Morocco

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Morocco Wikipedia



For other uses, see Morocco (disambiguation).
Kingdom of Morocco
  • المملكة المغربية  (Arabic)


    Al-Mamlakah al-Maġribiyah
  • ⵜⴰⴳⵍⴷⵉⵜ ⵏ ⵍⵎⵖⵔⵉⴱ  (Berber)


    Tagldit N Lmġrib
FlagCoat of arms
Motto: 
الله، الوطن، الملك  (Arabic)


Allāh, al-Waṭan, al-Malik
ⴰⴽⵓⵛ, ⴰⵎⵓⵔ, ⴰⴳⵍⵍⵉⴷ  (Tamazight)


Akush, Amur, Agllid
"God, Homeland, King"
Anthem: 

النشيد الوطني المغربي  (Arabic)


Cherifian Anthem
Dark green: Internationally recognized territory of Morocco.Lighter striped green: Western Sahara, a non-decolonized territory claimed by Morocco as its Southern Provinces.
Dark green: Internationally recognized territory of Morocco.


Lighter striped green: Western Sahara, a non-decolonized territory claimed by Morocco as its Southern Provinces.
CapitalRabat


34°02′N 6°51′W / 34.033°N 6.850°W / 34.033; -6.850
Largest cityCasablanca


33°32′N 7°35′E / 33.533°N 7.583°E / 33.533; 7.583
Official languages
  • Arabic[Notes 1]
  • Berber
Spoken languages[a]
  • Moroccan Arabic[b]
  • French · Spanish
  • Berber dialects
Ethnic groups (2012)
  • 99% Arab-Berber
  • 1% European and others
ReligionSunni Islam[c]
DemonymMoroccan
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary


constitutional monarchy
 - KingMohammed VI
 - Prime MinisterAbdelilah Benkirane
LegislatureParliament
 - Upper houseHouse of Councillors
 - Lower houseHouse of Representatives
Formation
 - Idrisid Dynasty (founding)789 
 - Alaouite dynasty (current)1666 
 - Protectorate established1912 
 - Protectorate abolished1956 
Area
 - Total446 550 km2


or 710,850 km2[d]
(58th or 40th)


172,487 sq mi
 - Water (%)0.056 (250 km2)
Population
 - 2014 estimate33,250,000 (39th)
 - Density73.1/km2 (122nd)


189.3/sq mi
GDP (PPP)2014 estimate
 - Total$189.1 billion
 - Per capita$5,699
GDP (nominal)2014 estimate
 - Total$114.7 billion
 - Per capita$3,458
Gini (2007)40.9


medium
HDI (2013)Increase 0.591


medium
CurrencyMoroccan dirham (MAD)
Time zoneWET (UTC+0)
 - Summer (DST)WEST (UTC+1)
Drives on theright
Calling code+212
ISO 3166 codeMA
Internet TLD.ma
a.^ See Languages of Morocco.
b.^ Primarily Darija and Hassaniya.
c.^ Official religion.
d.^ The area 446,550 km2 (172,410 sq mi) excludes all disputed territories, while 710,850 km2 (274,460 sq mi) includes the Moroccan-administered parts of Western Sahara (claimed as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic by the Polisario Front).
Morocco (Arabic: المغرب‎ al-Maġrib, Berber: ⵍⵎⴰⵖⵔⵉⴱ Lmaġrib, French: Maroc[Notes 1]), officially the Kingdom of Morocco, is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. Geographically, Morocco is characterized by a rugged mountainous interior and large portions of desert. The Arabic name al-Mamlakah al-Maġribiyah (Arabic: المملكة المغربية‎, meaning "The Western Kingdom") and Al-Maghrib (Arabic: المغرب‎, meaning "The West") are commonly used as alternate names.

Morocco has a population of over 33 million and an area of 446,550 km2 (172,410 sq mi). Its political capital is Rabat, although the largest city is Casablanca; other major cities include Marrakesh, Tangier, Tetouan, Salé, Fes, Agadir, Meknes, Oujda, Kenitra, and Nador. A historically prominent regional power, Morocco has a history of independence not shared by its neighbours. Its distinct culture is a blend of Arab, indigenous Berber, Sub-Saharan African, and European influences.

Morocco claims the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara as its Southern Provinces. Morocco annexed the territory in 1975, leading to a guerrilla war with indigenous forces until a cease-fire in 1991. Peace processes have thus far failed to break the political deadlock.

Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. The King of Morocco holds vast executive and legislative powers, especially over the military, foreign policy and religious affairs. Executive power is exercised by the government, while legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Assembly of Representatives and the Assembly of Councillors. The king can issue decrees called dahirs which have the force of law. He can also dissolve the parliament after consulting the Prime Minister and the president of the Constitutional court.

Morocco's predominant religion is Islam, while the official languages are Berber and Arabic. Moroccan Arabic, referred to as Darija, and French are also widely spoken.

