A CALL TO ALL MUSLIMS for The dawn of a new muslim era

*The original version of this article was published in French just one week before the tragic events in Paris. I think it becomes more urgent than ever that’s why I translated it

If there were a slogan, a value to mobilize all Muslims and peoples of North Africa and the Middle East in the coming years, it should be “Let’s free ourselves!”

Following the Arab revolutions, the world discovered the Islamic State, a.k.a Daech.

Syria is suffering one of the greatest tragedies in its history, Egypt has recovered from chaos at the cost of a coup against democracy that will weigh heavily on its future, Lebanon is struggling to maintain its legendary optimism and Libya is at the heart of a storm.

Iraq, where the United States recognizes its failure, has been left alone to face immeasurable damage.

Saudi Arabia does not know what to do; sometimes its interests push it to support the friends of its enemies. Moreover, it has had to make the risky choice of supporting traditional enemies against others, new and more dangerous. It seems there is no room left between two evils

Meanwhile, all eyes are on two countries: Morocco and Tunisia.

Even though Morocco has discovered, not without bitterness, that hundreds of its citizens have joined the ranks of the ISIS terrorist organization, it without doubt represents a model of the most tolerant society in the region.

On the religious front, the country is led by a Commander of the Faithful in the person of the King. The sovereign, traditionally surrounded by a committee of qualified Ulemas, is an authority on religious matters. The country is a reference in the field and has become a sort of hub for many African and European countries, who send their imams to learn how to counteract prevailing extremism.

Tunisia represents a laboratory of democracy in the region for several reasons. From the liberalization, to the lack of natural resources (which explains why Tunisia did without parasites and selfish agents whose interests were others than those of the country concerned, with inappropriate intervention) and the level of education of its population, Tunisia is probably the country that represents the best hope for a future coherent society unifying all its components. However, the advanced age of the recently elected president raises some questions.

Asking the Right Questions

Nonetheless, what the region is currently experiencing is much too complex and multifactorial to be reduced to a problem of democracy, dictators or revolutions.

It is necessary to go back in history to put the different factors into perspective and to contextualize the data.

Whether because of the failure of nation building, the influence of borders drawn by the Sykes–Picot Agreement, the subversive effect of colonization, or the support of the United States for Islamist terrorists (to counteract the influence of the Soviet Union during the Cold War at a time when it did not represent a real threat to the western world), it is evident that the nodal point of the crisis facing the region is focused around religion.

The critical questions that keep coming back are related to the role of religion in society, its place and influence.

Thus, we should ask questions such as: Who needs to be reformed; a religion or believers affiliated with this religion?

Which shapes the other? Is it religion that shapes society, or society according to its stage of development, education and enlightenment that shapes the perception, interpretation and implementation of a religion?

Have religions remained immutable over the centuries?

Have they not mutated depending on the society in which they existed, sometimes influenced by ignorance, sometimes for the sake of a few?

For example, if we meant to dissect the Muslim-majority societies: What is part of the Muslim identity? What is part of the traditions of Muslims, and finally what is specifically related to the religious field?

We should have the courage to ask such questions.

We have a duty to think together about these questions without necessarily arriving at a single answer, but it is imperative to escape the realm of taboo. The fewer prejudices, the more freedom of thought and thus enhancement of the public realm.

Rights and Freedom

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights must be a prerequisite for the citizens of the countries of the region. It is its individual appropriation that will inevitably push governments to adopt and implement it.

At the individual level, the values of freedom should be part of everyday life. So, a Muslim should have the right to convert to another religion or become an atheist without being judged by the law or feeling judged by society.

Indeed, when a religion becomes a choice, the conviction of believers is even stronger; it is a conviction by desire, not by fear.

This will be further reinforced when the freedom to discuss the Koranic texts is granted. What is part of the historical context (and therefore subject to change and adaptation), and what represents the essence of Islam?

Questions also arise concerning the punishments imposed by the laws of some Muslim countries. Other examples are the right not to fast, and the rights of minorities, including homosexuals. Finally, a debate on the division of inheritance between men and women seems inevitable.

The Silent Majority

Of all the components of the Muslim-majority societies, there is one that has not yet expressed its views, the one that attracts the media the least because it is neither part of the extremists nor the victims, but mostly minorities. It is the “silent majority” composed of ordinary men and women, believers who live with a spirit of tolerance of varying degree.

Only this category is able to form a movement that might awaken the collective consciousness. This category, the so-called silent majority, which probably holds the key to a proper balance, must finally become vocal and declare their preferences, choices and opinions.

This will happen at the cost of a total metamorphosis of the social contract, because a reversal of thought toward Freedom requires virtue, commitment and reflection.

The health of our societies now depends highly on the continued commitment of scholars, moderates and humanists. It is the duty of our generation, for citizen engagement, an imperative mission; this is the price of Living Together in a meaningful sense in the Arab World!

Let’s all adopt in advance the concept of human rights at the individual level with one fundamental aim: freedom!

Let’s start with the freedom to think differently and allow others to have the right to different beliefs in all areas, including on the social, political and religious levels.

At this point, we can begin to believe in the virtue of Human Rights as a common value of society.

Then, we will fully live the dawn of this democracy to which we aspire with a serene peaceful Islam, immune from extremism and able to exist in a pluralistic and diverse society.

Nabil Ouchagour

http://www.huffingtonpost.fr/nabil-ouchagour/laube_b_6389424.html

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Concours du Meilleur Etudiant Entrepreneur au Maroc

4 Q&R avec Mohammed Semmae , président de GENIE Maroc (Groupe Estudiantin National pour l’Innovation et l’Entrepreneuriat )

semmae

Q1 : Qu’est-ce que c’est le CMEE?

R : Lancé depuis 2011, le Concours du Meilleur Etudiant Entrepreneur (CMEE) est la première compétition nationale au Maroc destinée aux étudiants et aux jeunes diplômés des différentes universités et grandes écoles. Son but est de contribuer à l’émergence et au développement des projets de création d’entreprise par les étudiants. Le CMEE présente, ainsi, deux approches complémentaires : 1.Valoriser les meilleurs projets de création d’entreprise pour inciter les étudiants à devenir entrepreneurs. 2. Favoriser le développement de l’employabilité des étudiants participants en inscrivant leur carrière professionnelle dans une démarche entrepreneuriale.

 

Q2 : A qui s’adresse le concours ?

R : Le concours s’adresse exclusivement aux étudiants marocains des universités et des grandes écoles au Maroc et à l’étranger, porteurs de projets de création d’entreprise. Il est nécessaire voire indispensable de vérifier son éligibilité au concours avant le dépôt de sa candidature. Ainsi, les conditions d’éligibilité au concours sont les suivantes : -Etre étudiant issu d’une filière de l’enseignement supérieur au Maroc ou à l’étranger ; -Avoir la nationalité marocaine ou être résidant au Maroc.

 

Q3 : Quel est le calendrier du déroulement de la deuxième édition du concours ?

R : Le calendrier du concours se déroulera en quatre étapes clés : -Phase 1 : Soumission de l’idée du projet (15 janvier 2014 – Date limite) -Phase 2 : Sélection et formation des 30 meilleurs projets -Phase 3 : Sélection et formation des 10 meilleurs projets -Phase 4 : Compétition finale (26 avril – Forum National de l’Entrepreneuriat Universitaire à Marrakech)

 

Q4 : Quelle est la démarche à suivre pour soumettre ma candidature au concours ?

R : La candidature au CMEE se déroule en trois étapes : 1. Créer un compte unique par projet via le site du concours (www.cmee.fneu.ma). Quelque soit leur nombre, les porteurs du même projet doivent créer un seul compte. 2. Remplir le formulaire de candidature en ligne : – Identification des candidats ; – Identification du projet ; -Questions générales. 3. Soumettre sa candidature

affiche_cmee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMUNIQUE DE PRESSE

Troisième édition

du

Concours du Meilleur Etudiant Entrepreneur au Maroc

 

Après le franc succès remporté par les deux premières éditions du Concours du Meilleur Etudiant Entrepreneur au Maroc (CMEE), le Groupe Estudiantin National pour l’Innovation et l’Entrepreneuriat (GENIE Maroc) lance la troisième édition selon un format innovant.

La nouvelle édition du CMEE s’étale désormais sur 4 grandes étapes pendant lesquelles les candidats soumettront leurs idées de projets et les meilleurs parmi eux seront accompagnés et formés. Ainsi, le planning du CMEE 2014 se présente comme suit :

 

Phase1 : Soumission de l’idée du projet (1er décembre au 15 janvier 2014 – date limite d’inscription)

Phase 2 : Sélection et formation des 30 meilleures idées (15 janvier – 21 février 2014)

Phase 3 : Sélection et formation des 10 meilleurs projets (21 février – 7 avril 2014)

Phase 4 : Compétition finale (26 avril 2014 – deuxième journée du Forum FNEU 2014)

 

Lancé depuis l’année 2011, le Concours du Meilleur Etudiant Entrepreneur (CMEE) est la première compétition nationale destinée aux étudiants des différentes universités et grandes écoles au Maroc ainsi qu’aux étudiants marocains basés à l’étranger. Son but est de contribuer à l’émergence et au développement des projets de création d’entreprise chez les étudiants. Le CMEE présente, ainsi, deux approches complémentaires :

1. Valoriser les meilleurs projets de création d’entreprise pour inciter les étudiants à devenir entrepreneurs ;

2. Favoriser le développement de l’employabilité ́ des étudiants participants en inscrivant leur carrière professionnelle dans une démarche entrepreneuriale.

 

 

Pour information et inscription, merci de visiter le site officiel du concours : www.cmee.fneu.ma

 

Contact presse : presse@genie-maroc.org

 

Groupe Estudiantin National pour l’Innovation et l’Entrepreneuriat – GENIE Maroc :

GENIE Maroc, l’organisation non-gouvernementale leader au Maroc dans l’éducation à l’Entrepreneuriat à l’échelle universitaire, a pour but de stimuler la fibre entrepreneuriale chez les étudiants au Maroc. Outre le Concours du Meilleur Etudiant Entrepreneur au Maroc, GENIE Maroc organise annuellement le Forum National de l’Entrepreneuriat Universitaire, première initiative en son genre à l’échelle internationale. Site web : www.genie-maroc.org

 

 

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Sport et journalisme : même combat – Appels à donations

La fin d’année approche, l’heure des bilans où on se pose les questions existentielles : qu’ai-je accompli cette année ? Suis je plus proche de mes rêves ? Quelle est ma valeur ajoutée à mon environnement proche, à mon pays et à l’humanité en général ? Ai- je identifié les valeurs qui me font tenir debout et me font avancer ?

En attendant de répondre à ces questions, vous pouvez déjà aider deux personnes qui sont en train de mener leurs rêves et qui ont une valeur ajoutée certaine pour leurs communautés.

Tous les deux s’appellent Samir, ils sont d’une persévérance exemplaire et chacun, à sa manière, porte fièrement le drapeau du Maroc.

Je vous présente les deux profils :

SAMIR AZZIMANI :

samir azzimani

Skieur marocain, unique représentant du Maroc aux JO de Vancouver 2010 et en route pour représenter à nouveau le Maroc aux prochains JO 2014 à Sotchi! Soutenons-le!

Voici son message sur sa fanpage :

« Bonjour, voici le lien pour me soutenir de manière concrète. Ce financement participatif dépendra de la suite des événements. Vous pouvez tous faire partager autour de vous ce système.

https://www.bankeez.com/fr/payment/pot/bc2f017aad40fc2162563582ac654aaf#.UqHUVSfZ1gs

Malgré vos encouragements il y a malheureusement des éléments qui sont incontournable, vous connaissez la suite billet d’avion à payer, essence… pour les déplacements puis hébergement, le matériel… alors voilà il me reste encore 9 chances pour réussir ce pari fou. Merci à ceux qui comprendront et pour ceux qui ne peuvent pas merci de vos soutiens moraux .

Sa page officiel : https://www.facebook.com/SamirAzzimaniOfficiel

Deux articles sur Samir :

http://www.yabiladi.com/articles/details/21157/sotchi-2014-skieur-franco-marocain-azzimani.html

http://www.lexpress.fr/actualite/sport/avant-les-jo-de-sotchi-journee-marathon-avec-un-skieur-marocain_1305429.html

SAMIR BENNIS :

samir-bennis3

On s’est rencontré quelques semaines avant le lancement du site www.moroccoworldnews.com il y a exactement 30 mois. Notre première discussion était un brainstorming sur le nom qu’il voulait donner au site d’actualité en anglais sur le Maroc. Avec 70.000 followers sur facebook, je rappelle qu’il s’agit d’un projet personnel que Samir mène en parallèle de son travail en tant que conseiller dans une mission des Nations Unies. Au delà de sa persévérance et son patriotisme, ce qui m’a poussé à soutenir Samir c’est la transparence avec laquelle il lance un appel à donations :

Traduction du message de Samir Bennis

« Une revue de mes coûts mensuels :

250$ : webhosting

1600 $ : 9 part-time journalistes au Maroc

400 $    : souscription à AFP

200 $    : souscription à Anadolo agency

2500 $ de ma poche chaque mois. Je gagne 200 $ par google Ads par mois.

On demande votre aide pour que « Morocco World News » survive pour les 6 prochains mois. Cela nous donnera le temps de chercher des sponsors afin d’assurer la croissance de notre site. »

Voici le lien pour vos donations :

http://www.gofundme.com/5nj4rw

Si vous ne pouvez pas les aider, n’oubliez pas de faire circuler l’info. Je partage avec vous ma devise pour cette année :

« SOYONS UTILES LES UNS AUX AUTRES »

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Tribute to Nelson Mandela

A poem which famously inspired Nelson Mandela during his decades of incarceration. Invictus – which the former South African president read to fellow prisoners in Robben Island jail.

Mandela

 

 

 

 

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

 

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.

 

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.

“Invictus” is a short Victorian poem by the English poet William Ernest Henley

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VISITA DEL REY DE MARRUECOS A EE.UU : LA CONTINUIDAD EN LAS RELACIONES ENTRE EE.UU Y MARRUECOS.

Jalal nali

La fecha del 15 de julio de 1786 nos recuerda la firma del tratado de Amistad jamás roto entre dos naciones en toda la historia contemporánea, si profundizamos en esta ultima nos daremos cuenta de que estas relaciones hicieron un largo transcurrido entre estrategia regional y alianzas, antes de llegar a este entendimiento, no en vano la historia recuerda que Marruecos en 1777, fue la primera nación en reconocer a EE.UU como república independiente, en un contexto regional y internacional muy tenso, Obama recordó en su célebre discurso en el Cairo el entendimiento entre estas dos naciones.

En la época de Moulay Smail de Marruecos, el joven estado norte americano fue regalado un gran edificio en Tánger que fue la primera propiedad de EE.UU en el extranjero (1821)  también fue la primera representación diplomática de EE.UU en el extranjero.

