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A purely analytical perception...


Morocco
A very interesting place

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 never discouraged.

The Location

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.

The Government

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.

The Economy

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 agricultural practices.

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.

The Skinny

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.

History

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.

The Future

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 Politics

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 evolves.

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. 

There 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,

What 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.

Spain 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.

Naively, 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.

The 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.

The 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.

Sounds 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.

Even 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.

The 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.

Although 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 than religion.

The 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. 

Relations with United States

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.

Civil Rights

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.

Women's Rights  

(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.

Drugs

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

I. Summary

"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.

Cultivation/Production. Most 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."

 

 

 

Hip, a health insurance company gave some very good advice to their subscribers headed for Morocco:

"Morocco 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. 

.Conclusion

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 modern world.   

 

           

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