Contents

              Etymology

              The full Arabic name al-Mamlakah al-Maghribiyyah (المملكة المغربية) translates to "Kingdom of the West"; although "the West" in Arabic is الغرب Al-Gharb. For historical references, medieval Arab historians and geographers sometimes referred to Morocco as al-Maghrib al-Aqṣá (المغرب الأقصى, meaning "The Farthest West") to distinguish it from neighboring historical regions called al-Maghrib al-Awsaṭ (المغرب الأوسط, meaning "The Middle West") and al-Maghrib al-Adná (المغرب الأدنى, meaning "The Nearest West").

              The English name "Morocco" originates from, respectively, the Spanish and Portuguese names "Marruecos" and "Marrocos". These, in turn, derived from "Marrakesh", the medieval Latin name for the former Almoravid and Almohad capital. "Marrakesh" remains the name for Morocco in Persian, as it was, until the latter 20th century, in Middle Eastern Arabic. In Turkish, Morocco is known as "Fas", a name derived from its ancient capital Fes.

              The word "Marrakesh" is made of the Berber word-combination Mur N'Akush meaning "Land of God".

              History

              Main article: History of Morocco

              Prehistory and antiquity

              The area of present-day Morocco has been inhabited since Paleolithic times, sometime between 90,000 and 190,000 BC. During the Upper Paleolithic, the Maghreb was more fertile than it is today, resembling a savanna more than today's arid landscape. 22,000 years ago, the Aterian was succeeded by the Iberomaurusian culture, which shared similarities with Iberian cultures. Skeletal similarities have been suggested between the Iberomaurusian "Mechta-Afalou" burials and European Cro-Magnon remains. The Iberomaurusian was succeeded by the Beaker culture in Morocco.

              Mitochondrial DNA (MtDNA) studies have discovered a close link between Berbers and the Saami of Scandinavia. This confirms theories that the Franco-Cantabrian refuge area of southwestern Europe was the source of late-glacial expansions of hunter-gatherers who repopulated northern Europe after the last ice age.



              Juba II, King of Mauretania.



              Ruins of Chellah, Salé.



              Volubilis ruins.
              North Africa and Morocco were slowly drawn into the wider emerging Mediterranean world by the Phoenicians, who established trading colonies and settlements in the early Classical period. Substantial Phoenician settlements were at Chellah, Lixus and Mogador. Mogador was a Phoenician colony as early as the early 6th century BC.[page needed]

              Morocco later became part of a North African empire headquartered in Carthage. The earliest known independent Moroccan state was the Berber kingdom of Mauretania under king Bocchus I. This kingdom in northern Morocco, not to be confused with the present state of Mauritania, dates at least to 110 BC.

              The Roman Empire controlled this region from the 1st century BC, naming it Mauretania Tingitana. Christianity was introduced in the 2nd century AD and gained converts in the Roman towns, among slaves and some Berber farmers.

              In the 5th century AD, as the Roman Empire declined, the region was invaded from the north first by the Vandals and then by the Visigoths. In the 6th century AD, northern Morocco was nominally part of the East Roman, or Byzantine Empire. Throughout this time, the Berber inhabitants in the high mountains of the interior of Morocco remained unsubdued.

              Early Islamic era

              In 670 AD, the first Islamic conquest of the North African coastal plain took place under Uqba ibn Nafi, a general serving under the Umayyads of Damascus. The Umayyad Muslims brought their language, their system of government, and Islam to Morocco. Many of the Berbers slowly converted to Islam, mostly after Arab rule had receded. The first independent Muslim state in the area of modern Morocco was the Kingdom of Nekor, an emirate in the Rif Mountains. It was founded by Salih I ibn Mansur in 710, as a client state to the Rashidun Caliphate. After the outbreak of the Great Berber Revolt in 739, the Berbers formed other independent states such as the Miknasa of Sijilmasa and the Barghawata.

              According to medieval legend, Idris ibn Abdallah had fled to Morocco after the Abbasids' massacre of his tribe in Iraq. He convinced the Awraba Berber tribes to break their allegiance to the distant Abbasid caliphs in Baghdad and he founded the Idrisid Dynasty in 788. The Idrisids established Fes as their capital and Morocco became a centre of Muslim learning and a major regional power. The Idrissids were ousted in 927 by the Fatimid Caliphate and their Miknasa allies. After Miknasa broke off relations with the Fatimids in 932, they were removed from power by the Maghrawa of Sijilmasa in 980.

              Berber dynasties




              The Almoravid realm at its greatest extent, c. 1120



              The Almohad realm at its greatest extent, c. 1212
              From the 11th century onwards, a series of powerful Berber dynasties arose. Under the Almoravid dynasty and the Almohad dynasty, Morocco dominated the Maghreb, much of present-day Spain and Portugal, and the western Mediterranean region. In the 13th and 14th centuries the Merinids held power in Morocco and strove to replicate the successes of the Almohads by military campaigns in Algeria and Spain. They were followed by the Wattasids. In the 15th century, the Reconquista ended Muslim rule in central and southern Spain and many Muslims and Jews fled to Morocco. Portuguese efforts to control the Atlantic coast in the 15th century did not greatly affect the interior of Morocco. According to Elizabeth Allo Isichei, "In 1520, there was a famine in Morocco so terrible that for a long time other events were dated by it. It has been suggested that the population of Morocco fell from 5 to under 3 million between the early sixteenth and nineteenth centuries."

