The Gulf Crisis and the Role of Morocco

By Lazrak Mohammed

Rabat - Two week ago, some of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states along with some Arab and African states severed diplomatic ties with Qatar. The GCC, which has been long considered among the most inclusive and rich regional blocks in the world, has witnessed cracks in its walls. Unless serious efforts in mediation and easing of tension are exerted, the ominous signs of its demise are quite near and clear to everyone, to the detriment of Arab peoples who aspire for unity.

The reason behind this surprising and hasty decision is the assumption that Qatar financially and politically supports terrorist groups, and hence destabilizes the already fragile Middle East states. This is of course according to the Saudi’s narrative.

Morocco, which maintains close and friendly relationships with all Gulf member states did not act quickly like Egypt, Mauritania, and others who followed Saudi Arabia's lead. Morocco announced that it would stay neutral and provide mediation effort so as to ease the tension between brothers. This mature and wise step is a sign that our country is sovereign in its diplomacy, and that no one can dictate how, where, and when to act.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain, and the puppet governments of Libya and Yemen have made a disgraceful decision that will be remembered by generations to come. What kind of Muslim tries to sever ties and starve out other Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan? Isolating the tiny yet wealthy island from the world is a ludicrous decision taken by King Salman and his allies. The embargo of Qatar is a modern-day siege. These are the great Muslims of our time who take marching orders from the likes of Donald Trump.

Last week, King Mohammed VI ordered to ship food supplies to Qatar. The Foreign Ministry communiqué was clear: this decision has nothing to do with the political aspect of the feud, and instead it aligns with the teachings of Islam especially during this holy month of Ramadan when Muslims should help each other and reinforce cooperation instead of cutting ties and fight each other.

Morocco was not alone in easing the siege on Qatar. Iran and Turkey did the same. Yet, their intention is quite different and can be qualified as malicious in terms of political agendas. Iran, which is the fiercest enemy of Saudi Arabia, yearns to gain a foothold on this strategic area while Turkey seeks to deepen its economic and political interests in the region.

Morocco has known wars, death, and suffering for centuries. It is clear that the Moroccan stance will not please Saudi Arabia and its close allies. Worse, this might push Saudi Arabia to cut its financial and political support for the kingdom. Yet, these presumably hollow threats from pretentious princelings and armchair generals don't scare people who have lived many decades in constant conflict. If we trust some media outlets, the reasons behind this feud may be apparently a Russian hack that fooled these louts in Saudi Arabia. Saudi and Emirati seized the opportunity to settle their scores with Qatar and punish it for adopting foreign policy orientations that don’t align with theirs. 

Another Saudi coup to have Arabs fighting Arabs over nothing. Moroccans don't want any part of that nonsense. UAE and Saudi money most likely funds terrorist groups, which is widely reported by Western media, and they go around and say Qatar is supporting terrorists. They just want to spread their backward domestic extremism to every other Muslim world so they could enjoy the ostentatious lifestyle safely; while young Muslims die everywhere else poisoned by the radicalism they have exported.

Commenting on the king's initiative to send food to Qatar, some citizens criticized and blamed the king, saying that charity begins at home – “Taza before Gaza.” Yet, pragmatically speaking, Morocco is in dire need for Gulf investments in our roads, hospitals, schools, and other critical infrastructure. That’s why this initiative is laudable, since its fruits can be picked up later. Severing ties with Qatar could have disastrous impact on our moribund economy. That’s is why striking a balance and taking an equilibrium position between feuding brothers is the best choice for Morocco.

The right move for Moroccan diplomacy is in being non-aligned. Don't go out of the way to provoke the Saudis. Our king should use his contacts with both feuding sides as a platform to encourage dialogue. When elephants are fighting, it's best to be the bird and treat situation like it never happened, maintaining that Morocco is open for business as usual. Say "NO" to coercion that is against the interests of Morocco and our allies. We don't have time for stupid wars. It’s not our war.




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