Of all of the places
on earth, Morocco must be rated as one of the most interesting. The country was
blessed with multiple climatic zones and wondrous cities, beautiful mountains
and sand filled beaches. For the most part the government is benevolent and the
country to a large degree has prospered. We look forward to our visits and are
The country is located
in northern Africa and border both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean. It
is situated directly across from Spain and next to Algeria and Mauritania. It
has a land area a tad bigger than California. The population is a little more
than 30 million based on most recent estimates and for all intensive purposes
it is Muslim. There is reasonable literacy and the Government is considered a
constitutional monarchy. The capital is in Rabat and until March 2, 1956 Morocco
was part of the French colonial system. For almost forty years, the country was
ruled by King Hassan II who has only recently died and the torch has been passed
to his son.
Morocco has a Prime
Minister and a bicameral Parliament
which consists of an upper house called the
Chamber of Counselors which consists pf 270 members who are elected for nine year terms
and are more like the House of Lords in England with the membership being
only indirectly elected and consisting of the top professionals in the country.
Additionally there a Chamber of Representatives consisting of 325 seats that is
elected for five year terms and resemble our congressmen in that they are elected
by popular vote.
While that portion of
the government has a reasonable tinge of democracy to it, the judicial branch
does not. The head court is called the Supreme Court and the judges are appointed
on the recommendation of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary, presided over by
the king. In this instance, the king usually gets his way and there is no oversight
regarding the Council's decisions.
Morocco is the largest
exporter of phosphates in the world but the country is primarily agrarian with
a gross domestic product of $107 billion and a per capita income of $3,500 in
1997. Morocco is the world's second largest exporter of citrus fruits. Although
growth was adequate it was not explosive and thus the unemployment rate was an
unsatisfactory 16% primarily as a result of farms transitioning to more modern
The primary recipient
for Moroccan exports is the EU and Morocco imports the majority of the needs from
them as well. The currency, the dirham, is freely exchangeable and has been relatively
stable over the last several years.
Morocco will be the
first in North Africa to have a nuclear plant thanks to a trade deal worked out
with the Chinese Government. The entire transaction will encompass cooperation
in textiles and fishing. The plant will be a modest 10-megawatts and will be used
primarily for the desalinization of seawater for agricultural purposes. Khalid Alioua told a news conference
that ' "It will be a small nuclear plant top generate electricity and will
be under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
China is starting to
make major investments in Morocco and has already put money into 17 fishery joint
ventures entailing 64 fishing boats. Moroccan Ambassador to China Mimoun Mehdi
when asked about this sudden interest that China is showing in things Moroccan,
"Great potential exists in the Sino-Moroccan economic relationship, My ambition
for Sino-Moroccan economic links is as big as the dimensions of the friendship
between the two countries." What Mehdi was referring to was the fact that
relations between Morocco and China date back to the 12th century and
it is believed that China will be concentrating next on the underutilized Moroccan
mining industry, especial phosphate production as China is one of the world's
largest purchasers of fertilizer.
Because of problems
in the Western Sahara, Morocco has devoted a relatively large amount to military
spending over recent years but there has been some optimism recently that this
situation is cooling off and under United Nations auspicious could be solved.
In addition, Spain controls
five different areas on or near the coast of Morocco which has been more of a
thorn in Morocco's side than anything else. Morocco believes that these properties
are belong to them but have indicated repeatedly that they will not go to war
with Spain over their possession. Morocco has also become an unwilling transit
point for hashish and cocaine destined for Western Europe. It has had to divert
substantial resources to deal with this problem as well.
As the years progress
it is my belief that Morocco will become a tourist Mecca as it has all of the
requirements. The "Imperial Cities" of Marrakech, Rabat, Fez and Meknes are all delights
and one needs not do anything more than spend a day in the town square's to see
an endless procession of interesting spectacles. Accommodations have improved
dramatically over recent years and one of the lesser known highlights of a trip
to Morocco is a "dig" in the prolific Atlas Mountains numerous important
ecological finds have occurred in recent years. . These mountains have also been
popular for hiking and camping.
Many of the people are
tri-lingual with Arabic being the national language, French being the historic
language and English being the language of commerce.
