Monday, May 18, 2009

New Crackdown on Shiites in Morocco

NPR has a story on recent Moroccan police activity in Tangier and across the country, targeting individuals suspected of being Shiite. Seems that the authorities were trying to get an idea of the number of Shiites in the major city centers, since sources say that most of the high profile Shiite leaders were not questioned. Fits well into the "Shiite Crescent" narrative currently plaguing all the states in the region (the suspected Hezbollah cells in Egypt, the disgruntled Shiia minorities (sometimes majorities) in the Gulf, etc.) Unfortunately, it also adds fuel to the "Iranian-Israeli confrontation" perspective currently making the rounds in Washington. And as history shows, Arab leaders have no qualms about killing tens-of-thousands of their own people to get a handle on social unrest. It is also true that Israeli intelligence cooperates with the Moroccan authorities. When I was in Tangier there were stories circulating of a pending attack by Islamic militants on American sites in the city, reports which local and mainstream international news sources indicated were provided by Israeli intelligence. I hope this isn't an Israeli effort to beef up the argument for a military confrontation with Iran, or that if it is, I hope someone with enough authority also possesses enough judgment to see through it.

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