Esta relación no hizo más que tomar fuerza y volumen con el transcurso del tiempo recordando así al rey de Marruecos que envió soldados para combatir a los Nazis en el norte de África y también envió a unos 60000 soldados para desembarcar junto a los aliados en el sur de Francia (isla Corisca).

Marruecos fue el aliado útil y estable durante la guerra fría cuando el comunismo ganaba adeptos entre las dictaduras norte africanas, como protagonizo un papel esencial en acercar posiciones de los países de medio oriente e Israel a cerca del conflicto diferendo palestino/israelí.

En el 1983 el demócrata Roland Regan, recientemente electo por aquel entonces, empezó tempranamente a ver en Marruecos un aliado potencial por su constancia histórica y madurez tomando decisiones de gran importancia en su micro y macro entornos,  así como su posicionamiento geográfico estratégico para reemplazar a Egipto como aliado preferente, puesto este ultimo estaba bajo presión de los países árabes de la región por razones ideológicas propias a oriente medio; el difunto Hassan II personalizaba esa inmunidad a las presiones de los países del eje bajo influencia directa de Arabia Saudí, puesto que marruecos siempre fue un país de moderación.

A finales Mayo del 2004 los republicanos americanos encabezados por el presidente Bush Jr. decidió designar a Marruecos como uno de sus principales aliados fuera de los países miembros de la OTAN; Bush tomó esta decisión “en reconocimiento de los estrechos lazos que unen a los dos países y en agradecimiento al apoyo incondicional de Marruecos a combatir toda clase de integrismo sea religioso o ideológico; así como al papel del rey Mohamed VI, que denomino de “dirigente visionario del mundo árabe”, según informó la agencia oficial marroquí MAP, estos gestos de amistad proporcionaron a Marruecos el estatuto de MNNA Major Non Nato Allied con todo lo que conlleva este estatuto en al acceso al Programa EDA de venda de armas, o el Programa DELG apoyo financiero a las exportaciones militares.

En los comienzos de Marzo del 2011 la Congresista Sheila Jackson Lee, dijo en una locución al congreso que : “Marruecos obra con seriedad por convertirse en una referencia en la región en materia de progreso, de reformas, y de desarrollo, y debemos por consecuencia hacer todo lo que podemos con el fin de apoyar estos esfuerzos esenciales”, afirmó Jackson Lee en una locución ante la Cámara de los representantes del congreso norteamericano”.

En febrero de este ano el Ex presidente demócrata Bill Clinton elogio el proceso de democratización por el que Marruecos está pasando a raíz de las demandas populares que sufrió la región norte africana en los dos últimos dos años.

La nueva gira de Kerry (la 17) desde que tomo las riendas de su ministerio, está marcada por la inestabilidad en el medio oriente, el dossier Sirio, el Nuclear Iraní y la reanudación del proceso de paz entre palestinos y israelís.

Marruecos es un socio muy importante en todos estos dossiers puesto que fue el artífice de los tratados de paz entre Egipto y Israel, también los lazos históricos que unen a más de un millón de israelís con su país de origen Marruecos, propulsa sin duda a marruecos como interlocutor privilegiado para jugar un papel positivo en acercar los puntos de vistas divergentes en este dossier;  cuando hablamos de siria, Marruecos es un actor que Washington contó con él en muchas ocasiones por su credibilidad en la zona y sobre todo por la ayuda humanitaria desinteresada marroquí brindada a los refugiados sirios en forma del hospital militare instalado en Jordania para ayudar a las víctimas civiles que escapan a los países vecinos en busca de refugio; en referencia al programa nuclear iraní, Marruecos como país con fuertes lazos estratégicos con Riad, será bienvenido por la casa blanca para jugar el role de mediador entre estados unidos y los enojados mandatarios saudíes puesto que estos últimos están contrariados por la inacción de EE.UU.

En el marco del dialogo estratégico entre los dos países, Marruecos se posiciona como un amparo natural contra las ideologías terroristas, también juega un papel esencial en la gestión anti-porosidad de sus fronteras saharianas, de hecho marruecos es el único país de la región que no sufre de la  violación de su territorio por parte de entidades criminales y terroristas lo que supone la transferencia de este ‘’know how’’.

El rey Mohamed VI de marruecos juega un gran papel de mediación entre las comunidades en el Sahara y el sahel puesto que es considerado como el príncipe de los creyentes (en el islam este título le da autoridad moral) en unas regiones donde la religión es el eje central que rige toda actividad social e económica.

Por Jalal Nali

http://www.wikifolks.org/wiki/index.php/Jalal_Nali

 

 

 

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United States – Morocco relations: King Mohammed VI visit to President Obama (Short version)

A resource for journalists

Following a discussion with friends in the media industry, they expressed that there is a lack of articles in English about Morocco and specifically about Morocco-US relations. So, here I am with this modest work that I hope will be used by journalists for covering the two countries relations.

It’s a selection of op-ed’s, articles and think tank reports.

I am sure that these resources will be helpful for all the journalists, bloggers and analysts who will be covering the upcoming visit of King Mohammed VI to the President Obama on Friday, November 22.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/11/07/statement-press-secretary-visit-king-mohammed-vi-morocco

I am also going to collect quotes from leaders from both countries in order to use them in the articles. Thus, let me know if you are interested in expressing your point of view about the upcoming visit and US-Morocco relations in general? Or, if you are interested to get quotes from leaders of one of the two countries for an article? Send me an email to : nabil.ouchagour@gmail.com

COLUMNISTS – OPINIONS : 

Morocco, the King and Reforms

Posted: 11/11/2013

Its been 38 years since King Hassan II of Morocco ordered the Green March, when 350,000 Moroccans escorted by some 20,000 Moroccan troops marched into the territory that was then the Spanish Sahara. When the former colonial power vacated the territory, it left behind a whole lot of trouble, a war that lasted more than a decade and a half, and political tension that would persist to this day.

Read all the article : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/claude-salhani/morocco-the-king-and-refo_b_4245320.html

By Claude Salhani is a political analyst specializing in the Middle East and North Africa.

King Mohammed VI Of Morocco Builds New Financial City For The World

10/16/2013

Ever since he ascended the throne in 1999, his Majesty Mohammed VI, King of Morocco, has nursed one persistent ambition: to transform Casablanca, the Kingdom’s largest city and economic center, into Africa’s leading financial hub.

To achieve this, in 2010 the King announced the creation of one of his most ambitious projects, the Casablanca Finance City (CFC), a regional financial center and a privileged entry point for Northern, Western, and Central Africa.

Read all the article : http://www.forbes.com/sites/mfonobongnsehe/2013/10/16/king-mohammed-vi-of-morocco-builds-new-financial-city-for-the-world/

By Mfonobong Nsehe, Contributor

I chronicle Africa’s success stories and track its richest people

Sahara conflict: Open Letter to President Barack Obama

Monday 18 November 2013

New York

Mr. President,

Today the Moroccan people celebrate the 58th anniversary of the their country’s independence. But this independence is still not complete yet, as an the undisputable sovereignty of Morocco over an integral part of its territory is still subject to unfounded claims.

Thirty-eight years ago millions of Moroccans marched with their hearts and 350,000 Moroccans marched physically into Morocco’s southern provinces in the Sahara to reclaim Morocco’s sovereignty over the territory which remains contested to this day.

Read all the article : http://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2013/11/112743/sahara-conflict-open-letter-to-president-barack-obama-2/

By Samir Bennis, a member of the United Nations community, Samir Bennis is a political analyst. He received a Ph.D. in international relations from the University of Provence in France.

A Monarch Visits Mali

Posted: 09/19/2013

A new president takes the helm in Mali today, and Moroccan king Muhammad VI is in the Malian capital Bamako as an honored guest, to congratulate him personally as well as lay out plans to build on a relationship the king has been nurturing. Ahead of his visit, civilian doctors and medical units of Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces have been dispatched to Bamako to set up a field hospital to boost the impoverished city’s limited medical capacity — and in the Moroccan capital Rabat, a new public discussion has been focused on how Moroccans can help Malians boost civil society, political participation, and sustainable economic development. (Here’s a video of the king’s arrival and reception.)

Read all the article : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ahmed-charai/a-monarch-visits-mali_b_3953990.html

By Ahmed Charai is the publisher of L’Observateur du Maroc and other newspapers and the owner of Morocco’s largest private radio network Med radio. As an expert on Morocco and North Africa, he sits on the Board of Directors of The Atlantic Council of United States and the Board of Trustees of the Foreign Policy Research Institute and the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. He is also member of The National Interest’s Advisory Council.

King Mohammed VI sparks national conversation on education

Posted on August 27, 2013

“Why is it that so many of our young people cannot fulfill their legitimate professional, material, and social aspirations?”

This is the question that King Mohammed VI himself put forth to the nation in August 20 speech to the Moroccan people. The speech was given on the 60th anniversary of Morocco’s “Revolution of the King and the People,” in which the French Protectorate authorities deposed then-Sultan Mohamed V, an act that is viewed today as ultimately strengthening the nationalist independence movement.

Read all the article : http://elizabethbuckner.com/2013/08/27/king-mohammed-vi-sparks-national-conversation-on-education/

By Elizabeth Buckner, PhD Candidate in International and Comparative Education at Stanford School of Education.

The King’s Speech

Posted: 03/15/11

Like so many people, The King’s Speech, the movie, moved me on many levels. It brought to reality the humanity of a distant figure, a man’s simple struggle to rise to the occasion, to stretch himself for his people. To do the right thing. Earlier this week, like so many others, I continued my search on Facebook and Twitter to stay abreast of all the momentous change raging across the Arab world, I stumbled across another King’s Speech that also moved me to tears.

Read all the article : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathryn-cameron-porter/the-kings-speech_1_b_835354.html

By Kathryn Cameron PorterFounder & President, Leadership Council for Human Rights

The Moroccan-Jewish experience and why I have hope for peace in the Middle East

Washington, June 25, 2013

Secretary of State John Kerry has made it his personal mission to revive peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine. Yet many wonder: after so much loss and pain, can there ever be peace? Can Jews and Muslims ever coexist?

While no one knows for sure how the peace process will unfold, I have found hope in my heritage and the history of the country in which I was born, Morocco.

Read all the article : http://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2013/06/95488/the-moroccan-jewish-experience-and-why-i-have-hope-for-peace-in-the-middle-east-2/

By Sir Charles Dahan is vice president of the World Federation of Moroccan Jewry.

ARTICLES :

Morocco enacts migration reform

By Siham Ali in Rabat for Magharebia – 14/11/2013

Morocco on Monday (November 11th) announced plans to regularise the status of up to 40,000 illegal immigrants.

The scheme is part of a new Moroccan migration policy introduced in September to comply with international agreements.

Priority will be given to 850 immigrants considered asylum-seekers by the UNHCR who will benefit from legal residency rights automatically.

Six additional categories of foreign nationals are covered by the regularisation operation, which Morocco intends to run from January 1st to December 31st, 2014.

Read all the article : http://magharebia.com/en_GB/articles/awi/features/2013/11/14/feature-02

Reiterates Commitment to Africa, Immigrants, Political Solution for Western Sahara

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ (MACP) — In a speech on the 38th anniversary of Morocco’s Green March, King Mohammed VI stressed Morocco’s commitments and achievements on human rights, noting the openness and freedom enjoyed by Moroccans in the Southern Provinces as well as in the north.

“Our aim is to see the Moroccan citizen properly honored, endowed with the attributes of full-fledged citizenship,” he said. “It is in this spirit that we have undertaken a series of profound reforms and major projects,” including the establishment of national institutions and regional bodies for the protection and promotion of human rights that are “known for their independence and credibility.” He also said that no country accepts being “subjected to behavior that is harmful to their security and stability, especially as violence, subversion and intimidation of citizens are incompatible with human rights, and the exercise of freedom can only be done in compliance with the law.”

Read all the article : http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/king-mohammed-vi-emphasizes-moroccos-commitments-and-achievements-on-human-rights-231053581.html

The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials, and interested publics in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.  For more, please visit http://www.moroccoonthemove.com

Obama team: 24 nations back U.S. on Syria

David Jackson, September 9, 2013

The Obama administration says two dozen nations back its call for a “strong international response” to chemical weapons in Syria.

The White House reissued a joint statement Monday that nine other countries — plus the United States — had signed on to last week; the new list has an additional 15 nations and ranges from Albania to the United Kingdom. It also includes Germany, Qatar, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

“We condemn in the strongest terms the horrific chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21st that claimed the lives of so many men, women and children,” the statement says. “The evidence clearly points to the Syrian government being responsible for the attack, which is part of a pattern of chemical weapons use by the regime.”

Read all the article : http://www.usatoday.com/story/theoval/2013/09/09/obama-syria-24-countries-statement/2787217/

Golden Age of Morocco’s Jewish Community will never Die

Posted by Sabah Lebbar on February 26, 2013

A synagogue has been refurbished and inaugurated by a Head of a government. This is no news, if the event is taking place somewhere in Europe, the Americas or inside Israel. But when the synagogue is located inside the walls of the spiritual capital of an Islamic State, when it is dedicated, after having been rehabilitated, by the head of an Islamist party, and when the dedication ceremony is placed under the aegis of this country’s leader, the news is actually breaking, shattering, unprecedented.

This unprecedented event actually took place earlier this week in Morocco, precisely in Fes, when Abdelilah Benkirane, the head of the government and the head of the Party for Justice and Development (PJD) which is leading a governmental coalition in the North African country, made the trip to Fes to preside over the dedication ceremony of the “Slat Alfassiyine” synagogue, placed under the patronage of King Mohammed VI.

Read all the article : http://northafricapost.com/2787-golden-age-of-moroccos-jewish-community-will-never-die.html

U.S.-Morocco launch strategic dialog amid regional instability

Posted by Sabah Lebbar on September 14, 2012

The United States and Morocco have launched on Thursday in Washington the first round of a strategic dialog meant to boost longstanding relations between the two countries, at a time the region is at grips with insecurity.

This strategic dialog that is triggering a new phase in a centuries-old partnership covers political, economic and cultural cooperation as well as cooperation in security related matters.

The security dimension of the US-Moroccan strategic pact is all the more important as the dialog is taking place on the morrow of the attack on the US consulate in the Libyan eastern city of Benghazi in which four Americans including the ambassador were killed.

Read all the article : http://northafricapost.com/212-u-s-morocco-launch-strategic-dialog-amid-regional-instability.html

THINK TANK REPORTS :

Morocco’s Vital Role in Northwest Africa’s Security and Development

BY J. PETER PHAM, THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL

NOVEMBER 12, 2013

In the Africa Center’s most recent issue brief, “Morocco’s Vital Role in Northwest Africa’s Security and Development,” Director J. Peter Pham outlines the country’s increasing reengagement with Africa and its emergence as a key political, security, and economic actor integral to the continent’s future. He argues that Morocco’s willingness to shoulder the challenges in the Maghreb and the Sahel makes it an important strategic partner for the United States.