The land that is now
Morocco was originally inhabited by
the Berbers , but in 681, the Arabs occupied the country and used it as a base
to spread both the Arab language and Islam throughout sub-Saharan Africa and Europe.
Using Morocco as a jumping off point, they crossed the Straight of Gibraltar and
occupied both Spain and Portugal.
Both Spain and Portugal
returned the favor in the seventeenth century by occupying parts of Morocco but
in 1912 and Morocco became a French protectorate with Spain continued holding
parts of both the north and south of Morocco.
France granted Morocco
independence in 1956 and most of the land that Spain was occupying was also returned.
Morocco has also had
problems with other of its neighbors and its border with Algeria has been closed
for over ten years with an estimated loss to the Moroccan economy of approximately
$2 billion per year. The newly elected president of Algeria, Abdelaziz Bouteflika,
came to call when the King died and with fresh leadership from both countries
it is believed that this thorn in Morocco's side will soon be removed. Others
may not be so easy. Morocco was a major beneficiary of Western aid over the years
but instead of building infrastructure, they used it for defense and security
position. Today, some 85 percent of Moroccan Government outlays cover salaries
and payment on foreign debt, which is among the highest in the Arab world.
With no infrastructure
development, not considered quite strategic enough to ply with excess funds, Morocco
is in the difficult position of having to fend for itself. While certain funding
was promised upon the new King ascending the throne, the numbers are not important
enough to help. Morocco is caught in a viscous circle with the long serving Interior
Minister, Driss Basri holding the key. He is second only to the king in power,
but he is not a believer in increased democracy and is paranoid about internal
security. Thus, if history is any judge of the future, Basri, a died in the wool
hard-liner will continue to stand in the way of Morocco truly taking their rightful
place in the democratic global society. It is unlikely that the young king will
oppose his anti-diluvium ideas and the manifest destiny of Morocco will have to
await his demise.
In the meantime, Morocco
does offer free education to all of its people for as long as the wish to stay
in school. They soon may be faced with an internal power keg as this more educated
group who has by in large gravitated to the larger cities such as Casa Blanca,
determines that they do not want to wait until the next generation to have a better
life. If Morocco stays with the old guard they will be facing the exact self fulfilling
prophecy that Basri is concerned about,
The King of Morocco
was his own man and ran the country his own way. Although the country appeared nominally democratic,
whatever advances that were made were at the sole whim of the King. He dealt with
countries that were ostracized within in his world, as he pleased and his relationship
with Israel was unusual to say the lest. He had been a very important factor in
attempting to bring peace to the region and he was well aware of the potential
consequences of his actions.
At times he was frivolous
with his generosity. Mobutu Sese Seke literally had become a pariah once he had
been dethroned and literally wandered from country to country looking for someone
to take him in. By the time that King Hassan II found him at his doorstep, Mobutu
had and advanced case of prostrate cancer and in spite of world opinion, he took
him in and it was in Morocco that Mobutu died several months later.
When the King died,
in honor of his death, almost 8,000 prisoners are being pardoned and released
and another 40,000 are having their sentences reduced. The Moroccan prison system
has not gotten any kudos from international welfare agencies for either their
humane treatment of inmates or the number of reformed citizens they turn out.
In addition, many of
the freed prisoners are from the outlawed Islamic group, Adl Wal Ihasan (Justice
and Spirituality). Almost 15 Moroccans live under the poverty line and this group
represents a glimmer of hope to those that have nothing else. This was both a
gutsy and dangerous move, particularly as it relates to this group.
Many foreigners were
also released from jail and for the most part, these were contraband and drug
dealers who are now back on the street. As we pointed out earlier, because of
Morocco's strategic geographical location it has become an ideal spot to transship
hashish and cocaine into western Europe. We hope that in his exuberance to honor
his father, the young king didn't open Pandora's box.
The New King
Morocco isn't the most
trouble country in the world, but it certainly isn't the least troubled either.
Unemployment, drug smuggling, a drought, and religious fanaticism all must be
addressed. Thirty-five year old Mohamed the VI
(Sisi Mohamed) did not get a lot of on the job training from his dad and
many are now wondering whether he is up to the very difficult task lying ahead.
His interests were no different than others his age that had money, women, (Mohammed
is unmarried), fast cars, nightclubs and literature took up his time but here,
his interests were no different then that of his father's at the same age. He
showed little or no interest in learning the process of running the country and
his dad, not one to share power even with his son took little or no interest in
getting him ready for his ultimate profession.
