The king who does not want to exercise power and spends his days between parties and mixed martial arts fighters

Mohammed VI, the King of Morocco, with his friend Abu Azaitar, a mixed martial arts champion and fighter on the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) circuit.

Mohamed VI, the moderate. This is how he was nicknamed the King of Morocco when he took office and began to transform the North African kingdom. He liberalized family law, established a Reconciliation Commission to repair the atrocities committed during the reign of his authoritarian father and when the Arab Spring, in 2011, began the series of deepest reforms of the countries affected by the revolts at that time. But he got bored. Suddenly, about three years ago, when he was already over fifty, he began to have adolescent behaviors. And he ceased to exercise the power of “machzen”, the elite that governs the country. in 2022 spent more than five months in France. And when he is in Rabat, he closes the palace so that everything is “one big party” with his recent “friends”, three brothers mixed martial arts champions, Germans of Moroccan origin.

Moroccans both in the royal circle and in the opposition are desperate. The 37 million subjects are stunned following the monarch’s footsteps on social media. The king has not appeared publicly since December when he celebrated the fourth place of his country’s soccer team in the World Cup in Qatar. In between he left several illustrious visitors without an audience, among them a Queen Máxima of the Netherlands. “We are an airplane without a pilot” a former high-level official told the magazine last week The Economist.

The courtiers attribute much of the responsibility for what is happening to him. Nadir Al Khayatbetter known as RedOnea former singer of Moroccan origin, producer of Lady Gaga, who encouraged Mohamed VI to “free himself”. He began to organize parties in the palace that, according to rumors raised by the Spanish press, contained “orgies with many men and some women”. Nadir was the one who introduced the king to the Azaitar brothers: Abu, Omar and Ottman. Since then they have been inseparable.

the Azaitar brothers: Abu, Omar and Ottman.
The Azaitar brothers: Abu, Omar and Ottman. The first two fight on the mixed martial arts circuit and the third represents them. They did fantastic business thanks to their friendship with the King of Morocco.

The three practice mixed martial arts and fight on the circuit of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). They were born in the German city of Cologne to Moroccan parents originally from al hoceima. Officially, they live in the royal palace as managers of the king’s physical activity. And they enjoy extraordinary privileges such as those of use unlimited crown sports car collectionclosing wings of the palace to the highest public officials, traveling without restrictions during the pandemic when the borders were closed and doing business with the franchises of large international companies such as McDonald’s.

But the brothers also have an extensive record prior to their entry into the palace that the government officials themselves were in charge of airing in places like hespressthe one with the most visits in the Moroccan market. “Computer fraud, driving without a permit, attack against physical integrity causing permanent disability, drug trafficking, robbery, forgery and resistance to law enforcement,” These are the charges for which they were indicted by the German police, according to Hespress, which stands out for having very good information about what happens behind the royal walls. The article, without any signature, indicated that the conduct and signs of opulence of the three brothers “damage the credibility of the country” and are “a time bomb”.

another digital site, barlamane, speaks of the prerogatives of the Azaitar that go above the rights of all Moroccans. Urban violations in a commercial premises in the exclusive neighborhood of La Marina, on the outskirts of Rabat, the burial of a relative of the brothers in a cemetery in Tangier where they have supposedly been prohibited since 2012, or the fact that a taco company owned by The Azaitar deliver the food at home by drones, when it is not authorized and the competition cannot do it.

Mohammed VI, the King of Morocco, in his last and brief public appearance last December.  (Reuters)
Mohammed VI, the King of Morocco, in his last and brief public appearance last December. (Reuters)

Mohamed VI was always a withdrawn and very discreet king. Since he took office in 1999, he has never given a television interview or a press conference. But he spoke through his gestures. The first thing he did was close the harem that his father still kept with dozens of women. He also cut off all his “extraordinary privileges” such as the hand kissing that takes place once a year at the palace gates. He had a very strict childhood with tutors teaching him “in an eighth-century atmosphere,” he once said. He was released only when he was of legal age and was able to start traveling abroad.

His father, hassan iiHe was an absolute king. “Whoever disobeys me, disobeys God”he said in 1994, paraphrasing the Prophet Muhammad. He enjoyed the power games inside the palace or when he sat with a cigarette in his hand railing against Spain and her colonies at Arab League meetings. He raised his son with the greatest of rigors. According to two French researchers in the book “Le Roy Prédateur”, he set up a “school” attended by the prince and only 12 other boys his age who were selected for being “the brightest in the kingdom” so that he would have the toughest of competitions. School started at six in the morning with an hour of recitation of the Koran. When he failed an exam, at the age of 12, he ordered them to give him 20 lashes. “Mohamed was always ‘different’. He was always very shy and applied to work. That is why he now surprises with his attitude of ‘the prince who wants to live,’ ”said an insider from the corridors of power in Rabat to a French site.

