Morocco: Blueprint for a Democratic Middle East? | The National Interest
Morocco’s democratization process advances despite regional turmoil and deserves more recognition for its progress and successes:
Morocco is the only Mediterranean country with an Islamist government and the only Arab country to emerge from the Arab Spring with a real multi-party democracy. American policy makers should take a closer look at Morocco because this seeming outlier is actually is a blueprint for reengineering U.S. policy across the Middle East.
A new strategy is urgently needed. The Syrian civil war has devoured some 300,000 civilian lives since 2011. ISIS continues to carry out brutal ethnic cleansing of religious minorities (including Christians) and sells women as slaves. Meanwhile, Yemen suffers a cruel civil war waged by remnants of Al Qaeda and other terror groups. As such, the U.S. government needs to adjust its approach. If America doesn’t change, neither will the Middle East—and America’s inertia will be measured by millions of corpses and refugees.
American and European observers misunderstand both the Moroccan model and the realities on the ground. Unlike other Arab rulers who tried to resist change during the Arab Spring, King Mohammad VI led sweeping constitutional reforms—handing over all governmental powers (except for intelligence, defense and foreign policy) to an elected government. When the 2011 elections brought an Islamist party to power, the Party of Justice and Development (known by its French-language acronym “PJD”), the world initially trembled. Within days, it became clear that the party was not going to act like its Islamist allies such as Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. Its legislative reforms were incremental, not radical. It remained focused on jobs, economic growth and fighting corruption…[FULL STORY]