This study interrogates the role played by advanced regionalism in reinforcing the centralization of the Moroccan state and reproducing its great reform dilemma: its desire to modernize (to some extent) while retaining a unitary centralized structure via the adoption of a vertical power structure vis-à-vis the regions. This parallels the failure to democratize and to develop a new social contract, keeping state resources firmly in the hands of the central state without meaningful participation by the regions. This strategy is implemented via the centralization of territorial control and the monopolization of resources, creating a regional division based on geographic, economic and developmental factors. It disregards the regions' cultural, historical and economic homogeneity, which might serve as the basis for a reconsideration of the state's unitary character, and feeds off the control of public space at a time when rural protest has been creating new social mobilization dynamics. The study also considers the effect of the geopolitics of the desert on the adoption of regionalism and the restructuring of the Moroccan state via control of the requirements of representation, mobilization and mediation in the desert. The legitimation of self-rule and the integration of desert elites into the state's central structure has underlined the risks related to the reformation of the state through a strategy of local government re-formation in the desert that ultimately reinforces the state's legitimacy and centralized character without affecting the vertical organization of power.