Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Western Sahara: When Politics meets Renewable Energy

Crossroad of Politics and Renewable Energy in Morocco

Why Morocco should invest in Solar Power is not a mere question of energy sufficiency but is a deep political statement those who are familiar with the Western Sahara conflict will grasp. Morocco in most of its geography is a sometimes rocky mountain plateau and other times plain fields in the North, while most of the South including the disputed Sahara is a vast desert stretching over kilometers and kilometers. With such a geographic blessing, not only wind power can flourish in the North, but half the country’s area can be covered with Solar panels.

This opportunity spotted by Japanese, Korean, European and US firms and well-studied, has dragged a staunch investment wave which reached its pic with the unveiling of one of the leading world investments in Energy: A multi-billion 12-square-kilometre Moroccan Renewable Energy complex.

With the help of leading Energy companies such as Desertec , and with the generous financing of the world Bank and the European Union among others, Morocco will become the leading Energy producer and exporter across the Mediterranean, calming the fears of the EU policy makers who projected doubts upon the Helios Project in Greece, a 10-GW photovoltaic project meant to assure EU provisioning with Energy.
Further readings:

Now, the question is: Where does politics come in the frame? And how can Morocco turn an Energy project into a Foreign Policy battle horse?

Those accustomed with the moving strings of diplomacy and foreign affairs will link Energy dependency and political alliance in this case, the same way we ought to do in the case of Iraq where Kurdish oil rich region and US Kurdish favoritism and support have a lot of in common!

Morocco, by allowing international investors pour their billions into colossal Solar Energy sites, not only benefits from infrastructure development and Energy sufficiency advance, but assures for itself a long lasting partnership with Europe and Western Key players both in the political and business world who will be keen in doing political favors for the kingdom when needed. Moroccan consent to host power generating projects aimed at supplying the EU with electricity must be sustained, and the common currencies for such tasks are finance and politics.

One would think that the Energy production process is constrained to turning sunlight into current, yet the most crucial phase extends beyond operating ovens and lighting bulbs with Moroccan electricity, it actually starts for Moroccan policy makers from turning precious Sahara sun light into electricity, then into money and political support.

This political support can be translated into a Western backing in the Western Sahara dossier, a controversial case where a non-self-governing territory is under Moroccan rule against international law and UN resolutions.

An easy way to confirm once and for ever the Moroccan rule over the Western Sahara doesn’t need political assiduity or Foreign policy brilliance. By investing into solar panel fields in the Western Sahara through its local Renewable Energy branches, Morocco would not only escape UN, EU and US restrictions on companies from investing in a disputed territory as well as being the main stake holder in the projects, increasing thus the profit, but would also put the World in front of the “Fait Accompli”. Energy dependency overcomes political and ethical considerations, and so the EU won’t have much of a choice but to import Electricity from Morocco, energy produced in a territory the EU doesn’t recognize Moroccan sovereignty over. This business partnership would have a deep political meaning: We recognize Moroccan control over Western Sahara since we buy goods produced there…As easy as that!

Putting ourselves in the shoes of EU policy makers will give us a clear understanding of the situation:
“Ok, so we’re running out of oil and the prices of fuel are skyrocketing in a time where our economies are shaking. We can import electricity from Morocco with a low price since we are major investors in the country’s Renewable Energy projects and we can lower the prices even more though political support and diplomatic backup of the kingdom, but that would mean importing goods produced using resources of a disputed if not occupied territory, thus breaching international law and recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over the WS … Hmmm, I guess hell with international law and ethics, we have an economy to feed and citizens to satisfy, the interests of the EU citizen come first”

Not only would being addicted to Moroccan Renewable Energy supply lay the foundations for political partnerships, but can also set the place for military and security strategic alliance as Energy output in the Power plants is directly linked to social stability and security. The EU would be prone in making sure these plants are operating full time, and if necessary as in the past years where the Western Sahara has witnesses strong clashes and protests by Polisario supporters, disrupting commerce and businesses (Polisario is the Liberation front adopted by the Sahrawis as representative and political body charged of Sahrawi affairs and struggle), would be ready to support the Moroccan government in pacifying the region with appropriate anti-protests weapons and equivalent silence over Human Rights abuses and over use of power with the local “dissidents”. (History taught us about how much can be deployed by states in order to secure resources and industries such as heavy military protection of pipelines or the Gulf war among others)

In conclusion, investments are far more powerful than simple financial tools for economy leverage. Investments can prove to be strategic political cards if placed and set in the right place, and foreign policy sometimes is better served by businessmen and corporations than by cultivated diplomats. 

