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  • In October 2015, the Moroccan government considered implementing a boycott against Swedish goods

  • and companies. The government even delayed the opening of an IKEA store. But since the two

  • countries signed their first diplomaticfriendshiptreaty more than 250 years ago, the few interactions

  • theyve had, have been broadly positive. This aggression on Morocco’s part seems

  • unprecedented. So, why is Morocco threatening to boycott Sweden?

  • Well, the planned boycott comes on the heels of Sweden announcing that it would consider

  • recognizing the independence of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic in the Western Sahara.

  • Why would Morrocco care? Well the Western Sahara was originally occupied by Spain, and

  • in 1975, the phosphate and potentially oil rich region was granted to Morocco and Mauritania

  • to be jointly ruled. But war erupted between the two countries, as well as an Algerian-backed

  • rebel group called the Polisario Front. Mauritania dropped out of the conflict by 1979, but the

  • independence seeking rebels kept fighting until 1991, when the UN intervened to establish

  • peace.

  • But tensions are still incredibly high, forcing the UN to remain in the country for peacekeeping

  • purposes to this day. The rebels control a tiny portion of the region, although they

  • claim to be the rightful sovereigns of the entire area. Meanwhile, Morocco actually does

  • control the rest of the area, as well as its resources, and they are very aggressive about

  • keeping it. It is important to know that most Western countries have refused to acknowledge

  • either Morocco’s sovereignty over the region,

  • or the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determine their rule.

  • In 2012, Sweden’s ambassador actually said that they would NOT be recognizing the SADR,

  • making this reason reversal, somewhat surprising.

  • As with many marginalized groups being ruled by foreign monarchies, the Sahrawis

  • regularly suffer violence and human rights abuses by Moroccan security forces. In fact,

  • despite the UN maintaining their peacekeeping presence, it is one of the only missions without

  • regular human rights monitoring. Morocco has been accused of stifling dissent, or speech

  • critical of the monarchy, by imprisoning activists and police have reportedly attacked protesters

  • and tortured supposed terrorists.

  • The Moroccan controlled region also suffers from incredible gender inequality,

  • After repeatedly rejecting the UN’s recommendations to investigate human rights abuses, the United

  • States demanded that they allow third party monitoring of those potential violations.

  • In response, Morocco called this an attack on their sovereignty, and cancelled joint

  • military exercises with the US in the region.

  • Clearly, Morocco takes any threat to the status quo as a grave injustice, with Sweden only

  • being the most recent country to get caught in their crosshairs. The sudden, and somewhat

  • surprising announcement of a boycott resulted in Sweden promising to reexamine their position,

  • and return with a verdict by February 2016. But the chances of Morocco accepting any answer

  • besides outright support is slim.

  • Algeria is another country having less than friendly interactions with Morocco. Find

  • out the reason behind the two countrieshostilities, watch our video at the top. And

  • to learn more about Sweden, and the many misconceptions Americans have about the country, check out

  • the video from Seeker Daily below. Thanks for watching our channel! If you want to keep

  • up with more TestTube News, be sure to subscribe. And thanks for watching.

In October 2015, the Moroccan government considered implementing a boycott against Swedish goods

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