Morocco. During the year, the Moroccan security police made numerous attacks against terror cells and recruiters to the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization in Morocco and Spain.
In January, eight suspected IS recruits were arrested who must have been part of an active cell in central Morocco.
According to COUNTRYAAH, Rabat is the capital of Morocco which is located in Northern Africa. The following month, the state prosecutor in Morocco announced that the number of suspected jihadists brought to trial in 2014 had more than doubled compared to the previous year. There were a total of 147 terror-related targets, compared with 64 in 2013. The increase, according to the prosecutor, was due to the unrest in the Sahel as well as in Syria and Iraq. It is estimated that more than 2,000 Moroccans have gone to Syria and Iraq, where IS controls a large area.
During the year, refugee flows also increased through Morocco. As the security situation in Libya worsened, many, especially Syrians, chose to flee to Europe via Morocco. From the border barriers to the Spanish enclaves Melilla and Ceuta, where asylum offices were opened, the human rights organization Amnesty International reported that violence erupted when migrants trying to cross the fences were stopped by Moroccan security forces and police.
In March, Morocco took part in Saudi-led air strikes against Shiite Muslim hijir bells in Yemen. Morocco, which is closely allied with Saudi Arabia, was one of ten countries participating in the air strikes. In recent years, the authorities have persecuted and harassed Shia Muslims even in Morocco, which it is believed to be linked to Morocco’s poor relations with Shia Muslim Iran.
In April, Spanish judge Pablo Ruz ruled that eleven Moroccan former governors and senior security forces decision-makers were still suspected of severe abuses in Western Sahara between 1975 and 1991. Morocco has controlled most of Western Sahara since 1975. Ruz urged Morocco to seize and extradite seven of the designated and demanded that the other four be located and suspected.
Following major public protests in May, Morocco’s King Muhammad VI ordered the abortion law to be amended to allow women to perform abortions after rape and in serious harm to the fetus. It is estimated that over 500 illegal abortions are carried out in Morocco every day.
In September, municipal and regional elections were held. In the regional elections, the ruling Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) was the largest with 25.6% of the vote, followed by the regime-friendly Party for Authenticity and Modernity (PAM), which received 19.4%. In the municipal elections, PAM was the largest with 21.1% of the vote. The Conservative Independence Party (Istiqlal) gained 16.2% and PJD 15.9%. The elections were assumed to give a clue to next year’s national elections.
The same month, Sweden’s Interior Minister Anders Ygeman called on Morocco’s envoy in Sweden to invoke Morocco’s obligation to take responsibility for the unaccompanied refugee children from Morocco seeking asylum in Sweden. Since 2012, 1,100 Moroccan boys have sought asylum and most have been rejected, but because Morocco has questioned their citizenship, they cannot be returned. The boys lack a passport and, according to Morocco, may as well come from any other country.
In October, the Moroccan government launched a boycott against all Swedish companies because of the Swedish line in the Western Sahara conflict. In response to what was called in Sweden’s campaign against Moroccan interests, among other things, the opening of furniture giant IKEA’s first department store in the capital Rabat was stopped. At the Moroccan Embassy in Stockholm, it became clear that the problems with the unifying young Moroccans were less than a possible Swedish recognition of Western Sahara. Foreign Minister Margot Wallström told TT News Agency that the issue of Sweden’s Western Sahara policy was subject to an internal review and that the government did not want to “anticipate this transparency”.
In November, Moroccan security forces unveiled a suspected terrorist cell with alleged links to the terrorist organization IS. According to a statement, the cell appeared in the cities of Fès, Casablanca and Ouled Taima. It was the third arrest of people linked to IS in November, following the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13.
In December, the European Court of Justice annulled a 2012 trade agreement on the export of agricultural and fishery products from Morocco to the EU. The European Court of Justice considered that the agreement must be revoked because it also covers the natural resources of Western Sahara, without the country’s approval. The judgment was appealed by the EU countries. In Sweden, Foreign Minister Margot Wallström was criticized for being paradoxical when she sought support from the Riksdag’s EU committee for not opposing the appeal.