Mohamed Amine Belarbi

Sunday, April 15, 2012

La faillite de la diplomatie Marocaine

Comme il est bien longtemps que je me suis mis au Français, voici un bref article sur l'incident qui a enragé Rabat et a fait la une des journaux tant Marocains qu'Algériens!

Retraite diplomatique comme toujours!

La faillite de la diplomatie nationale se fait entendre encore une fois, avec la résonnante nouvelle dont les médias furent inondés de la délégation Marocaine et des figures politiques du pays pliant bagage lors des funérailles de Ben Bella, le premier président Algérien qui a laissé derrière lui un énorme lègue pour l'Algérie et la région Maghrébine de ce fait.
La photo, reproduise ci-dessous, révèle le motif derrière la décision de la délégation Marocaine de boycotter l'enterrement et de repartir sur ses pas avant la fin des funérailles, avec le Premier Ministre Marocain Benkirane en tête:

La présence des représentants du Polisario et de leur président Mohamed Abdelaziz! Cette excuse ou affront accordement aux autorités marocaines n'est pas un scoop, mais plutôt une image récurrente qui confrontera les deux ennemis jurés plus d'une fois, que ce soit dans des sommets internationaux ou conférences intellectuelles, tout on n'oubliant pas les regroupements estudiantins qui se terminent par une vive débâcle entre les deux partis, arrivant aux poings assez souvent.

Ceci en dit long sur la faiblesse des autorités aux plans politiques et diplomatiques, car éviter son antagoniste et se retirer des réunions et sommets en leur présence signale une profonde conviction d'auto-incapacité à prouver son point de vue et légitimer sa position par les outils conventionnels de l'argumentation et du débat intellectuel.

« Devant une telle situation, la délégation marocaine s'est immédiatement retirée, avant de regagner l'aéroport d'Alger où elle a été saluée comme à son arrivée par le Premier ministre algérien, Ahmed Ouyahia. » L’agence officielle marocaine MAP

Se retirer constamment, comme on le fait depuis belle lurette, a non seulement des conséquences politiques, économiques et diplomatiques due à notre absence de forums majeurs tel l'Union Africaine ou autres organisations reconnaissant le Polisario, mais aussi un profond impact psychologique dans la conscience humaine, locale soit elle ou internationale. Le manque de confiance que le peuple ou les diplomates et politiciens du globe ont expressément signalé à la diplomatie n'est pas réconfortant pour le lobby diplomatique, tant il diminue sa crédibilité et la pression potentielle que peuvent exercer les autorités dans les corridors des nations Unis ou des instances africaines et latino-américaines.

Continuer à poursuivre une politique d'absence et de retraites des sommets internationaux et évènement régionaux à chaque fois que le Polisario est présent ne gagne au Maroc guère une bataille psychologique ou morale, mais contribue à effacer la compétence Marocaine au service du renforcement de la présence du Polisario dans la scène internationale.

Cette même politique non-diplomatique  de retraite, couplée aux performances diplomatiques ridicules du roi Mohamed 6 dont l'apparition aux sommets internationaux est quasi inexistante, ampute au Maroc un organe nécessaire et cruciale pour protéger et avancer ses profits et bénéfices stratégiques tant politiques que financiers, laissant la politique étrangère de la nation la risée de la région, du continent et du globe face aux mastodontes diplomatiques pas trop loin qui s'affairent à sculpter une influence sans réciproque, à commencer par le Qatar.

L'hilarant dans toute l'histoire est que la diplomatie étrangère du Maroc n'est non pas seulement incompétente, mais qu'elle est douée d'un sens d'hypocrisie sans précédent! Ceux-là même qui dénoncent la présence du Polisario aux instances internationales et boycottent de ce fait les hauts sommets politiques, sont les même qui négocient avec les diplomates du SADR à Manhasset, et sont les mêmes qui prennent leur siège aux Nations Unis qui, rappelant-le, ne reconnait pas la souveraineté du Maroc sur le Sahara Occidental comme tous les pays du monde sauf bien sûr le Maroc lui même...Pourquoi donc ne pas boycotter les Nations Unis, les états Unis, l'Union Européenne et tout le tralala, car tous dénoncent la présence du Maroc au Sahara Occidental...Et tan qu'on y est, pourquoi ne pas dissoudre ce ministère des affaires étrangères tant il est devenu non nécessaire?