              Sharifian dynasties

              In 1549, the region fell to successive Arab dynasties claiming descent from the Islamic prophet, Muhammad: first the Saadi dynasty who ruled from 1549 to 1659, and then the Alaouite dynasty, who remained in power since the 17th century.



              The Sultan Abderrahmane of Morocco, by Eugène Delacroix.
              Under the Saadi Dynasty, the country repulsed Ottoman incursions and a Portuguese invasion at the battle of Ksar el Kebir in 1578. The reign of Ahmad al-Mansur brought new wealth and prestige to the Sultanate, and a large expedition to West Africa inflicted a crushing defeat on the Songhay Empire in 1591. However, managing the territories across the Sahara proved too difficult. After the death of al-Mansur the country was divided among his sons.

              In 1666 Morocco was reunited by the Alaouite Dynasty, who have been the ruling house of Morocco ever since. Morocco was facing aggression from Spain and the Ottoman Empire lies pressing westward. The Alaouites succeeded in stabilizing their position, and while the kingdom was smaller than previous ones in the region, it remained quite wealthy. Against the opposition of local tribes Ismail Ibn Sharif (1672–1727) began to create a unified state. With his Jaysh d'Ahl al-Rif (the Riffian Army) he seized Tangier from the English in 1684 and drove the Spanish from Larache in 1689.

              Morocco was the first nation to recognize the fledgling United States as an independent nation in 1777. In the beginning of the American Revolution, American merchant ships in the Atlantic Ocean were subject to attack by the Barbary pirates. On 20 December 1777, Morocco's Sultan Mohammed III declared that American merchant ships would be under the protection of the sultanate and could thus enjoy safe passage. The Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship, signed in 1786, stands as the U.S.'s oldest non-broken friendship treaty.

              French and Spanish protectorates

              Main articles: French Morocco and Spanish Protectorate in Morocco



              Market Day Outside the Walls of Tangiers, Morocco. Louis Comfort Tiffany, 1873
              As Europe industrialized, North Africa was increasingly prized for its potential for colonization. France showed a strong interest in Morocco as early as 1830, not only to protect the border of its Algerian territory, but also because of the strategic position of Morocco on two oceans. In 1860, a dispute over Spain's Ceuta enclave led Spain to declare war. Victorious Spain won a further enclave and an enlarged Ceuta in the settlement. In 1884, Spain created a protectorate in the coastal areas of Morocco.



              Death of Spanish general Margallo during the Melilla War. Le Petit Journal, 13 November 1893.
              In 1904, France and Spain carved out zones of influence in Morocco. Recognition by the United Kingdom of France's sphere of influence provoked a strong reaction from the German Empire; and a crisis loomed in 1905. The matter was resolved at the Algeciras Conference in 1906. The Agadir Crisis increased tensions between European powers. The 1912 Treaty of Fez made Morocco a protectorate of France, and triggered the 1912 Fes riots. Spain continued to operate its coastal protectorate. By the same treaty, Spain assumed the role of protecting power over the northern and southern Saharan zones.

              Tens of thousands of colonists entered Morocco. Some bought up large amounts of the rich agricultural land, others organized the exploitation and modernization of mines and harbours. Interest groups that formed among these elements continually pressured France to increase its control over Morocco – a control which was also made necessary by the continuous wars among Moroccan tribes, part of which had taken sides with the French since the beginning of the conquest. Governor general, Marshall Hubert Lyautey, sincerely admired Moroccan culture and succeeded in imposing a joint Moroccan-French administration, while creating a modern school system. Several divisions of Moroccan soldiers (Goumiers or regular troops and officers) served in the French army in both World War I and World War II, and in the Spanish Nationalist Army in the Spanish Civil War and after (Regulares). The institution of slavery was abolished in 1925.

              Between 1921 and 1926, a Berber uprising in the Rif Mountains, led by Abd el-Krim, led to the establishment of the Republic of the Rif. The rebellion was eventually suppressed by French and Spanish troops.

              In 1943, the Istiqlal Party (Independence Party) was founded to press for independence, with discrete US support. That party subsequently provided most of the leadership for the nationalist movement.

              France's exile of Sultan Mohammed V in 1953 to Madagascar and his replacement by the unpopular Mohammed Ben Aarafa sparked active opposition to the French and Spanish protectorates. The most notable violence occurred in Oujda where Moroccans attacked French and other European residents in the streets. France allowed Mohammed V to return in 1955, and the negotiations that led to Moroccan independence began the following year. In March 1956 the French protectorate was ended and Morocco regained its independence from France and Spain as the "Kingdom of Morocco". Spain kept its two coastal enclaves. Sultan Mohammed became king in 1957.