A visionary in so many
other areas, Hassan II probably screwed up in the most important area of his country's
future by not grooming his successor. Interestingly enough, Mohamed and Jordan's
King Abdullah are close friends and both are going to be getting a lot of on-the-job
training on a rush basis in the near future. On the other hand, the Abdullah's
father knew that he was going to die and was able to pave the way in many respects
for his son to ascend to power. At the last minute he removed every conceivable
obstacle from Abdullah's path. This will make a world of difference as the transition
Mohamed is no dummy
though, he speaks French, Arabic , English and Spanish as well as holding a law
degree from a French University. He has interned at the European Commission in
Brussels as well as the United Nations. It is hoped that he will be able to determine
which of his father's advisors can help him stay the course. In the meantime,
Mohamed's first official correspondence upon taking the thrown was to review a
memorandum from Amnesty International asking the King to improve his country's
human rights record by clamping down on illegal detentions and torture. The memo
referred to the fact that they were aware of 900 people that had disappeared in
recent years while in custody and that a high number of deaths occur while people
are in custody as well, usually from various forms of torture.
Driss Basri is a firm
grasp of the situation in Morocco and his strongly ensconced in his position but
his views have held the country back. Should Mohamed break with Basri he will
lose a powerful right arm but in the process, if he is good enough, Morocco could
well become the leader of the Arab world. We will await events.
The young King made
a valiant start and in his first address to his people he said that he wanted
to continue to build a free and open country "So that we achieve the things
we all aspire to, we must work together hand in hand." He then announced
the freeing of 8,000 prisoners. Many said that this was a good start but much
more should be done.
The Western Sahara
Probably the longest
running war in the world today is the one where opposing armies have starred each
other down in the sweltering heat of the Western Sahara. The opposing parities
are, the Moroccans with 100,000 fully trained, well equipped and sitting in the
"high ground" behind heavily fortified position.
opposition in this war which stretches almost a thousand miles and costs Morocco
almost $1 billion per year are 20,000 guerillas with literally nothing but small
arms representing the Polisano Front. The difference between the two is that Morocco's
100,000 do not like to be where they are one bit and the Polisano calls the Western
Sahara home. They have been able to fight everyone that has come at them to a
standstill for over 24 years and indicate that if they must do it for another
20 years, then that it Allah's wish. Opposing the Moroccans about 20,000 lightly-armed
guerrillas of the Polisario Front,
is at stack in this land that is twice the size of England is a lot of phosphate
and substantial oil and the only thing that is keeping the two side away from
each other are the troops supplied by the United Nations Mission for the Referendum
in Western Sahara (MINURSO). The United Nations has held the side at bay for an
uneasy eight years.
attempted to exert control over the area
since 1884 when they claimed parts of the Western Sahara as a protectorate and
as the years wore on extended their claims in what is now parts of Morocco. It
wasn't until 1934 that Spain did move into most of the region they claimed but
were meet by fierce resistance by the people that populated the territory. The
French who had the own reasons in seeing the region pacified came to Spain's aid
and between the two countries they were able to occupy the strategic points in
the interior. Spain, In spite of promising the United Nations in 1966 that the
would allow self determination in the Western Sahara, they pulled out of the area in 1975
and invited Morocco and Mauritania to assume control.
both countries understood that this to be a fact but when they attempted to control
the Polisario (Sahawari People) rose up as one to defend the land against them. Both sides fought each other to a
standstill with substantial bloodshed being the result. Mauritania soon grew tired
of what they determined was a hopeless cause when the Polisario fighters threatened
to disrupt critical rail and road links.
Thus, Morocco moved into the territory that the
Mauritanians evacuated and were left to fight the battle alone. King Hassan
II at this point had been the subject of several coup attempts and saw this situation
as a method of distracting the army and proceeding to make the incorporation of
the Western Sahara into Morocco a national issue. Being a great public relations
expert he gathered a force of 350,000 civilians and marched into the Western Sahara.
He called his parade, the "Green March", but in spite of this terrific
public relations ploy, the International Court of Justice voted in favor of Independence
for the Western Sahara.