Le fait que la délégation marocaine ai interrompu sa participation funéraire en Algérie dénote d'un profond sentiment de dégoût que nos autorités Marocaines et Algériennes ont cultivés là où ils ont grandi une immense servitude et servilité au maître blanc, aux autorités coloniales qui garde nos gouvernements et structures politiques enchaînés à un passé impérialiste où les frères maghrébins d’antan ont été éduqué sous l'auspice de la France à devenir ennemis, rudoyant et médisant les uns les autres, jusqu'au bout de manquer aux règles de bienséance et aux bonnes meurs les funérailles nécessitent des membres présents.

Mohamed Amine Belarbi

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New energy sectors for a New World Order

This article is brought as part of my collaboration with the NRG Battle World Edition
To know more visit:

New energy sectors for a New World Order

Energy has long been in the heart of discussions spanning from the corridors in the white house to the modest coffee shops whose owners curse day and night the recurrent cuts in electrical supply during the height of the classic game played in front of a vast crowd of customers. Yet the actual turning point in the energy revolution started a couple of years ago when serious leaps forward were made to bring these talks to life and implement what has long been kept in archives and technical plans. What made this green revolution in the last decade spur and offshoot in the world affairs is not an ethical or considerate incentive towards mother Earth and the future generations, but rather a profit and benefit driven agenda which amounted to the most critical items in the national security concerns. These incentives, which I will try to explore and shed light on, are not any new emerging factors, but are incentives know to societies and governments since the early Babylon and the paranoid empires which made our history class much more enjoyable!

Political stability and Economic Prosperity

The first and foremost concern of any standing government and existing society is political and social stability. A state of fear and disturbance is ultimately a noxious land which prevents the establishment of any prosperous life and the sustainability of daily activities. Yet the social and political chess game of a certain nation cannot only be devastated by a victorious chess mate climbing on the top of tanks and fighter jets, but also can be overruled by economic and financial warfare. These are nothing shocking as economic embargos and thus energy prompted shortages have been used since Medieval blockades on castles and then upgraded to much more efficient mechanisms used against non-complying actors in the world scene (Economic embargo on Iran and Iraq which targeted mainly energy sectors through restrictions on oil industry).

Thursday, April 5, 2012

NRG Battle World Edition here we come!

As I will be blogging for the NRG Battle World Edition taking place in Kuala Lumpur from the 4th of June to the 8th, I will be sharing some of my posts in my Blog so that a wider audience accesses them.
For more info on the event, check:

The NRG Battle World Edition, as described by its organisors:

"NRG Battle – World edition

The NRG Battle – World Edition is a competition organized during the World Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur where 100 global top talents work, for four days in multidisciplinary teams of five, on challenging cases provided by companies. At the end of the four days, each team presents their idea in a 3-minute pitch to an expert jury, consisting of CEO’s and Directors from the energy sector. The jury nominates three teams that will pitch their idea once more to 5000 delegates at the World Gas Conference, who will then choose the winner of the NRG Battle - World edition. 

Top Talents

Companies are constantly looking for talents, one of the main reasons why companies participate in the NRG Battle is to find and recruit new top talent. Therefore this is your chance to get in touch with these companies and present yourself. What better start can you imagine!?
Since 2009 we have successfully organized the NRG Battle – Europe Edition each year, over 1000 participants and 53 nationalities have joined the battle so far.  We recruit students from the bestuniversities all over the world through ambassadors, these are participants from previous years who act as ambassadors (promoters) for the NRG Battle and promote the battle in their country. In addition, a global promotion campaign via Internet and social media is launched in order to attract new top talent for the NRG Battle – World Edition.
Students who sign up for the NRG Battle – World Edition enter an online Global Talent Pool. Only participating companies have access to this pool, they will select their teams based on the talents they need for the case. That is why you will take a personality test (Big Five), we can test what added value you have for companies. The big five personality test shows the five broad domains or dimensions of personality that are used to describe human personality.

Multidisciplinary Teams

Twenty teams will meet, compete and innovate during the NRG Battle at the World Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur. Every team consists out of five talents that will be selected by the companies according to their needs and skills for solving the case. During the battle each team is allowed to use whatever they feel like is necessary to win the battle. Be creative!
At the World Conference twitter can be used to find experts that can help you to crack your case! There will also be case instructors of the companies to help you."

This being said, follows a quick and short introductory post before I tackle this new task which, hopefully, will keep me busy for the next couple of weeks!