              Reign of King Hassan II

              Main article: Hassan II of Morocco



              The Mausoleum of Mohammed V in Rabat.



              The Kasbah of the Udayas in Rabat.
              Upon the death of King Mohammed, Hassan II became King of Morocco on March 3, 1961. Morocco held its first general elections in 1963. However, Hassan declared a state of emergency and suspended parliament in 1965. In 1971, there was a failed attempt to depose the king and establish a republic. A truth commission set up in 2005 to investigate human rights abuses during his reign confirmed nearly 10,000 cases, ranging from death in detention to forced exile. Some 592 people were recorded killed during Hassan's rule according to the truth commission.

              The Spanish enclave of Ifni in the south was returned to Morocco in 1969. The Polisario movement was formed in 1973, with the aim of establishing an independent state in the Spanish Sahara. On 6 November 1975 King Hassan asked for volunteers to cross into the Spanish Sahara. Some 350,000 civilians were reported as being involved in the "Green March". A month later, Spain agreed to leave the Spanish Sahara, soon to become Western Sahara, and to transfer it to joint Moroccan-Mauritanian control, despite the objections and threats of military intervention by Algeria. Moroccan forces occupied the territory.

              Moroccan and Algerian troops soon clashed in Western Sahara. Morocco and Mauritania divided up Western Sahara. Fighting between the Moroccan military and Polisario forces continued for many years. The prolonged war was a considerable financial drain on Morocco. In 1983, Hassan cancelled planned elections amid political unrest and economic crisis. In 1984, Morocco left the Organisation of African Unity in protest at the SADR's admission to the body. Polisario claimed to have killed more than 5,000 Moroccan soldiers between 1982 and 1985.

              Algerian authorities have estimated the number of Sahrawi refugees in Algeria to be 165,000. Diplomatic relations with Algeria were restored in 1988. In 1991, a UN-monitored ceasefire began in Western Sahara, but the territory's status remains undecided and ceasefire violations are reported. The following decade saw much wrangling over a proposed referendum on the future of the territory but the deadlock was not broken.

              Political reforms in the 1990s resulted in the establishment of a bicameral legislature in 1997 and Morocco's first opposition-led government came to power in 1998.

              Reign of King Mohammed VI

              Main article: Mohammed VI
              King Hassan II died in 1999 and was succeeded by his son, Mohammed VI. He is a cautious modernizer who has introduced some economic and social liberalization.

              King Mohammed paid a controversial visit to the Western Sahara in 2002. Morocco unveiled an autonomy blueprint for Western Sahara to the United Nations in 2007. The Polisario rejected the plan and put forward its own proposal. Morocco and the Polisario Front held UN-sponsored talks in New York but failed to come to any agreement. In 2010, security forces stormed a protest camp in the Western Sahara, triggering violent demonstrations in the regional capital El Aaiún.

              In 2002, Morocco and Spain agreed to a US-brokered resolution over the disputed island of Perejil. Spanish troops had taken the normally uninhabited island after Moroccan soldiers landed on it and set up tents and a flag. There were renewed tensions in 2005 as hundreds of African migrants tried to storm the borders of the Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta. Morocco deported hundreds of the illegal migrants. In 2006 the Spanish Premier Zapatero visited Spanish enclaves. He was the first Spanish leader in 25 years to make an official visit to the territories. The following year, Spanish King Juan Carlos visited Ceuta and Melilla, further angering Morocco which demanded the return of the enclaves.

              In February 2003, a Casablanca court jailed three Saudi members of al-Qaeda for 10 years after they were accused of plotting to attack US and British warships in the Straits of Gibraltar. Three months later, more than 40 people were killed in the 2003 Casablanca bombings, when suicide bombers attacked several sites in Casablanca, including a Spanish restaurant and Jewish community centre.

              Those responsible were believed to be Salafiya Jihadiya adherents linked to the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group. One of those extremists was Nourredine Nafia, leader of the GICM (Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group), who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in the attacks.



              Protestors in Casablanca demand that authorities honor their promises of political reform.
              In the 2007 Casablanca bombings, three suspected suicide bombers blew themselves up, a few weeks after a suicide blast in an internet cafe that injured three. More than 40 people were given long prison sentences for this bombing. Two suicide bombers blew themselves up outside the US diplomatic offices in Casablanca.

              In 2008, two Moroccan men, Abdelilah Ahriz and Hicham Ahmidan, were sentenced to 20 and 10 years in jail respectively in Morocco over the Madrid train bombings of 2004. Islamist Saad Housseini was given 15-year sentence in 2009 over the 2003 Casablanca bombings. He was also wanted in Spain over the Madrid bombings. Soon after, the alleged al-Qaeda leader in Morocco, Belgian-Moroccan Abdelkader Belliraj, was imprisoned for life on being found guilty of leading an Islamist militant group and committing six murders in Belgium.

