Monday, October 22, 2007

The plot thickens: Philippe Elghouayel was in MINURSO

I keep wanting to write about other Western Sahara topics, but how can I resist when the Together Foundation and its president, Philippe Elghouayel, are so wacky? To recount, Philippe left the UN Development Program for Russia under a cloud of suspicion.

Now, Alle of Western Sahara Info points out that on this Russian list of UN personnel (run it through Babelfish to check his work) Philippe is listed as MINURSO's Chief of Legation. My bureaucratese isn't what it used to be, but doesn't that mean that he was the head of MINURSO?

Was he wooed like other diplomats previously involved in Western Sahara (Robert Holley, Frederick Vreeland, Ed Gabriel) into signing on with Morocco? If so, it seems like someone wooed him pretty fast: Philippe was only briefly in MINURSO.


  1. Laroussi7:11 AM

    The translation from Babelfish is not so good. Try Google instead.

    The title Philippe Elghouayel had in 2005 according to the Russian UN site was "Acting Head of Mission".

    "Acting" means that he was the temporary head of MINURSO at a time when the real Head of Mission was either on leave/sick or simply not appointed yet.

    I have no idea of what his function was otherwise in MINURSO or for how long he was there. Maybe he still is?

    Since you have his phone number why don't you just call and ask him about it? :)

  2. Laroussi7:25 AM

    By the way, Philippe Elghouayel earlier worked for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Russia. That programme was involved in
    a fraud of UN funds.

    Here is a photo of Mr Elghouayel (sitting to the right) when signing an agreement for UNDP and UNIDO with the Russian federation republic of Komi.

  3. Laroussi7:40 AM

    Ps. In the photo Elghouayel signs an agreement for UNDP together with UNIDO and the Russian federation republic of Komi. Not for UNIDO as I just wrote. Three people signing, three parties. :) My error.

  4. Anonymous7:56 AM

    Hi all,


  5. Laroussi8:37 AM

    Anonymous X: that story is what set off the last days' blogging here. See beginning of "thread". Will didn't publish the article, he linked directly to the press release from the Australian film makers and the Together Foundation.

    Ps. You can change id from anonymous to your nick-name "eltiburon". Makes it easier to follow discussions.

  6. Anonymous8:59 AM

    1- The MC is an independent think tank. It has a president, several directors, an advisory board, and a list of associates. The MC is strictly neutral and welcomes all view points. What I write below are my personal observations. Based on my meeting with the film makers and watching some of the film, which is in production.

    2- I have met with the two film makers while they were in Washington. I was suspicious at first, but after looking at the evidence and meeting them, it became very clear that slavery exists in refugee camps under Polisario control. In addition the film makers struck me as sincere, scrupulous and hard working.

    3- The slaves don't necessarily do hard labor. Rather they are quietly owned by others. Which means they cannot get married or posses anything of their own unless they get the permission of their masters, who also automatically claim ownership of their children.

    4- Some slaves call on the international community to help them. Others accept it as an ordained fate.

    5- A fifteen year old black slave girl had Hepatitis B, while neither of her parents did. This suggests that she was sexually abused. But not all masters abuse their slaves, some are gentle and treat them very well. But this does not take away from the fact that they are property.

    6- I am not making a political point above and I do not expect this to be used as or countered by political polemics. For me this is a human tragedy of the most severe type and it needs to be dealt with as such.

    7- I think the above facts are worth investigating more than anything else.

    8- IF someone wants to speak to me about this. I encourage you to do so. Will Sommer has my contact information.

  7. Anonymous1:49 PM

    Hi will
    Look at this news:

    Moroccan Parliaments don’t understand Sarkozi speech

    According to local newspapers many members of the new Moroccan parliament don’t understand at all the speech of the French President Sarkozi during his last visit to Morocco
    Just because they are simply analphabets !!!!
    Many of them cant write or read even in Arabic? How they get to the parliament? You can imagine
    See one of the sources :

    In Morocco. People can “vote” for their representatives in the parliament but of course all the power is in the hands of the King M6

    Sarkozi during this speech support the Moroccan autonomy to WS but this is only as he said later to protect what he called “ French interests in the region”…He signed of curse lucrative contracts for France and he happy….. saharawis can go to heaven!!!


