The Russian Bear and the Atlas Mountain: The Importance of the Unusual...

The Russian Bear and the Atlas Mountain: The Importance of the Unusual Alliance between Morocco and Russia.

King Mohammed VI of Morocco greeted by Russian President Vladimir Putin
King Mohammed VI of Morocco greeted by Russian President Vladimir Putin

“Foreign policy is a matter of costs and benefits, not theology”

Fareed Zakaria

In an unusual twist in the Russian foreign policy, President Vladimir Putin invited His Majesty King Mohamed VI to visit The Federation of Russia on June 1oth, 2014. The Royal visit to Moscow will last three days.

There is no doubt that the present world order is undergoing a complex and contradictory process of development, caused on the one hand by dramatic political and geopolitical changes due to the downfall of the so-called systems of “real Socialism” in Eastern Europe after Germany’s reunification. On the other hand the increasing role that Asian states are playing, in particular China and India, as well as U.S. efforts to secure its global predominance are also affecting this development. Russia could prove itself after 1990 that it will emerge as a U.S. partner in leading the “free world” by imposing itself as a “Godfather” for the former Eastern dock States.

The current international chaotic events, more especially in the Middle East, proved that the unipolar system enforced by the United States was nothing but a failure. The need of an international balance is necessary to the international security and stability.

This important visit of the Moroccan Monarch to Moscow could not come in a better time with all the occurring events in the MENA region and the world. It is important that Morocco strengthen its bilateral relationship with one of the strongest countries in the BRIC group (Brazil, Russia, India and China), which Russia features by excellence and emerged as one of the most promising world powerful superpower, second only to the mighty U.S.

However, how can Morocco benefit from the rising influential Russia and how can the latter sets a foothold in North Africa?

The steady economic growth and the political stability in Morocco began to attract world greatest powers, from China, the European Union, China, and now Russia wants to join the competition to collaborate with Morocco. The latter became mecca for many foreign investors due to the new economic laws and strategies implemented by King Mohamed VI. Let us not forget that Russia is a big player in commodity trading, the country boasts a volatile but increasingly attractive stock exchange, and it is open to foreign investment, even in state-owned industries. Russian businesses are increasingly looking abroad to form strategic partnerships, acquire assets, and sell their products. Therefore, any economic conventions between Rabat and Moscow will benefit both nations great deal.

When it comes to the world’s darkest nightmare: Terrorism, Russia is a staunch ally and one that can Morocco coordinate with in its war on terrorism. The experience of the Russian counterterrorism, counternarcotic, infectious disease prevention and response, and other shared security priorities units is indisputable and Morocco will for sure benefit from it. With the increasing threats of Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in North Africa and Sahel, drugs and human trafficking, an international coalition to deter its threats is of a crucial importance to sustain regional and global security and stability. In return, Morocco can be beneficial to the Muslim countries forming the Russian federation by promoting moderate Islam. A strategy, which Morocco implemented both nationally and continentally. Many African and Muslim countries are seeking to learn from this unprecedented and wise experience.

In short, Russia becomes indispensable in the international political and economic arena. Morocco cannot turn its back to Moscow while it is proving that it has and sustains the balance of power in the world, especially in the Middle East. It was wise from Russia to veto the war on Syria as it could lead to an Armageddon. Russia’s pressure on Morocco’s Eastern stubborn neighbor is essential to jump start a regional North African alliance and revive the long-deceased Union of Arab Maghreb.

An alliance with the Russian Federation is of a great importance to the Moroccan foreign policy due to the unstable mood of the U.S. administration towards Morocco. By having another influential ally in the United Nations Security Council, Morocco can promote its project of self-governance offered to the United Nations to end the conflict in the Moroccan Southern territories. Moreover, Can Russia pressure Algeria to end its unconditional support to the “Polisario”?

However, Morocco has to be careful in this move to strengthen its bilateral relationship with the Russian bear. This will for sure anger many key Moroccan allies like France and the United States. They see the new Russian hegemony in the world rising while their internal political issues affected negatively their foreign policies. Algeria will not be pleased by this Royal visit as it feels that it is losing its grip as a potential regional and influential power in the region.

It is clear that King Mohamed VI has a strategy to develop Morocco by opening up to all major international contributors. His strategies to move forward with Morocco seem to be effective and the icon of the Kingdom of Morocco is rising and shining, whether regionally, continentally or globally. All experts are anticipating many political and economic treaties to be signed by the leaders of the two countries, and such a thing can set a road map for Morocco to prove that he does not and will always stick to its vision towards its foreign relations.

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mourad beni-ichDr.Mourad Beni-ich is a Political, Intelligence & Strategic Analyst based in Washington, DC. Mr.Beni-ich holds a BA in Law, a BA in Political Sciences, a MA in Security and Intelligence Analyses, a MA in Global Terrorism and a PhD in International Politics. His studies were pursued in England and the U.S. Mr.Beni-ich began his career as a lawyer working for the British Home Office (The Ministry of Interior) as well as The British Foreign Office. Mr.Beni-ich gave many lectures in the United States regarding the current affairs in the MENA region, both in universities and organizations. Mr. Beni-ich is currently based in Washington, DC where he lobbies for the Moroccan affairs and coordinates with many U.S. officials and Think-Tanks to promote Morocco’s interests, both in the United States and Morocco. You can follow him on Twitter at: @MonarchKnight[/symple_box]