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December 13, 2004


Nur al-Cubicle

Just looking at the Le Monde's take on the conference.

The conference can be interpreted as an end-run around the EU, which fears it may be politically marginalized. In 2003, it gave 1 billion euros in grants and another 2 billion in loans at extremely favorable terms toward building civil societies in the Arab world. Perhaps they need not have worried--the US only promised $100 million over three years to assist small businesses and ignored political reforms entirely. Le Monde's correspondent says, 'The meagre results of the conference did not prevent Colin Powell from talking of an "historic meeting, crowned with success'." The article says the the EU had reservations about making it an annual event, which it has become. Next rendezvous is in Bahrain, 2005.

Also, Mohammed VI was not in Morrocco. It appears he left the country on December 8 on unlimited leave...to the Dominican Republic, with, no less, 300 members of the royal court. No one knows when he'll be back.

Does Morocco have oilfields or something? That's not a trival expense. This is exhibiting King Fahd-style behavior--Fahd is known to travel to Majorca for summer getaways with a few court members where they collectively spend $1 million a day.

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