Morocco. According to
CountryAAH, the state's struggle against militant Islamists
escalated. On January 4, 26 Moroccans were arrested on
suspicion of being part of a terrorist network recruiting
militant Islamists to the Iraq war. On March 2, eight people
were sentenced to imprisonment of up to 15 years for
planning terror attacks in Europe. The principal was said to
have collaborated with North Africa's largest Islamist
group, al-Qa'ida's organization in the Islamic Maghreb.
Another trial, against more than 50 people suspected of
planning terror attacks, including against several
ministers, had to be postponed or updated several times
during the spring. Four people suspected of being suicide
bombers were killed in March and April in Casablanca as
their explosive charges detonated prematurely in connection
with confrontations. A fifth bomber was killed by police.
The September 7 parliamentary election was a success for
the conservative and ultra-nationalist party Istiqlal, who
took 52 of the parliament's 325 seats. The second largest
party became the Islamic Justice and Development Party (PJD)
with 46 seats. The Left Party Socialist Union (USFP), which
was the largest party before the election, went back to 38
seats. The turnout was 41 percent, the lowest in eight
years. As new prime minister, the king, who holds the final
power over the government, appointed Abbas El Fassi, who
previously held several ministerial and ambassadorial posts.
Freedom of the press was restricted before the elections.
A court in Casablanca in January imposed conditional
imprisonment against two journalists who, in a lower court,
had been convicted of publishing jokes about Islam, politics
and sex in their journal Nichane.
UN refugee agency UNHCR reported in May that more than
10,000 refugees from sub-Saharan countries were living
illegally and under severe conditions in Morocco. The country had,
following pressure from the EU, adopted a tougher attitude
Morocco strongly condemned the Spanish King's visit to
the Spanish enclaves Melilla and Ceuta on the Moroccan
Mediterranean coast on November 5 and 6. It was the first
Spanish state visit to the enclaves.
Morocco - Rabat
Rabat, Arabic ar-Ribāṭ, capital of Morocco; 577,800 residents
(2015). Rabat is located where the Bou Regreg river opens into the Atlantic and
together with the city of Salé forms a special city prefecture. The old, walled
city (medina) is closest to the sea.
In the newer, "European" section is the Royal Palace, administration and
university. Rabat is an important traffic hub with an international airport.
Business is dominated by the textile, leather, fruit and fish industries.
The city was founded in the 12th century as a focal point in the Almohad's
war against the Christians of the Pyrenees Peninsula. In the 1610s Rabat became
a refuge for a large number of Moorish Christians, Christian Moors who were
banished from Spain. The city was then among other things. base for Arab
pirates. In 1912 Rabat became the capital of the French Protectorate of Morocco.