  8. Haha, they can't read? That seems unlikely!

  9. Anonymous6:18 AM

    You find it unlikely? Based on what?

  10. Anonymous1:56 PM

    Hi Will
    Can any check if this information have really impact on US position to WS issue as the French paper said
    According to French newspaper „ Le Monde”

    During the last negotiation between Polisario and Morocco in Manhasset NY. The USA suddenly changed its position toward Western Sahara issue supporting Morocco.
    What happened then?
    According to the same newspaper. Just after this negotiation exactly in 30th august
    Morocco have signed 697.3 Million USD agreement with MCC ( Millennium challenge Corporation ) which US Secretary of State figured as MCC chairwoman.
    Aim: supporting F16 Martin Lockheed offer to Morocco against the French offer


  11. Anonymous9:21 PM

    This worth pursuing from the US Committee on Refugees:

    October 22, 2007

    1. Algeria: Slavery in Tindouf Camps

    Will nothing surprise us about warehousing and the human rights violations endemic to forced encampment? What about modern day chattel slavery? That’s what Australian film makers Violeta Ayala and Daniel Fallshaw of United Notions Films found when they went to the Polisario-run camps for Saharwi refugees near Tindouf in Algeria earlier this year.

    They had gone initially to film the five-day visits arranged by UNHCR between refugees in the camp and relatives in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara when they noticed some anomalies. Some of the 7,000 or so Saharwi of African descent were denied visitation because their names did not match those of their relatives. Instead, they bore the surnames of Arab Saharwi in the camp. Few wanted to talk about it initially but one refugee who had spent time in Spain broke the ice: they had those surnames because they were the property, the slaves of the other refugees.

    From the film’s synopsis:

    Black Saharawis in this society have traditionally been slaves stolen or purchased from sub-Saharan Africa and converted to Islam. They are made to believe their religious duty is to serve their Moor masters. Slaves have no official status in the society. They cannot own property. They cannot make a legal contract. They cannot inherit. They cannot decide whom to marry, etc. Despite how the masters treat them, the legal status of the slaves is the same everywhere as it makes some people property of other people.

    There are several thousand black Saharawi slaves who live in these refugee camps in Algeria. They live trapped between their country’s fight for independence and their own right to freedom. Is it possible the Polisario a liberation movement condone this state of affairs?

    Born in Captivity will provide an honest picture of this society today, where slaves cannot decide their fate, masters believe that they belong to a superior race, political leaders pretend to be unaware, religion reinforces slavery and organisations like the UN stand by and do nothing.

    Says one in the film’s treatment, “My name is Matala Magluf X. I am a slave, my mother is a slave, my sisters are slaves, my entire family are slaves. I am asking the international community to help us. We don’t care about the political situation anymore. We have the right to be free.”

    Ayala and Fallshaw were detained briefly by the Polisario, who also confiscated their mobile phone, for taking a suspicious degree of interest in the “black” Saharwi. (See the May 10, 2007 Reporters without Borders alert on their detention.)

    The film is still in production but should be out next summer. In the meantime, Ayala and Fallshaw are torn between the need to publicize the issue and fear of retaliation against their informants with whom they remain in contact. We at USCRI will stay in touch and report any incidents of intimidation of which we become aware.

  12. Anonymous6:40 AM

    to whomever wrote about members of parliament who did not understand the speech. Morocco never shied away from acknowledging its very rates of illeteracy. the interesting part is that the info was given by a Moroccan newspaper which means:1/ we are conscious of the issue, 2/ the press is free to report that members of parliament did not understand french, which by the way is a foreign language that we are not obliged to speak! But most important of all is that we are working to eradicate that and we are doing a good job. Try to imagine algeria or its polisario puppet's newspapers saying such stuff! remember that the algerians who, of course, are not part to the conflict fired some TV news staff because they showed the map of Morocco integrally that is with MOROCCAN SAHARA! just to give you an idea about democracy and freedom of speech. And sorry if sarkozy pissed u off by siding with the logical and just course of things, that is the autonomy plan.
    El Tiburon

  13. No one's surprised that Sarkozy sided with Morocco on Western Sahara. France has always been Morocco's lap dog on this issue.

    El T, why don't you get a blog? I'd enjoy reading it.

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