Sarah Feuer of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy has published a report on the situation in Rif region titled “Morocco’s Escalating Protests Call for a Careful Response” which examines the evolution of the popular movement in Morocco known as al-Hirak and the causes behind the ongoing protests.
The report criticized the government for failing to listen to the legitimate griefs of its citizens, and repressive methods used by Morocco against peaceful protesters such as calling ‘al-Hirak’ a foreign-funded separatist movement, sending troops to the Rif area to squelch the movement, and the arrests of over 100 leading activists.
The government’s increasingly aggressive response and the resultant spike in tensions illustrate the high stakes the situation holds for one of the few remaining stable countries in the region
Meanwhile, the Washington Institute has suggested that the direct intervention of the king of Morocco may be enough to restore calm and produce a mechanism for addressing the protesters’ demands.
To help a key North African ally preserve its stability, Washington should quietly urge the kingdom to take measures that address the protestors’ demands — and reconsider cutting U.S. assistance.
In conclusion, the institute urged the Trump administration to reconsider the negative symbolic message of its proposed 33 percent cut in development assistance to Morocco (from $15 million to $10 million) at a time of major tension and uncertainty, and to stand ready to assist Rabat in carrying out its promised reforms.