MOROCCO-USA RELATIONS PROVIDE A MODEL WORTH EMULATING

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The Trump foreign policy has been clear on one thing. It does not tolerate free riders. It has woken up to the fact that the United States has been carrying the burden of security on behalf of the rest of the world. Sending American soldiers in harm’s way and spending billions on defense so that other countries can have their security umbrellas. The same countries turn around and flood American markets with their manufactured goods, depriving American workers of jobs. The burden falls on American families and the American tax payer.

Thankfully, not all of US bilateral relations are the same. The US-Morocco partnership stands out as an example to emulate.

On issues of security, Morocco has not sat on the fence. In has been an ally against those who want to harm Americans by deploying its security services to prevent terror attacks both in Morocco and elsewhere. It has also disrupted extremist activities in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East on the ideological, operational, and the financing fronts.

Morocco’s efforts are to become even more crucial as the US continues to look for reliable partners in Africa to fight the growing threats of ISIS and its affiliates across the Sahel. Indeed, as ISIS loses ground in the Levant, it is metastizing from the Sahara to Somalia. This large swath of land, almost the size of United States, is practically ungovernable. And today the only country in North Africa with the political stability, pro-American policies, and open economy is Morocco. It is the only country that can truly be relied on.

On matters of trade, Morocco has entered into a bilateral trade agreement with the United States in 2006. This agreement is beginning to bear its fruits as Morocco establishes itself as a hub of trade and investment for the region, giving American manufacturers access to markets beyond Morocco. With Morocco alone the trade volume amounted to more than four billion USD in 2016, with a healthy 900 million USD trade surplus for the US.

This is a relationship we should care about and should nurture.

In particular, we must stand by the Kingdom on the issue of territorial integrity of the Sahara. It would be fair and reciprocal for the Trump administration to support our Moroccan allies at the United Nations. The US knows so well that the UN process can be bureaucratic and inefficient and does not necessarily represent the interests of the parties it is intended to serve.

Just yesterday, The UN Secretary General’s envoy for the Sahara has briefed the security council and asked Morocco to negotiate with the Polisario Front, rather than their patrons, Algeria. This is akin to asking the United States to negotiate with Hizbullah, rather than Iran. Ultimately it is Iran that sponsors Hizbullah activities in Syria and Lebanon; and it is Algeria that dictates what the Polisario Group wants in the Sahara.

The Trump administration should show the world that it stands by those allies who contribute their fair share to the security and stability of our world. It should support Morocco in autonomy plan for the Sahara. The ties that bind the US and Morocco go back to the first days of the Republic, the Kingdom has never failed us; we should be clear in our support of their national issue.

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