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Saturday, February 27, 2021

From Morocco to Western Sahara to Palestine: Confronting normalization with anti-imperialist struggle

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Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network is an international network of activists building solidarity with Palestinian prisoners.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its strongest rejection of the the recent normalization agreements signed between Israel and Morocco, overseen by the United States. These agreements are part of a coordinated plan to set on paper and ink the full normalization of the Israeli colonial presence in the region, as the de-escalation of hostilities and resumption of full diplomatic agreements accelerates.

One after another, US-aligned states and clients like the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and now Morocco have signed agreements with Israel, leading to normal relations between them and illustrating the dominance of imperialism at the expense of the Palestinian people and the Arab people more broadly – not to mention, the people of the world.

It is clear that these agreements represent the acquiescence of the elites in furtherance of their own interests, at the expense of the people; indeed, the Arab masses have made it clear that despite all of the devastation, poverty, war and colonial subjugation that has been inflicted on the region at the hands of imperialism, they continue to reject the imperialist and Zionist forces embraced by reactionary regimes.

The international elements of the deal are clear. In the words of historic anti-Zionist militant Sion Assidon, there is a “novelty in the geostrategic order: the regional construction of a military axis,” bringing together the Gulf petro-states, and Egypt under Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, and furthermore indirectly or directly aligning them with Israel. This is a rupture with business as usual, even beyond Morocco’s intervention in the “war of aggression” against Yemen, especially given ever-mounting aggression against Iran.

Furthermore, the participation in forging an axis of war comes amidst rising bilateral military cooperation with the United States. On 2 October 2020, Morocco and the US signed military agreements. Those allowed for Morocco to obtain armaments from the US, but furthermore provided for the US to assist Morocco in the development of a local weapons industry. The US carried out the same procedure in Israel in the 1970s, and was a major spur to the creation of a local defense-industrial base. Furthermore, the US will shift one of its bases from Germany to Morocco.

This, too, is a vast departure from Morocco’s traditional stance of non-alignment, in which the last US military base there was officially closed in 1963, amidst the ambient atmospheric pressure from world-wide popular-nationalist and anti-colonial movements.

In “exchange” for the normalization deals, the US gave its blessing to the Moroccan “annexation” of the occupied Western Sahara, another centerpiece of the aggression of the Moroccan regime. Morocco continues continues to detain at least 23 Sahrawi strugglers in its attempt to quell their liberation struggle.

Such shifts are of a piece with the ugly face Morocco shows internally. Since 2011, the accusation, “attacking the security of the state” has become ever-more-common. Over the past years, amidst a massive social movement called the Hirak du Rif, the Moroccan state has detained journalists Omar Radi and Soulaimane Raissouni, and the university professor Maati Monjib, who recently entered in a hunger strike. The 23 detainees of the Rif movement are joined by those from Beni Tajit and the Jerrada miners’ struggle. In the words of Monjib, a distinguished historian and one of the most outspoken opponents of the Moroccan regime and defender of human rights, “it is the political police who rule Morocco.” His detention comes amidst politically-impelled accusations of money laundering.

Before Monjib’s arrest, he gave an interview to L’Humanite and Mediapart about the political repression targeting his work to form an association of investigative journalists. He highlighted the role of defamation and slander for an assortment of bogus criminal allegations – alongside political imprisonment – in an attempt to suppress popular movements as well as the corruption that benefits those willing to side unreservedly with the monarchy and its alliance with imperialism. “Those who constitute this regime use their political power to enrich themselves in a reckless way. In Morocco, great fortunes are increasing visibly. There is also this very sophisticated way of digesting the elite, the political parties, their apparatuses, their personnel. The intelligence services have files on all public figures. The slightest dissension exposes you, on the spot, to defamation. Even pro-regime ministers at the highest level are sometimes vilified. Anyone who steps aside is exposed to the wrath of the Palace and denigration of the libel media. It is a regime based on political cynicism and calumny.”

The Moroccan client state is as keen to maintain ironclad monarchical-capitalist control internally as it is to support the reactionary-capitalist-colonial international order. Escalating internal and external repression show as clear as day that the reactionary capitalist monarchies in the region are the enemy of Palestinians and the Arab peoples more broadly, and making it imperative to support struggles against their international repression as part of the broader project of uprooting imperialism and Arab reaction from the region.

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The “normalization” project being promoted by the United States and its partners, particularly reactionary Arab regimes, is an attempt to legitimize the illegitimate: the theft of Palestinian land and the expulsion of the Palestinian people at the hands of reactionary regimes in league with imperialism. Standing with the Palestinian prisoners is part and parcel of confronting normalization, and Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network is part of the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine’s call to action against normalization for 2021. We invite all supporters of Palestinian liberation to join us in the campaign against normalization – and for liberation from Zionism, imperialism and reactionary regimes! 

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