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The American-Moroccan Summit
Published in AL HAYAT on 24 - 11 - 2013

Because it was held against the backdrop of a transient crisis, the summit held between Moroccan Monarch King Mohammed VI and American President Barack Obama went beyond the efforts to dissipate the blames. Indeed, it addressed the future, in order to turn the pages of regional and international concerns surrounding the situation in North Africa and the Sahel Region south of the Sahara, as well as the developments of the Middle East crisis and the Syrian issue. And the fact that this was featured in the strategic dialogue between the two allied countries means that the drawing up of new policies relies on contemplation and the redrafting of the principles and mutual commitments.
Based on its economic, military and political influence, the American administration cannot stop listening to its friend's opinions, especially when they are based on convictions saying that honesty is the best way to overcome any among the aspects of misunderstanding. The Americans can only be reassured by honest statements which strengthen their friendships, at a time when their allies are more comfortable seeing this friendship materializing based on balanced positions, especially at the level of the efforts to support a just peace, achieve smooth democratic transition and build even partnerships, allowing the overcoming of all the difficulties and challenges.
Hence, it is not because Morocco is worried about the Sahara file that it can leave the remaining issues aside. Indeed, the concerns surrounding stability, security and peace, as well as the deterrence of the dangers, the terrorist threats and the signs of extremism, are all commitments which cannot be dissociated from the core of strategic actions. This is true, whether in the context of the efforts to activate the obstructed Maghreb Union and establish a productive bloc characterized by coherence, understanding and coordination, to deter the explosive situation in the African region on the outskirts of the Sahel south of the Sahara, which needs to see the enhancement of stability, development and the democratic wager, to induce a qualitative leap and give a strong push to the Middle East negotiations, in order to achieve the project of the two states that are capable of coexisting in security and peace, or at the level of the Syrian crisis whose repercussions have cast their shadow over the entire situation in the Arab Levant.
Regardless of the trust, the productive partnership, and the mutual interests characterizing bilateral relations, they always need wider regional space liberating them from the restraints of the regional crises which usually impact all ambitions in a negative way. And this intertwinement between what is bilateral, regional, and international at the intersection of stable friendships implies wide mutual commitments measured by actions and not just intentions.
The Moroccan-American summit renewed an inclination in this direction, seen at least in the fact that the wish to build strategic relations has started to affect the American and Moroccan handling of the region's crises. At the level of the Sahara issue in particular, there was an inclination to support the United Nations' efforts to secure a permanent and just political solution, which would not have been possible without Morocco's autonomy initiative that led this case away from its predicament, and gave a push to the negotiations option between the concerned sides. And despite the diverging positions, the American support of the negotiations option under UN sponsorship preserves the action and interaction dynamic of the UN.
But most importantly, in the context of the political solution, is that it opens new horizons before the entire Maghreb region. Indeed, such a solution allows the prevalence of concord and harmony and replaces the language of conflict with that of understanding. And the agreement to confront the threats and challenges coming from the Sahel countries is the only guarantee for the strong presence of the Maghreb position, as it is facing security challenges that are not excluding any party and are not sparing any state. In other words, what the initiatives of political détente – that were halted by a closed door – failed to achieve, can be accomplished by a courageous decision placing the challenges of the southern edge of the Maghreb space at the top of the list of priorities. This is due to the fact that terrorism and extremism do not choose their opponents, which is why the sides carrying good intentions should select the ways to confront it without any reluctance or stalling.
The summit held between the Moroccan king and the American president focused on the security challenges. This reveals that the war on terrorism and extremism is now the main preoccupation. At this level, there is none better than the Arab and Islamic states advocating moderate and constructive choices to guarantee the transfer of successful experiences to ones being gnawed by extremism and fundamentalism. Still, this remains linked to the elimination of the tensions and the translation on the ground of the joint aspirations to build societies of justice, freedom and knowledge. Naturally, the responsibilities of the United States as a main pillar in international balance increase whenever it approaches the pending files and issues up-close. In fact, there are events imposing themselves on the Arab world, from its West to its East, and requiring the drafting of new policies along the path to build confidence, enhance the friendships and lead the alliances to a point over which all the wishes converge in the presence of the necessary capabilities to achieve them.
At this level, the logic of moderation and smooth reform initiatives has been established as an efficient way to overcome the difficulties. In addition, the strengthening of friendships to reach the point of deep partnerships constitutes a test for the will to proceed along the course of calm transition, which preserves the states' structures and induces the required impact with the least amount of losses. The Moroccan approach in its dialogue with the Americans is no different than the other confident and calm approaches that are moving forward with steady steps, at a time when there are issues that cannot tolerate reluctance or postponement.

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