If passed, all Moroccan youth aged 19 to 25 would have to spend 12 months in military service unless they are exempted for a convincing reason.
Government Spokesperson Mustapha El Khalfi said on Thursday, September 20, that the government would discuss the mandatory service “this week.” However, the government has given no indication that Parliament has considered it as of yet.
However, he believes introducing military service to end all social problems is not the right decision. On the other hand, Hicham Mouatadid said the military service has benefits: “the honor of defending the Moroccan homeland, the contribution to peace in the world, [and] participation in the effort of the development of their country.”He said that military service is one way to ensure “national cohesion, a formative and professional measure, and above all a duty of defense of the nation.”Nizar agreed that patriotism entails both rights and duties and that “there can be no rights without duties.”However, Nizar told MWN, “We cannot talk about patriotism” because Morocco lacks the “most basic rights.”“In the democratic world as a whole, we find youth at the forefront and in the most prominent positions in all sectors because those countries provide them with the possibilities and opportunities for success and did not question their patriotism,” he said.
Professor Cherkaoui, however, sees the government’s move to re-introduce compulsory service as a mobilization for potential developments in the Western Sahara conflict.
When a ministerial council announced that it approved the draft bill in August, it sparked confusion among the public.
The only indication mandatory service was in discussion came just two days earlier in the council’s agenda.Melilla’s Minister of Social Welfare Daniel Ventura said that the military service has actually caused youth emigration from Morocco to the Spanish enclave.El Faro Melilla reported on September 22 Ventura’s remarks that since the ministerial council approved the compulsory military service bill, minors have escaped to Melilla to “evade it.”Renowned Moroccan philosopher and researcher Ahmed Assid told Morocco World News that youth interpret the government’s military service proposal as “punishment.”Assid is also a signatory of a statement against mandatory service, which was issued on August 25 by a Facebook group called “Moroccan Rally against Compulsory Military Service.”The statement called on the government to give priority to education, health, culture, and employment, as provided for in Article 33 of Morocco’s Constitution.From the group’s point of view, military service cannot help solve young people’s issues.“It remains merely a patchwork solution that shows the inability of the state to solve basic problems,” the statement reads.On September 20, El Khalfi said that if passed in Parliament, the military service bill might come into force as early as the end of 2019.The party also called on the government to communicate with people.According to Nizar, mandatory service may bear fruit if the government issues a full package with reforms in all sectors.C, remains skeptical that military service would solve the social crises in Morocco.The professor commented on the government’s statement that the military service aims to “promote patriotism.” Cherkaoui told MWN the statement “remains vague and reveals a deliberate move to make one tree prevent the view of the entire forest.”Cherkaoui speculated, “The decision remains a default tool of managing the acute crisis of Moroccan polity.“Can not this ‘better life’ be granted to Morocco or are there things that prevent this?”El Khalfi asserted earlier this month that Morocco has “great job opportunities,” emphasizing the government’s determination to fight migration networks.