French President downplays crisis with Morocco
In his first comment on the frost between Morocco and France, President Macron boiled the issue down into a mere “controversy”, a statement that failed to convince the political class in Rabat.
Speaking publicly on France’s African strategy, Macron spoke about what he described as “friendly” ties with his majesty but denied any involvement of his country in what he called “adding fuel to the fire” citing the European parliament scandal and the Pegasus spying allegations.
Facts however show the activism of his party members within the European parliament in instigating a resolution that marked a blatant meddling in Morocco’s domestic affairs and disregard for its judiciary and for the rights of rape victims.
The Moroccan parliament referred to its disappointment at the instigation of members of European parliament from a country that was supposed to be a friend, hinting at France.
Indeed, the resolution was incited by Stéphane Séjourné, who leads Macron’s MEPs at the European Parliament. Most French members voted for the anti-Moroccan resolution save some right-wing politicians.
The context is not giving any credence to the statements of the French president as his country offers concessions to Algeria’s military regime going as far as promising to sell them arms, a fact that was acknowledged by Macron who bragged about prospects for “military cooperation” following the visit of Algeria’s genuine ruler chief of staff Chengriha.
As France empowers the military regime in Algeria, it is distancing itself from its longtime friend and ally signaling a decline in France’s foreign policy in the region in favor of closer ties with an oil and gas-dependent country mired in repression and instability and on the verge of collapse.
Empowering Algerian military rulers is not Macron’s only fault. France under his leadership has steered away from mutual respect to adopt blackmail including through reducing visas offered to Moroccans in a measure that Morocco said was not reflective of the quality of consular cooperation.
French media have also indulged in Morocco bashing by parroting uncorroborated accusation in what has come to be called “junk science” concerning Amnesty’s and forbidden stories’ allegation on Rabat’s use of Pegasus malware to spy on French politicians.
Morocco has sued the media in question and no evidence has been offered more than18 months into the allegations.
Is France annoyed by Morocco’s increasing influence in the Sahel where the former colonial master is receiving a series of blows?
Paris’ foothold is also shrinking in West Africa on the back of growing anti-French sentiment and increasing Russian incursions.
After their retreat from Mali following a ten-year failure to eradicate Jihadist groups, Burkina Faso asked France to withdraw its troops from the country.
Macron’s African policy reflects the diminishing weight of France and so does the inconsistencies of its self-destructive foreign policy that has destroyed bridges with African peoples and governments.