US, Mexican experts hail Morocco’s comprehensive counterterrorism approach

US, Mexican experts hail Morocco’s comprehensive counterterrorism approach

American expert on geopolitics and terrorism, Tom Sanderson, has hailed Morocco’s comprehensive approach in dealing with terrorist threats, and highlighted the country’s cooperation with the US and other allies.

Morocco is one of the “world’s true pivot points” in fighting terrorism and violent extremism, thanks to a comprehensive and multidimensional approach, stressed the U.S. expert who highlighted the strong partnership between the United States and the Kingdom to counter this phenomenon.

“Morocco approaches counterterrorism and counter-radicalization in a more comprehensive manner than most countries by combining security measures, international partnerships, and counter violent extremism programs to address socioeconomic factors leading to radicalization,” said in an interview with MAP this former director of the program on transnational threats at the influential Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, where he conducted fieldwork in 75 countries.

In the wake of recent arrests by Moroccan security services of extremists affiliated with Daesh, Sanderson, who runs his own think tank, noted that Morocco’s neighbors are home to numerous violent extremist groups. The Kingdom’s multi-sector strategy which is “essential” to eroding the appeal of violent extremist ideologies has resulted in a low number of terrorist incidents over the past several years.

He noted that Morocco’s approach to terrorism includes the work of the “well-regarded” Mohammed VI Institute for the Training of Imams, Mourchidines and Mourchidates in Rabat, where imams and preachers from across Africa are trained.

Referring to the cooperation between Washington and Rabat in various fields, the U.S. expert said “Morocco is one of America’s leading counterterrorism partners – a relationship built on respect and trust, information sharing, skill…” and reflects the longstanding bilateral friendship that began more than two centuries ago.

Morocco plays a very important role in multilateral counterterrorism and counter-violent extremism bodies, including as co-chair of the Africa Focus Group within the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, recalled the expert, who is frequently invited by U.S. media and universities to speak on security issues.

He added that the Kingdom “plays a broader role in countering violent extremism by serving as a political, cultural, and geographic bridge between North America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.”

He insisted that the United States “benefits from Morocco’s position as one of the world’s genuine pivot points in counterterrorism and counter violent extremism.”

Earlier this year, the US State Department’s Country Terrorism Report 2021 said the two countries have a long history of strong cooperation in the field, similarly calling to attention Morocco’s “comprehensive” strategy.

In 2021, the North African country arrested at least 55 individuals for alleged involvement in terrorism cells.

In a related development, Mexican expert Pedro de la Vega underlined from Mexico City that Morocco plays a crucial role in the fight against terrorism and extremism at the international level.

The recent operations in which Moroccan authorities arrested extremists affiliated to Daesh attest to Morocco’s leadership and its important role in the fight against terrorism, he said, adding that this role is welcomed by the entire international community.

The academic noted that the approach adopted by the Kingdom in this area incorporates the social dimension and a pillar of development, as well as promoting a culture of tolerance and moderation.

De la Vega added that Morocco’s strategy also reflects the belief that an effective fight against extremism and terrorism requires, in addition to the adoption of a security approach, the implementation of economic and social inclusion and the establishment of religious and civic education.

He also stressed that the tangible results of the proactive policy conducted by Morocco in the fight against terrorism enabled the dismantling of many terrorist cells, a fact that places the Kingdom as a serious and indispensable partner in this field.

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