Morocco’s king Hasan II, the progenitor of the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty, and launderer of Shimon Peres and the late Yitzhak Rabin into currency acceptable in Arab capitals, paving the way for the 1993 Oslo sellout, is in demand to ride to the rescue of the so-called peace process, which owes so much to his tireless, though mostly behind the scenes, scheming in the first place.
The mission is that the most trusted Arab ally of Tel Aviv and Washington uses his influence, as head of the Quds Committee of the Organization of the Islamic conference (OIC) to defuse the simmering anger felt by Muslims worldwide at the outrageous plan to build (work began on March 18) a new Jewish settlement at Jabal Abu Ghunaym - Har Homa to Jews - just inside East Jerusalem.
The idea is to create the impression that an Islamic effort mounted by an organization representing all Muslim States, including Iran and Sudan, is fully underway. This obviously assumes that Hasan is not as discredited in Muslim eyes as the other Arab dictators, although the self-styled prince of the faithful is just as treacherous, and that the OIC might be generally perceived as less beholden to the US than the docile Arab League.
This will not, of course, pull the wool over the eyes of committed and informed Islamic activists, who know that Hasan and the OIC are little more than instruments of US foreign policy--particularly the strategies of fighting the global Islamic movement, and of entrenching Israel in the Middle East. But it is calculated to isolate them and to delay any explosion, whether engineered by Islamic activists or Arab nationalists.
The postponement of an explosion is designed to give president Husni Mubarak of Egypt, king Husain of Jordan and Yasir Arafat of the Palestinian Authority a breathing space so that they can continue going through the motions of tough bargaining with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu until they deliver yet another sellout.
That is why Mubarak, Arafat and Husain all waltzed--waddled, might be more appropriate in the case of at least one--into Rabat, the Moroccan capital, to confer with Hasan on how to convene the OIC al-Quds committee which he chairs. A report in the Arabic daily Al-Hayat on February 20 said that the Clinton administration ‘had hoped Rabat would take the initiative on these lines and had advised certain Arab capitals to co-ordinate with Rabat on the issue.’
The report leaves the strong impression that the three exalted visitors to Rabat, who also went to the white house for orders, and their host were acting in accordance with a plan made in Washington. Why else would Mubarak who is anxious to appear as the undisputed leader of the Arab side to the ‘peace process’ stop on his way home from Washington at Rabat (March 14-15), singling Hasan out for the honour of a personal visit, when he briefed other Arab rulers on his US visit by telephone or letter.
Mubarak later redressed the balance in his favour when he announced that the Arab League, of which he is chairman, would not be convened to consider the Quds crisis, suggesting that there is a division of labour, according to which he would lead the Arab side and Hasan would confine himself to his OIC area of activity.
This would suit the US and Israel well as Hasan is a valued surrogate and too close an involvement in the expected sellout could destroy his credibility and, even worse, boost the fortunes of the Moroccan Islamic Movement, which has been challenging the regime in recent months.
A recent repoty by-lined Casablanca, Morocco, by Thomas L Friedman, Israel’s mouthpiece on The New York Times, strongly reflected this anxiety. Friedman quoted a ‘well-connected Israeli’ there as saying: ‘Time is not working for us. The Arab leaders who led the peace process are getting old and fragile. They have become risk averse. The Moroccan government is now in a contest with the Islamists. It has to be careful not to aggravate this phenomenon. It is bad enough they have to crush the Islamists with batons they don’t need to provoke them more by deepening relations with Israel.’
Muslimedia - April 1-15, 1997