SPECIAL REPORT --WMR reporting from Rabat, Morocco
--Morocco and AIPAC -- what they have in common
As the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) begins its annual meeting in Washington on March 22, all the focus will be on the reported frayed relations between the Obama administration and the Israeli government of Binyamin Netanyahu. One might think Morocco would be the furthest item on AIPAC's agenda. However, a nexus between leading American Jewish organizations, including AIPAC, the U.S. embassy in Rabat -- which appears to have become an ambassadorship virtually guaranteed to AIPAC loyalists -- and Morocco's own version of the Palestinian Occupied Territories in Western Sahara, has turned Morocco into a vital part of Israel's overseas influence peddling network.
In many ways, Morocco has become Israel's new "Turkey," an important conduit for Israelis who use their powerful lobby in Washington to ensure that Israel has a friend in the Muslim world.
Israel and Morocco have something in common, something that appears to have drawn them together, despite religious differences. Both countries illegally occupy territory in violation of United Nations decisions. Israel, of course, illegally occupies the Palestinian West Bank and has turned Gaza into a "Warsaw Ghetto" -- an embargoed strip of 1.3 million people struggling to survive. Morocco and Mauritania invaded and occupied the former Spanish Sahara in 1975, forcing many Sahrawis into squalid refugee camps on the Algerian side of the border. Mauritania later withdrew from its sector, leaving it open for Morocco to fill the void.
Israeli colonialists call the West Bank "Judea and Samaria" while the Moroccans call what the African Union recognizes as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, with POLISARIO as its chief political party and movement, the "Southern Provinces."
For some time, Turkey, which invaded and occupied northern Cyprus and called its gain the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," was able to avoid condemnation in the United States, mostly over repeated introductions of Armenian genocide resolutions, by using AIPAC links in Washington to ensure resolutions critical of Turkey were deep-sixed on introduction. In creating the American Turkish Council (ATC) as a Turkish version of AIPAC, Turkey knew the power of the Armenian and Greek lobbies in matters dealing with genocide and the occupation of Cyprus, would be checked. That was until the Islamist government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan began to get tough on Israeli policies in Gaza and Lebanon and Turkish-Israeli intelligence and military cooperation faltered amid the discovery of Mossad links to a shadowy network of Turkish military coup planners and "deep state" players known as Ergenekon.
A mirror image of Ergenekon is beginning to emerge in Morocco, where the key players are not Moroccan military and police brass but a succession of American Jewish ambassadors in Rabat, key Moroccan-Jewish leaders, and American Jewish leaders who all have established close relations with the monarchy.
Israel, acting through Washington, has been able to establish close relations witrh Morocco without the trappings of full diplomatic relations -- and the problems that would invite with an Israeli embassy in Rabat and a Moroccan embassy in Tel Aviv. Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres met with the late King Hassan II at his palace in 1986 and relations between Israel and Morocco became friendly. In 1994, an Israeli mission opened in Rabat, although it was not a full embassy due to the lack of diplomatic ties. In 1999, when King Hassan II died, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and his Moroccan-born Foreign Minister David Levy flew to Rabat for the royal funeral.
Israel, through its lobby in Washington, has ensured that Morocco maintains good, albeit informal, relations with the Jewish state. For that reason, Sam Kaplan, a Minneapolis-based Democratic Party financier who bundled $200,000 in campaign cash for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, was appointed U.S. ambassador to Morocco. Kaplan and his wife Sylvia are prominent members of Minneapolis's Jewish community. From 1994 to 1997, Marc Ginsberg, a major AIPAC player, served as Bill Clinton's ambassador in Rabat. Ginsberg was followed by Arab-American Edward Gabriel until the end of the Clinton administration in 2001. George W. Bush had different priorities and he appointed former Secretary of State James Baker's old friend and spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler to Rabat. Tutwiler and Baker, who served as UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's special envoy on Western Sahara, were more interested in securing Western Sahara's known off-shore energy reserves for Baker's and Bush's oil cronies in Texas.
Obama restored the status quo ante with Morocco in naming Kaplan as U.S. ambassador. Last month, obviously with a great deal of involvement from Kaplan, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations arranged for its top-level delegation to meet King Mohammed VI in Rabat. The delegation was comprised of James S. Tisch, chairman of the conference and chairman of Loews Corporation and son of the late CEO of CBS Laurence Tisch; Ronald Lauder, former Chairman, billionaire son of Estee Lauder, and fervent supporter of Netanyahu; Seymour Reich, former Chairman and former President of B'nai Brith International and the American Zionist Movement; Malcolm Hoeplein, deputy Chairman and critic of Obama's outreach to Muslims and Arabs; Representative Gerald Nadler (D-NY); Liliane Shalom, deputy-Chairwoman and Vice President of the World Sephardi Federation and a Morocco native; Alexander Mashkevitch, Chairman of the Euro-Asian Congress and the Kazakh-Israeli co-owner of London-base Alferon Management, with mining operations in DR Congo, Zambia, Kosovo, and Indonesia, and who awaiting trial in Belgiu, for money laundering and criminal activity; and Lester Pollack, former conference chairman and chairman of the Morocco-U.S. Council on Trade and Investment and once known as the "third Tisch brother" because of his close ties to the Tisch family. Also attending the meeting was King Mohammed's Moroccan-Jewish advisor, Andre Azoulay, and Serge Berdugo, Secretary General of the Council of the Israeli communities in Morocco and a former Minister of Tourism of Morocco.