Polisario fighters declared themselves independent at that point and were surprisingly
recognized on a formal basis by more than half of the members of the Organization
for African Unity (OAU) of which Morocco was a member and when they were formally
inducted into the organization, Morocco left in protest. Ultimately Morocco determined
that it could not dislodge the Polisario and built a fortified wall or "berm"
the entire length of the field of engagement. When the United Nations stepped
in, the Moroccans just kind of hunkered down behind there protective enclosure
and there it sits.
Sahawari People believe firmly that this is their God-given territory and Mohammed
Abdelaziz, the President of the Sahawari Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) The President
of the Sahawari Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) Mohammed Abdelaziz, said earlier
this month that "the SADR has the legitimate right to take up arms again
to defend its inalienable rights and its national sovereignty in the Western Sahara." In the meantime, Morocco has left
it to the inhabitants to decide who should ultimately rule the territory and a
referendum will take place in March of 2000 under the auspices of the United Nations.
simple doesn't it. Well think again. With unemployment running close to 20% in
Morocco, the wily Interior Minister, Driss Basri has been moving extraneous Moroccans
into the territory in preparation for the vote. With the SADR limited to just
under 80,000 votes which is what the population was when Spain evacuated, it appears
the Moroccans can pack the deck against them. The vote is simple, either they
vote for independence and self rule or they vote to become part of greater Morocco.
Morocco has been stacking the deck for awhile by pushing the referendum forward
as they move settlers into the region. Morocco has been delaying the Sahawari's
since 1992 and if wasn't for the U. S. Secretary of State, James Bakers cajoling
of both sides nothing would be even happening now.
after that, the Moroccans have used every cease fire to add to their already prodigious
fortifications, occasionally dropping a bomb or so on a few hapless Sahawari's
or torturing the one that accidentally wind up behind their lines. For the most
part, this has not changed the Sahawari's resolve and they have remained determined
in the face of overwhelming material and personal odds.
Sahwari are indeed an interesting race descending from a various tribes which
contained a bit of Bedouin Arabs (Beni Hassan), a touch of black African slaves
and a dash of Sanhaja Berbers. In the midst of a furious war, they have raised
their overall literacy as a group from 5% to 95%. While the United Nations and
other relief agencies have contributed immeasurably to the Saharawi cause, they
have been able to make the desert blossom and are rapidly becoming self sufficient.
The children attend schools of advanced education throughout Europe and the even
have set up institutions of higher learning in their own back yard. They have
erected underground hospitals and have created a free healthcare system for all
of their people.
fiercely Muslim, women have take part in every part of society including the military.(1)
The women have the same rights as their men when it comes to marriage and divorce.
There are no formal places of worship and the people are more interested in liberation
possible resumption of relations between Algeria and Morocco would eliminate a
major Saharawi ally and with their other major benefactor, Libya, becoming more
conservative, it looks like an excellent time for compromise. The vote is not
the answer, it is face to face negotiations between the parties and it is just
possible that the young king in just the one to pull it off. One of the major
problems facing both sides in this conflict is the fact that the peacekeeping
mission is costing the United Nations a fortune and nothing is happening to move
things forward. The United Nations patience is moving thin and if their forces
are withdrawn, the war will undoubtedly start again. This time though, with Morocco's
new king in the saddle, the outcome may be very different then it was before.
Moroccan relations with
the United States every since he assumed power. Hassan II as a young man had accompanied
his father, the late King Mohammed V, during the Casablanca Conference in 1943
where he meet with then President Franklin D. Roosevelt with whom he established
a warm relationship. During this
period, Morocco was a French Protectorate and therefore, strongly in the allied
camp. For a short period, Morocco came under Vichy domination and rebelled against
Petain directives to install anti-Jewish regulations. The King held fast and much
to his credit, caused Petain to back down. Interestingly enough, Morocco was the
first country to recognize the United States which they did in 1786 by signing
a treaty of friendship authored by Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John
Adams. The warmth between the two countries continued and in 1820, the United
States Government was uniquely presented with an opulent palace in Tangier which
has been continuously used by the American consul in that city.
