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Hassan II of Morocco

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King Hassan II (Arabic: الْحسْنُ الثاني بْن مُحَمَّدُ بْن يوسف بْن الْحسْنِ بْن الشَّرِيفِ بْن عَلِيُّ الْعَلَوِيِّ[1], MSA: (a)l-ḥasan aṯ-ṯānī, Maghrebi Arabic: el-ḥasan ett(s)âni; 9 July 1929 – 23 July 1999) was King of Morocco from 1961 until his death in 1999. He is descended from the Alaouite tribe. He was the eldest son of Mohammed V, Sultan, then King of Morocco (1909–1961), and his second wife, Lalla Abla bint Tahar (1909–1992). Hassan was known to be one of the most severe rulers of Morocco, widely accused of authoritarianism.[2]

Hassan II
الْحسْنُ الثاني الْعَلَوِيَّ
Amir al-Mu'minin
A man wearing a grey suit
Hassan II visiting in 1981
King of Morocco
Reign26 February 1961 – 23 July 1999
PredecessorMohammed V
SuccessorMohammed VI
Prime Ministers
Born(1929-07-09)9 July 1929
Rabat, Morocco
Died23 July 1999(1999-07-23) (aged 70)
Rabat, Morocco
Burial
Royal Mausoleum,
Rabat, Morocco
SpousePrincess Lalla Fatima
Princess Lalla Latifa
Issue
DynastyAlaouite
FatherMohammed V
MotherLalla Abla bint Tahar
ReligionSunni Islam

Contents

BiographyEdit

Youth and educationEdit

Hassan was educated at the Imperial College at Rabat, and earned a law degree from the University of Bordeaux.

He was exiled to Corsica by French authorities on 20 August 1953, together with his father Sultan Mohammed V. They were transferred to Madagascar in January 1954. Prince Moulay Hassan acted as his father's political advisor during the exile. Mohammed V and his family returned from exile on 16 November 1955.

Prince Moulay Hassan participated in the February 1956 negotiations for Morocco's independence with his father, who later appointed him Chief of Staff of the newly founded Royal Armed Forces in April 1956. In the unrest of the same year, he led army contingents battling rebels in the mountains of the Rif. Mohammed V changed the title of the Moroccan sovereign from Sultan to King in 1957. Hassan was proclaimed Crown Prince on 19 July 1957, and became King on 26 February 1961, after his father's death.

RuleEdit

Hassan's conservative rule, one characterized by a poor human rights record that was perhaps one of the worst in Africa and the world,[3] strengthened the Alaouite dynasty. In Morocco's first constitution of 1963, Hassan II reaffirmed Morocco's choice of a multi-party political system, the only one in the Maghreb at that time. The constitution gave the King large powers he eventually used to strengthen his rule, which provoked strong political protest from the UNFP and the Istiqlal parties that formed the backbone of the opposition.[4]

In 1965, Hassan dissolved Parliament and ruled directly, although he did not abolish the mechanisms of parliamentary democracy. When elections were eventually held, they were mostly rigged in favour of loyal parties. This caused severe discontent among the opposition, and protest demonstrations and riots challenged the King's rule. A US report observed that "Hassan appears obsessed with the preservation of his power rather than with its application toward the resolution of Morocco's multiplying domestic problems."[5]

Many militants of the National Union of Popular Forces are imprisoned and some party leaders sentenced to death. In October 1960, Mehdi Ben Barka is kidnapped in Paris and secretly murdered.

 
King Hassan II, on his way to Friday prayers in Marrakesh, 1967.

In the early 1970s, King Hassan survived two assassination attempts. The first, On July 10, 1971, was a coup d'état attempt allegedly supported by Libya, organized by General Mohamed Medbouh and Colonel M'hamed Ababou and carried out by cadets during a diplomatic function at the King's summer palace in Rabat during his forty-second birthday party[6]. Important guests, including the Belgian Ambassador Marcel Dupert, were placed under house arrest, and the King himself was taken to a small pavilion.

Rabat's main radio station was taken over by the rebels and broadcast propaganda stating that the King had been murdered and a republic founded. The coup ended the same day when royalist troops took over the palace in combat against the rebels. It was subsequently claimed by the Moroccan authorities that the young cadets had been misled by senior officers into thinking that they were acting to protect the king.

On 16 August 1972, during a second attempt, four F-5 military jets from the Royal Moroccan Air Force fired upon the King's Boeing 727 while he was travelling back to Rabat from France, many bullets hit the fuselage but they failed to bring the plane down[7]. Allegedly, the King himself hurried to the cockpit, took control of the radio and shouted: "Stop firing you fools, the Tyrant is dead!" Eight people were killed when the jets strafed the awaiting reception dignitaries.[8] General Mohamed Oufkir, Morocco's defense minister, was the man behind the coup and was officially declared to have committed suicide after the attack. His body, however, was found with several bullet wounds.[9]

In the Cold War era, Hassan II allied Morocco with the West generally, and with the United States in particular. There were close and continuing ties between Hassan II's government and the CIA, who helped to reorganize Morocco's security forces in 1960.[10] Hassan served as a back channel between the Arab world and Israel, facilitating early negotiations between them. This was made possible due to the presence in Israel of a large Moroccan Jewish community.

