By Stanley Gonzalez-Martinez
Last Tuesday, the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Middle East Program hosted a panel discussion labeling 2015 as a “year of crisis” for the Middle East and North Africa. In fact, according to Wilson Center Distinguished Scholar Robin Wright, we can now confidently describe it as “a failed region.” Given her overview of the political turmoil occurring in the Maghreb, and the humanitarian crisis ISIS has created in the Levant, it appeared to be a fitting label.
Yet, strikingly, there was one Arab country that was absent from her opening remarks: Morocco. The fact that Morocco did not merit a mention is a testament to the country’s stability and its ability to effectively take on the troubles that plagued the region this past year.
Arguably, one of Morocco’s most significant achievements this past year has been its counterterrorist efforts. Domestically, its security forces have dismantled terrorist cells associated with ISIS and have kept Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb at bay. Regionally, Morocco has become invaluable in combating Jihadists attempting to enter Europe, especially through the cooperation of its security forces with those of Spain. It is no wonder that during a recent appearance on MSNBC’s The Rundown former US Ambassador to Morocco Mark Ginsburg described Morocco as “the poster child” for effectively combating terrorism.
Morocco has also demonstrated its continued commitment to improving the welfare of its citizens and moving forward with political progress. For example, students in the 2015-2016 school year will now benefit from a government plan to subsidize their medical insurance costs, which will greatly benefit the country’s large student population. Also, the country’s implementation of its new regionalization plan will seek to allow citizens to take a stronger role in the management of their local affairs, especially in the Southern provinces.
No country is perfect, but amidst the ongoing horror gripping the region, Morocco continues to stand as a proud beacon of stability, progress and hope.
Mr. Gonzalez-Martinez is a research assistant at MAC.