The London-based, Islamic
Observation Center's International Commission on Human Rights appraised the Moroccan
Government that people seemed to be disappearing from Moroccan Jails and were
never heard from again. The organization called for "International pressure
to force Morocco to declare the names of those responsible for human rights violations
and bring them to public trial. A commission of inquiry composed of Moroccan and
foreign groups should be set up to investigate the conditions of prisoners in
Moroccan detention centers. "
But these weren't the
only ones crying for justices, literally every international human rights agency
has found something wanting in Morocco. Among their problems were the treatment
of women, the treatment of prisoners, the treatment of Religious Leaders. Rights
groups came out against torture in Moroccan jails as well as the conditions that
existed in them. For the most part Morocco was found wanting in any number of
areas of Human Rights.
Before King Hassan II
died he appeared to making an attempt to rectify some of these problems. He set
up the Consultative Council for Human Rights (CCDH) to look into these claims
and vowed "once and for all" to clear Morocco's human rights record.
The King gave instructions to CCDH to start looking for those that had vanished
but before many answers had been received the King had died. We are hopeful that
his son will carry on with this worthy cause.
(1). As opposed to the
Sharwari women, those in Morocco proper are dealing with a Koran that is fairly
strictly interpreted. Women are treated in Morocco as though they are inferior
to men and only can inherit a half share in share of an estate (they are treated
as minors for this purpose), need permission from a close male relative to marry
and can be dismissed by her husband as a piece of trash to be thrown out.
But these are your normal
Moroccan women, what about those that get pregnant out of wedlock either by their
own volition or because of rape? These
women are usually disowned by their families, the babies are not allowed to take
the family name, the police have little or no interest whether they were raped
or not, there are no abortions, there are no social services for the children
or the mother,
Moroccan women have
been trying to find a middle ground when it relates to religious customs and practices
but the movement is fragmented and for every "modern" woman there is
one that would rather have the Koran interpreted conservatively. One of the problems
that has not particularly developed a consensus is the Muslim position on polygamy
which is allowed in Morocco and divorce by repudiation is an ominous threat that
hangs over every Muslim marriage. The man can dissolve a marriage at any time
and must only give his wife three months to find a place to live.
Although Morocco did
not start out as a place where the population used drugs, the enormous proliferation
of cocaine, hashish and kif (marijuana) for transshipment has taken its toll.
On many of the country's highways dealers stand alongside of the road openly selling
their wares. Enforcement has been lax and substantial sums of the money that is
paid for transshipment has wound up in the nations coffers. Thus, there are few
arrests and drugs for the most part are dealt in openly.
On the other hand, local
residents for the most part do not have the money necessary to purchase anything
from the roadside dealers so that their customers remain primarily tourists on
holiday. The government has promised to clean up this problem but as of this date,
no results have been apparent and of the few drug dealers in Moroccan jails, most
were released by the new King on his assumption of the crown.
The Bureau for International
Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs of the Department of State of the United
States in March of 1997 released the following report which we believe should
be of interest:
"Morocco is a major producer and exporter of cannabis.
Although statistics vary widely, it is estimated that over 2,000 million tons
are exported annually to Europe, where it is consumed as hashish. In recent years,
considerable international publicity has highlighted Morocco's status as one of
the world's primary producers of cannabis. To combat this negative publicity,
the Moroccan Government (GOM) devoted significant resources to interdiction efforts
in 1996. During a campaign to eliminate corruption, contraband and drug smuggling,
the GOM claims to have broken up 12 drug networks and arrested several of their
leaders. Despite the campaign, producers and large-scale traffickers still operate
due to budgetary constraints on enforcement and widespread corruption. Morocco
is a signatory to the 1988 UN Convention.
II. Status of Country
Morocco is among the world's largest producers of cannabis.
Its cultivation and sale provide the economic base for much of northern Morocco,
where up to 85,000 hectares are devoted to cannabis production. Most of the cannabis
produced in Morocco is processed into hashish, resin, or oil and exported to Algeria,
Tunisia and Europe. Estimates of the portion of the crop consumed domestically
range from 15 to 40 percent. Cannabis from Morocco does not enter the US in sufficient
quantities to have a significant effect.
Cannabis is typically exported in motor vehicles that
cross into southern Spain and France on ferries. Small fishing boats are another
common means of transportation. European authorities report that between 70-80
percent of all cannabis seized on the continent is of Moroccan origin.