When it was possible to free himself, he went to Europe to study, although his biographers assure that he spent more time in bars and discos than in the classroom. When he returned to watch over his father and assume the reign, the “majzen” breathed a sigh of relief. Even more so when he married a woman, Salma, a computer engineer who worked for the state company ONA Group and when a few months later he had an heir. “He did his main job very well”a former European ambassador told The Economist. But soon rumors began about his artist friends who came to visit him at the palace. When he turned 38, he hosted a party with rappers and exclusively hired German pop star, Lou Begawith whom he sang the hit “Just a Gigolo”. And he linked up with several North African rap artists who sing against “hogra”, the feeling of humiliation felt by many young people in their country. This gave him great popularity among the popular layers and enormous rejection among the majzen. And it was also, they say, the main reason why Salma asked for a divorce from her.

Mohammed VI with Princess Salma.
Mohammed VI with Princess Salma the day they presented their eldest son, Hassan. (Kingdom of Morocco)

At the same time, Mohamed VI began to have health problems. He lost part of the vision in his left eye and gained twenty kilos. In 2018, and as a result of a heart operation that they had to perform urgently in Paris, the world learned that the king had suffered for years sarcoidosisa disease that severely affected his lungs and other organs.

It was when the Azaitars arrived, supposedly to “fit” the king. The first to approach was the eldest, Abu Bakrthat He had just finished serving a two-year sentence for attacking an executive whom he sprayed with gasoline to set him on fire and ended up stealing a Ferrari. He came out as a UFC fighter and began to fight successfully. He was also in jail when he ruptured his girlfriend’s eardrum with a slap he gave her while they were visiting a Christmas fair. His brother Ottman followed him as a fighter and the third, Omar, became the manager of the two. The three became immensely famous and began showing off their wealth at “vibe” parties in northern Europe alongside champion motorsports and porn stars. There they met RedOne, who introduced them to Mohamed VI. It was when they became nass dial malik (people of the king).

The Covid-19 pandemic, in principle, was the excuse for the king’s absence from the most elementary ceremonies. But when the virus wore off, the behavior remained the same. There were ambassadors who went to the palace 19 times to present their credentials without the monarch appearing or giving further explanations. Again, Mohamed received 39 ambassador credentials in one afternoon and the last one left him with the word in his mouth. He also did not have time to attend the funerals of queen elizabeth ii in London or the Arab League summit in Algeria. He didn’t even go to Qatar to see the success of his soccer team, although he was briefly celebrating in the streets of Rabat. Most of the last few months he spent in his mansion near the Eiffel Tower in Paris and in a palace he has in Betz, in the north-east of France. He returned to Morocco for the opening of parliament at the end of the year and soon left for Pointe Denis, in Gabon, where he has another palace on the beach. According to Forbesis the fifth richest monarch on Earth.

Moulay Hassan, Crown Prince of Morocco.
Moulay Hassan, Crown Prince of Morocco. He has just turned 20 and the circle of power in his country wants him to succeed his father soon. (AFP)

All this, while the economic situation in his country is rapidly worsening. Protests were already registered in several Moroccan cities at the beginning of the year over the high cost of living and the enormous accumulation of wealth in the hands of the “makhzen”. Some speak of movements among the military. They lost the power that the uniformed had long ago, but everyone remembers that they rose up twice against the power of the then King Hassan II. The second most powerful man in Morocco is Hammouchi, the head of the intelligence services, who maintains all the confidence of the “majzen” elite and is seen by some as the one who “could correct the course of the country.” Others believe that one should resort to a “Spanish way out” as it happened with King Juan Carlos who abdicated in favor of his son Felipe VI and went into exile taking with him all the misfortunes of the royal family. And this is where he appears moulay el hassanthe 20-year-old son, who had with the “disappeared” princess Lalla Salma, who is known to be in charge of raising her other daughter Lalla Khadija.

Little is known of who might assume as hassan iiibeyond the fact that his father was preparing him for the throne and that He has been giving official speeches since he was eight years old.. He graduated with honors from the international baccalaureate before returning to the Moroccan university. His friends nickname him smyet sidi, his haircut style was a trending topic on the networks of his country and he is a fan of Messi. As a boy he also studied like his father in a palace boarding school, but this time with five children from different social backgrounds and from different parts of the country. He too studied at a Koranic school and received military training at the Royal College.

Hassan has already made commitments on behalf of the absent king. He attended several protocol and religious acts. Even, was the host in Rabat for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry when they still acted as dukes of Sussex. Most of the “majzen” believe that, with a good regent at his side, Hassan is ready to assume the power that his father seems not to want. But first, Mohamed has to come clean about his situation and assume the costs of this possible transition with an elegant exit from the scene. For now, he is still on the beach in Gabon with his buddies, the three feisty Azaitars brothers, listening to rap.

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