The publication comes as the White House announced last week that President Barack Obama will host King Mohammed VI on November 22. According to the statement from the White House: “This visit will highlight the long-standing friendship between the United States and Morocco and strengthen our strategic partnership… This visit is also an opportunity to increase our cooperation on addressing regional challenges, including countering violent extremism, supporting democratic transitions, and promoting economic development in the Middle East and Africa.”

Read all the article : http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/publications/issue-briefs/morocco-s-vital-role-in-northwest-africa-s-security-and-development

The report : http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/images/publications/Moroccos_Vital_Role.pdf

Moroccan African Future

By Haim Malka, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTERNATIONAL STUDIES

OCT 30, 2013

Sub-Saharan Africa is increasingly vital to Morocco’s future economic growth and security. Morocco has pursued a soft power strategy in Africa for over a decade, but regional and global dynamics create a new urgency for Morocco to diversify its economic ties, boost multilateral security cooperation, and play a more active diplomatic role. While Morocco enjoys some competitive advantage in sub-Saharan Africa, it faces several challenges to transforming its presence there. Diplomatically, it must diversify its ties with larger African economies and overcome constraints posed by the Western Sahara conflict. Economically, the challenge will be to restructure its nascent manufacturing base and diversify its products in order to meet growing African consumer demand. The United States can play a role in supporting Morocco’s engagement in Africa, which complements U.S. policy objectives in both Morocco and sub-Saharan Africa.

Read all the article : http://csis.org/publication/moroccos-african-future

The report http://csis.org/files/publication/131029_Malka_MoroccoAfricaFuture_Web_0.pdf

Morocco After the Arab Uprisings: Evolution Rather than Revolution

Published October 22, 2013

By Krista Hendry and Dr. Ricardo René Larémont*

On September 27, 2013, The Fund for Peace hosted a Roundtable meeting in Washington, D.C. on the future of Morocco in the context of the Arab Spring. The Roundtable discussion, which sought to elicit policy recommendations, was led by Dr. Ricardo René Larémont of SUNY Binghampton. In leading the discussion, Dr. Larémont drew heavily upon his new book, Revolution, Revolt and Reform in North Africa: The Arab Spring and Beyond, that lends significant attention to Morocco. Participants were also provided Dr. Larémont’s discussion paper, Morocco After the Uprisings, which is included at the end of this report. Participants included a range of stakeholders with interest in Morocco including academics, think tank representatives, human rights and democracy NGOs, government representatives, companies, and consultants. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the recent history of Morocco, findings from research done by Dr. Larémont, and consider how the U.S. could best support the evolution taking place in Morocco.

Read all the article : http://library.fundforpeace.org/shrtr1320

The report : http://library.fundforpeace.org/library/shrtr1320-morocco-10a.pdf

WIKIPEDIA :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morocco–United_States_relations

MY LAST OP-ED : 

 Morocco – strategic partner in new era of U.S. foreign policy?

“Morocco can boast several trump cards during this visit”

Banner Icon US & MIDDLE EAST If Obama wishes to mark a decisive turning point in a new foreign policy, he will have to choose his preferred strategic partners in the Arab world. The choice of King Mohammed VI of Morocco appears an obvious one, writes Nabil Ouchagour.

Is John Kerry incompetent? To glance upon the number of articles that criticize him, one may justifiably pose the question. Yet, upon analysis perhaps Kerry is an innocent in the unfortunate position of assuming Secretary of State at the dawn of a new political era.

“The Post-American World”, as the journalist Fareed Zakaria puts it, pushes Washington to launch a real transformation of its “global strategy”. According to the CNN and Time journalist, the United States must learn to share power, create coalitions and build legitimacy. The question arises: Can “The Post-American World” survive a new era in which the United States no longer dominates the global economy, orchestrates geopolitics and influences global culture?

http://www.yourmiddleeast.com/opinion/morocco-strategic-partner-in-new-era-of-us-foreign-policy_19476

FRENCH VERSION :

http://www.huffpostmaghreb.com/nabil-ouchagour/story_b_4265054.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.fr/nabil-ouchagour/politique-etrangere-americaine_b_4260081.html

As a Moroccan who has recently moved to USA, I feel a natural interest in the US-Moroccan relations in particular and US-MENA region in general. I will do my best to participate in the strengthening of these relations. It’s an engagement !

Posted in Reflexions, Relations internationales, Relations publiques | 1 Comment

United States – Morocco relations: King Mohammed VI visit to President Obama (Long version)

A resource for journalists

Following a discussion with friends in the media industry, they expressed that there is a lack of articles in English about Morocco and specifically about Morocco-US relations. So, here I am with this modest work that I hope will be used by journalists for covering the two countries relations.

It’s a selection of op-ed’s, articles and think tank reports.

I am sure that these resources will be helpful for all the journalists, bloggers and analysts who will be covering the upcoming visit of King Mohammed VI to the President Obama on Friday, November 22.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/11/07/statement-press-secretary-visit-king-mohammed-vi-morocco

I am also going to collect quotes from leaders from both countries in order to use them in the articles. Thus, let me know if you are interested in expressing your point of view about the upcoming visit and US-Morocco relations in general? Or, if you are interested to get quotes from leaders of one of the two countries for an article? Send me an email to : nabil.ouchagour@gmail.com

COLUMNISTS – OPINIONS :

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/claude-salhani/morocco-the-king-and-refo_b_4245320.html

 

Morocco, the King and Reforms

Posted: 11/11/2013

Its been 38 years since King Hassan II of Morocco ordered the Green March, when 350,000 Moroccans escorted by some 20,000 Moroccan troops marched into the territory that was then the Spanish Sahara. When the former colonial power vacated the territory, it left behind a whole lot of trouble, a war that lasted more than a decade and a half, and political tension that would persist to this day.

The territory was claimed by Morocco as theirs while the newly founded Polisario Front, backed by Algeria fought for an independent Sahrawi republic. Tens of thousands of Sahrawi refugees fled the Moroccan-annexed territory to settle in refugee camps run by the Polisario in southern Algeria. Over the years many have returned to their homes in what is now Morocco’s Southern Province, where the Moroccan government helps them find lodging and employment.

Still many families remain separated as thousands of others are still trapped in a political limbo as Morocco and the Polisario failed to reach an equitable agreement amid ongoing efforts by the US and the UN to reach a diplomatic solution. Meanwhile the Sahrawi refugees continue to exist in what is most likely the harshest living conditions on the planet.

But a lot of sand has passed through the hourglass since then and much has changed in the world, in Morocco and in the former Spanish colony.

Not least among these changes is the ascension to the throne of King Mohammed VI, upon the death of his father.

The new king came to the throne with new ideas and the will to make of Morocco an example for the rest of the Arab world when it comes to human rights, openness, individual freedom and reforms.

It was not an easy job for the young king who inherited a heavy burden from his father along with a discreetly repressive political system. The tourists, after all, were not to be frightened away but local politics were at times hazardous.

If the tourists were not to be harassed, the prisons on the other hand were full, the police were brutal and human rights were practically non-existent. But King Mohammed VI persevered and turned Morocco into a very different country than the one his father ruled.

Addressing the nation on the 38th anniversary of the Green March, the king stressed Morocco’s commitments and achievements on human rights, noting the openness and freedom enjoyed by Moroccans in the Southern Provinces as well as in the north.

“Our aim is to see the Moroccan citizen properly honored, endowed with the attributes of full-fledged citizenship,” he said. “It is in this spirit that we have undertaken a series of profound reforms and major projects,” including the establishment of national institutions and regional bodies for the protection and promotion of human rights that are “known for their independence and credibility.”

King Mohammed VI rejected attempts by adversaries “to undermine Morocco’s reputation” and ignore its progress on freedom and human rights. He pledged to continue to work with human rights organizations and to reach an equitable political solution for the Western Sahara with the UN and its Special Envoy, and international partners who recognize Morocco’s achievements.

The king vowed to build on those achievements and on Morocco’s investment in the Southern Provinces by adopting the new regional development model proposed for increased economic and political autonomy. This is “an integrated developmental vision, based on an objective analysis of the current situation in our Southern Provinces… to make them a space for integrated development, instrumental in providing a dignified life for the people of the region.”

King Mohammed VI reiterated Morocco’s commitment to helping other African countries achieve the same dignity and human rights progress through continued cooperation “and active solidarity with these countries….”

He also noted that Morocco’s commitment to human rights extends to African immigrants, through Morocco’s “new comprehensive policy on immigration and asylum issues, based on a humanitarian approach in line with our country’s international commitments and respectful of the rights of immigrants.”

The king stressed Morocco’s “sincere commitment” to promoting peace and the rule of law in Africa, most recently through its “support for our sister country Mali in its fight against extremist and terrorist groups.”

Indeed, it is largely thanks to the reforms instituted by the king that Morocco has been so successful in avoiding the political upheaval facing other countries in the region.

Claude Salhani is a political analyst specializing in the Middle East and North Africa.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/mfonobongnsehe/2013/10/16/king-mohammed-vi-of-morocco-builds-new-financial-city-for-the-world/
King Mohammed VI Of Morocco Builds New Financial City For The World

10/16/2013

Ever since he ascended the throne in 1999, his Majesty Mohammed VI, King of Morocco, has nursed one persistent ambition: to transform Casablanca, the Kingdom’s largest city and economic center, into Africa’s leading financial hub.

To achieve this, in 2010 the King announced the creation of one of his most ambitious projects, the Casablanca Finance City (CFC), a regional financial center and a privileged entry point for Northern, Western, and Central Africa.

The Casablanca Finance City (CFC) is a custom-made village being developed for large national and international foreign institutions looking to operate in the region and gain access to French-speaking African markets. The city will cater primarily to institutions in 3 key sectors: financial services, professional services and regional and international headquarters activities, offering eligible companies operating in these sectors a marketplace to undertake their activities on a regional and international level.

“What CFC plans to do is sell market access to French speaking Africa and giving fiscal and financial incentives to financial institutions, professional services firms such as legal and consulting companies as well as large multinational firms with regional headquarters,” Abdelmalek Alaoui, Managing Partner of Global Intelligence Partners, an adviser on the project said in an email statement.

The Casablanca Finance City zone zone sits on 100 hectares and will be located at the central axis of Casablanca’s new city center (Casablanca-Anfa), an area situated at the heart of Casablanca and at the crossroads of important highways such as Rabat and El Jadida.

While the CFC is still undergoing construction, companies from around the world are already applying for operating licenses. At the moment, more than 25 companies have obtained CFC status. Already, the new financial center is attracting growing interest from investors. In June last year, Abu Dhabi-based Asset Manager Invest A.D obtained a license to operate in the new financial center. In July 2013, FinanceCom, an investment holding company controlled by Moroccan billionaire Othman Benjelloun, signed an agreement to construct its headquarter offices in CFC.

“We want to bring the giants here. Think of the biggest names in the world of finance and professional services – Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JP Morgan, General Electric, Bowman Gilfillan, all of them. This is for them. There is a huge market in Francophone Africa which remains largely untapped. The CFC will provide a stable, reliable and relevant platform for international institutions to access these markets,” a senior executive at the Moroccan Investment Development Agency (AMDI) said via email.

An increasing number of international companies are setting up operations in Morocco considering the Kingdom to be a suitable platform for their investments in North, West and Central Africa because of its world class infrastructure, skilled labor force, cost competitiveness and business-friendly climate. At the moment, there are close to 3,000 international companies already active in Morocco and using the Kingdom as a springboard to access opportunities in the wider region.

“With Casablanca Finance City, we will be providing a professional and pragmatic answer to their financial convergence issues in Africa,” Saïd Ibrahimi, the CEO of Casablanca Finance City Authority said in a recent op-ed piece.

Ibrahimi feels there is a crucial need for a new African financial hub. According to him, the rationale behind the new city is straightforward. Africa recorded an average annual GDP growth of 5% during the last decade, thereby becoming the fastest-growing region in the world after East Asia. But in spite of this, Africa, particularly Francophone speaking parts, still lacks a major financial center. There are only 2 African countries listed on the 2013 Global Financial Centers index- Johannesburg, which comes in at 62, and Mauritius, which ranks in the 70th position.

“I believe that Morocco is in a strategic position to serve as a hub for the French-speaking part of Africa located in the North, West and Central parts of the continent,” Ibrahimi said in a press statement.

The CFC Head believes that Morocco stands out as the most logical option for a financial center because of socio-economic reasons including political stability within a regional context of agitation within the context of the Arab spring, as well as strong historical ties with Africa, sustainable macro-economic indicators and free trade agreements with the European Union, the United States and the Middle East. Morocco also has improved access to African markets through key agreements with African countries.

CFC-based businesses stand to enjoy some incentives specially designed to encourage and facilitate their setting up. For one, the government has put in place an attractive tax framework for companies with CFC status and the Casablanca Finance City Authority will offer fast-track procedures for company creation and people fluidity (visas, residence permits and work contracts). They will also offer training programs and financial qualifications to provide investors with all the necessary skills to develop their businesses.

The CFC will welcome its first tenants in 2016.

Mfonobong Nsehe, Contributor

I chronicle Africa’s success stories and track its richest people

http://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2013/11/112743/sahara-conflict-open-letter-to-president-barack-obama-2/

Sahara conflict: Open Letter to President Barack Obama

Monday 18 November 2013

New York

Mr. President,

Today the Moroccan people celebrate the 58th anniversary of the their country’s independence. But this independence is still not complete yet, as an the undisputable sovereignty of Morocco over an integral part of its territory is still subject to unfounded claims.

Thirty-eight years ago millions of Moroccans marched with their hearts and 350,000 Moroccans marched physically into Morocco’s southern provinces in the Sahara to reclaim Morocco’s sovereignty over the territory which remains contested to this day.

In recent colonial history, the Sahara was geo-politically misnamed Western Sahara for obvious colonial reasons. Yet, undeniably for centuries of rich traditions, the Sahara was linked to the Moroccan Kingdom through allegiance by its different tribes. “Allegiance” in Islamic cultures and societies was the equivalent of voting nowadays. This territorial unity changed in the late 19thand early 20thcenturies when colonial France and Spain divided amongst themselves the Moroccan Kingdom as they expanded in Africa.

When Morocco obtained its independence from France in 1956, the Sahara and other territories were still under Spanish control. Morocco’s official claim to the Sahara began before the UN started at the height of the colonial power’s physical withdrawal known as decolonization in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Morocco was the only stakeholder with respect to the sovereignty of the Sahara. Morocco was the only country that had brought this question to the consideration of the United Nations Special Political and Decolonization Committee. It was at the persistent and assertive insistence of Morocco that the UN body included the Sahara on the list of non-self-governing territories that needed to be freed from the yoke of colonialism.