              In the April 2011 Marrakesh bombing, 17 people, mainly foreigners, were killed in a bomb attack on a Marrakesh cafe. The Maghreb arm of al-Qaeda denied involvement. A man was later sentenced to death for the bombing.

              During the 2011–12 Moroccan protests, thousands of people rallied in Rabat and other cities calling for political reform and a new constitution curbing the powers of the king. In July 2011, the King won a landslide victory in a referendum on a reformed constitution he had proposed to placate the Arab Spring protests.

              Despite the deep and understanding reforms made by Mohamed VI that answered most of the concerns raised by the international community, demonstrators continued to call for deeper reforms. Hundreds took part in a trade union rally in Casablanca in May 2012. Participants accused the government of failing to deliver on reforms.

              Geography

              Main article: Geography of Morocco



              Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa, at 4,167 m (13,671 ft)



              High Atlas in central Morocco



              Rif in northern Morocco



              Essaouira beach



              Cedar Forest in the Middle Atlas.
              Morocco has a coast by the Atlantic Ocean that reaches past the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Spain to the north (a water border through the Strait and land borders with three small Spanish-controlled exclaves, Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera), Algeria to the east, and Western Sahara to the south. Since Morocco controls most of Western Sahara, its de facto southern boundary is with Mauritania.

              The internationally recognized borders of the country lie between latitudes 27° and 36°N, and longitudes 1° and 14°W. Adding Western Sahara, Morocco lies mostly between 21° and 36°N, and 1° and 17°W (the Ras Nouadhibou peninsula is slightly south of 21° and west of 17°).

              The geography of Morocco spans from the Atlantic Ocean, to mountainous areas, to the Sahara desert. Morocco is a Northern African country, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and the annexed Western Sahara. It is one of only three nations (along with Spain and France) to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines.

              A large part of Morocco is mountainous. The Atlas Mountains are located mainly in the center and the south of the country. The Rif Mountains are located in the north of the country. Both ranges are mainly inhabited by the Berber people. At 446,550 km2 (172,414 sq mi), Morocco is the fifty-seventh largest country in the world (after Uzbekistan). Algeria borders Morocco to the east and southeast, though the border between the two countries has been closed since 1994.

              Spanish territory in North Africa neighbouring Morocco comprises five enclaves on the Mediterranean coast: Ceuta, Melilla, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, Peñón de Alhucemas, the Chafarinas islands, and the disputed islet Perejil. Off the Atlantic coast the Canary Islands belong to Spain, whereas Madeira to the north is Portuguese. To the north, Morocco is bordered by the Strait of Gibraltar, where international shipping has unimpeded transit passage between the Atlantic and Mediterranean.

              The Rif mountains stretch over the region bordering the Mediterranean from the north-west to the north-east. The Atlas Mountains run down the backbone of the country, from the northeast to the south west. Most of the southeast portion of the country is in the Sahara Desert and as such is generally sparsely populated and unproductive economically. Most of the population lives to the north of these mountains, while to the south lies the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony that was annexed by Morocco in 1975 (see Green March). Morocco claims that the Western Sahara is part of its territory and refers to that as its Southern Provinces.

              Morocco's capital city is Rabat; its largest city is its main port, Casablanca. Other cities include Agadir, Essaouira, Fes, Marrakesh, Meknes, Mohammadia, Oujda, Ouarzazat, Safi, Salé, Tangier and Tétouan.

              Morocco is represented in the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 geographical encoding standard by the symbol MA. This code was used as the basis for Morocco's internet domain, .ma.

              Climate




              Ifrane, Middle Atlas, where the lowest temperature in Africa and the Arab world was recorded −24 °C (−11 °F), in 1935



              Moroccan Sahara
              The climate is Mediterranean in the North and in some mountains (West of Atlas), which becomes more extreme towards the interior regions. The terrain is such that the coastal plains are rich and accordingly, they comprise the backbone for agriculture, especially in the North. Forests cover about 12% of the land while arable land accounts for 18%; 5% is irrigated. In the Atlas (Middle Atlas), there are several different climates: Mediterranean (with some more humid and fresher variants), Maritime Temperate (with some humid and fresher variants too) that allow different species of oaks, moss carpets, junipers, atlantic cedars and many other plants, to form extensive and very rich humid cloud forests. The climate changes when moving east of the Atlas mountains due to the barrier, or shelter, effect of the mountain system, becoming very dry and extremely warm during the long summer, especially on the lowlands and on the valleys facing the Sahara. The Sahara Desert begins here, and it is perfectly visible, for example, on the Draa Valley, where it is possible to find oases, sand dunes and rocky desert landscapes.

              Biodiversity

              Morocco is known for its biodiversity; Avifauna being the most notable. The avifauna of Morocco includes a total of 454 species, five of which have been introduced by humans, and 156 are rarely or accidentally seen.

