morocco can't be too choosy. The GCC have no hold on Moroccan politics, nor have they any sway on how things will develop here. The idea that this is an anti arab spring initiative is ridiculous.

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