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The US State Department highlights Morocco’s counterterrorism efforts in a new report

In its 2018 Country Reports on terrorism, the US Department of State addressed the efforts made by Morocco to counter terrorism. Although the country has managed to mitigate threats it is still occasionally targeted by small independent terror cells.

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In the US State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism 2018, released on November 1, Morocco is described as one of the few countries that «mitigated its risk of terrorism» through a series of counterterrorism efforts.

Although the Kingdom continued to face «sporadic threats» in 2018, mainly targeted by small independent terrorist cells affiliated to ISIS, the country has managed to weaken these «threats».

The report recalled that Morocco experienced its first terrorist incident since 2011 in December 2018. During the same year, the country has been able to stop several terror cells from moving to action.

The US State Department indicates that in 2018 only, Moroccan law enforcement «reported to have arrested 71 individuals and affectively dismantled more than 20 terrorist cells planning to attack (…) public buildings, prominent figures and tourist sites».

Countering terrorism in Morocco in 2018

Other law enforcement agencies have also contributed to the efforts conducted to counter terrorism in the country. According to the same report, the Moroccan Royal Armed Forces (FAR) created in January 2018 a joint standing committee on special operations to «organize, train, develop, and equip Moroccan military forces responsible for conducting counterterrorism operations».

Some of these bodies have even collaborated with the United States to address watchlisted travelers, including law enforcement officials and private airline carriers. «Police, customs officers, and the Royal Gendarmerie operated mobile and fixed checkpoints along the roads in border areas and at the entrances to major municipalities», the report said.

In addition to arrests and counterterrorism operations, Morocco is also interested in countering violent extremism (CVE). «Morocco has a comprehensive CVE strategy that prioritizes economic and human development in addition to countering radicalization and oversight of the religious sphere», the report said.

The report recalls that the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs has created an education curriculum for Moroccan imams and mourchidates. It also indicates that the Kingdom counters radicalization through producing «scholarly research, reviewing educational curricula and conducting youth outreach on religious and social topics».

Meanwhile, the Department of State lauded Morocco’s program for prisoners. It also welcomed the country’s efforts to «address youth marginalization in area more vulnerable to recruitment by terrorist organization».

The Department of State report referred to Morocco’s international and regional cooperation, indicating that it is a member of several initiatives that counter terrorism.

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