Ali Anouzla’s Saudi Article – The Last Straw?

This article appeared on Lakome.com on 12 September and there is some speculation in Morocco that it was the spark that led to the arrest of journalist and editor Ali Anouzla five days later. Accusing Saudi Arabia of being the central force ruining the “Arab awakening” that begin in Tunisia in 2010, it was an argument rarely stated in so forthright a manner in Arab media – a reflection of the power and manipulation of Saudi Arabia in Arab media and politics. Anouzla’s web newspaper project had been infuriating the Moroccan authorities for some time – not least for its strong coverage of King Mohammed’s pardon of a Spaniard convicted of paedophilia. Prosecutors say it was the posting of an al-Qa’ida video that explains the move against Anouzla now, but few are taking that seriously. He is being held in Morocco’s worst prison, Sale near Rabat, where suspected militants are held – one indication of the government’s determination to make Anouzla pay. Just in case the Saudi article disappears completely from the Lakome website, here is the Arabic below. Continue reading Ali Anouzla’s Saudi Article – The Last Straw?

Islamists Empowered: Back to the Future

With the fall of Hosni Mubarak, victory in legislative elections and the presidential vote, and now the approval via referendum of a new constitution, Islamists have begun the work of putting their renaissance project into practice.

Unlike Salafism, which dreams of a recreation of the pre-colonial moment, political Islam has aimed more to repatch together the Islamic state but in an unambiguously modern, post-colonial context. The Brotherhood does not aim to return clerics to man a reestablished classical Sharia court system, rather it seeks to distribute the dominion of Sharia via parliament, legislation and an advisory role for clerics via Al-Azhar. Laymen play a key role in the process of Islamicization that they would not have had before the irruption of Western hegemony and modernity – something alien, for example, to Wahhabi Salafism which simply recognizes the sovereign powers of the temporal ruler in return for the clerics’ advisory role in policy and control of courts, mosques, education and their own coercive force (‘the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice’). Continue reading Islamists Empowered: Back to the Future

Moroccan road film subverts Hollywood stereotypes

By Andrew Hammond

DUBAI | Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:50am EST

(Reuters) – When director John Slattery first visited Morocco, the familiarity was jarring – and as removed from the images of an exotic Orient conjured up by Hollywood as possible.

That dichotomy between the representation and the reality of Morocco drives Slattery’s charming paean to a country he clearly loves and makes “Casablanca, Mon Amour” a thoughtful rejoinder to U.S. popular culture. Continue reading Moroccan road film subverts Hollywood stereotypes

Thousands mourn leader of Morocco’s main opposition group

By Aziz El Yaakoubi

RABAT | Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:38pm EST

(Reuters) – Tens of thousands of Moroccans took part in the funeral of the leader of the North African state’s biggest opposition group on Friday, in a sign of the huge support commanded by Islamists opposed to the monarchy. Continue reading Thousands mourn leader of Morocco’s main opposition group

Leader of main Moroccan opposition group dies

By Aziz El Yaakoubi

RABAT | Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:28am EST

(Reuters) – The leader of Morocco’s main opposition group al-Adl Wal Ihsane died on Thursday, raising questions over the future of an Islamist group that played a central role in Arab Spring protests last year.

Abdessalam Yassine formed the group 1981. It is banned from formal politics but is believed by analysts and diplomats to be the only opposition organization capable of mass mobilization in the North African state. Continue reading Leader of main Moroccan opposition group dies

Morocco police arrest protestor who impersonated king

RABAT | Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:04pm EST

(Reuters) – A Moroccan anti-government protestor who dressed up as King Mohammed has been arrested and accused of possessing drugs, the man’s lawyer and human rights activists said on Thursday. Continue reading Morocco police arrest protestor who impersonated king

Morocco opposition says monarchy still calls the shots

By Andrew Hammond

RABAT | Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:19pm EST

(Reuters) – Reforms that took the wind out of Arab Spring protests in Morocco last year have proven hollow and real power still lies with King Mohammed and his advisors, the north African country’s main opposition group said. Continue reading Morocco opposition says monarchy still calls the shots

MIDEAST DEBT-Morocco under pressure to plug budget gap, avert more protests

By Aziz El Yaakoubi and Andrew Hammond

RABAT | Wed Dec 5, 2012 7:30pm IST

Dec 5 (Reuters) – Almost every day without fail, hundreds of unemployed graduates storm through downtown Rabat calling for the government to fall. La st month, they went a step further, crossing a red line by targeting their anger at the royal family’s spending.

“Shame on you, you have squandered the budget!” a small group of several dozen chanted during one march a few days before parliament voted on the first draft of next year’s budget. Continue reading MIDEAST DEBT-Morocco under pressure to plug budget gap, avert more protests

Morocco police break up jobs protest ahead of budget debate

RABAT | Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:38pm EST

(Reuters) – Moroccan police with batons broke up a protest by more than a thousand unemployed graduates in central Rabat on Wednesday, the second protest this week before parliament votes on the first part of the 2013 budget.

Public finances are in dire straits in the North African country of 33 million people due largely to the euro zone’s financial crisis. Europe is Morocco’s main economic partner. Continue reading Morocco police break up jobs protest ahead of budget debate

Moroccan police break up protest over royal budget

RABAT | Sun Nov 18, 2012 6:41pm EST

(Reuters) – Moroccan police on Sunday broke up the first street protest against spending by King Mohammed, witnesses said.

They said police with truncheons ended a rally outside parliament by a few dozen Moroccans, kicking and beating protesters including Abdelhamid Amine, the head of the Moroccan Human Rights Association. The police said the demonstration was not licensed. Continue reading Moroccan police break up protest over royal budget