Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Morocco and Wikileaks -"a dignified silence"

The impact of Wikileaks can not be underestimated, and yet there are some (so far) notable exceptions to the governments mentioned. So far one of the strangest missing ingredients is the lack of cables on Israel. Ibn Warraq reports on the leaks to date.

While the Israelis seem absent from Wikileaks cables, the French are not so lucky. One cable describes reaction to the French President during his recent visit to Morocco:
"While Sarkozy was generally well received, there was much gossip in Moroccan salons about a "too relaxed" President slouching comfortably in his chair as he and the King presided over an October 22 signing ceremony at the Royal Palace in Marrakech. In one image, Sarkozy was seen crossing his legs and pointing the sole of his shoe at the King - a taboo gesture in the Islamic world. Sarkozy was accompanied throughout the visit, including at a banquet with the royal family by his Justice Minister (of Moroccan heritage) Rachida Dati"

Morocco is mentioned in several cables. One, written by Former US Ambassador to Morocco 
Thomas T. Riley, it was classified “SECRET”, and was sent August 4th 2008, titled : 
FACING BIG CHALLENGES". "The Moroccan Royal Armed Forces (FAR) are modernizing but remain weighed down by long-standing problems. King Mohammed VI, who in 1999 inherited a military in need of professionalization, has implemented some needed reforms, but much remains to be done. Civilian control, if ascribed to the person of the King, is complete, but there is no real Defense Ministry. Outside the FAR, there is only a small administration."

Royal involvement in business is a hot topic in Morocco but public discussion of it is sensitive. So there were understandable shock waves when the US embassy in Rabat reported to Washington in a number of cables that "corruption is prevalent at all levels of Moroccan society". Yet, this is hardly fresh news and King Mohammed VI has set himself the task of stamping out corruption at all levels. As a report in The Guardian puts it: Moroccan King Mohammed VI has worked to weed out corruption in the royal family but through their interests they retain a powerful grip on big business in the country,

On the street, Moroccans are generally supportive of Wikileaks because of the insight the cables have given into the behind the scenes attitude of American diplomats. Most revelations caused little surprise to Moroccans here in Rabat, especially the WikiLeaks cables that portray Saudi Arabia as a cash machine for terrorists and in another cable that claims al-Jazeera changed coverage to suit Qatari foreign policy.

For their part, the Americans are in damage control mode and not reacted in the most sensible way. Calls for attacks on Wikileaks and its founders are beginning to backfire. Foaming at the mouth, calling for the killing of Mr Assange and choking his bank account have proved internationally unpopular. Shooting the messenger is not the best response. Insteasd, the Americans should look to their own cyber security. Their blustering attacks have turned Wikileaks and its founder Mr Assange into a modern folk hero. Thankfully, the public response from Morocco has been dignified silence.


Wikileaks MORocco said...

Good analysis. I would however add that some of the leaks do bring more details, or "proofs" to some extent, about specific topics related to moroccan life and politics, not just corruption.

I have put up a twitter account were I publish the most interesting excerpts related to Morocco, as frequently as cables get released:

Have a look and let me know what you think.

Anonymous said...

Good one (once again). Thanks to Wikileaks MORocco as well.

Anonymous said...

Assange is doing us all a service. All power to him.

DavyJones said...

You call yourself a journalist, you should be ashamed, both for not reporting the real story and censoring any dissenting replies. Sir, you are a coward.

Driss said...

Well done Ibn. Ignore snipers. Your opinion is yours and we agree with it.

Anonymous said...

Name callers usually say things that reflect on themselves - and in this case rather badly. Well done Ibn.

Steve Short said...

Thank you for Morocco-centric informed comment about the Wikileaks thing. It is particularly gratifying to see that you highlight the conspicuous (and now statistically implausible) absence of cables dealing with exchanges between US and Israel diplomats and politicians. I don't think many people appreciate just how momentous the last week or two has also been for the Palestinian people (for whom I have great sympathy). Yet this has been well overshadowed by the storm of Wikileaks publicity. The peace talks have totally collapsed, Israel has asserted once again and arguably irrevocably their determination to densely populate and build over the West Bank - effectively denying for all time a Palestinian homeland and causing even the most left leaning US government of modern times (Obama) to bow in utter humiliation after having offered Israel crass military inducements worth US$ billions. A new development is that Israel now feels so powerful (as the biggest nuclear power in the Middle East) that it can now totally snub its longtime greatest ally (the US). This raises the question of whether this Wikileaks soap opera might not just be a horribly effective Mossad game play to keep the spotlight off the coup de gras of a State of Palestine! Have we all been fooled by the Great Wikileaks Distraction?

Ibn Warraq said...

Salaam Doctor Short,
Thank you for your kind words. Sadly some people get quite worked up over the small things and miss the bigger picture. I agree with your basic thesis. However, I will feel more confident in proclaiming it once the percentage of cables gives us a better base on which to make that assumption. It does occur to me that if Mossad are as clever as we suspect, then they would salt the results with a few harmless cables. The (so far) total silence on Israel may also be because the Americans and Israelis have a much more secure direc t link and maintain a lower level of diplomatic chatter. I would be interested in your thoughts.

Our mutual friend told me much about you and it is an honour to have you post on our blog. I have never met an Isotope hydrogeologist before!
Salaam was shukran bizef.

Anonymous said...

What was the deleted post????

Sandy McCutcheon said...

Hi Anonymous - we hate to delete posts, but this was a disgusting anti-Jewish diatribe against the previous poster. We accept most things but racism, homophobia and personal attacks will be deleted.

Anonymous said...


Steve Short said...

Salaam Ibn Warraq
Thank you for your kind response. For your information there have indeed been a few Israel-related cables 'salted' (if that is the right word)into the stream of Wikileaks' released cables thus far. An early release related to a comment by Netanyahu to a US diplomat that he was aware that certain Arab nations had urged the US to attack Iran. At least this was stated in the media here in Australia. But I agree with you. We should wait and see, as the whole 250,000 (!?) cables are released, whether there emerges a body of content-significant cables relating to US-Israel diplomatic interaction before being any more than just suspicious that a Mossad 'chess play' might be the root cause of this remarkable world event. Come what may, all our lives are going to be altered to some degree by it. Best wishes. SS

Cloud Bandit -Wikileaks said...

Very good post and discussion.