Monday, July 21, 2008

Should he stay or should he go?

King Mohammed VI is said to be mulling an abdication. This rumor is in response to his reluctance to leave Europe and actually govern his country. Both of those links come from the same Spanish reporter, Pedro Canales, so they shouldn't be trusted entirely, but it's interesting to ponder consider whether Mohammed VI's abdication would be good or bad for Western Sahara.

The king would probably be replaced by Moulay Rachid, his brother who is said to be wavering on supporting the king. Rachid would hold the country in regency until the king's son came of age. What are Moulay's opinions about Western Sahara?

I'm not sure if an abdication would improve Western Sahara's chances for self-determination. Mohammed VI has treated Sahrawis nearly as brutally as his father did, but the power vacuum resulting from his abdication might encourage nervous army officers and politicians to react harshly to perceived Sahrawi threats.


  1. First link is definitely broken/won't load.

  2. Worked for me just now. I had problems with the UPES site off and on today, though. Thanks for telling me about the problem.

  3. First, I don't think this is true, even if it is interesting as speculation.

    Second, I don't think an abdication would be good for anyone. M6 has been as benign to Morocco as can be reasonably expected by any Moroccan ruler, and breaking in a new king would mean a new period of transition and redefining power relations, not to mention the risk of weakening the centre of the system, without that meaning bolstered democracy -- more power for generals, power clans, and corrupt business elites, rather than independence for parliament and judiciary. Plus, anyway, Moulay Rachid seems to be universally considered a total creep (okay, not universally), so really I wouldn't hope for him as replacement.

    As for Sahrawis, their best hope is probably either with a weak king in an unstable state forced into making concessions (although no one else wants that), or a comfortably strong king who feels he can take some chances to extricate himself from the Western Sahara mess, with or without keeping the actual territory (like the late Hassan).

  4. Good point, Alle. That last paragraph reminds me of something I read in Endgame in Western Sahara. It said something like Hassan could afford to make concessions in Western Sahara because he was so strong, but the negotiations changed tenor with his son because Mohammed VI had to hold onto as much power as he had.

    Too bad about Moulay Rachid. I'm such a fan.

  5. Anonymous12:19 PM

    The EU should not grant Morocco an ‘advanced status’ without due investigation of the human rights violations committed by Morocco in the occupied Western Sahara. Contact your MEPs.

    17.07 - 2008 16:39 Printer version

    WSRW believes that the EU should uphold its fundamental principles of human rights and launch a full investigation into the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Moroccan authorities against Saharawi citizens. For more information read our article "Morocco getting EU 'membership light': WSRW urges EU to think again".

    Please feel free to adapt and send our model letter to your European representatives.

    The contacts of your MEPs can be easily found through this link.

    The model-letters can be obtained through the following links:







    Slovenski jezik


  6. Anonymous12:20 PM


    more than 60 saharawis fishermen have been injured and others dissapeared in an "battle" with morrocan settlers in Dakhla, WS.
    more news later

  7. Ah, what? Please do send more info as soon as you get it.

  8. I assume you were referring to this?

  9. Neither M6 nor his brother after him have the political courage to take such a democratic decision as holding a fair referendum in which the Sahrawi people could determine their future only the struggle and fighting against the occupation could assure the Sahrawi people right.

  10. Non-violent struggle, I hope!

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