While cannabis (known locally as kif) is the
traditional drug of choice for Moroccans, there is also a small but growing domestic
market for harder drugs, such as heroin and cocaine. In addition, these drugs
reportedly enter Morocco for transshipment to Europe. Newspaper reports on Morocco's
role as a major producer and exporter of drugs indicate a connection between local
drug traffickers and international cartels such as Latin American cocaine rings.
However, there are few seizures of hard drugs to substantiate these reports.
The proceeds from narcotics exports are easily repatriated.
The Government of Morocco makes no serious effort to trace drug or contraband
money; in fact, there are no laws against money laundering that would enable the
Government of Morocco to prosecute offenders effectively. Much of the revenue
is invested in real estate, especially in northern Morocco, where drug money is
an important source of income and has supported a construction boom. However,
as increasing numbers of office and apartment buildings sit unoccupied, drug traffickers
are reportedly searching for new investment opportunities.
III. Country Action Against Drugs in 1996
Policy Initiatives. Early
in the year, the Government of Morocco launched a clean-up campaign to combat
corruption, contraband and drug smuggling. Although the government claims to have
broken up drug rings and prosecuted several leaders of drug networks, authorities
have not taken serious action against producers, and the campaign ended in the
fall. During the first half of 1996, the GOM arrested and prosecuted over 300
suspects on narcotics charges and seized 15 million tons of cannabis resin. During
the summer, the government created a development agency for the northern territories
which produced an action plan for economic development and crop substitution.
The agency plans to use funding promised by the European Union (EU) and others
to finance its programs. However, the Government of Morocco has not yet met EU
requirements which would allow the funds to be released. In January, the GOM created
a Coordination Unit for the Struggle Against Drugs (UCLAD) which, as part of the
Ministry of Interior, is charged with coordinating anti-drug efforts. The Parliament
created a fact-finding commission to investigate narcotics-related issues.
Enforcement Efforts. As part
of an anti-drug initiative launched by King Hassan in 1992, 10,000 police were
detailed to drug interdiction efforts in the north and Rif mountains last year.
Two hundred checkpoints are scattered throughout the region. Royal Army soldiers
staff hundreds of observation posts along the Mediterranean coast, and the Navy
carries out routine sea patrols and responds to sightings by the observation posts.
In addition, Morocco expanded its cooperation with European law enforcement, increasing
the number of foreign drug enforcement officers working with Moroccan counterparts.
Corruption. Despite this year's campaign
against corruption, most observers believe that corruption continues to be widespread.
The Government of Morocco does not promote drug production or trafficking as a
matter of policy and it contests accusations that government officials in the
northern territories are involved in the drug trade.
Agreements and Treaties. Morocco
is a party to the 1988 UN Convention, as well as to the 1961 and 1971 UN conventions.
The Government of Morocco's announced programs would, if fully implemented, bring
it substantially into compliance with the 1988 Convention's goals and objectives.
However, progress in that regard was minimal in 1996. The government's purpose
in creating UCLAD was to improve cooperation and centralize control on all drug-related
matters. But European diplomats believe the operation lacks the resources to fulfill
its mandate. The EU will withhold anti-narcotics assistance until UCLAD is fully
operational. Absent greatly increased funding, the aims of the 1988 Convention
will remain unattainable in Morocco. In 1993, Morocco ratified a mutual legal
assistance treaty (MLAT) with the US. No narcotics-related cases have yet been
considered under the treaty. In 1989, Morocco and the US signed a bilateral narcotics
cooperation agreement in compliance with the Chiles Amendment, which calls for
cooperation in the fight against illicit drug production and trafficking, and
the abuse of narcotics. Morocco also has anti-narcotics agreements and or/MLAT's
with the EU, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal and the UK. While Morocco's
Parliament has not yet passed legislation to implement the 1988 UN Convention,
its laws do provide general authority to prosecute drug producers and traffickers.
The US and Morocco do not have a bilateral extradition treaty.
Moroccan cannabis is cultivated by small farmers in the northern Rif region, although
some is also grown in the Souss Valley of the south. Unofficial sources estimate
that from 80,000 to 85,000 hectares are devoted to cannabis production, and claim
that this number has increased by a factor of ten in the last decade. European
experts report that, due to record rainfall in 1996, the area under cultivation
increased by almost ten percent. The average hectare of cannabis produces two
to eight mt of raw plant. The government has stated that it is committed to the
total eradication of cannabis production. Given the economic dependence of the
northern part of the country on cannabis, however, eradication is only feasible
if accompanied by a highly subsidized crop substitution program. Consequently,
the GOM has not yet made a serious attempt at eradication.
