Morocco: Current Issues [May 27, 2011]   [open pdf - 324KB]

"The United States government views Morocco as a moderate Arab regime, an important ally against terrorism, and a free trade partner. Congress is particularly interested in Morocco because it is a recipient of considerable U.S. foreign assistance to help it combat terror and to develop. Morocco is also a significant purchaser of U.S. arms. King Mohammed VI retains supreme political power in Morocco, but has taken some liberalizing steps with uncertain effects. Since 2005, several elections have met international standards. The government has focused on economic reforms that could alleviate poverty as a way to prevent radicalization and terrorism. It also has begun several major renewable energy projects to lessen dependence on foreign sources. Domestic politics are currently focused on a developing rivalry between the Party for Authenticity and Modernity (PAM), established in 2008 by a former classmate of the king, and the moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD), which previously had been on the rise. The government is greatly concerned about terrorism because, after 9/11, Morocco experienced several devastating terror attacks and Moroccan nationals have been implicated in attacks and plots overseas. Morocco takes a comprehensive approach to countering terror, involving security measures, economic reforms, control of religious outlets, education, and international cooperation. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), considered the greatest threat to the North African region, has not mounted a successful attack in Morocco. However, individual Moroccans have joined AQIM outside of the country and the group has attempted to use Moroccan territory as a transit point for transnational smuggling operations."

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CRS Report for Congress, RS21579
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