One of the net results of the Israeli full-court press in Morocco is increased Israeli investment, particularly in Tangier, where an Israeli investment firm has bought land for a hotel, shopping mall, and housing complex. Morocco is also expanding its resorts, including world class golf courses, with a heavy infusion of American Jewish investment capital.
The deals between Morocco and Israel and the AIPAC lobby has paid off handsomely for Morocco. Fifty-four U.S. senators have signed off on a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama in support Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara with a grant of limited autonomy for the occupied territory. If the construct sounds familiar; it is. Morocco wants the same degree of control over Western Sahara as Israel has over the West Bank. And like Israel and the West Bank, Morocco has illegally settled hundreds of thousands of its citizens in Western Sahara in a manner similar to Israeli illegal settlements in the West Bank.
Morocco has also cracked down on dissent. It expelled Sahrawi activist Aminatou Haidar, winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. Haidar went on a hunger strike in the Canary Islands. Morocco finally relented and allowed Haidar to return to her homeland.
But the Senate letter and a companion letter in the House of Representatives, which has 229 signatories, thanks mainly to the AIPAC lobby, gives Morocco renewed impetus to dig in its heels on Western Sahara. And standing ready to take any advantage to throw around the "T" word -- terrorism -- Professor Yonah Alexander, the Zionist sycophant who heads up the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, wrote in a recent report that the Tindouf Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria, which serve as POLISARIO's base of operations, are a breeding ground for terrorist recruits.
The Israel lobby in Washington and its academic laundrymen like Alexander, have convinced Congress that POLISARIO and Western Saharans represent the same phony "Al Qaeda" threat as the Tuaregs of the Sahara and the Houthi rebels and South Yemenis in Yemen. The Israeli state has managed, through the guile of its propaganda and its influence in the halls of power and the media in the United States, to paint those who strive for freedom and self-determination around the world, as feeder pools for "Al Qaeda." Nothing could be more ridiculous and vile at the same time.
The major Senate backers of the letter to Clinton and Obama on Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara include such notable AIPAC assets as Senate Intelligence Commitee chair Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking Republican on the committee Kit Bond (R-MO), John McCain (R-AZ) -- who has also given total support to Georgia's pro-Israeli President Mikhael Saakashvili in his adventuristic confrontations with Russia, Carl Levin (D-MI), and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT).
The congressional initiative follows the issuance of a Potomac Institute report on March 31; 2009, which called on the Obama administration to settle the Saharan issue in Morocco's favor. The primary authors of the Potomac -- issued in conjunction with the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University -- included such pro-Israelis and pro-Moroccans as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former NATO commander Wesley Clark, and former ambassador Stuart Eizenstat.
Never to let a moment of opportunity pass without its stealthy intervention, the current impetus by the Israeli lobby to push for Moroccan autonomy over Western Sahara comes after the death of one of the staunchest supporters of Sahrawi independence -- the late Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts.
The plight of Western Sahara is a direct result of the wink and a nod that arch-Zionist, war criminal, and Israel supporter Henry Kissinger, while Secretary of State, gave to Morocco in 1975 to invade Spanish Sahara upon Spain's withdrawal. The evil-minded Kissinger also gave the okay for Indonesia to invade formerly-Portuguese East Timor and India to invade the Kingdom of Sikkim. East Timor finally re-gained its independence in 2002. However, Western Sahara and Sikkim remain colonial legacies of Kissinger's perfidy.
Meanwhile; AIPAC's delegates will gather this week in Washington, DC to press the Obama administration and members of Congress to acquiesce to continued Israeli colonization over east Jerusalem and the West Bank. However, AIPACers will also be pressing for the cause of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara and the resultant expansion of Moroccan settlements in that illegally-occupuied territory -- including those financed by Israeli interests linked to Moroccan and American Jews anxious to turn the California-like northwest coast of Africa, from Tangier to the Mauritanian border, into a new playground for the "rich and famous."
The U.S. embassy in Rabat has become a virtual joint U.S.-Israeli embassy, often pushing Israeli interests over American interests, as in Western Sahara.
AIPAC and its friends have been very active inside the walls of the Royal Palace in Rabat.
U.S. and Israel pushing notion that Western Saharans and other North African groups are nesting grounds for "terrorists" -- the Iranian embassy in Rabat (above) serves as a convenient strawman.
Libya's People's Bureau (above) in Rabat no longer a threat with Qaddafi joining the global new world order.
Russia, with its large embassy in Rabat (above), poses a threat to U.S.-Israeli designs in Western Sahara.
Morocco at a crossroads: does it retain its old world charm or become another over-developed playground for the rich and famous and an Arab beach head for Israel?