              The Barbary lion, hunted to extinction in the wild, was a subspieces native to Morocco and is a national emblem. The last Barbary lion in the wild was shot in the Atlas Mountains in 1922. The other two primary predators of northern Africa, the Atlas bear and Barbary leopard, are now extinct and critically endangered, respectively.

              Politics

              Main article: Politics of Morocco



              The current King of Morocco, Mohammed VI.
              Morocco is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, whereby the Prime Minister of Morocco is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Assembly of Representatives of Morocco and the Assembly of Councillors.

              Following the March 1998 elections, a coalition government headed by opposition socialist leader Abderrahmane Youssoufi and composed largely of ministers drawn from opposition parties, was formed. Prime Minister Youssoufi's government was the first ever government drawn primarily from opposition parties, and also represents the first opportunity for a coalition of socialists, left-of-center, and nationalist parties to be included in the government until October 2002. It was also the first time in the modern political history of the Arab world that the opposition assumed power following an election.[citation needed] The current government is headed by Abdelilah Benkirane.

              The Moroccan Constitution provides for a monarchy with a Parliament and an independent judiciary. With the 2011 constitutional reforms, the King of Morocco retains few executive powers whereas those of the prime minister have been enlarged.

              The constitution grants the king honorific powers; he is both the secular political leader and the "Commander of the Faithful" as a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed. He presides over the Council of Ministers; appoints the Prime Minister from the political party that has won the most seats in the parliamentary elections, and on recommendations from the latter, appoints the members of the government.

              The previous constitution of 1996 theoretically allowed the king to terminate the tenure of any minister, and after consultation with the heads of the higher and lower Assemblies, to dissolve the Parliament, suspend the constitution, call for new elections, or rule by decree, the only time this happened was in 1965. The King is formally the chief of the military.

              Legislative branch




              The legislature's building in Rabat.
              Since the constitutional reform of 1996, the bicameral legislature consists of two chambers. The Assembly of Representatives of Morocco (Majlis an-Nuwwâb/Assemblée des Répresentants) has 325 members elected for a five-year term, 295 elected in multi-seat constituencies and 30 in national lists consisting only of women. The Assembly of Councillors (Majlis al-Mustasharin) has 270 members, elected for a nine-year term, elected by local councils (162 seats), professional chambers (91 seats) and wage-earners (27 seats).

              The Parliament's powers, though still relatively limited, were expanded under the 1992 and 1996 and even further in the 2011 constitutional revisions and include budgetary matters, approving bills, questioning ministers, and establishing ad hoc commissions of inquiry to investigate the government's actions. The lower chamber of Parliament may dissolve the government through a vote of no confidence.

              The latest parliamentary elections were held on November 25, 2011, and were considered by some neutral observers to be mostly free and fair. Voter turnout in these elections was estimated to be 43% of registered voters.

              Military




              Mohammed VI, a FREMM multipurpose frigate of the Royal Moroccan Navy.
              Main article: Military of Morocco
              Compulsory military service in Morocco has been officially suppressed since September 2006, and the country’s reserve obligation lasts until age 50. The country’s military consists of the Royal Armed Forces—this includes the army (the largest branch) and Royal Moroccan Navy and air force—the National Police Force, the Royal Gendarmerie (mainly responsible for rural security), and the Auxiliary Forces. Internal security is generally effective, and acts of political violence are rare (with one exception, the 2003 Casablanca bombings which killed 45 people). The UN maintains a small observer force in Western Sahara, where a large number of Morocco’s troops are stationed. The Saharawi group Polisario maintains an active militia of an estimated 5,000 fighters in Western Sahara and has engaged in intermittent warfare with Moroccan forces since the 1980s.

              Foreign relations

              Main article: Foreign relations of Morocco
              Morocco remains the only African state not to be a member of the African Union due to its unilateral withdrawal on November 12, 1984 over the admission of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) in 1982 by the African Union as a full member without the organization of a referendum of self-determination in the disputed territory of Western Sahara.

              A dispute with Spain in 2002 over the tiny island of Perejil revived the issue of the sovereignty of Melilla and Ceuta. These small enclaves on the Mediterranean coast are surrounded by Morocco and have been administered by Spain for centuries.

              Morocco has been given the status of non-NATO ally by the US government.

              Morocco is included in the European Union's European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) which aims at bringing the EU and its neighbours closer.

              Western Sahara status

              Main article: Legal status of Western Sahara



              The Polisario Front control the territory east of the Moroccan berm (wall).
              Due to the conflict over Western Sahara, the status of the Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro regions is disputed. The Western Sahara War saw the Polisario Front, the Sahrawi rebel national liberation movement, battling both Morocco and Mauritania between 1976 and a ceasefire in 1991 that is still in effect. A United Nations mission, MINURSO, is tasked with organizing a referendum on whether the territory should become independent or recognized as a part of Morocco.

              Part of the territory, the Free Zone, is a mostly uninhabited area that the Polisario Front controls as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Its administrative headquarters are located in Tindouf, Algeria. As of 2006, no UN member state has recognized Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.

