Morocco gets its edge from soft power behind the throne

Laayoune, Nov. 6, 2015: Morocco’s King Mohammed VI waving to a rally marking the 40th anniversary of the country’s annexation of West Sahara, a former Spanish colony (source: dpa)
Laayoune, Nov. 6, 2015: Morocco’s King Mohammed VI waving to a rally marking the 40th anniversary of the country’s annexation of West Sahara, a former Spanish colony (source: dpa)

Morocco is one of the few countries to emerge from the Arab Spring with its international standing enhanced. Bolstered by the popular legitimacy of its monarch, King Mohammed VI, it has managed to avoid the disruptive political transitions seen in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. Its economic reforms have attracted significant foreign investment. Yet continuing high rates of youth unemployment leave the country vulnerable to the appeal of radical Islam and terrorism. That has potentially serious implications for Europe, since Morocco sits astride one of the main migration routes from Africa.

Morocco’s economy has been held up as a success story – particularly when compared with other North A...

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