Perhaps you may have heard about the escalating crisis between Spain and Morocco? Two stable countries like that, these are just friendly skirmishes, right? Hmmm.. Maybe not. If you’re just catching up on the soap-operatic happenings between the two countries, here is what’s happened in previous episodes.
Spain You gotta do something about those illegal immigrants.
Morocco: Look, those are your borders. Why should I be responsible for controlling them?
Spain: The EU is giving me a hard time about this, so I have to give you a hard time about it too.
Morocco: I’m doing what I can–it’s very costly. I’ve dismantled smuggling networks. But those networks operate in Spain also. You have to control those.
Spain: It’s all your fault. Your people all want out. Europe is a castle and I’ve got to protect the moat.
Morocco: They’re not just my people. They also come from the African ex-colonies?
Spain: By the way, I need another 4,000 people to come pick my oranges and tomatoes this summer. Can I have some?
Morocco: Your embassy is doling out the visas. Don’t come and complain if they want to stay, though.
Spain: What about fishing rights? It takes lots of shrimp and fish to make a good paella.
Morocco: You’ve been overfishing for years. I’m sick and tired of catching your fishermen illegally on my waters.
Spain: You have to give us a good deal. This is ridiculous.
Morocco: I don’t have to give you anything. Ever heard of supply and demand? Japan wants to fish here too.
Spain: I see. Well, let me see here. Ah, we’ve got the Western Sahara.
Morocco: Don’t you dare.
Spain: Watch me. (Turns to the EU: The Saharan people must decide whether they want to be independent or join with Morocco. Morocco is delaying the referendum.)
Morocco: I’m recalling my ambassador.
Spain: This is an illegal occupation that must end.
Morocco: You’ve got some nerve. Weren’t you here illegally for 40 years? Aren’t you still here illegally in Ceuta and Melilla?
Spain: Those are Spanish enclaves.
Morocco: Someone please explain how two cities on Moroccan land can belong to another country.
Spain: They’ve been Spanish since the late 1600s.
Morocco: They’ve been occupied since the late 1600s. They’re the oldest colonies in the world. That makes you the oldest colonizer in the world.
Spain: Like I’ve been saying for years, you can have them if I get back Gibraltar from the UK.
Morocco: That will never happen.
Spain: It could. We are working out our differences.
Morocco: Like hell you are. The people will vote to stay with the UK and you know it.
Spain: I don’t know that. You don’t know that.
Morocco: In that case, I’m sending 6 soldiers over to the island of Leila, off the village of Benyounech.
Spain: You mean Perejil.
Morocco: Leila, Leila, Leila. You’ve given it up when you got out of Morocco 40 years ago. It’s a rock. Don’t get all worked up.
Spain: You can’t put me in front of a “fait accompli” and expect me to do nothing. We’ve got to work this out diplomatically.
Morocco: We will work it out diplomatically. It’s a handful of soldiers for crying out loud. It’s not like we sent an army.
Spain: We will work this out diplomatically. (Meanwhile, sends a commando during the night, plants its flag, takes the Moroccans in custody.)
Morocco: This is an act of war.
Spain: No resistance was offered. Not a single shot was fired.
Morocco: The Arab League is on my side.
Spain: The EU is on my side.
How will it end? When will it end? I’ve no idea. But if these two can’t get along, despite a shared history that spans more than a milllennium, goodness only knows about the rest of the world.