RealNews

Morocco's Choice: Openness or Terror

When suicide bombers shattered the calm of the night here on May 16, they did more than take 43 lives — they also endangered Morocco’s future as a democracy. Morocco had long been considered a haven of tolerance and peace, and any troubles we had we attributed to foreign agitators. We can’t pretend that is the case any more. This time, all the attackers were Moroccans. All grew up in poverty; none had been outside the country. Instead, the ideology of radical Islam came here and found ready recruits. Faced with this reality, the Moroccan government seems to have made the decision to restrict liberty in the name of security, perhaps in imitation of the United States after the Sept. 11 attacks. This week, Parliament approved a broad anti-terrorism bill that has been strongly criticized by human rights groups. But these moves are a mistake. To fight terrorism, Morocco needs more democracy, not less. The evolution of democracy in Morocco has been hesitant, sometimes even illusory. For example, the legislative elections last September were more transparent than in the past, but recent investigations in the press here have raised serious questions about their fairness. Full Story

OODA Analyst

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