of State Hillary Clinton at a groundbreaking ceremony
the new U.S. Embassy in Rabat, Algeria, with Morocco Foreign
Saad Eddine Othmani (left) and Rabat Mayor Fathallah
But in an apparent move to placate Morocco's king,
there were no pictures of Clinton with representatives of
Hillary: 'Hide the
February 20 Movement from Me'
she had received them, Clinton would have been exposed to a view of the
situation in Morocco that contradicts the one developed by the U.S.
administration, which is given to understand that the Kingdom is successfully
implementing democratic change. .. This deviation from the official program was
also likely made to avoid annoying the royal palace, for whom the February 20
Movement is a bęte noire [black beast]."
During an official program of
visits to Algiers and Rabat, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was expected
to meet representatives of Algerian and Moroccan civil society.
In Algiers, Clinton actually
met with a group of citizens whom she introduced to the press as
representatives of Algerian civil society. But in Rabat, she refrained from this
type of meeting, and neither members of her delegation nor the U.S. Embassy in
Morocco explained why she deviated from her official program. It seems that
America's traveling saleswoman and representative of global democracy was
unable to offer a motive for not meeting with Moroccan representatives of civil
society. Such a meeting by the secretary in Rabat would have been inconceivable
without the presence of interlocutors from the February 20 Movement
- the cause of citizen protests that forced the Moroccan monarch to grant
If she had received them, Clinton
would have been exposed to a view of the situation in Morocco that
contradicts the one developed by the U.S. administration, which is given to
understand that the Kingdom is successfully implementing democratic change and
reform of the monarchy, and that parliamentary elections will follow in their
wake. It appears to us that in adopting this stance, the U.S. secretary of state
judged that a meeting was unnecessary, since in the absence of representatives from
the February 20Movement, it would lack credibility in the eyes of
the Moroccan public.
It aapears that this deviation from the official
program was made to avoid annoying the royal palace, for whom the
February 20 Movement is a bęte noire [black
beast]. This is more than likely, as Hillary Clinton could hardly have been
unaware that it would have displeased the royals if she had invited opponents
who are committed to the reforms granted by the royal palace to meet her during
her visit to Rabat. For in the event that she had decided to keep her meeting, Mohammed VI had planned to
absent himself from the kingdom during her stay.
What one needs to remember here
is that when it comes to Morocco, Washington wears kid gloves and is concerned about
the sensibilities of the monarch. In Algiers, Hillary Clinton took a different tack,
knowing that the Algerian authorities would be “allergic” to whatever their
foreign guests uncovered by speaking to other parties.
The strangest thing about her
visit to Algiers is that the people introduced by Mrs. Clinton as
representatives of Algerian civil society were unknown beforehand, even to the
national press. Of course the American side would reject any accusation of
meddling laid against them following this baptism. But that wouldn't invalidate
Clinton’s visit to Algiers
was officially sold as an indication both of the positive climate of
Algerian-American relations and Washington's support for the process of
political reform in Algeria. But this hasn't masked the reality that the
Algerian government is mistrusted and under close American surveillance. To the
degree that the United States has decided to close its eyes to the
inconsistencies of reform in Morocco, it may as well be voting for the protests the Algerian authorities allow - even if they are initiated by forces with little influence in Algerian society.