June 4, 2009

HARRISONBURG—Today in his weekly “Strategic Interests” column for the World Defense Review, Dr. J. Peter Pham, Director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University, examines Morocco’s comprehensive counterterrorism strategy.

Looking at the approach which the Moroccan government adopted in the six years since the simultaneous suicide bombings in Casablanca on May 16, 2003, the article notes that, in addition to traditional security measures, Morocco has also strengthened its legal framework to fight terrorists, worked to influence religious discourse along a moderate path (including the introduction of women as religious guides), ameliorated the socio-economic factors that extremists might exploit, and beefed up regional and international security cooperation, including with the United States. Dr. Pham concludes:

While Morocco ’s fight against extremist ideology and terrorist violence will likely be an ongoing struggle requiring constant vigilance, the country’s efforts to date have helped reduce the overall threat, both for itself as well as for other countries. This is no mean accomplishment, enhance as it does security for Europe, where large Maghrebi diaspora communities are to be found, and West Africa, where Morocco has not inconsiderable political, economic, and cultural influence. Thus Morocco’s friends, including the United States, have every reason not only to celebrate its success, but also to support it, all the while learning whatever lessons they might draw from a truly comprehensive approach.

To read the full text of the article, “ Morocco’s Comprehensive Counterterrorism Approach,” click here.