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Viewing cable 09RABAT289, CORRECTED COPY: XXXXXXXXXXXX LINKS MOROCCAN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09RABAT289 2009-04-06 16:04 2010-12-10 21:09 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Rabat
VZCZCXRO0775
PP RUEHBC RUEHDBU RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHDIR RUEHKUK RUEHLH RUEHPW RUEHROV
RUEHTRO
DE RUEHRB #0289/01 0961646
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 061646Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY RABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9927
INFO RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
RUCNISL/ISLAMIC COLLECTIVE
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 RABAT 000289 

NOFORN 
SIPDIS 

STATE FOR NEA/MAG 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/29/2029 
TAGS: PREL PINR SCUL KISL IR SA EG MO
SUBJECT: CORRECTED COPY: XXXXXXXXXXXX LINKS MOROCCAN 
BREAK WITH IRAN TO SAUDI ARABIA 

REF: A. RABAT 0196 
B. RABAT 0205 
C. RABAT 0230 
D. CASABLANCA 47 
E. RABAT 0247 
F. KARP/DESK EMAIL 30 MAR 2009 

Classified By: PolCouns Craig Karp for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 

1. (S/NF) Summary: Morocco broke diplomatic relations with 
Iran and began a campaign against its domestic Shi'a minority 
at Saudi Arabian instigation, according to XXXXXXXXXXXX.
According to XXXXXXXXXXXX, Tehran had been using Morocco
and its Embassy in Rabat for activities in Mali and Senegal. Domestically, XXXXXXXXXXXX emphasized that the anti-Shi'a campaign was aimed at neutralizing possible challenges to monarchist parties by Islamic groups in upcoming municipal elections. In addition, King Mohammed VI was seeking to reassert his position as a religious leader. End Summary. 

2. (S/NF) Morocco broke relations with Iran and began a 
campaign against its domestic Shi'a minority at Saudi Arabian 
instigation, XXXXXXXXXXXX told PolOff on March 30.
XXXXXXXXXXXX was aware his comments would be reported.
XXXXXXXXXXXX said there was almost daily contact between Mohammed VI's palace and Riyadh in the run up to the surprise March 6 severing of Moroccan relations with Iran (Ref A-D); and the intense consultations have continued (Note: He did not provide a source or basis for this comment other than to say "our information shows." 
End Note.). XXXXXXXXXXXX believes that Saudi Arabia has 
enlisted King Mohammed VI personally (and not the Government 
of Morocco, which was as surprised as the rest of the world 
at the rupture, XXXXXXXXXXXX noted) in its geopolitical strategy 
to counter Iranian influence. In return for active Moroccan 
support, Saudi Arabia will ensure a continued flow of 
subsidized oil to Morocco, and may plug holes in Morocco's 
foreign direct investment balance sheet resulting from recent 
Gulf withdrawals from major projects as a result of the 
global financial crisis. 

3. (S/NF) XXXXXXXXXXXX said goading Iran, a country
with which it had limited economic interests, and demonizing the Shi'a, a powerless minority group, was a small price for Morocco to 
pay for a strategy that could have major payoffs. He added 
that the King was "killing several birds with one stone" with 
his actions, and was also seeking to reassert his position as 
Commander of the Faithful (Note: Supreme religious leader for 
the Moroccan Malachite branch of Sunni Islam. End Note.). 

4. (S/NF) According to XXXXXXXXXXXX, Iran has sought
to increase the influence of Shi'ism in West Africa, where Tehran had 
been using Morocco (which is a regional air hub) and its 
Embassy in Rabat as a jumping off point for activities in 
Mali and Senegal. A former Iranian ambassador was also 
apparently travelling to Tangier, Tetouan and other cities in 
Morocco to lecture and identify promising young religious 
students from the Shi'a community for familiarization visits 
to, and further training in, Iran. 

5. (S/NF) Mohammed VI apparently saw this as a personal 
affront to him and a direct challenge to his religious and 
economic authority. (Note: Contributions from the wealthy 
Tijani sect in Senegal and Mali augment Palace coffers. Many 
Muslims in West Africa look to the Moroccan Monarch as their 
religious leader. End Note). Although XXXXXXXXXXXX did
not provide any basis for the supposition, XXXXXXXXXXXX
said XXXXXXXXXXXX believed that Mohammed VI had
probably been planning his move for at least 
a year. XXXXXXXXXXXX also speculated that the Palace was also 
worried about the prospect of Moroccan foreign fighters 
returning from Iraq, possibly having been recruited and 
trained by Iran, and slipping into Iranian networks in 
Morocco. 

6. (S/NF) Domestically, XXXXXXXXXXXX emphasized that the 
anti-Shi'a campaign was also directed at dissident Islamic 
group Adl Wa Ihsane (The Justice and Good Works Organization) 
which has recently signaled its desire to become a legitimate 
political party. The group, which has at times called for 
the abolishment of the monarchy and the establishment of an 
Islamic republic, is believed to have wide popularity among 
poor and middle class populations unhappy with the political 
system, which they view as corrupt. XXXXXXXXXXXX said
that the Palace is trying to be "more conservative than the 
fundamentalists" in a bid to neutralize their drawing power. 

7. (S/NF) On the Doha conference (Ref E and F), XXXXXXXXXXXX said 

RABAT 00000289 002 OF 002 


the King's dithering about whether he would or would not 
attend was a sign of the difficult balancing act he was 
attempting to carry off by keeping Saudi Arabia happy, while 
not alienating Qatar. XXXXXXXXXXXX said that by sending his 
brother Moulay Rachid to the summit, despite his own last 
minute withdrawal, Mohammed VI showed respect to the Qataris 
while not enthusiastically endorsing their leadership bid. 
Had he sent someone of lower stature, such as the Prime 
Minister, it might have been read as a snub, XXXXXXXXXXXX 
explained. (Comment: We agree.) 

8. (S/NF) XXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXX 
XXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXX 
XXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXX 
XXXXXXXXXXXX


***************************************** 
Visit Embassy Rabat's Classified Website; 
http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Moro cco 
***************************************** 

Jackson