Istiqlal Withdrawal from Governing Coalition: Does Chabat want to become Caliph instead of the Caliph Benkirane.
The National Council of the Istiqlal Party decided on Saturday to withdraw from the Moroccan coalition government led by the Islamist Party for Justice and development (PJD).
The decision was not a surprise to analysts who see in it the normal outcome of the fierce and controversial opposition the Istiqlal Party’s Secretary General Hamid Chabat has been voicing to the government ruling PJD and to its leader and head of the government Abdelilah Benkirane since he was elected to lead the Istiqlal Party in September 2012.
Chabat’s decision, formally said to have been democratically made by the IP National Council, gave rise to a number of questions as to the impact of this decision on Morocco’s political and geo-strategic landscape and whether it will be followed by a mere cabinet reshuffle in what would be a minority government, by the formation of a new coalition with other parties that are currently in the opposition, or by early parliamentary elections.
Whatever the scenario to be chosen, the decision has shaken the political strata and raised fears to see the country plunge in instability like what is happening in neighbouring Tunisia, Libya or Egypt. (more…)
You can smell the tanneries in Fez,Morocco, long before you can see them. The stench comes from the diluted bird excrement used to soften animal hides as they're turned into leather. The soft leather is then dyed in these large vats by men working hours at a time on each hide in harsh summer heat. Then the hides are hung to dry on the roofs around the old quarter.
Flickr user Mark Fischer captured this image of a tannery worker in the dyeing vats from the balconies surrounding the tannery. It's basically an assembly line at ground level, so tourists aren't allowed in, but the smell is often enough to keep most people at bay.
Kuwait is set to partake in a meeting of the steering committee of the democratic transition fund due in London on Wednesday.
The meeting will look into the fund’s activities and requests by democratic transition countries – Egypt, Morocco, Yemen, Jordan, Tunisia and Libya – to get financial support for future projects, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Finance said in a release sent to KUNA Tuesday.
Such projects would help beneficiaries carry out institutional and legislative reforms and support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), it said.
The USD-250-million democratic transitional fund, to which Kuwait has contributed USD 10 million, stemmed from the Deauville Partnership which was launched in September 2011, it added.
The Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition is an international effort launched by the G8 to support countries in the Arab world engaged in transitions toward free, democratic and tolerant societies.
The Partnership includes Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Libya, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, UK, US and EU.
Three countries have contributed to the capital of the fund, notably the US with USD 50 million, Saudi Arabia with USD 25 million and Kuwait with USD 10 million, the ministry said.
The democratic transition fund was launched during a meeting of financial institutions held in Japan in October 2012 with a view to providing technical aid to the aforesaid six Arab countries.
A series of high-level seminars will be held during the AfDB Annual Meetings in Marrakech, Morocco from 27-31 May 2013, to explore new ideas and set out concrete actions that will help transform Africa’s economic boom into sustainable and inclusive growth.
The panels will focus on the key issues facing the continent and explore how Africa can reap the benefits of its economic growth through investments in skills training, infrastructure, agriculture and education; and a broader engagement with the private sector. Participants to the meetings will include academics, government officials, researchers, development practitioners, as well as AfDB experts. (more…)
Washington/Morocco News Board-Morocco, a key US ally in the Arab and Muslim worlds, is reviewing “certain” aspects of its relationship with Washington. If the exchange of letters between King Mohamed VI and President Obama and their subsequent phone conversations have effectively put the recent Moroccan-American diplomatic misunderstanding over the Western Sahara behind, Moroccan officials are sober in their assessment of this incident.
While the two head of states exchanged invitations for State visits, diplomats from both nations must intensify their contacts to “contain” the on-going political and security crisis in North Africa and the Sahel. Neither the European Union nor Washington can afford an open conflict between Algeria and Morocco.
If observers did not know what to make of the US mission to the United Nations (UN) decision to adopt what Rabat considers as a pro-Algeria stand on the Western Sahara dossier, the Moroccan public views the American attitude as a diplomatic wake call and is demanding a more robust foreign policy posture toward Algeria. (more...)
Most people have heard of the health benefits of using olive oil instead of butter or other saturated animal fats. The monounsaturated fats in olive oil have been shown to reduce levels of harmful cholesterol, and as a result nutrition experts have touted it and other aspects of the Mediterranean Diet as heart healthy.
But olive oil isn’t the only celebrated oil from that region of the world. In Morocco, argan oil has been consumed by the Berber people for centuries. Berbers add the deep yellow, toasty-flavored oil to couscous, serve it alongside bread, or eat it on its own. (more…)