On November 22, a U.S. president will receive King Mohammed VI of Morocco at the White House for the first time since 2002. A White House statement indicated that the president looks forward to discussing with him “Morocco’s democratic and economic reforms.” The United...

Majidi exposed

Thanks to Tlaxcala, the International Network of Translators for Linguistic Diversity, the misdeeds of Mounir Majidi, private secretary of king Mohammed VI of Morocco, are now exposed in 5 languages: English, Arabic, French, Spanish and German.

Arab & Secular Aug20

Arab & Secular

Across the Arab world - despite laws prohibiting everything from premarital sex to alcohol consumption - a powerful sub-culture practices these activities while suffering from a overwhelming sense of guilt for not living up to the religious ideals encoded in Arab laws. So how does a culture live with these contradictions?

Feb20’s rise and fall : a Moroccan Story Jul17

Feb20’s rise and fall : a Moroccan Story

It started with a sweeping wave of youthful protest, that brought back hope to a country in dire need of it. The autocratic monarchy was first nonplussed, overwhelmed by the sudden "spring". Then it adapted and fought back, gradually regaining the edge. What happened in Morocco in 2011 was a war of position and speed involving underground activists, maverick political groups, and a subtly resilient royal administration. It was also a conflict of generations, pitting twenty-something wholehearted newcomers against old school, wily politicians. This article is a case study of political tactics and stratagems. Major lesson: regardless of the cause, strategy always beats improvisation.

Spring, Reloaded May08

Spring, Reloaded

One year after his presentation on Morocco's "Subtle dictatorship", the blog's author comes back to the Oslo Freedom Forum to participate in a panel titled " The Arab Uprisings: One year later". This is an hour-long (but fascinating) discussion on where the Arab Spring is at, and is heading to.

Morocco’s Constitution : A Royal Trickery Jan10

Morocco’s Constitution : A Royal Trickery

Throughout 2011, Moroccans marched by the hundreds of thousands to claim democracy. Unlike other Arab rulers, King Mohammed VI met them with constitutional change rather than bullets. Yet, even though Western governments and media hail the kingdom's "example of peaceful transition", a closer look to the new Constitution reveals little genuine reform. Behind the elaborate democratic veneer lies the same absolute monarchy as before: a regime under which the executive, legislative, and judicial powers are subjected to the will of one man -— the King —- and where this man’s cronies act as puppetmasters of the political system and ransack the economy.

Please organize ! Nov19

Please organize !

In a November 2011 interview in Washington DC, the blog's author insists on the urgent need for Feb20 activists to drop the "leaderless movement" romantic narrative. Without structures, leaders and a strong agenda, he argues, the pro-democracy movement will never prevail on the wily autocratic regime.

Morocco and press freedom : it’s complicated Sep10

Morocco and press freedom : it’s complicated

Between 1999 and 2009 Morocco's handling of freedom of the press was of quite a peculiar sort. If fact, the Kingdom's situation was strange, maybe unique: where else in the world could you find, at the same time, a government so visibly corrupt and a space so wide for journalists to denounce it? In what other country was the independent press relentlessly harassed and still vivid, daring and popular? Yet starting 2010, those inconsistencies were "fixed" and the situation "adjusted." The royal palace finally got the upper hand and ended up suppressing what had been a unique experience of "journalistic spring" in the Arab world.

Foes : Outflanked ! Jun30

Foes : Outflanked !

A retrospective look at the monarchy's blitzkrieg campaign to outflank pro-democracy protesters. On June 2011, with the Arab Spring tide going out, King Mohammed VI released a surprise-Constitutional draft and rushed the people to a vote in an all-but-fair referendum process.

Feb20 Glory Days Jun19

Feb20 Glory Days

Spring 2011: that was the time when Morocco's Feb20 pro-democracy activists were surfing the momentum wave. With the Islamists and leftists all lined-up behind the inspiring, fired-up kids, the monarchy was shaking and serious reform was at sight. Nostalgia...

Window dressing Jun17

Window dressing

On June 17, 2011, Morocco's king Mohammed VI disclosed the details of a Constitutional draft to be voted less two weeks later. The blog's author gave this interview to Al Jazeera English a mere hour after the king's speech, describing the new Constitution as "window dressing".

Subtle dictatorship May09

Subtle dictatorship

"Morocco: From Subtle Autocracy To Subtle Dictatorship." That was the topic of the talk given by the blog's author at the Oslo Freedom Forum in May, 2011. Main point: at first sight, the kingdom of Morocco looks like a fairly democratic regime. But look closer.

9 March off the cuff Mar17

9 March off the cuff

On March 9, 2011, less than 3 weeks after pro-democracy protests started on Feb 20, Morocco's King Mohammed VI made a rare televised adress, announcing a "comprehensive, democratic, constitutional reform". A few days afterwards, the original version of this article appeared on the French daily Le Monde.