It was not until 1973 that the Polisario — during the context of the cold war when Algeria and Libya’s Gaddafi and other non-aligned nations used the Sahara as a strategic geopolitical conflict zone – appeared on the scene, and claimed to be the sole and legitimate representative of the Saharawi population from a strictly political secessionist claim fueled by the cold war. An unnecessary war pitted Morocco against the secessionist Polisario from 1976 to 1991. In 991, the United Nations undertook to negotiate a solution to end this dispute.

Yet after a decade of unsuccessfully trying to organize a referendum in the Sahara, because the two parties could not agree over the eligibility of voters, the United Nations began calling on the sides to find a durable and mutually acceptable political solution.

Morocco presented an Autonomy Plan in April 2007, which was hailed by the United Nations Security Council as a “serious” and “credible” solution to end the conflict. Deeply entrenched in their cold war tradition to support the Polisario and undermine Morocco’s territorial integrity, countries such as Algeria, Cuba, South Africa and Nigeria persist in claiming that the only acceptable solution is through a referendum on self-determination.

Many experts, including the former UN Special Envoy for the Sahara, Peter Van Walsum concluded in recent years that a viable state cannot logically and possibly be established in the sparsely populated desert territory. Morocco has without a doubt assumed that responsibility for the region since 1975 and has invested billions of dollars in developing infrastructure and communities. There have been droughts and major natural calamities in the region, and the Moroccan Sahara has never been in the headlines for that matter. The structural transformation has been beneficial to the populations living in the region for the last thirty seven years. All one has to do is visit one of the Southern Provinces to see the result of Morocco’s efforts and investment.

Unfortunately, after several formal rounds of negotiations and nine informal rounds of talks since 2009, the UN approach to the conflict has seemingly reached its limits. This is due in part to the fact that the UN has focused only on full independence as the only way to achieve self-determination for the Sahrawi population while disregarding Morocco’s legitimate interests and other feasible ways to realize their autonomy, such as free association and [autonomy, which have proven the basis for resolving other disputes. The Moroccan autonomy plan, thus, is a compromise solution that can meet the claims of both sides – keeping the territory within the Moroccan state while also allowing for the population’s self-determination.

It is time for the UN to exercise due diligence and chart a new course for Morocco and the Sahara.   We call for a real and positive involvement by the US.

One fallacy today for the international community’s approach to resolving this long-standing conflict is to treat it like many of the other former European colonies in Africa and Asia by establishing the newly independent countries on the basis of their arbitrary colonial borders. While this may have been convenient, especially where there was less history of previously defined nation-states, in geo-political terms Morocco has more to deal with than just a haphazard division that the colonial powers previously agreed upon. This issue needs urgent resolution, among other things, to avoid the region becoming a breeding ground for Al Qaida North Africa and putting Morocco on a collision course with international terrorism. The concept of territorial “independence” clearly does not apply in the case of the Sahara and Morocco.

Mr. President,

As Moroccan-Americans, we call upon your trusted voice of wisdom and the power it commands to actively intervene on behalf of Morocco with the long held traditions of cooperation to end the stalled negotiations, so that Morocco can move forward with a resolution to this longstanding destabilizing issue. The importance of doing so has become even more apparent with the dangerous and destabilizing challenges facing the Maghreb and the Sahel, chief among which is the spread of criminal and terrorist activities by Al Qaida North Africa Network.

The challenges facing Mali must serve as wakeup call to world communities and world leaders that this region needs the attention and the commitment of the international leadership. The lack of state authority resulting from the longstanding dispute, and the miserable conditions of the approximate 80,000 people who live in almost total seclusion in the Tindouf camps in Algeria, becoming progressively infested with Al Qaida operatives, leaves the territory and population vulnerable to terrorist and criminal networks lurking in the region. In October 2011, three humanitarian aid workers were kidnapped at the Polisario run camps by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI).

Mr. President,

It is urgent to see the conflict end. The need is pressing for Morocco to find a solution to the conflict with the Polisario.

In this regard, the Moroccan community calls upon you to weigh in at the Security Council and push for an urgent and immediate adoption of an approach that takes into consideration  Morocco’s vital national interest in the Sahara. However imperfect the Moroccan Autonomy Plan may be, it is in line with international law and the principles of self-determination. It constitutes a basis for reaching a final solution to the conflict, as it offers a middle ground between independence and centralized government.

Some argue that Morocco does not respect human rights. However, Morocco is a country that received high praise for being a democratic model in North Africa and the Middle East. Morocco is on a positive track, and is working toward a greater commitment to human rights, and will respect an autonomy arrangement for the Sahraouis.

With respect to the human rights record of the Polisario, Algeria and all other invisible geopolitical interests in the region, the Polisario still refuses to allow the UNHCR to conduct a census of the population in the Tindouf camps.

At this juncture, what the region of the Sahel and North Africa does not need is a failed and non-viable state that would eventually fall prey to criminal and terrorist organizations. What this region needs is the existence of states that are likely to preserve stability in the region.

Mr. President,

On behalf of members of the Moroccan-American community, Moroccan residents in the US, and all Moroccans, we strongly urge that the United States play a positive and effective role in bringing this conflict to a conclusion in an equitable way that ensures Morocco’s national security and promotes stability in the region. Moroccans believe in your leadership to help facilitate this endeavor to a permanent solution the Sahara conflict.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ahmed-charai/a-monarch-visits-mali_b_3953990.html

A Monarch Visits Mali

Posted: 09/19/2013

A new president takes the helm in Mali today, and Moroccan king Muhammad VI is in the Malian capital Bamako as an honored guest, to congratulate him personally as well as lay out plans to build on a relationship the king has been nurturing. Ahead of his visit, civilian doctors and medical units of Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces have been dispatched to Bamako to set up a field hospital to boost the impoverished city’s limited medical capacity — and in the Moroccan capital Rabat, a new public discussion has been focused on how Moroccans can help Malians boost civil society, political participation, and sustainable economic development. (Here’s a video of the king’s arrival and reception.)

At a time of turmoil and terrorism in the African Sahel, the kingdom’s focus on Mali is hardly coincidental. Nor could the timing be less poignant: Earlier this week, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQIM) — a group whose affiliates managed to occupy a portion of northern Mali the size of France last year — released a video calling for attacks on Moroccan civilian targets.

The king and his supporters are doing their part to fight terrorism in a distinctively Moroccan fashion. And at a time of great American reluctance to intervene in distant crises, it behooves the United States to learn more about the kingdom’s efforts and tap into them.

By way of context, since February 2005 the Moroccan king has visited more than ten countries below the Sahara, from Gambia and the Republic of Congo to Guinea and Niger, as part of a strategy to enhance Morocco’s role as a supporter of political, economic, and cultural development on the continent, as well as help broker regional security. The development efforts have yielded a new electrical infrastructure that powers 550 villages along the Senegal river and a new system for the manufacture and distribution drugs for malaria, diarrheal diseases, and cholera in Africa’s poorest countries. These official visits by the king have never been a matter of fanfare: They are always accompanied by no-nonsense delegations in the human development realm, as well as economic specialists, proponents of political reform — and, to be sure, senior security and intelligence personnel. This bouquet of human resources is arranged in accordance with a unique vision for fighting political violence: In public statements across the continent, the king has repeatedly stated that state-of-the-art military operations, intelligence work, and policing must be combined with anti-poverty measures, a cultural strategy to counter extremist trends, and political reforms that fight corruption and foster opportunity.

This approach, which has won the king credibility and a sizable following below the Sahara, is part and parcel of the hard-nosed counterterrorist stance that saw Morocco at the forefront of pressing the UN Security Council to authorize an African military force to intervene in Mali last year. And with the king’s meeting today with newly-sworn-in Malian president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, these efforts come full circle: Keita’s contacts with the Moroccan political class run deep. To the Malians who voted him into office, he has committed to reforming the country’s governance, strengthening the rule of law, and fighting corruption — while also building an indigenous military capacity to eventually hold Mali’s borders without the need for foreign troops.

Keita has clearly signaled, both publicly in Mali and through protracted contact with Rabat, that he sees the Moroccan leadership as playing a mentoring role in his efforts. Most dramatically, he did so today in the course of his inaugural speech. With 26 heads of state in the audience, he began his talk by singling out the Moroccan king and his people for appreciation. He said that the Moroccan monarch is not just a head of state but also a symbol of tolerance. As “Amir al-Mu’mineen” — the country’s highest religious authority and an arbiter of Islamic teaching, he has provided a model for other multi-religious countries, the president said in substance. Mali, in which tension sometimes flares between Muslims and Christians, is well served by drawing lessons from the Moroccan model. Keita spoke a few words in Arabic — not the dominant language in his country — as a special gesture. In response, the king delivered a speech of his own, committing his country “to provide support to Malian development programs, particularly in terms of staff training, basic infrastructure, and health … to promote communal relations, promote trade and investment between our two countries, and in doing so, promote the use and transfer of skills and capital.”

Viewed from Rabat, this partnership is one of over a dozen alliances with strategically vital states below the Sahara that stand in need of support. Morocco occupies an important middle space between the advanced democracies of the West on the one hand and the developing world’s beleaguered transitioning states on the other. The king’s proactive decision to use this standing as a catalyst for change in Africa is a win-win-win — for Moroccan regional aspirations, the continent’s aspirations for growth, and global security concerns focused on the Sahel in particular, especially troubling to Western capitals.

As the United States grapples with a triage of crises calling urgently for American attention — from Damascus and Cairo to Mali and the broader Sahel — the question of the hour is how Washington can continue to advance reform, progress, and security in the developing world given limited resources and a waning public appetite for foreign intervention. The Moroccan example offers the beginnings of an answer: A pro-American kingdom offering inspiration and service to a war-ravaged continent can also be a bridge between that continent and the many Americans who care about its future.

Ahmed Charai is the publisher of L’Observateur du Maroc and other newspapers and the owner of Morocco’s largest private radio network Med radio. As an expert on Morocco and North Africa, he sits on the Board of Directors of The Atlantic Council of United States and the Board of Trustees of the Foreign Policy Research Institute and the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. He is also member of The National Interest’s Advisory Council.

http://elizabethbuckner.com/2013/08/27/king-mohammed-vi-sparks-national-conversation-on-education/

King Mohammed VI sparks national conversation on education

Posted on August 27, 2013

“Why is it that so many of our young people cannot fulfill their legitimate professional, material, and social aspirations?”

This is the question that King Mohammed VI himself put forth to the nation in August 20 speech to the Moroccan people. The speech was given on the 60th anniversary of Morocco’s “Revolution of the King and the People,” in which the French Protectorate authorities deposed then-Sultan Mohamed V, an act that is viewed today as ultimately strengthening the nationalist independence movement.

The King skillfully compared the revolution against colonization to today’s revolution for human development and social and economic progress. He emphasized his personal commitment to strengthening education and touched on some of the achievements Morocco has made in education, including widespread expansion and high enrollment rates for both males and females.

However, the King also leveled direct criticism at the current system. The King pointed out that he himself is a graduate of the public school system and the Law School of Mohammed V University in Rabat, and yet, stated in no uncertain terms that he is “indeed sad to note that the state of education is worse now than it was twenty years ago.”

Among the King’s major critiques were a lack of coordination of the education system with the labor market, and the Arabization policy that has students learning in Arabic at primary and secondary levels and then switching to French in technical programs and in higher education. The King also addressed the huge costs many Moroccan families incur to send their students to private schools or abroad, viewing this rising trend of privatization as evidence that many Moroccans do not have faith in the public system.

And while the King lauded vocational and professionally oriented programs that helped graduates integrate into the labor market, he made a marked contrast to university programs that he called all but “factories” for producing unemployed graduates.

The King called upon educational institutions to take advantage of Moroccans natural propensity to cultural openness and linguistic aptitudes by training Moroccans for sectors that are in demand, such as call centers and the car industry. He also called for renewed focus on vocational training programs and called attention to that fact that despite Morocco’s unemployment crisis, many Europeans are actually migrating to Morocco now to work in trade fields, a reality that many Moroccans have found surprising to say the least.

One of the most important changes the King addressed was a call for continuity of reform. The King explained: “It hardly makes sense for each government to come with a new plan every five years, and disregard previous programs, particularly as no government will ever have the time, during a single mandate, to fully implement its project.”

The King’s criticisms seemed leveled specifically at the current government of Prime Minister Benkirane, although no names were mentioned directly, who he credited with dropping crucial elements of Morocco’s Emergency Education Program, including curricular reform at the primary level, the creation of high schools of excellence without consultation.

In fact, the King pointed out that his speech on the same occasion last year had laid out major reform initiatives, and yet a year has passed without government action. This time, he did not outline reform priorities yet again, preferring to take concrete action himself.

He directed the Higher Council for Education (HEC), in its current formation, to carry out an evaluation of the achievements of the National Charter for Education and Training ten years after its passage. Although the National Charter for Education and Training calls for an annual review of educational accomplishments and needs by the HEC, the HEC has been undergoing re-structuring for a number of years now, putting its work on hold. Rather than waiting for the current government to finish re-structuring, the King took action into his own hands by calling on the existent HEC to recommence its work and provide an assessment of the current state of education in the Kingdom.

The King’s tone was at once harsh and sincere in his concern. His criticisms, which come as Moroccans are preparing to return to school, have already launched a national conversation on education in Morocco. Whether real changes can actually be implemented, however, is yet to be seen.

Elizabeth Buckner, PhD Candidate in International and Comparative Education at Stanford School of Education.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathryn-cameron-porter/the-kings-speech_1_b_835354.html

The King’s Speech

Posted: 03/15/11

Like so many people, The King’s Speech, the movie, moved me on many levels. It brought to reality the humanity of a distant figure, a man’s simple struggle to rise to the occasion, to stretch himself for his people. To do the right thing. Earlier this week, like so many others, I continued my search on Facebook and Twitter to stay abreast of all the momentous change raging across the Arab world, I stumbled across another King’s Speech that also moved me to tears.

Throughout North Africa and the Middle East, many people are rightfully demanding greater political freedom, economic opportunity, the rule of law, transparent government and reform in a rush to greater quality of life in a modern world. Many women are finally making their voices heard in the tumult of this new history and another King is listening to them. King Mohammed VI of Morocco began the challenge of moving his people and country forward since assuming the throne as a young man more than ten years ago. The changes announced by His Majesty this week are a further step in the right direction toward democracy and a better life for all Moroccans.

There is a balance to tradition and modernity than can be mirrored in tolerance and compassion. As we watch the region roil, we wonder why the ‘Mubaraks’ are blind to the needs of their people, how the ‘Ghadaffis’ can be so cruel. The speech of this King, who has already brought about positive change, including a new Family Law that protects women and children along with other reforms that put his people first. His speech outlined his pledge for ongoing democratic development through constitutional, judicial and political reforms. This is a moment of profound change in the region. His contrast to the other so-called leaders is breath-taking and provides a model for the world.