Drug Flow/Transit. There
are reports that Morocco is used as a transshipment point for hard drugs such
as heroin and cocaine en route to Europe. However, there were no significant hard
drug seizures during the year that would substantiate these reports.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The
GOM denies a significant hard-drug addiction problem in Morocco and does not actively
promote a reduction in the domestic demand for cannabis. The GOM does have a program
to train the staffs of psychiatric hospitals in the treatment of drug addiction.
IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. Only
very small amounts of narcotics produced in or transiting through Morocco reach
the US. The USG works to encourage Moroccan anti-narcotics efforts through cooperation
with Moroccan law enforcement officials in curtailing the production and transshipment
of drugs. The USG also provides training in law enforcement techniques, promotes
GOM adherence to bilateral and international agreement requirements and provides
support, as appropriate, for existing Moroccan-European cooperation in this area.
US officials also encourage greater international cooperation to control Moroccan
production and export of drugs.
Bilateral Cooperation. Pursuant
to the 1989 agreement, the US and Morocco maintain cooperation on anti-narcotics
issues. The USG has provided training and narcotics intelligence when applicable.
The Road Ahead. The
US will monitor the narcotics situation in Morocco, cooperate with the GOM in
its narcotics control efforts, and, together with the EU, provide law enforcement
training, intelligence and other support where possible."
a health insurance company gave some very good advice to their subscribers headed
has a well deserved reputation for the cultivation of kif and exportation of hashish.
In the past few decades Morocco has lead the world in the export of hashish. Other
more potent drugs are available in the cities.
You are advised that
all narcotics and cannabis products are illegal and can land you in a Moroccan
prison for a long time. That's for possession as well as smuggling.
It's not worth it! We do not encourage the breaking of laws in any country!
In most Moroccan medinas you will be offered hashish.
Be very careful. Stories abound of people getting ripped off or turned in
to the police.
That said, the quality
of hashish in Morocco varies greatly. Usually it's very smokable, but the
real good stuff is harder to find. Don't believe that just because it's
sticky and dark it's good. And don't fall for the Moroccan game with the
lighter, where they apply a flame to almost anything (carpets, leather, hashish,
etc.) to prove that it's of high quality. In Ketama there were just two
grades of hash, commercial and quality, which they called black gold. Also
if you hear about King Hassan hash in Chefchaouen, it should be superior quality"
For whatever it was worth, the situation continued to
deteriorate and the Abderrahim Benmoussa, Morocco's representative to the United
Nations in Vienna told the 42nd session of the UN drug commission said
in March of 1999, that Morocco is dedicated to reducing and ultimately eradiacting
the growing of illegal He said all of the right things and talked about making
life tough on drug dealers, adopting the right laws and the creation of drug addict
detoxification centers along with shelters for homeless children caused by the
drug trafficking. He also discussed the creation of development projects and activites
to substitute for the drug culture in Morocco.
In spite of the fact that drug production and transshipment
in Morocco has been on the rise, he deplored the fact that Morocco has received
no international recognition for their results to date. He praised France and
Spain for swapping Moroccan debt to finance development projects in northern Morocco
and invited all Morocco's creditors to convert some of Morocco's debt into investment
projects in areas where the drugs are harvested.
I'm sorry to say that it seems that this lad is asking
for forgiveness of debt and the building of industry in exchange of Morocco dropping
their hash dealings. Well, we can only hope for the best.
The fate of the country
now resides in the hands of the new King. The country's problems are numerous
but its assets are substantial. The country has unlimited expansion potential
in mining, agriculture, fishing and tourism and if problems with Algeria and the
Polisario can be resolved, Morocco could take their place as an example to the
Arab world. The hurdles that cannot be anticipated at this time are the problems
of drought and import restricts within the EU restraining Morocco's ability to
export. On the other hand, China could probably use all of the phosphates that
Morocco can produce and the only hindrance to trade would
be the long distances that shipments would have to travel.
Morocco has it for the
asking, they only have to do something about to take their rightful place in the