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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06CASABLANCA737 2006-06-29 14:29:00 CONFIDENTIAL Consulate Casablanca
Cable title:  

ISLAMIST PARLIAMENTARIAN OFFERS REGARDS BUT NO

Tags:   MO PGOV PREL 
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1. (C) In recent weeks we have been meeting with Casablanca-
based political party leaders to take the temperature in
Morocco,s largest city on political preparations for the
2007
Moroccan Parliamentary elections. When we called for an
appointment with Parliamentarian and Party of Justice and
Development (PJD) hard-liner Mustapha Ramid, ConGen
Casablanca
received a hearty "no thank you." On June 16, LES, having a
prior acquaintance with Ramid, called to request a meeting
with
the Consul General. Ramid said that there was no need for
a meeting and that he refused to meet with any American
officials until the U.S. is out of Iraq.



2. (C) During the conversation Ramid said that he
recognized the U.S. as a great power and claimed he had
enormous respect for the country and its people. He felt,
however, that under the Bush administration America had
"committed many crimes against Arabs and Muslims" and had
acted with "no human feelings and no mercy." LES pointed
out to Ramid that the meeting would be an opportunity to
discuss the issues and express his concerns directly to an
American official. Ramid's response was that he was sure
the meeting would be unproductive as had been most of his
meetings with American journalists and representatives of
independent American organizations. Ramid quickly closed
the conversation with "My dear brother, please tell his
Excellency that I am sorry and that I will knock on his
door once the Americans leave Iraq." (Comment: Ramid was
abrasive when he attended a reception hosted by the Mission
in 2004, but his boycott of U.S. officials is a fairly
recent development. He similarly boycotted his own party,s
conference on U.S.-Morocco relations in April, to which the
PJD invited Polcouns to speak. End Comment.)



3. (SBU) Ramid's decision not the meet with any American
officials contrasts with the actions of PJD Secretary General
Saadeddine Othmani, who recently visited Washington and
remains open and friendly with emboffs. In fact, Ramid's
reaction to Othmani,s U.S. visit has been somewhat
controversial.
During a recent appearance on Al Jazira's program "Hiwar
Maftouh"
or Open Dialogue, Ramid fell just short of openly criticizing
Othmani for making the journey. He diplomatically judged
the voyage to be "inopportune considering America's
position regarding Iraq and Palestine."



4. (C) In the same broadcast Ramid reinforced his hard
line credentials, by raising taboo subjects such as
constitutional reform, new roles for Parliament and the King,
and the need for a redistribution of power. His interest
in more rapid reform, however, may be only skin deep. In
2000
Mustapha Ramid organized a demonstration in Casablanca
against the Moudawana, arguing that the new family code is
against Islamic principles. He argued that doing away with
the
practice of polygamy is unwise since it is an acceptable
way "to regulate the problem of extra-marital affairs or
cope with an ill or infertile wife."



5. (C) Comment: Always outspoken and often controversial
Mustapha Ramid is none the less an important voice in the
PJD. After the 2002 elections he was chosen as his
party's caucus leader in the Lower Chamber. Because of his
hard-line stance, however, the Ministry of the Interior (MOI)
pressed the PJD to find a more suitable replacement.
Currently,
he is the chair of the Parliament,s Human Rights Committee
and
enjoys a high level support within his party, even if his
selection as caucus leader was overturned. Ramid,s
comment, in a recent interview with international Arabic
language newspaper Acharq Al-Aswat, that "the majority of the
PJD has not changed its opinions (criticisms) of America" in
light of Othmani,s recent America visit indicates that
there is no consensus within the party on at least some major
issues. End Comment.
GREENE