The King’s response to demonstrations was to set up a new body to defend human rights in a more direct and meaningful way. The new National Human Rights Council replaces an existing organization which had a more consultative role. The new Council will be made up of representatives of public authorities, non-government organizations, political parties and independents. The contrast to the on-going tragedy in Libya is more than significant. It is worthy of a Nobel Prize. We should be helpful in our support for this government and the people of Morocco. Here is a man and a government that is capable of both human rights and responsibilities.

As we consider the will of a young King to move forward the reforms he started ten years ago, his actions show his commitment to a continuation of reform in Morocco. As blood flows in the region because of intransigence and greed, a man who stretches a little taller to help his people, both male and female, move into the modern world deserves our thanks and respect. While Colin Firth’s King’s Speech won an Oscar and our hearts, this King’s speech shows us how a better world can really be — and we haven’t found an award for that yet.

Kathryn Cameron PorterFounder & President, Leadership Council for Human Rights

http://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2013/06/95488/the-moroccan-jewish-experience-and-why-i-have-hope-for-peace-in-the-middle-east-2/

The Moroccan-Jewish experience and why I have hope for peace in the Middle East

Washington, June 25, 2013

Secretary of State John Kerry has made it his personal mission to revive peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine. Yet many wonder: after so much loss and pain, can there ever be peace? Can Jews and Muslims ever coexist?

While no one knows for sure how the peace process will unfold, I have found hope in my heritage and the history of the country in which I was born, Morocco.

Jews have lived and prospered in Morocco for at least 2,000 years, and Morocco’s 2011 Constitution officially recognizes the Jewish influences that have “nourished and enriched” the national identity. During World War II, then-King Mohamed V defied the Vichy government’s request to enact anti-Jewish legislation, reportedly saying, “We have no Jews in Morocco, only Moroccans.” More recently, King Mohamed VI has endorsed and supported the preservation and renovation of Jewish heritage sites in Morocco, as well as of Jewish burial sites in Cape Verde, where many Moroccan Jews settled in the 19th century.

These high-level examples of tolerance and respect are undoubtedly unique in the Arab world. But moreover, they are reflective of Moroccan culture as a whole, from the bottom up. I know because I’ve experienced it.

As a Jew growing up in Meknes, a city in the northern part of the country, I attended public school, studying alongside Muslim (and Christian) classmates. To this day I remain friends with many of them, and not once did I feel different from them in anything but our religion. Even then, our traditions were always welcoming, constantly overlapping. Jewish families would often invite their Muslim neighbors for the traditional Shabbat meal on Saturday afternoons, where we served “dafina”—a stew of meat, potatoes, eggs, chickpeas and grains seasoned with favorite Moroccan spices like turmeric and cumin. On Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, I remember that the mayor of Meknes and many government officials, including the chief of police, were invited to receive a special blessing from the rabbis.

My favorite example of these exchanges is Passover. According to Jewish law, households must get rid of all bread products before Passover. In Morocco, we would give these to our Muslim neighbors before the start of the holiday. For eight days, Jews could not eat at Muslims’ homes due to the dietary restrictions. But at the mimouna—the festival meal marking the end of Passover—they joined us for a true feast, bringing sweets as a symbol of hospitality and friendship. Of course we were invited to Muslim holiday celebrations, too. Their holidays were like open houses, where everyone was welcome.

Though I left Morocco decades ago, and life has taken me to France, to Switzerland and now to the United States, where I’ve built a business and raised a family, I travel to Morocco frequently to visit old friends and familiar places. Morocco remains an important part of my identity.

The documentary “Tinghir-Jerusalem: Echoes from the Mellah” captures my experience in many ways. The film recounts the memories of Jews and Muslims who once lived together in the Moroccan Berber village of Tinghir. As Muslim, Moroccan-born filmmaker Kamal Hachkar finds, the Muslims of Tinghir wonder to this day why their neighbors left them; and the Jews, now in Israel, look back fondly on their lives in Morocco, many still identifying themselves as Moroccans.

Recently, the Moroccan American Cultural Center screened the film here in D.C. as a salute to Jewish American Heritage Month. More than 100 people attended—Jews, Muslims, Berbers, Moroccans, Americans— eager to believe in the seemingly impossible. They watched in awe. They laughed when Aisha, a Jewish woman who had left Tinghir at a young age, remembered with nostalgia her time in Morocco, back when there were “no washing machines to give you headaches.” When the filmmaker said in a live Skype interview that what he found in making this film was the humanity that unites us all, they applauded.

Perhaps the audience understood that Morocco can serve as an example of coexistence between Muslims and Jews in the Arab world. I believe it does, and that there is hope for peace.

Sir Charles Dahan is vice president of the World Federation of Moroccan Jewry.

ARTICLES :

http://magharebia.com/en_GB/articles/awi/features/2013/11/14/feature-02

Morocco enacts migration reform

By Siham Ali in Rabat for Magharebia – 14/11/2013

Morocco on Monday (November 11th) announced plans to regularise the status of up to 40,000 illegal immigrants.

The scheme is part of a new Moroccan migration policy introduced in September to comply with international agreements.

Priority will be given to 850 immigrants considered asylum-seekers by the UNHCR who will benefit from legal residency rights automatically.

Six additional categories of foreign nationals are covered by the regularisation operation, which Morocco intends to run from January 1st to December 31st, 2014.

Foreign spouses of Moroccan citizens who can prove they have resided with their partners for at least two years, foreign couples who have lived together in Morocco consistently for at least four years and children from both of the above categories will benefit from the measure.

In addition, immigrants in possession of a valid work permit of at least two years’ duration, foreign nationals who can prove five years’ continuous residence in Morocco and other expats affected by a serious illness and on Moroccan soil prior to 31 December 2013 will also obtain legal residency rights.

A bureau will be set up in each prefecture and province across Morocco to receive and approve regularisation requests.

A national appeal committee will also be created, with the involvement of the National Human Rights Advisory Council (CNDH).

In a press conference on Monday, the Moroccan expatriates and migration affairs minister, Anis Birou, stressed that this was a bold approach to tackling the various problems of migration experienced by Morocco for years.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Mohamed Hassad pointed out that the special operation to regularise immigrants’ status was part of a “political decision” taken by Morocco.

“Morocco has made it very clear that it wants to deal with the problems of migration. Our country has between 25,000 and 40,000 illegal immigrants, most of whom have come from Sub-Saharan countries as well as from other countries around the world,” the interior minister noted.

In order for the action to take place, a new legal and institutional framework will be set up, with improvements to the legislation on migration, asylum and human trafficking.

It will follow a global, people-centred and human rights approach based on the terms of the constitution, explained inter-ministerial delegate for human rights El Mahjoub El Haiba.

Political analyst Hamid Chentoufi said the new migration strategy was like a double-edged sword: “On the one hand it is built on human rights, allowing thousands of immigrants to stay legally. But on the other, it will encourage an influx of other migrants. This will present huge security problems, especially at the borders.”

Immigrants were delighted at the news of the exceptional regularisation. Franck, a 28-year-old Ivorian national who has lived in Morocco for five years, has always aspired to legal status so that he could access a decent job.

“I’ve been working as a builder on the black market, even though I have a law degree. I live in constant fear of being arrested and deported to my home country,” he said.

“My main motivation was the dream of getting to Europe. But it’s difficult to achieve that, especially with Europe going through an economic crisis,” he noted. “For me, it’s good news that I can finally live legally in Morocco. At least I won’t be exploited economically.”

Moussa, 34, from Mali, shares his enthusiasm. Six years ago he fled his country to seek a better life in Europe. Morocco was only a staging point for him, but he was stuck there for years because it was not easy to get to the other side of the Mediterranean.

He was delighted to learn of the regularisation process, because finally he would be able to work legally.

“Up to now, I’ve been able to work as a car park attendant and a builder, but on the black market. We Sub-Saharan illegal immigrants are paid less than the Moroccans because of our situation. At last the economic exploitation will come to an end,” he told Magharebia.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/king-mohammed-vi-emphasizes-moroccos-commitments-and-achievements-on-human-rights-231053581.html

Reiterates Commitment to Africa, Immigrants, Political Solution for Western Sahara

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ (MACP) — In a speech on the 38th anniversary of Morocco’s Green March, King Mohammed VI stressed Morocco’s commitments and achievements on human rights, noting the openness and freedom enjoyed by Moroccans in the Southern Provinces as well as in the north.

“Our aim is to see the Moroccan citizen properly honored, endowed with the attributes of full-fledged citizenship,” he said. “It is in this spirit that we have undertaken a series of profound reforms and major projects,” including the establishment of national institutions and regional bodies for the protection and promotion of human rights that are “known for their independence and credibility.” He also said that no country accepts being “subjected to behavior that is harmful to their security and stability, especially as violence, subversion and intimidation of citizens are incompatible with human rights, and the exercise of freedom can only be done in compliance with the law.”

King Mohammed VI rejected attempts by adversaries “to undermine Morocco’s reputation” and ignore its progress on freedom and human rights.  He pledged to continue to work with human rights organizations and to reach an equitable political solution for Western Sahara with the UN and its Special Envoy, and international partners who recognize Morocco’s achievements.

The King vowed to build on those achievements and on Morocco’s investment in the Southern Provinces by adopting the new regional development model proposed by CESE for increased economic and political autonomy. This is “an integrated developmental vision, based on an objective analysis of the current situation in our Southern Provinces… to make them a space for integrated development, instrumental in providing a dignified life for the people of the region.”

King Mohammed VI reiterated Morocco’s commitment to helping other African countries achieve the same dignity and human rights progress through continued cooperation “and active solidarity with these countries and to contribute to the achievement of the expectations of their peoples who aspire to development and stability.” He also noted that Morocco’s commitment to human rights extends to African immigrants, through Morocco’s “new comprehensive policy on immigration and asylum issues, based on a humanitarian approach in line with our country’s international commitments and respectful of the rights of immigrants.”

The King stressed Morocco’s “sincere commitment” to promoting peace and the rule of law in Africa, most recently through its “support for our sister country Mali in its fight against extremist and terrorist groups.”

For more on Morocco and the region, visit

http://www.moroccoonthemove.com/

The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials, and interested publics in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.  For more, please visit http://www.moroccoonthemove.com

http://www.usatoday.com/story/theoval/2013/09/09/obama-syria-24-countries-statement/2787217/

Obama team: 24 nations back U.S. on Syria

David Jackson, September 9, 2013

The Obama administration says two dozen nations back its call for a “strong international response” to chemical weapons in Syria.

The White House reissued a joint statement Monday that nine other countries — plus the United States — had signed on to last week; the new list has an additional 15 nations and ranges from Albania to the United Kingdom. It also includes Germany, Qatar, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

“We condemn in the strongest terms the horrific chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21st that claimed the lives of so many men, women and children,” the statement says. “The evidence clearly points to the Syrian government being responsible for the attack, which is part of a pattern of chemical weapons use by the regime.”

The signers:

Albania

Australia

Canada

Croatia

Denmark

Estonia

France

Germany

Honduras

Hungary

Italy

Japan

Republic of Korea

Kosovo

Latvia

Lithuania

Morocco

Qatar

Romania

Saudi Arabia

Spain

Turkey

United Arab Emirates

United Kingdom

United States

The joint statement in full:

“The international norm against the use of chemical weapons is longstanding and universal. The use of chemical weapons anywhere diminishes the security of people everywhere. Left unchallenged, it increases the risk of further use and proliferation of these weapons.

“We condemn in the strongest terms the horrific chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21st that claimed the lives of so many men, women, and children. The evidence clearly points to the Syrian government being responsible for the attack, which is part of a pattern of chemical weapons use by the regime.

“We call for a strong international response to this grave violation of the world’s rules and conscience that will send a clear message that this kind of atrocity can never be repeated. Those who perpetrated these crimes must be held accountable.

“Signatories have consistently supported a strong UN Security Council Resolution, given the Security Council’s responsibilities to lead the international response, but recognize that the Council remains paralyzed as it has been for two and a half years. The world cannot wait for endless failed processes that can only lead to increased suffering in Syria and regional instability. We support efforts undertaken by the United States and other countries to reinforce the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons.

“We commit to supporting longer term international efforts, including through the United Nations, to address the enduring security challenge posed by Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles. Signatories have also called for the UN fact finding mission to present its results as soon as possible, and for the Security Council to act accordingly.

“We condemn in the strongest terms all human rights violations in Syria on all sides. More than 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict, more than 2 million people have become refugees, and approximately 5 million are internally displaced. Recognizing that Syria’s conflict has no military solution, we reaffirm our commitment to seek a peaceful political settlement through full implementation of the 2012 Geneva Communique. We are committed to a political solution which will result in a united, inclusive and democratic Syria.

“We have contributed generously to the latest United Nations (UN) and ICRC appeals for humanitarian assistance and will continue to provide support to address the growing humanitarian needs in Syria and their impact on regional countries. We welcome the contributions announced at the meeting of donor countries on the margins of the G20. We call upon all parties to allow humanitarian actors safe and unhindered access to those in need.

“European signatories will continue to engage in promoting a common European position.”

http://northafricapost.com/2787-golden-age-of-moroccos-jewish-community-will-never-die.html

Golden Age of Morocco’s Jewish Community will never Die

Posted by Sabah Lebbar on February 26, 2013

A synagogue has been refurbished and inaugurated by a Head of a government. This is no news, if the event is taking place somewhere in Europe, the Americas or inside Israel. But when the synagogue is located inside the walls of the spiritual capital of an Islamic State, when it is dedicated, after having been rehabilitated, by the head of an Islamist party, and when the dedication ceremony is placed under the aegis of this country’s leader, the news is actually breaking, shattering, unprecedented.

This unprecedented event actually took place earlier this week in Morocco, precisely in Fes, when Abdelilah Benkirane, the head of the government and the head of the Party for Justice and Development (PJD) which is leading a governmental coalition in the North African country, made the trip to Fes to preside over the dedication ceremony of the “Slat Alfassiyine” synagogue, placed under the patronage of King Mohammed VI.

This important Jewish place of worship, dating back to the 17th century, has been renovated thanks to the support of various private individuals, including the late Simon Levy, the Toledanos, and the Berdugos, the Foundation for Moroccan Jewish Cultural Heritage, the Jewish community of Fez, and also thanks to donations by Germany.

The “Slat Alfassiyine” synagogue is one of several synagogues located in the Mellah, the Jewish district in the city, which have been closed for years but which have been or are being restored with private donations or with UNESCO funds.

The Slat Alfassiyine Snagogue is a landmark monument of Fez, which is classified as World Heritage by UNESCO, and which also hosts Al Karaouine University, one of the oldest and largest spiritual and educational centers in the Muslim world that was founded in 859 by Fatima Al Fihria.

Many Synagogues in Fes, also considered as particularly representative of the Moroccan Judaism specific rite, date back to the golden era of the Jewish community in the city, an era that lasted for nearly three hundred years, starting in the 9th century when Idriss II welcomed large numbers of Jews chased from Andalusia.