              In 2006, the government of Morocco has suggested autonomous status for the region, through the Moroccan Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs (CORCAS). The project was presented to the United Nations Security Council in mid-April 2007. The proposal was encouraged by Moroccan allies such as the United States, France and Spain. The Security Council has called upon the parties to enter into direct and unconditional negotiations to reach a mutually accepted political solution.

              Administrative divisions

              Main article: Administrative divisions of Morocco



              Regions of Morocco (including Western Sahara).
              Morocco is divided into 16 regions, which, in turn, are subdivided into 62 prefectures and provinces.


              Regions

              1. Chaouia-Ouardigha
              2. Doukkala-Abda
              3. Fès-Boulemane
              4. Gharb-Chrarda-Béni Hssen
              5. Grand Casablanca
              6. Guelmim-Es Semara
              7. Laâyoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra
              8. Marrakesh-Tensift-El Haouz
              9. Meknès-Tafilalet
              10. Oriental
              11. Oued Ed-Dahab-Lagouira
              12. Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer
              13. Souss-Massa-Drâa
              14. Tadla-Azilal
              15. Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate
              16. Tangier-Tétouan

              Economy

              Main article: Economy of Morocco



              Graphical depiction of Morocco's product exports in 28 color-coded categories.



              The Casablanca Twin Center (background) on the Mohamed Zerktouni Boulevard, the commercial and economic heart of Casablanca.
              Morocco's economy is considered a relatively liberal economy governed by the law of supply and demand. Since 1993, the country has followed a policy of privatization of certain economic sectors which used to be in the hands of the government.

              Government reforms and steady yearly growth in the region of 4–5% from 2000 to 2007, including 4.9% year-on-year growth in 2003–2007 helped the Moroccan economy to become much more robust compared to a few years ago. For 2012 the World Bank forecasts a rate of 4% growth for Morocco and 4.2% for following year, 2013.

              The services sector accounts for just over half of GDP and industry, made up of mining, construction and manufacturing, is an additional quarter. The industries that recorded the highest growth are tourism, telecoms, information technology, and textile.

              Tourism

              Main article: Tourism in Morocco
              Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech
              Sunrise in Moroccan Sahara



              Ouzoud Falls.



              Menara Gardens in sunset
              Tourism is one of the most important sectors in Moroccan economy, it is well developed with a strong tourist industry focused on the country's coast, culture, and history . Morocco attracted more than 10 million tourists in 2013. Tourism is the second largest foreign exchange earner in Morocco after the phosphate industry. The Moroccan government is heavily investing in tourism development, in 2010 the government launched its Vision 2020 which plans to make Morocco one of the top 20 tourist destinations in the world and to double the annual number of international arrivals to 20 million by 2020, with the hope that tourism will then have risen to 20% of GDP. A large government sponsored marketing campaigns to attract tourists advertised Morocco as a cheap and exotic, yet safe, place for tourists, most of the visitors to Morocco continue to be European, with French nationals making up almost 20% of all visitors. Most Europeans visit in April and the autumn, apart from the Spanish, who mostly visit in June and August In 2013. Morocco's relatively high amount of tourists has been aided by its location, Morocco is close to Europe and attracts visitors to its beaches. Because of its proximity to Spain, tourists in southern Spain's coastal areas take one- to three-day trips to Morocco. Air services between Morocco and Algeria have been established, many Algerians have gone to Morocco to shop and visit family and friends. Morocco is relatively inexpensive because of the devaluation of the dirham and the increase of hotel prices in Spain. Morocco has an excellent road and rail infrastructure that links the major cities and tourist destinations with ports and cities with international airports. Low-cost airlines offer cheap flights to the country.

              Tourism is increasingly focused on Morocco's culture, such as its ancient cities. The modern tourist industry capitalizes on Morocco's ancient Roman and Islamic sites, and on its landscape and cultural history. 60% of Morocco's tourists visit for its culture and heritage. Agadir is a major coastal resort and has a third of all Moroccan bed nights. It is a base for tours to the Atlas Mountains. Other resorts in north Morocco are also very popular. Casablanca is the major cruise port in Morocco, and has the best developed market for tourists in Morocco, Marrakech in central Morocco is a popular tourist destination, but is more popular among tourists for one- and two-day excursions that provide a taste of Morocco's history and culture. The Majorelle botanical garden in Marrakech is a popular tourist attraction. It was bought by the fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé in 1980. Their presence in the city helped to boost the city's profile as a tourist destination.

              As of 2006, activity and adventure tourism in the Atlas and Rif Mountains are the fastest growth area in Moroccan tourism. These locations have excellent walking and trekking opportunities from late March to mid-November. The government is investing in trekking circuits. They are also developing desert tourism in competition with Tunisia.

              Agriculture

              Agriculture accounts for only around 14% of GDP but employs 40–45% of the Moroccan working population. With a semi-arid climate and an ill-developed irrigation system, it is difficult to assure enough irrigation. Morocco’s economy depends heavily on the weather, a typical characteristic of third-world countries.

