The Saudi-funded Al-Arabiya/Al-Hadath TV has considered Morocco an ‘occupation state’ for the Sahara, which indicated a silent diplomatic crisis between Rabat and Riyadh against the backdrop of the Gulf-Qatar crisis. This coincided with a similar move by a channel in Abu Dhabi, when it broadcast a map of Morocco, without the Sahara province.
Al-Arabiya, a news channel, broadcast a report on Morocco’s Sahara conflict, describing the Sahara for the first time as the Western Sahara. The Saudi-funded news channel described Morocco as an “occupying force”.
Moroccan ‘Lakom’ network said Al-Arabiya is the powerful media arm of Saudi Arabia and is directly supervised by Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Rabat said that what happened was a technical error, and that it was corrected, stressing that the relations between Morocco and the United Arab Emirates are “exceptional at all levels.” Also, an embassy official refused to link what happened to Morocco’s neutral stance towards the Gulf crisis.
Since the cutting of diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar by many of the Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, Morocco has openly and explicitly declared, in an official statement, its commitment to total neutrality over the Gulf dispute.