At that time, Jewish religious schools in Fes attracted bright scholars, poets and theologians. The Jewish community, which was renowned by its skills in manufacturing gold thread, lace, embroidery as well as jewellery making, was playing a prominent role in the city’s cultural and commercial life. Their influence on Moroccans’ way of life and traditions is still perceptible up to date.

King Mohammed VI has actually lauded the richness and diversity of his country’s spiritual components.

In a message read out on his behalf during the dedication of the Slat Alfassiyine Synagogue, the king said the refurbishment of the worship place is clear-cut evidence to “the richness and diversity of Morocco’s spiritual components and heritage.” He added that “Moroccans are deeply imbued by the values of coexistence, tolerance and harmony between the various components of the nation.” He also called for the restoration of all Jewish temples in Morocco to make of them not only places of worship but also a space for dialogue and cultural revival of the founding values of the Moroccan civilization.

Depending on the dynasty ruling the kingdom of Morocco or on the king at the helm of power, the Jewish community lived hardships at some times and opulence and renaissance at others.

In 1791-92, as an instance, Moulay Yazid expelled the Jews from the city and sent them to a nearby countryside. The Slat al Fassiyine synagogue was transformed into a jail and a mosque was built in the Jewish district. Later on, when Moulay Slimane took over the power, he ordered the destruction of the mosque, because, he argued it was “built on injustice”. The Jews were allowed back, their synagogue was reopened and they were able to pray there for many many years, till 1972 when it was closed. The premises were then used as a rug-weaving workshop and later on as a boxing training center.

Then, in 2010, the late Simon Levy, initiator of the Casablanca-based “Museum of Moroccan Judaism”, unique of its kind in the whole Arab and Muslim World, who was then president of the Foundation for Moroccan Jewish Cultural Heritage, launched a call to help restore and safeguard the monument, symbol of the Fassi rite which is different, to some extent, from the Sepharad rite that was generally followed in the rest of the country. The Fassi rite is preserved in the Ahabat ha Qadmonim ritual, “Love of the elders”, which has crossed the centuries before being collected and printed in the 19th century.

Simon Levy’s call was heeded and funds were collected to cover the rehabilitation costs which amounted to over $150,000.

In the meantime, Simon Levy passed away, but his hope has been fulfilled and the Slat al Fassiyine synagogue has been safeguarded.

Another Jewish worship place in Fes, the Ibn Danan Synagogue, also dating back to the 17th century, was first restored in the 1870s. But the building could not stand the test of time. As the roofs collapsed and the infiltrated water damaged walls, plaster and wood, the place was closed. However thanks to the efforts of Moroccan authorities, the Jewish community of Fes, and the World Monuments Funds, the synagogue was refurbished and reopened in 1999.

The presence of Jews in Morocco dates back, according to historians, to the II century BC. Moroccan Jews have occupied and still occupy high positions in the administration.

During the first half of the past century, the Jewish Moroccan community was 250.000 strong. The numbers dwindled over the years but Morocco still counts the largest Jewish community in North Africa.

Each year, Moroccan Jewish expatriates come from around the world to celebrate their Saints buried in Ouezzane, Safi, Essaouira or Taroudant, in a festival called hiloula. Their Muslim countrymen usually join them to celebrate their shared traditions and memories.

http://northafricapost.com/212-u-s-morocco-launch-strategic-dialog-amid-regional-instability.html

U.S.-Morocco launch strategic dialog amid regional instability

Posted by Sabah Lebbar on September 14, 2012

The United States and Morocco have launched on Thursday in Washington the first round of a strategic dialog meant to boost longstanding relations between the two countries, at a time the region is at grips with insecurity.

This strategic dialog that is triggering a new phase in a centuries-old partnership covers political, economic and cultural cooperation as well as cooperation in security related matters.

The security dimension of the US-Moroccan strategic pact is all the more important as the dialog is taking place on the morrow of the attack on the US consulate in the Libyan eastern city of Benghazi in which four Americans including the ambassador were killed.

The assault on the consulate, initially believed to have been conducted by angry demonstrators protesting an anti-Islam Internet film made in America by an Israeli-American, might have been orchestrated, as underlined by some US officials, by groups affiliated to Al-Qaeda. The heavy weapons used to storm the diplomatic compound and the organization and seemingly good training of the assailants substantiate this hypothesis. As to the date of the assault, US officials cautioned that it was too soon to tell whether the attack was related to the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The destabilization threat looming on the whole Sahara-Sahel region, on North Africa and beyond is therefore reason enough to prompt the two countries to focus their cooperation on the security aspect so as to take up the challenge thrown at the region by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and other groups affiliated to it. This is all the more so as Washington is fully aware that Morocco, which is bound by historical and civilizational ties to sub-Saharan Africa,  is able to promote stability in this region and can be a major player in any conflict settlement.

Washington is also fully aware of the key role that Morocco can play in promoting the economic development of sub-Saharan and Sahel countries in the frame of a triangular cooperation and a multi-faceted strategy of struggle against extremism and destabilization attempts, which put at stake regional and global stability.

The decision to initiate this strategic dialog is also interpreted by some commentators as an additional sign of Washington’s support to the democratic reforms launched by the North African country during the past thirteen years and as a confirmation of its stabilizing role in a troubled region.

The strategic dialog is recognition not only of the historical and historic partnership between the two countries but also of the progress scored by Morocco on the path of democracy and the rule of law, according to observers.

The two countries’ decision to set up a new mechanism to enhance their political, economic, cultural and strategic cooperation is thus viewed as a timely decision that will serve geopolitics as well as the two parties’ interests.

The Strategic Dialogue, result of focused, comprehensive leadership and cooperation by King Mohammed VI of Morocco with three US Administrations, will undoubtedly strengthen Morocco-US relations and implement the two countries’ shared vision for the Middle East and North Africa.

THINK TANK REPORTS :

http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/publications/issue-briefs/morocco-s-vital-role-in-northwest-africa-s-security-and-development

Morocco’s Vital Role in Northwest Africa’s Security and Development

BY J. PETER PHAM, THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL

NOVEMBER 12, 2013

In the Africa Center’s most recent issue brief, “Morocco’s Vital Role in Northwest Africa’s Security and Development,” Director J. Peter Pham outlines the country’s increasing reengagement with Africa and its emergence as a key political, security, and economic actor integral to the continent’s future. He argues that Morocco’s willingness to shoulder the challenges in the Maghreb and the Sahel makes it an important strategic partner for the United States.

The publication comes as the White House announced last week that President Barack Obama will host King Mohammed VI on November 22. According to the statement from the White House: “This visit will highlight the long-standing friendship between the United States and Morocco and strengthen our strategic partnership… This visit is also an opportunity to increase our cooperation on addressing regional challenges, including countering violent extremism, supporting democratic transitions, and promoting economic development in the Middle East and Africa.”

Morocco’s comprehensive approach to combating violent extremism and radicalism within its borders is a model for the region. Similarly, its political, economic, social, and justice sector reforms have enabled it to steer clear of the both the revolutionary tumult and violent repression that have beset some of the kingdom’s neighbors. In recent years, alongside widened regional and international security cooperation, Morocco has also become a very significant force for development in Africa, both with the continued expansion of its financial institutions across the continent and a push by other enterprises in broad range of sectors with significant growth prospects in the coming years, including agriculture, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing.

The brief argues that the United States should adopt a “triangular” approach to regional security and development efforts, leveraging Morocco’s burgeoning regional geopolitical heft. The kingdom is a designated “major non-NATO ally” (the only country in Africa aside from Egypt to have that distinction).

The Atlantic Council’s Africa Center was established in 2009 with the mission to promote strong geopolitical partnerships with African states and to redirect US and European policy priorities towards strengthening economic growth and prosperity on the continent. The Center assists policymakers in addressing the complex security challenges facing Africa, including the problems of state collapse; humanitarian crises; piracy; the growing nexus between extremism and criminality in West Africa and the Sahel; the ongoing political transitions in North Africa; ongoing challenges in Central and Southern Africa; and the growing impact of Islamist extremism on African polities and economies.

The report : http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/images/publications/Moroccos_Vital_Role.pdf

http://csis.org/publication/moroccos-african-future

Morocco’s African Future

By Haim Malka, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTERNATIONAL STUDIES

OCT 30, 2013

Sub-Saharan Africa is increasingly vital to Morocco’s future economic growth and security. Morocco has pursued a soft power strategy in Africa for over a decade, but regional and global dynamics create a new urgency for Morocco to diversify its economic ties, boost multilateral security cooperation, and play a more active diplomatic role. While Morocco enjoys some competitive advantage in sub-Saharan Africa, it faces several challenges to transforming its presence there. Diplomatically, it must diversify its ties with larger African economies and overcome constraints posed by the Western Sahara conflict. Economically, the challenge will be to restructure its nascent manufacturing base and diversify its products in order to meet growing African consumer demand. The United States can play a role in supporting Morocco’s engagement in Africa, which complements U.S. policy objectives in both Morocco and sub-Saharan Africa.

The report http://csis.org/files/publication/131029_Malka_MoroccoAfricaFuture_Web_0.pdf

http://library.fundforpeace.org/shrtr1320

Morocco After the Arab Uprisings: Evolution Rather than Revolution

Published October 22, 2013

By Krista Hendry and Dr. Ricardo René Larémont*

On September 27, 2013, The Fund for Peace hosted a Roundtable meeting in Washington, D.C. on the future of Morocco in the context of the Arab Spring. The Roundtable discussion, which sought to elicit policy recommendations, was led by Dr. Ricardo René Larémont of SUNY Binghampton. In leading the discussion, Dr. Larémont drew heavily upon his new book, Revolution, Revolt and Reform in North Africa: The Arab Spring and Beyond, that lends significant attention to Morocco. Participants were also provided Dr. Larémont’s discussion paper, Morocco After the Uprisings, which is included at the end of this report. Participants included a range of stakeholders with interest in Morocco including academics, think tank representatives, human rights and democracy NGOs, government representatives, companies, and consultants. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the recent history of Morocco, findings from research done by Dr. Larémont, and consider how the U.S. could best support the evolution taking place in Morocco.

The report : http://library.fundforpeace.org/library/shrtr1320-morocco-10a.pdf

WIKIPEDIA :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morocco–United_States_relations

MY LAST OP-ED : 

http://www.yourmiddleeast.com/opinion/morocco-strategic-partner-in-new-era-of-us-foreign-policy_19476

 

Morocco – strategic partner in new era of U.S. foreign policy?

“Morocco can boast several trump cards during this visit”

Banner Icon US & MIDDLE EAST If Obama wishes to mark a decisive turning point in a new foreign policy, he will have to choose his preferred strategic partners in the Arab world. The choice of King Mohammed VI of Morocco appears an obvious one, writes Nabil Ouchagour.

Is John Kerry incompetent? To glance upon the number of articles that criticize him, one may justifiably pose the question. Yet, upon analysis perhaps Kerry is an innocent in the unfortunate position of assuming Secretary of State at the dawn of a new political era.

“The Post-American World”, as the journalist Fareed Zakaria puts it, pushes Washington to launch a real transformation of its “global strategy”. According to the CNN and Time journalist, the United States must learn to share power, create coalitions and build legitimacy. The question arises: Can “The Post-American World” survive a new era in which the United States no longer dominates the global economy, orchestrates geopolitics and influences global culture?

The answer is obviously yes. Different think tanks are actively addressing balance sheets, imagining scenarios and forming recommendations. The influential “Atlantic Council” in September published a report to this end, the title of which says it all: ” US and EU: Lack of Strategic Vision, Frustrated Efforts Toward the Arab Transitions.” The research center underlined the reluctancy of Congress to dedicate a fund for countries in the region, and asked Obama to focus on the needs of Arab countries at a national level. The final recommendation of the report recommends adherence to trade agreements and the promotion of private investment while offering support for economic reform when possible.

“Morocco can boast several trump cards during this visit, due in large part to its position as the primary US interlocutor in the region.”

The report highlights the need for a new form of strategic approach as the best hope for the encouragement of democratic stability in the Arab Spring region. “The United States and the European Union cannot generate or ensure democratic transitions in the Arab transitioning countries; that is the task of their own leaders and citizens.” The underlying message is for the US department of state to intervene as little as possible. The paragraph concludes, however, by recommending the United States and the European Union to pay close attention to the progress of the Arab countries.

If there is one point to add to this report, that stays loyal to the overall theme, it would be, precisely, to compare the analysis issued from various Washington think tanks with the analysis of institutes and research centers local to the Arab region.

In this sense, Morocco is a prime example: An active and diverse civil society, where young people are becoming more and more visible in the political sphere and the most stable transition in the region bolstered by a number of research institutes and think tanks with international credibility. These are propitious omens for the upcoming visit of the Moroccan monarch Mohammed VI to the United States—an event that marks a shift in relations between the two countries.

Though it is the first meeting between President Obama and King Mohammed VI, there is a raft of topics to discuss: The strategic dialogue launched between the two countries for example, or the Free Trade Agreement, which came into force in 2006, and the Compact Millennium Challenge Account of approximately 700 million dollars.

Morocco can boast several trump cards during this visit, due in large part to its position as the primary US interlocutor in the region. The decision not to take up membership in the African Union pushed Morocco into using an anticipatory and pragmatic approach to its relations with other African countries, a strategy that, after many years, has made it an incontestable leader in the region.

In an article published recently in the Huffington Post, the director of the Brookings Doha Center demonstrated how King Mohammed VI, a graduate of the ‘Arab Leaders, Class of 1999’, is the regional leader who has best handled the transitory process of the “Arab Spring”. If Obama wishes to mark a decisive turning point in a new foreign policy, he will have to choose his preferred strategic partners in the region. The choice of King Mohammed VI appears to me an obvious one.

FRENCH VERSION :

http://www.huffpostmaghreb.com/nabil-ouchagour/story_b_4265054.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.fr/nabil-ouchagour/politique-etrangere-americaine_b_4260081.html

As a Moroccan who has recently moved to USA, I feel a natural interest in the US-Moroccan relations in particular and US-MENA region in general. I will do my best to participate in the strengthening of these relations. It’s an engagement !

Posted in Politique, Relations internationales, Relations publiques | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Nous sommes tous marocains !

Les amoureux sont rentrés chez eux

Demain vous les oublierez pour d’autres causes sorties par l’iceberg des réseaux sociaux

Les amoureux sont rentrés chez eux

Mais désormais ils réfléchiront deux fois avant d’embrasser n’importe qui

Les amoureux sont rentrés chez eux

Leurs futurs baisers n’auront plus le même goût pour chacun d’eux

Les amoureux sont rentrés chez eux

Signant par cet événement, ce que je craignais pendant des années, la polarisation de la société marocaine

Les amoureux sont rentrés chez eux

Personne ne se souciera des insultes, moqueries et autres conséquences sur la vie de chacun d’eux

Les amoureux sont rentrés chez eux

Et je souhaite enfin donner mon avis si vous permettez : il est impératif, urgent, prioritaire que l’on se mette d’accord qu’autant celui qui ne veut pas de la présence de la religion dans la vie publique que celui qui souhaite que la religion soit respectée en tant que socle commun de la société marocaine, ont le droit d’exister.