              The major resources of the Moroccan economy are agriculture, phosphates, and tourism. Sales of fish and seafood are important as well. Industry and mining contribute about one-third of the annual GDP. Morocco is the world's third-largest producer of phosphorus after China and the United States, and the price fluctuations of phosphates on the international market greatly influence Morocco's economy.

              Morocco suffers both from unemployment (9.6% in 2008), and a large external debt estimated at around $20 billion, or half of GDP in 2002.

              Although Morocco runs a structural trade deficit, this is typically offset by substantial services earnings from tourism and large remittance inflows from the diaspora, and the country normally runs a small current-account surplus.

              Energy

              Main article: Energy in Morocco



              Solar cell panels in eastern Morocco
              In 2008, about 56% of Morocco's electricity supply was provided by coal. However, as forecasts indicate that energy requirements in Morocco will rise 6% per year between 2012 and 2050, a new law passed encouraging Moroccans to look for ways to diversify the energy supply, including more renewable resources. The Moroccan government has launched a project to build a solar thermal energy power plant and is also looking into the use of natural gas as a potential source of revenue for Morocco’s government.

              Morocco has embarked upon the construction of large solar energy farms to lessen dependence on fossil fuels, and to eventually export electricity to Europe.

              Narcotics

              Since the 7th century, Cannabis has been cultivated in the Rif Region. In 2004, according to the UN World Drugs Report, cultivation and transformation of Cannabis represents 0.57% of the national GDP of Morocco in 2002. According to a French Ministry of the Interior 2006 report, 80% of the cannabis resin (hashish) consumed in Europe comes from the Rif region in Morocco, which is mostly mountainous terrain in the north of Morocco, also hosting plains that are very fertile and it expands from Melwiyya River and Ras Kebdana in the East to Tangier and Cape Spartel in the West. Also from the Mediterranean in the south, home of the Wergha River, to the north. Also of note, this region hosts more "Riffians" with lighter hair, having a higher percentation of blondism than most other groups of Berber, though the ancestry is likely mixed and quite similair. In addition to that, Morocco is a transit point for cocaine from South America destined for Western Europe.

              Transport




              Autoroute A3 (Rabat–Casablanca, 95 km)
              Main article: Transport in Morocco
              There are around 56,986 km (35,409 mi) of roads (national, regional and provincial) in Morocco. In addition to 1,416 km (880 mi) of highways.

              The Tangier-Casablanca high-speed rail link marks the first stage of the ONCF’s high-speed rail master plan, pursuant to which over 1,500 km (930 mi) of new railway lines will be built by 2035. The high speed train - TGV - will have a capacity of 500 passengers and will carry 8 million passengers per year. The work on the High Speed Rail project was started in September 2011. Construction of infrastructure and delivery of railway equipment will end in 2014 and the HSR will be operational by December 2015.

              Demographics

              Main articles: Demographics of Morocco and Moroccan people
              Populations (in thousands)
              YearPop.  ±% p.a.  
              196011,635—    
              197014,952+2.54%
              198019,380+2.63%
              199024,167+2.23%
              200028,466+1.65%
              201031,894+1.14%
              201132,245+1.10%
              201232,597+1.09%
              201332,950+1.08%
              201433,304+1.07%
              Source:
              Most Moroccans are of Arab, Berber or mixed Arab-Berber descent. There is a significant minority of Sub-Saharan African and European people. Arabs and Berbers together make up about 99.1 percent of the Moroccan population. A sizeable portion of the population is identified as Haratin and Gnawa (or Gnaoua), black or mixed race descendants of slaves, and Moriscos, European Muslims expelled from Spain and Portugal in the 17th century.

              Berbers are the indigenous people and still make up the bulk of the population, although they've been largely Arabized. Morocco is home to more than 20,000 sub-Saharan African immigrants. Morocco's once prominent Jewish minority has decreased significantly since its peak of 265,000 in 1948, declining to around 5,500 today.

              Most of foreign residents in Morocco are French or Spanish. Some of them are descendants of colonial settlers, who primarily work for European multinational companies, while others are married to Moroccans or are retirees. Prior to independence, Morocco was home to half a million Europeans.

              Morocco has a large diaspora, most of which is located in France, which has reportedly over one million Moroccans of up to the third generation. There are also large Moroccan communities in Spain (about 700,000 Moroccans), The Netherlands (360,000), and Belgium (300,000). Other large communities can be found in Italy, Canada, the United States, and Israel, where Moroccan Jews are thought to constitute the second biggest Jewish ethnic subgroup.

              Religion

              Main article: Religion in Morocco
              Religions in Morocco
              ReligionsPercent
              Islam
                
              98.9%
              Christianity
                
              0.9%
              Judaism
                
              0.2%
              [icon]This section requires expansion. (January 2013)



              The Hassan II Mosque.
              In 2010, the religious affiliation in the country was es
              Source: Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morocco )
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