(Interview) Youssef Chihab: Violating Morocco’s National Security May be the Cause for Suspending Relations with German Embassy
In an interview with Morocco Telegraph, political analyst Youssef Chihab, Professor of geostrategy and international development at Sorbonne University and Director of research in the French Center for Intelligence Studies (CF2R)
Interview with Political Analyst Youssef Chihab
In an interview with Morocco Telegraph, political analyst Youssef Chihab, Professor of geostrategy and international development at Sorbonne University and Director of research in the French Center for Intelligence Studies (CF2R), sheds light on the implications of Morocco’s decision to suspend institutional ties with the German embassy in Rabat. The interview transcript is as follows:
How did you receive Morocco’s decision to suspend relations with the German Embassy?
In terms of timing, the decision was surprising, especially in that there were no previous references in the Moroccan or German media, or official statements on the part of Morocco or on the part of the Federal Republic of Germany in this regard. In terms of the protocol, no consultations took place with the German ambassador in Rabat, and the public opinion in the two countries was not aware of the existence of a major crisis that would lead to taking a decision so quickly and with such interaction. The German Minister of Foreign Affairs was also surprised by Morocco’s decision, as he stated that the news came through the media. In my opinion, this explains the existence of a deep crisis between Morocco and Germany, which goes beyond the political or economic aspect, and affirms the seriousness of the crisis inside the scenes of intelligence spaces, as it is possible that Nasser Bourita’s letter to the government and other public stating the immediate suspension of relations with the German embassy means that the matter is related to an issue affecting Morocco’s security, and that the possibility of infiltrations by the German intelligence services has become an unquestionable matter.
What are the backgrounds that could explain Morocco’s diplomatic move?
There is a silent crisis between Morocco and Germany that has emerged into the public space since the announcement of the US recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over Sahara, a decision which annoyed and angered the German Federal Foreign Office and emphasized that the Saharan matter is exclusively in the hands of the United Nations as left by the expressed by UN envoy, Horst Köhler (former German president). On the other hand, Germany carried out immoral diplomatic and political maneuvers in the Libyan matter. After the international community’s recognition of the Moroccan efforts to solve the Libyan issue during Skhirat meeting 1 and 2, and in Bouznika. Then, when the project was presented and became a step or two away from complete Libyan national reconciliation, Germany hosted the Berlin conference and many countries attended with exclusion of Morocco. This, in my opinion, is an immoral behavior that carries within itself Germany’s hostility towards Morocco. The country wants to set foot in Africa in general and Libya in particular, and sees in Morocco’s presence in Africa a great economic and geostrategic rival, which should be dealt with away from French or Spanish methods.
With regard to German parties’ support for the separatist proposal in many international forums, especially the Green Party (similar to the Spanish Podemos party), the German chancellor blessed these positions and severely obstructed the terms of the agreement signed between Morocco and the European Union regarding agriculture and fishing in Morocco’s southern provinces. In sum, Germany is not satisfied with the Moroccan-American rapprochement and the prospects for economic cooperation in the southern provinces. It is also wary of the Moroccan-Israeli rapprochement, and expressed its dissatisfaction with Morocco’s choice of AstraZeneca vaccine instead of the German-American vaccine Pfizer.
The German Federal Foreign Office has summoned the Moroccan ambassador for a “thorough discussion”… Does this indicate the existence of a deep diplomatic crisis?
The summoning of the Moroccan ambassador in Berlin by the German Federal Foreign Office is in terms of form a request from Germany for more information regarding the Moroccan unilateral decision, and it expresses Germany’s confusion regarding this decision, which suspends all forms of cooperation, including security cooperation and countering terrorism, and Germany is aware of this. The danger is especially that, thanks to Moroccan intelligence, the largest terrorist operation by a Syrian terrorist and a Moroccan holder of German citizenship in a German city has been aborted. It is known that Germany is a country that is characterized by wisdom, calmness and rationality, and that it wants to contain this dispute and alleviate the plight and give the opportunity to diplomacy at the level of the two countries’ ministries, to bring back purity to the atmosphere.
Do you not think that Germany’s interference in some of Morocco’s high-priority matters has something to do with the feverish economic competition between Germany and France in the North African region?
The rivalry between France and Germany in Africa is starting to become contested and fierce, especially in their relations with their European neighbors, and their two Maghreb neighbors, Morocco and Algeria. Everyone noticed how Algerian President Abdelmajid Tebboune spent nearly 45 days in Germany, not necessarily for treatment, but for other behind-the-scenes matters.
France has its networks, influence and lobbies in the African continent within the framework of the Francophone system. As for Germany, it is known for its maneuvering in North Africa in the form of injecting exorbitant funds into development work and consolidating relations with civil society without going through the sovereignty-state, especially in gathering very sensitive political, economic and financial information by funding some Moroccan experts or clients and supporting some of Morocco’s enemies. But Germany did not understand, comprehend, capture, or analyze Nasser Bourita’s recent statements which confirm the end of the “teacher-student theory” in the relationship between Morocco and the European Union. It also did not understand the significance of the minister’s statements calling for the European Union to get out of its “comfortable zone” regarding the territorial integrity matter. Finally, with Germany’s penetration of some public administrations to gather sensitive information, and its hostility towards Morocco in the Saharan matter, it has committed a terrible mistake because, frankly and simply, it cannot dispense with Morocco in matters related to politics, security and economy, especially as it embraces a large and balanced community in the ballot box and in economic development. I hope that this crisis is temporary, and that the two sides will abide by diplomacy to preserve common interests and move away from diplomatic stances, which may lead Germany to great geostrategic losses, especially in Africa.