Ces deux extrêmes et plusieurs autres individus entre les deux, avec chacun sa nuance, sont marocains jusqu’au bout et sont le résultat d’une dualité que la société marocaine a su gérer jusqu’à maintenant. Les seuls, à mon avis, qui ne méritent pas d’être marocains sont ceux qui excluent l’autre parce qu’il pense différemment.

L’existence de ces deux extrêmes est la preuve même que nous n’irons ni vers une société totalement laïque ni vers une société régis par la chari3a. Ainsi, il est demandé à nos intellectuels, académiciens, journalistes, politiciens et tout autre individu se souciant de son avenir et l’avenir de la collectivité que nous sommes de réfléchir et débattre pour arriver à un nouveau model de société qui inclut tout le monde.

Nous avons besoin que tous les espaces de débats et de réflexions -tels que café politis, cap dema, tizi, tedx, dabathéâtre… et tous les autres- se mobilisent pour trouver une nouvelle définition à cette dualité marocaine qui fait la force de la société marocaine.

J’ai appris par mes observations, lectures et échanges que nous pouvons avoir des amis différents, des ennemis différents mais l’essentiel est que nous partageons des valeurs communes et qu’on a en majorité (presque) le même idéal, la différence réside dans le chemin pour y arriver ! Et ça à la limite est signe d’une société en bonne santé.

Alors oui, continuons à débattre, continuons à nous mobiliser, mais commençons à inclure l’autre et arrêtons de nous exclure les uns les autres !

Posted in Politique, Reflexions | 2 Comments

Les entrepreneurs marocains résidants aux Etats-Unis organisent leur premier Forum Le “CEO Summit 2013” prévu le 31 mai à Washington

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Avec comme objectif de promouvoir et encourager le flux d’investissement US vers le Maroc, le premier Forum des entrepreneurs marocains résidant aux Etats-Unis «CEO Summit 2013» se tiendra le 31 mai à Washington.
D’après un communiqué du «Moroccan American Network», association organisatrice de l’évènement, cette édition inaugurale, qui verra la participation d’une panoplie d’investisseurs marocains et étrangers, va permettre de mettre la lumière sur les opportunités d’investissement à la fois au Maroc et aux Etats-Unis.
Ce forum inaugural visera aussi la promotion du Royaume en tant que nouvelle plateforme alternative pour l’investissement, étant donné les contraintes et les difficultés rencontrées sur les marchés européens et américains en raison de la crise économique mondiale.
Cette rencontre sera aussi marquée par la présentation d’exposés sur l’investissement au Maroc et aux Etats-Unis par des experts marocains et américains du monde des affaires et de la finance, précise-t-on de même source.
«CEO Summit 2013» servira, par ailleurs, d’occasion pour les investisseurs marocains résidant en Amérique pour nouer de nouveaux liens de contact et de coordination entre eux dans les différents domaines d’investissement.

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Hommage : Adieu Driss Ouchagour …

Il avait la sensibilité à fleur de peau et le journalisme dans le sang. Homme de cœur et de principes, il avait dédié sa vie à la lutte contre toutes les formes de prévarication, de concussion et de corruption qui gangrènent tous les démembrements de l’Administration territoriale. Particulièrement dans les provinces de Tafraout, Taroudant, Tiznit et de toutes ces belles régions du Sud que les images d’Epinal présentent comme un paradis où le désert se love dans la quiétude de sites enchanteurs et d’une qualité de vie que seuls les touristes savent apprécier.
Tel Don Quichotte, il avait fait vœu de décrire la triste réalité de ces lieux dans toute sa complexité. Jusqu’au dernier souffle, jusqu’à l’ultime soupir, il avait cru dans les principes qui fondent le travail de ces soutiers de l’histoire que nous sommes, ou du moins que certains journalistes le deviennent par leur militantisme constant et inlassable. Driss Ouchagour en faisait partie. Quelques heures avant d’être à l’article de sa mort, il rédigeait encore ceux qui devaient paraître dans notre édition de demain. Nous vous les soumettons à titre posthume et en guise d’hommage à cet homme qui nous a quittés subrepticement aujourd’hui sans qu’aucun signe annonciateur de son rappel à Dieu ne parvienne à sa famille ou  à ses proches. Malade, il ne l’était point et, c’est dans les bras de Morphée, qu’il fut happé par la mort. Brusque, aveugle et impitoyable, elle l’a fauché dans la force de l’âge, laissant derrière lui une famille éplorée et des confrères qui garderont son souvenir à jamais.

Source : http://www.libe.ma/Adieu-Driss-Ouchagour_a26113.html

Quelques articles : http://www.libe.ma/search/Idriss+Ouchagour/

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Renault Tanger : Inauguration

Posted in entrepreneuriat | Leave a comment

Hercule se refait une santé à Tanger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hercule se refait une santé à Tanger, et s’il s’est acquitté de ses 1é travaux d’antan avec beaucoup de maestria, pour le 13ème, il n’a pas fait dans la dentelle ! Entre temps, Homère s’étant retiré de la presse olympique, nous nous sommes vus obligés de nous inscrire au syndicat de la mythologie pour rendre à césar ce qui est à majesté du losange.  Exception, cette fois, l’odyssée sera écrite en Molière contemporain, car votre serviteur n’est pas très fort en Grec, et puis Renault n’est pas d’Athènes mais de l’Ile de France.

Je décode. Hier, à Tanger, le Roi du Maroc ainsi que Carlos Ghosn, PDG de Renault et de Nissan, ont procédé à l’inauguration de la plus grande usine automobile au sud de la Méditerranée. Un projet Herculéen, en amont et en aval, car autant les fonds injectés dedans sont colossaux, autant son rendu se fait sentir d’entame. En effet l’usine n’avait même pas encore démarré sa production, que d’ores et déjà, 13 équipementiers internationaux se sont installé dans son sillage pour accompagner la synergie créée par son mouvement de fond, comme de forme. Plus loin, cette unité industrielle d’appoint, a engendré plusieurs leviers de développement social et économique, à travers la création d’emplois directs et indirects. Dans ce sens, une collaboration étroite entre Renault et l’Etat Marocain a permis de créer un Institut de Formation aux Métiers de l’Industrie Automobile (IFMIA), premier du genre au Royaume et en Afrique.

Parlons chiffres, maintenant. L’usine de Renault-Nissan de Tanger, c’est quelque chose comme un Milliard d’euros d’investissement, donnant lieu à une capacité de production de 400000 véhicules/an, avec à la clé, la mobilisation de plus de 6000 emplois d’ici à 2015 et un flux d’échanges commerciaux de 3,5 Milliards d’euros entre le Maroc et l’union Européenne, à terme. More over, ce sont, pas moins de 30000 emplois indirects, qui seront créés, grâce l’effet d’entrainement, par les opérateurs intervenant dans le chenal de cette usine, ainsi que le tissu de sous-traitants locaux. Ce n’est, donc, pas par hasard que Carlos Ghosn a déclaré que : « Renault et Nissan partagent avec le Royaume du Maroc de grandes ambitions de développement industriel. Grâce à l’engagement de Renault et de ses partenaires, et au soutien sans faille du gouvernement marocain, notre usine est en bonne voie de devenir une nouvelle référence de l’industrie automobile mondiale. »

La «success Story » de Renault, continue donc, 80 ans après sa première venue au Maroc et de plus belle. La dernière inauguration d’une usine de Renault date de 1998 au Brésil, 14 ans plus tard, le brésil est la sixième puissance économique mondiale, gageons donc…Le Maroc n’est pas le Brésil, certes, oui mais la seule différence est que eux ils ont eu Ronaldinho!

 

Rédigé par Blogger anonyme

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Renault Tanger

 

 

Renault-Tanger : Une première mondiale 

Par LesEchos.ma

 

Plus qu’une simple inauguration d’usine, c’est le début d’une nouvelle collaboration Nord-Sud, et même au-delà, qui se dessine avec
l’ouverture aujourd’hui du complexe industriel automobile de Renault à Tanger Med. Le directeur turc de l’unité de Tanger, Tunç
Basegmez, affirme qu’au démarrage, les grands clients de l’usine «seront les pays d’Europe». A terme, le complexe industriel, appelé à
produire jusqu’à 400.000 véhicules «low cost» par an, exportera à 85% de sa production, et pas uniquement en Europe. De par sa
situation, à une trentaine de kilomètres du port de Tanger, le site de Melloussa, place la nouvelle usine du constructeur automobile français
«tout proche de l’Europe», de plain pied en Afrique et à proximité du Moyen-Orient. Pour le ministre de l’Industrie, du commerce et des
nouvelles technologies, Abdelkader Aâmara, cette unité de production «devra générer 3,5 milliards d’euros d’exportations supplémentaires
au profit du Maroc». Pour l’heure, l’usine, qui est dotée pour l’instant d’une ligne d’assemblage d’une capacité de 170.000 unités par an, a
commencé la production d’un monospace à bas coût (moins de 10.000 euros), le Lodgy. Ce dernier, sera avant tout lancé sur le marché
français, peu avant le marché marocain, annonce Basegmez. Soulignant sa satisfaction quant au déroulement des étapes de l’installation et du
démarrage de l’usine, le directeur local a expliqué aux médias présents à l’inauguration que Renault table sur un développement progressif
de l’activité de cette nouvelle usine et une augmentation de ses capacités de production dans les prochaines années.

Véritable innovation industrielle, le complexe Renault marque le secteur non seulement par son envergure mais également par son originalité.
C’est en effet, la première unité de production automobile au monde à se doter de la première chaufferie biomasse. Que ce soit pour
chauffer les étuves de peinture, les bains d’acide pour la cataphorèse, ou même l’air de la ventilation du chauffage, l’usine tangéroise de
Renault utilise un procédé mis au point par Véolia Environnement. Il s’agit de la chaufferie biomasse, qui recourt à deux gigantesques chaudières de 1.200 degrés, qui brûlent du bois d’eucalyptus et des noyaux d’olive 24h/24, produisant jusqu’à 6 mégawatts pour fournir de l’eau surchauffée. Les résidus de bois sont stockés dans un gigantesque dépôt et acheminés sur tapis automatisé jusqu’à la chaudière. C’est une première mondiale dans l’industrie automobile et une véritable prouesse technologique, dans le sens où l’énergie thermique produite réduit de 98% les émissions de carbone. C’est un vrai plus pour le développement durable. A elle seule, cette innovation confirme le label «green field» de Renault Tanger Med.

 

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Le monde du cinéma en émoi suite à la disparition de Nouzha Drissi “Nous venons de perdre une grande dame”

Le Festival International du Film de Marrakech apprenait dimanche matin une bien triste nouvelle, celle du décès dans un accident de la circulation de Nouzha Drissi, cinéaste et fondatrice du Festival de documentaires FIDA DOC’Souss d’Agadir. Le monde du cinéma marocain lui rend ici hommage.

Nouzha Drissi avait fondé le Festival du FIFA DOC'Souss, festival de documentaires à Agadir./DR

Nouzha Drissi avait fondé le Festival du FIFA DOC’Souss, festival de documentaires à Agadir./DR 

 

Mohamed Ismail, réalisateur

“Je l’ai connu dans le cadre du Festival FIDA DOC’Souss d’Agadir. C’était une militante, une professionnelle qui a fait beaucoup pour le cinéma et notamment pour la branche documentaire. C’était aussi une personne très affective, très ouverte. Nous avons perdu une vraie amie, une grande professionnelle. C’est dommage.”

Mohamed Abderrahmane Tazi, réalisateur

“Je là connaissait depuis l’époque où j’étais directeur de production à2M. Elle était alors venue me voir, peu de temps après son retour au Maroc, pour me proposer des documentaires. Je là trouvais très dynamique, très impliquée. Elle croyait vraiment en ce qu’elle faisait, et voulait réellement donner une place au documentaire au Maroc. De plus, elle avait un côté très humain, très social. Nous perdons une cinéaste de grande valeur.”

Ahmed Boulane, réalisateur

“J’étais vraiment triste à l’annonce de cette nouvelle, d’autant qu’elle venait juste de s’installer dans le même quartier que moi à Casablanca et que de fait, nous nous étions liés d’amitié. Une fois, je me souviens, nous nous étions rencontrés dans un train Tanger-Casablanca et nous nous sommes racontés nos vies. Elle avait déjà vécu un traumatisme étant enfant, car ses parents étaient décédés eux aussi dans un accident de voiture en France. Nous venons de perdre une grande dame. C’était une femme rare, libre, militante et aimant la vérité.”

Nour-Eddine Lakhmari, réalisateur

“Nouzha Drissi était quelqu’un que j’admirais et aimais beaucoup. Une des rares femmes marocaines qui n’a jamais hésité à dire réellement ce qu’elle pensait, qui nous défendait contre les gens soi-disant “pour le cinéma” mais qui le critiquaient constamment. Elle était toujours là pour nous défendre et dire, attention, il n’y a que le talent, que la volonté d’aller en avant qui peut nous pousser à faire de bons films. Pour moi, c’est une très grande perte pour le milieu cinématographique marocain.”

Abdelhay Laraki, réalisateur

“J’applaudis très fort ce qu’elle a fait revivre, la tradition des documentaires qui avait disparu du Maroc et qui pourtant était très répandue dans les années 50 et 60. Avec le Fidadoc, elle a donné à Agadir l’opportunité d’abriter un festival de grande qualité et surtout de grande utilité.”

Ahed Bensouda, réalisateur

“Je l’ai connu au Festival du film africain du Burkina Fasso où elle faisait la promotion de son festival le Fidadoc. Je me rappelle très bien de son dynamisme, c’était une femme très active, engagée et serviable.  Elle faisait également partie de la commission des avances sur recettes du CCM. Elle a agit sur beaucoup de films marocains, au moins une cinquantaine. Ses conseils étaient précieux, elle m’avait aidé sur la préparation de mon nouvel opus. C’était une vraie militante. Elle était aussi très appréciée en France où elle était bien introduite dans le réseau du cinéma et du documentaire. C’est vraiment triste, elle va nous manquer.”

Farida Benlyazid, réalisatrice

“Je suis très très affectée par la nouvelle. Je vous avoue que je n’arrive toujours pas y croire. On travaillait ensemble sur une coproduction et on avait justement rendez vous aujourd’hui pour avancer sur le projet. C’était une passionnée, j’avais été juré dans son Festival il y a deux ans, nous avions une relation très complice. Je ne m’en remets pas.”

Latif Lahlou, réalisateur

“Nouzha, c’était d’abord une amie. C’était une femme extrêmement sensible, une vraie artiste. J’en tremble de tout mon corps tellement je n’y crois pas. On travaillait avec Farida et Nouzha sur un docu-fiction sur le Sahara. On aurait dû se voir aujourd’hui, mais elle n’est pas là. C’est bien plus qu’une perte. C’est incommensurable. Elle va vraiment beaucoup nous manquer. Elle aura réussi à faire ce que bien d’autres n’ont jamais réussi. Réintroduite cet art majeur qu’est le documentaire dans le paysage audiovisuel marocain.”

