A distant Power

While the centre of the Arab world is commonly identified in the Levant, Egypt or the Arabian Peninsula, one state on the shores of the Atlantic could surpass the other Arab states.

Morocco

Morocco is probably the only Arab country besides Egypt that has a strong sense of pride in its own nation, even though its imperial traditions, unlike those of Egypt, began only after the Islamisation of the country. The Idrisid dynasty was one of the first local dynasties in the Islamic world, which was also very far from the place of origin of the religion. Under the Almohads, the (Berber) empire extended as far as Cyrenaica and took up considerable parts of the Iberian peninsula. The ruling Alawid dynasty has been in power in the country for over 350 years.

Today, the country is probably the most stable of the three Maghreb states, along with Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. It seems to have coped quite well with the corona pandemic and is showing in the current refugee crisis, but also in its dealings with the leading European power, Germany, that it is quite capable of playing its position against other states. Its function as a controller of refugee movements from Africa towards Spain is of great importance in this context, and the European nations are well aware of this. With the further occupation of Western Sahara, the country is also hinting at certain imperial ambitions.

However, in order to be able to exert a great influence within the Muslim-Arab world, the country primarily lacks a suitable geographical location. The population centres of the Muslim world, the holy places of Islam, but also the geopolitically most important points as well as the intellectual and scientific centres are too far away from Morocco for this not to weaken its position. However, as a regional power in the Maghreb as well as in the Sahel and possibly also West Africa, it is certainly to be reckoned with. It could also become one of Europe’s most important contacts on the continent.

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