Every day that passes by since Morocco’s state television described Egypt’s Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi as a “coup president” and ousted Mohamed Morsi as the “legitimate Egyptian president”, it becomes more apparent that the real reason for Morocco’s retaliation is not the incessant insults that were thrown at the Moroccan people and their king by some in the Egyptian media, but the way Egypt has apparently changed its stance regarding the Moroccan Sahara in order to please Algeria.
The Egyptian participation in a conference of support for the Polisario as seen in this video is apparently the real reason behind the change in tone of the Moroccan media toward Al-Sisi and his government.
Moroccans are not the only ones taken aback by what the new Egyptian government is embarking upon; Egyptians too are in the dark about what has taken place, to the point where they are seeing the Muslim Brotherhood at every corner, and are accusing them in official Moroccan news channels of being the perpetrators. Meanwhile, they miss the fact that Moroccan sate-owned television cannot broadcast any report that goes against Morocco’s official position on any foreign issue.
It is common knowledge that when it comes to questions of highly strategic importance for the country, the King has the last word in the orientations of Morocco’s foreign policy – the Moroccan Prime Minister clearly stated in this very recent video that the king Mohammed VI has the ultimate say in anything related to diplomacy.
When the Al-Sisi government decided to form a strategic partnership with Algeria they should have known that a price would have to be paid in order for Algeria to agree to this partnership. As a result, Egypt officially changed its stance on the so-called Western Sahara. What the Egyptian government did not realize was that Morocco will go all out in defending its national cause. If Al-Sisi had watched the Moroccan King’s latest speech in which he asserted that the Sahara will remain Moroccan forever more, he would have understood that Morocco will not give up an inch of its territory.
Egyptian officials are now between a rock and a hard place, and that’s clearly the reason for their lack of communication following the broadcast. On one hand, they will find it difficult to go back on their promise to the Algerians. On the other, any statement in support of Morocco will certainly irk Algeria. Anything other than supporting Morocco’s territorial integrity will not be accepted by the Moroccan people, government, and the king.
This clearly shows the lack of experience of Al-Sisi and his government. They have needlessly dug a hole for themselves that it will be difficult to get out of it.
The Egyptians now have a difficult choice to make; they cannot please Morocco and Algeria at the same time. Egypt will have to learn from this that advancing their position at the expense of other states can only lead to conflict. Morocco does not take offense at Egypt’s alliance with Algeria but at the attempt to weaken its fight for the National Cause. Egyptians would do well to remember that the Moroccan King was the first world leader to wish them well in the wake of the Arab Spring, despite most Moroccans expressing adamant distaste toward toppling a democratically elected president, in Egypt or elsewhere.
Hopefully speculations will soon be put to rest and replaced by factual evidence. Citizens of both states are fed up with the paternalism and the lack of government transparency; they deserve to have access to this information, which would have been made readily available in any democratic country. Can’t our leaders do something right for a change?