Ali Tahiri, réalisateur

“C’était une femme passionnée, courageuse et militante. Elle faisait partie des trop peu d’artistes au Maroc qui défendent le genre documentaire. Elle restera gravée dans nos cœurs et nos mémoires, à l’image de son travail sur la mémoire. Je pense que le plus beau hommage que l’on puisse lui faire c’est de continuer à faire vivre son Festival.”

Narjiss Nejjar, réalisatrice

“C’est une amie. Une femme qui était d’une très grande intelligence et probablement d’une toute aussi grande souffrance… Je suis très émue, j’ai fait un aller-retour sur Casablanca pour ses funérailles. Elle m’a envoyé un petit message pour l’ouverture du Festival, disant qu’elle m’envoyait “mille étoiles”. Je ne sais pas quoi dire, c’est toujours très difficile de parler de quelqu’un dont l’absence est éternelle. C’est une Grande Dame, et comme tous les Grands, leur passage sur terre ne dure pas forcément.”

Propos recueillis par Muriel Tancrez, Najlae Naaoumi et Alix Merle des Isles

Source : http://www.aufaitmaroc.com/culture/fifm/2011/12/4/nous-venons-de-perdre-une-grande-dame

Posted in Art, Hommage | 1 Comment

Maroc et Qatar : Relance

 

Pendant que tout le monde a les yeux rivés vers les élections législatives, j’attire votre attention sur une signature d’ordre stratégique sur le plan économique et géopolitique : le Maroc et le Qatar ont signé jeudi 24 novembre quatre accords de coopération bilatérale dans les domaines de l’investissement, du tourisme, de l’énergie et de l’emploi.

 

L’accord  conclu jeudi à Rabat entre le Fonds marocain pour le développement touristique (FMDT) et les Fonds d’investissement souverains de certains pays du Golfe mobilisera des investissements de plus de 20,8 milliards de DH dans le secteur touristique au Maroc, a indiqué le ministère du Tourisme et de l’Artisanat.

 

Cet outil “souverain d’investissement permettra de concrétiser de manière opérationnelle l’engagement volontariste pris au niveau du secteur du tourisme pour dynamiser l’investissement à même d’accompagner la réalisation des grands chantiers de la Vision 2020 présentée à SM le Roi lors des dernières assises du Tourisme en novembre 2010”.

 

Wessal capital, structure innovante de par sa structuration financière et la nature des projets qu’elle envisage de réaliser, ambitionne de se doter de profils pointus qui lui permettront de relever le défi de mise en place de projets touristiques avec des concepts innovants et sophistiqués. “La création de cet outil d’investissement, concret et adapté à la stratégie d’investissement du secteur touristique telle que construite sur la Vision 2020, se veut le fruit d’un partenariat qui vient consolider les relations historiques et fraternelles, liant le Maroc aux pays du Golfe”, poursuit le communiqué indiquant que cette instance sera présidée par un représentant du Maroc.

 

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Elections législatives : “Un raz-de-marée des islamistes marocains du PJD est exclu” (Alexandre Adler)

Décryptages

Normalien et agrégé d’histoire, Alexandre Adler, considéré en France comme une référence en matière de géopolitique et de conflits internationaux, estime mardi dans un entretien à atlasinfo.fr qu’un raz-de-marée du PJD lors des législatives du 25 novembre est exclu. Selon lui, toute poussée du PJD relèverait plus d’un affaiblissement d’un Parti de l’Istiqlal en crise que d’une adhésion à ce parti islamiste.

ALEXANDRE ADLER

ALEXANDRE ADLER

Atlasinfo : Des observateurs, qui surfent sur l’arrivée du parti islamiste tunisien Ennahda au pouvoir, pronostiquent la victoire du parti islamiste marocain Justice et Développement aux élections législatives du 25 novembre prochain. Croyez-vous à la fatalité en politique ? 

Je ne crois pas à la fatalité quant à une supposée victoire des islamistes marocains aux élections législatives du 25 novembre. Les islamistes tunisiens ont occupé tous les espaces après l’effondrement du régime de Ben Ali. Au Maroc, rien de tel ne s’est produit. Il y a eu plutôt une adhésion massive en faveur d’une réforme. Le PJD depuis plusieurs années joue avec le palais en se présentant comme une force constructive. La seule chose dont on peut être certain est que l’actuelle modération observée par Ennahda va servir de propagande pour le PJD.
La situation du Maroc n’est pas comparable aux autres pays du Maghreb. Le Maroc a fait l’expérience d’un pluralisme politique important et pratiquement sans interruption depuis l’indépendance. Depuis , il existe des partis politiques organisés et un débat politique qui a donné lieu à l’existence d’analyses différentes de la société. C’est un aspect très important de l’héritage marocain. Dans ces conditions, un raz de marrée du PJD comme celui qu’Ennahda a réussi à réaliser en Tunisie me semble exclu au Maroc. En revanche, il n’est pas impossible que le PJD apparaisse à l’issue de ces élections comme l’un des partis importants. Mais il n’aura certainement pas la situation qu’Ennahda s’est acquise en Tunisie et que les frères musulmans égyptiens, au moins jusqu’aux derniers évènements de la Place Tahrir au Caire, espéraient aussi acquérir.

Peu-t-on parler d’un retour en force de l’islamisme politique et gestionnaire ?

Le phénomène islamiste dans le monde musulman n’est un phénomène positif. Les islamistes ont des idées négatives en matière notamment des droits de la femme, du statut des minorités de toute nature, des relations internationales. Le développement de la démocratie va permettre à des forces qui refusent la logique de l’islamisme de l’emporter. Le peuple marocain a cette chance.

La fragmentation du champ politique marocain peut-elle présenter une opportunité pour le PJD ?

La reconstitution de la Koutla ou la formation d’autres coalitions représentent à l’opposée de la Tunisie une véritable force face au parti d’Abdelilah Benkirane. Encore une fois, la situation au Maroc n’est comparable à la Tunisie. Puis n’oublions pas l’importance du Mouvement berbère qui dispose de réserves de voix importantes. La poussée du PJD pourrait être forte en raison de la crise que traverse l’Istiqlal et de son expérience à la tête du gouvernement, mais elle ne sera pas décisive.
Le Maroc a toujours intégré des forces politiques très différentes. Il ya une tradition marocaine de compromis car le Maroc est un véritable Etat qui est inscrit dans la durée historique. J’espère que l’islamisme marocain suivra cette tradition de sagesse.

La réforme de la Constitution et la tenue d’élections législatives anticipées annoncent-elles une nouvelle ère au Maroc ?

La nouvelle ère a commencé avec la réforme constitutionnelle et la transformation du pouvoir monarchique. A certains égards, c’est un tournant aussi important que l’a été l’indépendance du Maroc. Le Maroc rentre dans une nouvelle phase de son histoire et si on y ajoute le fait que le Maghreb tout entier va maintenant basculer dans une phase beaucoup plus active et qu’à l’intérieur de ce Maghreb, le Maroc est le seul Etat puissant disposant d’une légitimité et d’un débat politique plus ancien, c’est évidemment un surcroit de responsabilité sans commune mesure avec ce que le Maroc a connu dans le passé.

Y-a-t-il une corrélation entre ces réformes et le Printemps arabe ?

Il y a évidement une corrélation. Mais depuis son avènement, le roi Mohammed VI a mené des réformes. La plus emblématique est celle de la Moudawana. Il y a aussi l’amélioration considérable du climat d’expression, de la liberté de presse et celle d’entreprendre. C’est la raison pour laquelle le Maroc n’a pas connu l’explosion tunisienne. La Tunisie était une véritable cocotte-minute. Le Maroc n’a pas cessé d’élargir les espaces d’expression de telle sorte que la majorité de la population s’y retrouvait dans la démarche monarchique. Depuis la mort du roi Hassan II, la monarchie a été réformée de manière importante même si le roi défunt n’a jamais tenu une dictature exclusive comme l’a fait Ben Ali de manière totalement absurde.

A l’issue de ce scrutin, le futur chef de gouvernement sera tenu responsable de ses actes et de ceux de son gouvernement..

Pour les Marocains, le premier ministre n’a été qu’une sorte de rouage administratif. Aujourd’hui les choses vont aller différemment. Dans l’état actuel des choses, lorsqu’on voit ce qui se passe en Tunisie, en Lybie, au Caire, en Syrie, le monde arabe a plus besoin d’être dans l’action. Il faut absolument que le Maroc donne le sentiment d’aller de l’avant. Beaucoup de choses dépendent de lui, d’abord pour le peuple marocain, mais aussi pour l’ensemble du Maghreb, voire pour le monde arabe. Aujourd’hui, le Maroc est en train de rentrer par la grande porte dans l’Histoire. A certains égards, le prestige du Maroc est comparable à celui dont a bénéficié le roi Mohammed V à l’indépendance et qui a été contesté par une Algérie révolutionnaire. L’histoire revient en arrière et donne au Maroc une opportunité d’être un leader en matière de réformes dans le monde arabe.

Mardi 22 Novembre 2011 – 14:49
Propos recueillis par Hasna Daoudi
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Maroc-exclusif : le sondage interdit (Source : Maghreb Intelligence)

Deux instituts français, Le Think Tank « Institut Thomas More » et « Tendances Institut »  ont dévoilé les résultats d’une vaste enquête d’opinion sur Internet menée en prévision des élections législatives marocaines. Les deux institutions, selon nos informations, auraient des chiffres assez précis sur les résultats du scrutin de vendredi, mais se seraient abstenus de es dévoiler, afin de ne pas circonvenir à la règle –inique- édictée par le ministère de l’intérieur.  Depuis l’annonce de la sortie de leurs résultats, les deux instituts sont harcelés au téléphone par les états-majors des partis politiques afin de se procurer les précieux chiffres. A leur grand dam, tous se seraient vus opposer une fin de non recevoir de la part des experts français, qui souhaitent « rester dans le cadre de la légalité marocaine ». Néanmoins, selon des fuites issues de sources ayant pu consulter l’intégralité des documents, le champ politique marocain resterait « très fragmenté » à la veille du scrutin, et aucun leadership ne se dégagerait, la pôle position étant occupée par deux formations qui se placeraient « au coude à coude ». Toujours selon ces sources l’électorat marocain est  caractérisé par sa « très forte volatilité », ce qui rendu très difficile  les travaux de l’enquête. Autre surprise, le taux de participation, serait « légitimement en hausse » par rapport aux élections précédentes.

D’inspiration libérale, L’Institut Thomas More publie chaque année un très attendu baromètre des réformes de Nicolas Sarkozy, ainsi qu’une analyse sur les dépenses des collectivités locales françaises. Quand à Tendances Institut, c’est une institution spécialisée dans l’analyse qualitative de l’Internet qui compte parmi ses clients plusieurs multinationales.

 

Source : http://www.maghreb-intelligence.com/

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Tribune : Appel

En réaction d’un tweet de mon ami Mounir Bensalah : « Prière a 1blogueur d’ouvrir 1tribune pour publication des avis sur #dostour »

Je lance un appel pour tous les articles liés à la nouvelle constitution

Partageons sur cet espace des articles dont l’objectif est d’expliquer, de vulgariser et d’échanger sur les différents aspects de notre constitution afin que chaque citoyen et citoyenne puisse prendre position.

A vous la parole, l’analyse..et à nous tous l’évaluation

PS : nabil.ouchagour@gmail.com pour l’envoi des articles , liens..

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Un numéro pas comme les autres

Non, je n’ai pas besoin d’un an après pour écrire en ton hommage

Non, j e n’ai pas besoin de passer prés de chez toi pour penser à toi

Il me suffit de tomber sur ton nom par hasard sur mon répertoire

Même moins, ou plutôt rien, ça m’arrive juste comme ça

Non, je ne te parle pas, pourtant si tu m’entends ? Je ne le sais pas

Je ne t’écris pas non plus parce que si tu me lis ? Je ne le sais pas non plus

Je pense à toi et ne t’en fais pas, je suis très heureux

Je pense à nos fous rires, et nos moments à deux

A ces moments où on se foutait de n’importe quoi, à commencer par le moi

C’est la qu’on se rend compte que l’amitié c’est des valeurs qu’on partage

On riait de tout, on disait que rien n’est dramatique, même pas un drame, même pas la mort….comme quoi….

Je n’ai pas pu te dire au revoir, comme dirait la chanson « ce n’est qu’un au revoir »

Je te dirais même à un de ces jours

Parce que j’aime la vie en n’ayant rien contre la mort

 

Je l’aime tellement,  que je la vivrai doublement et plus intensément pour toi et pour moi

Hé, tu vois, ça me fait sourire, malgré moi, j’ai fini par t’écrire. Comme toujours, je dirai au moins que j’ai essayé

Allah yerhmek

Posted in Coups de coeur, Reflexions | 14 Comments

Elle !

http://1erjourdurestedemavie.blogspot.com/

Mercredi 17 Mars à minuit, je composais son numéro, elle décrocha « oui, Nabil, tu m’as bien compris, je rentre dans un centre pour 5 semaines ! ». Venant d’elle, cela n’était qu’une autre preuve de sa force. Bizarrement, je ne ressentais pas aucune peur de ce centre, au contraire, j’étais plus optimiste concernant son futur.

« J’ai lancé un blog pour m’y exprimer, parce que plus que les médecins, plus que le traitement qu’on va me prescrire, je crois en l’humain. J’ai envie d’échanger avec tout le monde, comment je vais vivre cette période, j’ai envie que les gens n’ait plus peur de faire face à eux-mêmes et à ce qui ne va pas en eux ». C’était bien elle, chaque geste, chaque phrase venant d’elle était liée à une cause humaine.

SVP, retenez votre imagination, ce n’est nullement le profil type d’une femme auquel on s’attend un jour à arriver à cela. C’est une personne « normale » qui a un métier passionnant, qui a beaucoup d’amis, qui sors, qui voyagent….une personne même dés qu’on la voit, on sent qu’elle plus forte que la « normale » justement. Alors, lisons-là ensemble tout au long de son séjour (5 semaines), écoutons-là, ça sera peut être l’occasion de nous écouter nous-mêmes, le meilleur remède contre le mal être n’est-il pas l’humain lui-même, l’échange ?

Relevons ce défi face à cette inconnue et échangeons au maximum avec elle. Pour moi, je sais déjà que le fait qu’elle ait pris cette décision n’est nullement une preuve de faiblesse, c’est une preuve qu’elle sortira de là doublement forte. Croisons les doigts (mais surtout utilisons nos clavier pour une vraie cause).

http://1erjourdurestedemavie.blogspot.com/

Posted in Reflexions | 3 Comments