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December 03, 1984 - Image 36

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-12-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

36

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, December 7, 1984

tstmituitcr
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The Arab affairs experts in
Washington and Jerusalem re
still trying to fathom the damage
the treaty of federation signed in
August by King Hassan II of
Morocco and CoL Muammar Qad-
dafi of Libya has inflicted on the
American policy of building a
position in the Middle East based
on the friendship of the "moder-
ate" Arab states.
For Washington, the agree-
ment signified that the most de-
pendable Arab friend it had in the
Middle East had signed a pact
with the devil, the most violent
enemy America has in the Middle
East with the possible exception
of the Ayatollah Khomeini.
For Jerusalem, the agreement
was a warning that the one Arab
leader since Anwar al-Sadat who
had shown any readiness to work
for an Arab-Israeli understanding
and who had on numerous occa-
sions served as an intermediary
between Israelis and Arabs, must
from now on be considered an un-
known factor in the Middle East
equation. The promising pathway
to peace that apparently lay
through Rabat had been blocked
off, at least for the immediate fu-
ture.
King Hassan had.played a large
role in the preliminary dis-
cussions that led to Sadat's flight
to Jerusalem and the initiation of
the negotiations that led, finally,
to the Israeli-Egyptian peace
treaty. The late Moshe Dayan,
then the Israeli foreign minister,
had visited Hassan secretly on a
number of occasions to work out
the details for the Israeli-
Egyptian meeting.
Since those days, there have
been numerous secret meetings
between Hassan and Israeli emis-
saries, some weighing the possi-
bility that the monarch might be
the instrument through which
explorations of peace possibilities
could be initiated in the Arab
world.
Both
Washington
and
Jerusalem were reported to be

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finding some solace over shat-
tered dreams in the expectation
that the union of this odd couple,
Hassan and Qaddafi, was merely
a marriage of convenience and,
like Qaddafi's six previous federa-
tions, would not be of long dura-
tion. But the agreement does in-
clude mutual defense clauses and
therefore some risk that Hassan
could be dragged into some of
Qaddafi's adventures.
The secrecy and haste with
which the agreement was
negotiated and the language used
in its announcement were dis-
maying both to Washington and
Jerusalem. Despite the closeness
of the Washington-Rabat rela-
tionship and the personal friend-
ship of Hassan and Vice President
George Bush and Ambassador
Joseph V. Reed Jr., Washington
had no intimation that such an
agreement was even being con-
templated.
Washington first learned of the
agreement a few minutes before
its announcement when Hassan
telephoned the vacationing Reed
in the United States and told him.
He reportedly assured Reed that
the agreement had no cosmic sig-
nificance and would not affect his
attitude towards the United
States.
Hassan added to the puzzle-
ment a few days later when he
claimed in a speech that the fed-
eration idea had originated with
him and that he had first proposed
it to a surprised but pleased Qad-
dafi. The "Arab-Africa Federa-
tion," Hassan said, was open to all
other Arab countries.
To Israelis, the language used
— the tired old abusive vocab-
ulary of the confrontation states
— was dismaying and discourag-
ing. The denunciation of Zionist
violence and aggression might
have been taken out of a PLO
statement and the definition of
the need for the federation — to
protect the Arab world, Islam,
Palestine and Jerusalem from
"Zionist aggression" must have
been written by Qaddafi.
It seemed totally out of char-
acter for Hassan to take this line.
Over the years he has consistently
displayed friendship for the Jews
of Morocco, now numbering about
20,000, and has included Jews in
his close circle of advisers.
Only last May, he brought the
wrath of the Arab world down
upon his head by sanctioning an
invitation to 35 Israelis of Moroc-
can origin, including eleven
members of the Knesset, to come
to Rabat with other Moroccan
Jewish emigres from Europe and
the United States to participate in
the conference of the Moroccan
Jewish community federation.
The delegation invited the king to
visit Israel.
But the king, apparently, is
prepared to use whatever lan-
guage is required to serve the
purpose at hand. He demon-
strated this last January when he
charged that the food riots which
disrupted Moroccan cities were
inspired by "a multifaceted con-
spiracy perpetrated by Marxist-
Leninists, Zionist agents and
Khomeinists." He is able, without
personal embarrassment, to de-
nounce "Zionist agents" one day

and warmly welcome Israeli Gov-
enment representatives the next.
The monarch, despite his
playboy reputation, is an astute
politician and it is hardly likely
that if he were merely seeking to
promote Arab unity, he would
choose as a partner Qaddafi, the
loner, the man regarded as the
world's arch terrorist. He had
more pressing reasons for the al-
liance with Libya.
First of all, King Hassan is
beset by problems at home. There
is a strong left-wing opposition to
the monarchy which is a festering
concern and which can and does
cause trouble. And although Has-

Hassan receives some
$140 million each
year in military
assistance from the
United States and he
wants more.

san claims direct descent from the
Prophet, his Western ways and
mode of life have set the Islamic
fundamentalists against him.
Economic conditions, after
years of drought and depression,
are poor, as witness the incidence
of food riots and protest strikes.
Unemployment runs at least 20
percent and is particularly high
among the younger men.

Hassan receives some $140 mil-
lion each year in military assis-
tance from the United States and
he wants more. Ambassador
Reed, a former banker, has been
zealous in pressing his claims in
Washington. Vice President
Bush, who is described as a prin-
cipal advocate of a Middle East
policy based on the "moderate"
Arab states, is said to keep in close
contact with Hassan. But now
there is concern that American
arms to Morocco may reach Qad-
dafi whom the State Department
has characterized as an outlaw.
Hassan has agreed to give the
United States landing rights in c-
Morocco in case of need and the
United States is planning to lo-
cate a giant Voice of American
transmitter there.
The Reagan Administration
has been seeking a two-tier policy
for the Middle East based on close
friendship with Israel on the one
hand and with the "moderate"
Arab states on the other. So far, it
has not had much luck with the
Arab side which objects to our re-
lationship with Israel and sus-
pects that we are trying to draw
them into an anti-Soviet front.
For a time, American hopes of
succeeding in this policy were
centered on Saudi Arabia. When
our failure there became all too
evident, we focused on Morocco
and its Western-oriented king.
Now it appears that this, the most
moderate of the "moderate" Arab
states, finds it expedient to link
its fate with the ruler the United
States considers the world's most
dangerous terrorist.

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