During his reign, Morocco recovered the Spanish-controlled area of Ifni in 1969, and militarily seized two thirds of Spanish Sahara through the "Green March" in 1975. The latter issue continues to dominate Moroccan foreign policy to this day. Relations with Algeria have deteriorated sharply due to the Western Sahara affair, as well as due to Moroccan claims on Algerian territory (Tindouf and Bechar), which unleashed the brief 1963 Sand War. Relations with Mauritania were tense too, as Morocco only recognized it as a sovereign country in 1969, nearly a decade after Mauritania's independence, because of Moroccan claims on the country (see Great Morocco). In 1985, Hassan II suspends Morocco's membership of the Organization of African Unity and enters into conflict with Burkinabe President Thomas Sankara because of his decision to recognize the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.

Economically, Hassan II adopted a market-based economy, where agriculture, tourism, and phosphates mining industries played a major role.

Morocco's human rights record was extremely poor during the period from the 1960s to the late 1980s, which was labelled as the "years of lead"[11][12] and saw thousands of dissidents jailed, killed, exiled or forcibly disappeared. During this time, Morocco was one of the most repressive and undemocratic nations in the world. However, Morocco has been labelled as "party free" by Freedom House, except in 1992 and 2014 when the country was labelled "Not free" in those years respectively. The country would only become more democratic by 1993. Since then, Morocco's human rights record has improved modestly, and improved significantly following the death of Hassan II.

King Hassan II had extended many parliamentary functions[citation needed] by the early 1990s and released hundreds of political prisoners in 1991, and allowed the Alternance, where the opposition assumed power, for the first time in the Arab World.[citation needed] He set up a Royal Council for Human Rights to look into allegations of abuse by the State.

DeathEdit

Hassan died of natural causes; he was in his birth town at the age of 70 on 23 July 1999. A national funeral service was held for him in Rabat, with over 40 heads of state in attendance. He was buried in the Mausoleum of Mohammed V. The coffin of Hassan II, carried by King Mohammed VI, his brother Prince Moulay Rachid and his cousin Moulay Hicham, was covered with a green fabric, in which the first prayer of Islam, "There is no god but God", is inscribed in golden writing.[13]

Honours and decorationsEdit

Royal styles of
King Hassan II of Morocco
 
Reference styleHis Majesty
Spoken styleYour Majesty

National orders:

Foreign orders:

FamilyEdit

King Hassan II had five children with his wife Lalla Latifa Hammou, a member of the Zayane tribe, whom he married in 1961:

The king had one other wife, Lalla Fatima bint Qaid Ould Hassan Amhourak (cousin of Latifa Hammou), whom he also married in 1961. They had no children.

The father of Hassan II was Mohammed V of Morocco and his mother was Lalla Abla bint Tahar. He had five sisters and one brother:

 
Interior of Hassan II Mosque

PublicationsEdit

  • La mémoire d'un roi, Paris, Plon, 1993
  • Le Génie de la modération, Paris, Plon, 2000

See alsoEdit

References and linksEdit

  1. ^ الدرر الفاخرة بمآثر الملوك العلويين بفاس الزاهرة
  2. ^ "MOROCCO13". www.royalark.net. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  3. ^ "Morocco 'Facebook prince' pardon". BBC. 19 March 2008. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
  4. ^ Gleijeses, Piero (1996). "Cuba's First Venture in Africa: Algeria, 1961–1965". Journal of Latin American Studies. 28 (1): 159–195. doi:10.1017/s0022216x00012670. JSTOR 157991.
  5. ^ Gleijeses, Piero (1996). "Cuba's First Venture in Africa: Algeria, 1961–1965". Journal of Latin American Studies. 28 (1): 159–195. doi:10.1017/s0022216x00012670. JSTOR 157991.
  6. ^ Gibson Miller, Susan (2013). A History of Modern Morocco. New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 175. ISBN 978-0521008990.
  7. ^ Gibson Miller, Susan (2013). A History of Modern Morocco. New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 177. ISBN 978-0521008990.
  8. ^ "Jets attack Moroccan King's plane", The Guardian, 17 August 1972
  9. ^ Byrne, Jennifer (11 July 2001). "Interview with Malika Oufkir". Foreign Correspondent. ABC News (Australia). Archived from the original on 25 July 2008. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  10. ^ Victoria Brittain (2 July 2001). "Ben Barka killed with French help". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
  11. ^ Hamilton, Richard (13 January 2007). "Laughter, freedom and religion in Morocco". BBC. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
  12. ^ George Joffé. "Morocco". Britannica. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
  13. ^ Highbeam[dead link]
  14. ^ "Accueil: activites_princieres". archive.is. 22 July 2011. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2018.

External linksEdit

Hassan II of Morocco
Born: 9 July 1929 Died: 23 July 1999
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Mohammed V
King of Morocco
1961–1999
Succeeded by
Mohammed VI