Israeli firm Ratio has signed a doubly-political deal to explore for oil and gas offshore ‘Morocco’. Doubly, because not only is there a strong geopolitical ‘win’ for Israel in cementing its freshly-established official ties with Morocco, but there is also for Morocco given that the block in question is off the Western Sahara, a territory most countries do not recognize as part of Morocco.

Former US President Trump, in the dying days of his presidency, brokered a deal whereby Morocco established diplomatic ties with Israel in return for the US recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara (MEES, 11 December 2020). Much to Rabat’s chagrin, European countries have shown no sign of following the US lead (MEES, 23 July), whilst the Western Sahara forms a key element in Algeria’s long-running dispute with its neighbor to the west (MEES, 27 August). Comments from Algerian PM Abdelmadjid Tebboune in recent days that the country is committed “to support just causes in the world,” was a not so subtle swipe at both Morocco and Israel (MEES, 15 October). (CONTINUED - 314 WORDS)