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.