US President Joe Biden picked up the cellphone on Monday and supplied his condolences to Morocco’s King Mohammed VI after the devastating earthquake hit the Kingdom, the White Home stated. Nonetheless, there have been no calls or contact from President Emmanuel Macron of France. There have additionally been no conferences between senior officers of France and Morocco. Furthermore, Rabat seems to be in no hurry to nominate a brand new ambassador to Paris. To make issues worse, Morocco rejected French help affords after the earthquake.
What else can the French president do to interrupt the ice in what’s now a really chilly relationship with one among France’s most vital companions in North Africa? Possibly a scapegoat is required. For instance, he may sacrifice his overseas minister by blaming her for his incapacity to handle his overseas coverage not solely within the Maghreb but additionally in the entire of Africa.
The minister’s current misstep in telling a French information channel that Macron’s go to to Morocco remains to be going forward — a Moroccan official supply stated the go to is neither on the agenda nor deliberate — seems to be sufficient to justify her resignation. Nonetheless, it is not going to be simple for Macron to take such a step at this level. He’s not used to recognizing, even in precept, any shortcoming or negligence on France’s half in coping with this disaster. He prefers to put the blame on unknown events, who’re solely chargeable for stirring up bother and hindering all his efforts to get relations again on observe.
Final February, he stated he would proceed to make progress in strengthening France’s relations with each Algeria and Morocco, away from “the present controversy,” as he put it. On the time, he was referring to a decision adopted by the European Parliament urging the Moroccan authorities to respect freedom of opinion and expression. The Moroccans thought of this a “focusing on” and “blackmail of the Kingdom”, and a press release was instantly issued expressing the parliament’s “disappointment with the unfavourable place and ineffective function performed throughout the discussions within the European Parliament and the session on the suggestions hostile to our nation, by some political teams belonging to a rustic thought of a historic accomplice of Morocco.” This was a transparent reference to France.
READ: Morocco to spend $11.7 billion on five-year post-earthquake reconstruction plan
It’s clear that the French president now prefers to proceed the coverage of denial and flight ahead, slightly than face the issue and see issues as they are surely. It’s not too far-fetched to suppose that he may repeat what he did on an earlier event, when he fully denied any function France performed in exacerbating the disaster with Morocco. This may elevate two questions and he would reply them as follows: Has there been a call of the European Parliament taken by France? No. Has France added gasoline to the hearth? No, regardless of these variations we should transfer ahead.
For this reason it’s unlikely that he’ll dismiss International Minister Catherine Colonna from her place, and even when he have been compelled to take action, we might not anticipate this determination to have any main dramatic affect or affect on the Moroccan file within the particular. particularly since many of the strings of exterior taking part in stay within the fingers of the Élysée Palace.
It is clear that getting Paris out of the opening it dug for itself does not need to imply altering individuals a lot as altering insurance policies. It additionally seems to be multifaceted, as relations with the opposite Maghreb nation, Algeria, will not be at their finest, and there have been successive setbacks alongside the African coast which have hampered France’s efforts to regain its conventional function on this a part of Africa will definitely make profitable tougher. . The query the French are asking right now is: who’s chargeable for this horrible decline? Will France be capable of regain a few of its misplaced status in its former colonies? The nation has not shaken off the blows of Morocco’s rejection of help. Macron’s hopes that French planes loaded with emergency help would land in Marrakech earlier than different planes hit the bottom have been dashed. It should have harm French pleasure that the Moroccans welcomed assist from the British and Spanish.
Whereas a comparability right here appears flawed by any requirements, have some forgotten how the French President was obtained in Beirut two years in the past after the huge explosion on the port? He was given a hero’s welcome, with many Lebanese asking him to avoid wasting them from the crises they have been dealing with. Tens of 1000’s of individuals signed a petition calling on him to revive the French mandate over Lebanon.
The French know that Morocco shouldn’t be Lebanon, however that doesn’t imply that Macron didn’t additionally attempt to play the function of white savior in Morocco. This was to not be and may have probably catastrophic penalties, as a result of the humanitarian intervention card performed by the Élysée was performed too early, and lots of Moroccans noticed it as a residing image of colonial management and superiority, which they not settle for. It’s a actual impediment to restoring French-Moroccan relations.
It will probably now be argued that Macron made each effort to contact the Moroccan monarch as quickly as information of the earthquake unfold, to supply condolences and help. In line with some media stories, Mohammed refused to speak to him. The French president resorted to writing on X: “We’re all devastated after the horrible earthquake in Morocco. France is able to help with first help.”
Morocco: Macron condemns the controversy over the place on French help
What can he do now? Maybe he ought to perceive the explanations for Morocco’s anger and never attempt to piggyback on disasters. Maybe the Moroccans will then reply positively. Though he is aware of very nicely what they need from him, his hesitation to take a decisive strategy and depart the grey areas is that he sees the regional scene from just one angle. He nonetheless believes that what he sees as temporary uprisings will probably be restricted. Will his strategy finally achieve success? Time will inform.
Translated from Al Quds Al ArabiSeptember 21, 2023
The views expressed on this article are the writer’s personal and don’t essentially mirror the editorial coverage of Center East Monitor.