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Kadhafi piqued by royal absence?

September 16, 2009

I have speculated (here and here) on the possible reasons behind Libya’s decision to let Mohamed Abdelaziz el Marrakchi participate in the official celebration of the September 1 revolution in Tripoli. I had ventured to explain the muted row between Morocco and Libya by the absence of any royal participation to the festivities, whereas all other Maghribi countries had a representation at head-of-state level – Algeria’s Bouteflika, Tunisia’s Ben Ali and Mauritania’s Ould Abdelaziz were all present. Now, King Mohammed VI is famous for seldom attending official events abroad, even for example the funeral of the emirati ruler Sheikh Zayed, a true friend and benefactor of Morocco (he was married to a Moroccan and had, among many other gestures, built and given to the Moroccan state the Cheikh Zayed hospital in Rabat).

For what it’s worth, it would appear that others speculate along these lines – for example Asharq al awsat’s Washington correspondant Talha Gabriel, a confident of the late King Hassan II and of Muammar Kadhafi, in an interview to Moroccan weekly Tel Quel:

Que pensez-vous de la dernière crise diplomatique Maroc-Libye ?

Je pense qu’en Libye, certains responsables espéraient que Mohammed VI soit à la tête de la délégation marocaine. Ils ont donc réagi à chaud. Heureusement, cette crise s’est rapidement dissipée.

Translation: What do you think of the recent diplomatic crisis between Morocco and Libya?
I think that in Libya, some officials hoped that Mohammed VI would head the Moroccan delegation. They reacted on the spur of the moment. Fortunately, this crisis has since abated.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Justin Anthony Knapp permalink
    September 17, 2009 02:51

    Why would Mohamed VI be so squirrely about traveling? Is the afraid of a coup if he goes away for a weekend?

    -JAK

  2. ibnkafka permalink
    September 17, 2009 17:33

    Nice one, Justin! No, in fact he spent at least four months abroad in 2008, but on private visits. Difficult to say why he doesn’t travel abroad for official ceremonies: the Palace’s chef du protocole, Abdelhaq Mrini, has repeatedly stated that dynastic traditions prevents the King’s presence at funerals. He’s definitely unkeen on Arab summits, and generally not too fond of formal ceremonies he doesn’t control.

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