Morocco’s state-based centers in the USA: The notorious  lobbyism for Western Sahara 

  

Chris Coleman is definitely the biggest stigma to Morocco diplomacy in modern times. His revelations have caused a collateral damage to this monarchical diplomatic machine that, in its wholistic concern, centers around defending its colonial project in Western Sahara. 

Within the same stream of divulging the secrets of Morocco core diplomatic tactics aiming at garnering support to its occupation of the Saharawi people’s land, this mysterious whistleblower has unveiled the shadowy zones that set in motion the lobbying taking place in the United States of America. 

Following the publication of one of his confidential documents, we closely learn about the maneuvers of the Moroccan American Center (MAC). The indiscretion was put forward by Chris Coleman on DROPOX site and then relayed through his twitter account which has been suspended several times.

Caught in its own trap, the Moroccan center hectically sent an email to claim property rights, forcing the DROPOX site to delete the document.
Story of a disguised lobbying
Morocco dived into the world of lobbying through organizations carrying anodyne names, such as the ‘Moroccan American Cultural Center’, ‘Moroccan American Trade and Investment Council’, and the ‘Moroccan American Center for Policy’, but in effect, they are no more than offshoots of the Moroccan American Center (MAC). While pretending to display the image of cultural organizations or independent NGOs, they are actually the Trojan horse to embellish the image of the medieval monarchical regime and to a large extent garner support for its occupation of Western Sahara. 
However, the MAC hasn’t been registered in the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) until 2004, and since then it began using all means to accumulate support to the most delicate issue for the Moroccan kingdom, occupied Western Sahara. 

Straight after being registered, Morocco began a lavish funding on lobbyists so as to stay in the good graces of the American administration. According to FARA records, Morocco has employed nine lobbying firms since 2007 and spent about 20 million dollars, not counting the stuffed envelops handed under the tables as the case of Ahmed Charai; the Moroccan disguised secret agent acting as a journalist and who once got intercepted entering the US land with the possession of a considerable non-declared sum of money. 

What Rabat regime pays to US lobbying firms ranks it in top countries soliciting such service, even surpassing the petrodollar countries’ lobbying spendings. 
The MAC: defending the occupation at all costs
In the document classified confidential, we clearly understand why Morocco uses nine different lobbying firms. It is, in fact, to achieve a goal in which a specified firm is reputable to be its point of strength. The Moroccans ostensibly learned this tactic through recommendations of a lobbying agency with expertise in the stakes of lobbyism taking place in Washington DC. 
A simple overview of the document, we learn that Western Sahara was at the heart of the strategy of MAC in 2012 which subsequently had to be implemented through four campaigns. 

The first campaign was ‘the campaign of facts on the ground’ which aimed to set a roadmap for the implementation of the financial assistance that the USAID annually provides to the Moroccan government to cover the occupied territory of Western Sahara. However, that campaign turned into a fiasco because the US State Department was tasked to validate this decision after 90 days and ended by excluding the Saharawi lands.
The second campaign was titled ‘Close the Camps campaign’ setting as expected results to generate momentum in Washington to close the Saharawi refugee camps for security reasons and to condition US funds to UNHCR and WFP. Lobbying, as the document demonstrates, should be applied in a large-scale propaganda to slander the Polisario Front through main stream media and through some members of the American Congress tasked to falsely portray the collusion between the Polisario Front and the Islamist terrorism. Notwithstanding, Daniel Benjamin, the coordinator of the US State Department for Counterterrorism belied these allegations and described the reports stating links of the Polisario with AQMI as “spurious”
The third campaign was to champion Morocco as a model in the region in all spheres ranging from human rights to cooperation in security and the peaceful and democratic reform. In other words, transmuting the disgusting face of a dictatorial regime into a haven of democracy to hide its heinous crimes committed in Morocco and Western Sahara. 

The fourth campaign “the Ambassadors Rollout” was set to pave the way to the new Moroccan ambassador to address important audiences and, thus, promote campaigns relevant to specific audiences to relay Morocco’s expansionist thesis in Western Sahara.  
Viewing these campaigns, we can sum up that the Moroccan strategy of lobbyism in the USA is primarily aimed at defending its occupation of Western Sahara; a pain in the back of Rabat regime. The strategy of the MAC in 2012 puts in evidence the centralized and pathological obsession of Morocco’s foreign policy that seeks to maintain at all costs an occupation that, despite its higher price, remains counterproductive. 

Meanwhile, the millions of dollars that Morocco regime is frittering away still raise doubts of their suspicious sources. The recent report of the US Department labels Morocco as number one exporter of cannibis and that around the quarter of its PIB is generated from this drug trafficking.  

Often times, Morocco brags about its costly investments in occupied Western Sahara, but after the revelations of Chris Coleman we come to learn that the expenses Morocco talks about are rather squandered on lobbying, buying off journalists’ pens and diplomats’ conscience. The Saharawi natural resources are heavily plundered and stolen on a regular basis and the only thing that has been left to them is a hideous oppression and poverty. 

Yet, the question that still remains is what is the percentage of Morocco state-based drug trafficking reserved to selling the right to occupy Western Sahara? 
Khalil Asmar

Follow at @Sahara_Voice 

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