Friday, September 19, 2008

Let's do some links

The agents in Operation: Back to Blogging have been neutralized this week by their rivals in Operation: Girlfriend Visit, but we should have another team in the field Monday. Until then, some links to things that could've been posts:
  • Malawi drops recognition of SADR. They said they're doing it to encourage a UN-backed negotiated solution, but their way of supporting negotiations (undermining one of the parties) is unorthodox.
  • Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb attacked some Mauritanian soldiers, and killed or captured them. Nick Brooks ruminates.
  • 21 year-old Sahrawi political prisoner Bachir Khadda was released this week after serving his ten month sentence. Congratulations to Mr. Khadda and his family.
Here's hoping more prisoners will be coming out soon.


  1. Anonymous6:06 AM

  2. May I add a positive-note-on-Morocco-link? For Morocco has cleared mines in the Sahara! I like that.

  3. Anonymous - nice! We'll "enlighten" you about the situation so you can change your mind, and if you don't support our occupation we'll punish you at the ballot box. Essentially this is Morocco interfering in US politics via the Moroccan-American community. I always said the whole world should get a vote in the US elections...

    van Kaas - good news about Morocco indeed, from a Moroccan source. I note that one motivation cited for clearing mines is so that Morocco can benefit from tourism in the occupied territories (tut tut). The description of mine-clearing teams going about their business while suffering from thirst and hunger during Ramadan makes me even more fearful for their safety. Are these guys volunteers, or are they being ordered to risk their lives so Rabat can have a take of the tourist dollars, and normalise its occupation by getting in the sunbathing hordes? Apologies for my cynicism - occupational hazard!

  4. hello Nick, I think any mine cleared is good news, especially for the guy who cleared it ofcourse.
    Another Moroccan-mine-link I like to add: Morocco Managem is going to dig for gold in Sudan.

    And by the way, this news on the monarchy is remarkable is'nt it?

  5. Anonymous12:25 PM

    yeh mr brooks , why don't you tell us about the british occupation of afganistan and iraq and why the british soldiers are targeting and killing women and the children on daily basis all in the name of hypocrisy i mean democracy

  6. Frank Wolf (the congressman they're targeting) is a pretty crazy guy. I wrote an editorial for my school paper complaining about him hassling Georgetown. That said, though, I guess he's good on Western Sahara. We should show him he's still supported.

  7. Anonymous9:36 PM

    Unbelievable video testimony of two Saharawi sisters jailed in Moroccan prison . History of torture and abuse,,. They are Talking how their parents dead in the same Moroccan jail while they can’t do anything….
    Human right NGOs have to see that. This can’t happen in our word
    A you can check here for Arabic video version. May any can translate to English

  8. Anonymous - not all people approve of the actions of their own governments. I'm very promiscuous in my criticisms, and feel equally free to be critical of the governments of the UK, US, Morocco, and other others that deserve it. Assuming people automatically support the actions of their own governments is plain silly - thankfully most people (who live under rather dubious regimes) recognise this. In any case, there is a whole industry of criticism relating to Iraq and Afghanistan, and very few people taking Morocco to task for its actions in Western Sahara. So I figure this is a more useful way of spending my time. Also, I have a personal interest in Western Sahara via my work, which I don't in the other places. Having said all that, I did post an article on my website before the last invasion of Iraq arguing forcefully against the impending invasion. But that's old news. Sorry - you need to try harder ;-)

  9. van Kaas - agreed that any mine cleared is good news. But this good news is tempered (a little) by the motivation, which seems to be further economic exploitation of Western Sahara by Morocco, which is a contentious issue. That's to say they shouldn't be clearing the mines, of course.

    My French isn't quite up to the story relating to the Monarchy - is this about the policeman that was shot by a minor royal? The article seems to demand some prior knowledge (and not just of the French language).

    Morocco extending its economic reach throughout Africa can only be bad for the Sahrawi. I don't know what Sudan's position is on the conflict, but economic clout will enable Morocco to exert pressure on poor African countries to withdraw their recognition of the SADR.

  10. Anonymous10:14 PM

    Will...We dont hear you in CNN cable news asking former US Secretaries on WS issue in Wash. University,
    we heared only about Darfour
    no opportunity to ask about WS issue?

  11. Hey Nick, my french is probably worse than yours and I should have linked to a page like this ofcourse. Sorry. Had my links messed up.
    It is indeed news on the monarchy. A prince shot a police officer because he did't like to get a ticket. I think this is very big and it will be interesting for the rating of Morocco on the scale of civilisation. And I can't wait for the site of this prince to open for I have heard he is one of the few Moroccans who dare to openly say Western Sahara should be independent.

  12. Oh dear, I have been mumbling to vague. For clarity: the shooting prince is mr. AlYacoubi and the prince with the website to open is another prince called Moulay Hicham. Sorry again for the confusion.

    About the mine in Sudan: that's such a war torn area it makes me wonder what kind of protection the mine company will have. It must be one of the warring parties.

  13. van Kaas - thanks for the link to the pending website. Sounds very interesting, and it's nice to know that there are dissenting voices in the Moroccan monarchy. Maybe there's some hope after all. But I don't know how much clout this guy has.

    Yes, the shooting incident was appalling, and telling, but not indicative of anything we didn't know about regional governance.

    RE Sudan, I'm sure there is some nefarious activity here, but that's not limited to Morocco.

  14. Anonymous9:31 PM


    34 persons at least arrested or injured in the occupied city of Smara

    Smara (occupied territories), 23/09/08 (SPS) 34 persons at least were injured or arrested after the aggression perpetrated last Monday by the Moroccan forces of security in the occupied city of Smara, while 12 houses were ransacked and plundered, according to the Ministry of occupied territories and communities.

    The Moroccan forces of repression violently intervened against peaceful demonstrators arresting 24 persons, and 10 persons seriously injured, while 12 Saharawi houses were ransacked and their owners aggressed and bashed, the same source indicated.

    The citizens organised peaceful demonstrations in many neighborhoods of the occupied city of Smara, to claim the immediate withdrawal of the Moroccan colonizer from Western Sahara.

    Here is the list of the arrestees and injured victims:

    01- The Saharawi human rights activist, Enghia Boukhers
    02- Mettou El Bar
    03- Hindou El Bar
    04- Roughaya Lebsir
    05- Ennaha Saaid
    06- Ghleila Hassni
    07- Eghleila Youssef et son bébé
    08- Ezahra Faten
    09- Elbourhimi Essalka
    10- Edawdi Edeicha

    Ransacked houses:

    01- House of the Saharawi prisoner of conscience, Ghali Essaidi Mahmoud Bahaha
    02- House of the Sidi Ould Essiid
    03- House of the Mahmoud Ould Sattaf
    04- House of Ahl Salki Ould Ehmeiad
    05- House of the Echikhi Mohamed Salem
    06- House of Ahl Labat Meilad
    07- House of Ahl Aaloua
    08- House of Ahl EL Bar
    09- House of Ahl Mansour
    10- House of Ahl Beye
    11- House of Ahl Ali Ould Enafaa
    12- House of Ahl Bouzeid Ould Beye

    The arrestees:

    01- Ahmed Leibeed El Bachir
    02- Ibrahim Echikhi
    03- Abdati Dadah Boumrah
    04- Mansar Ghali
    05- Hakim Ould Mohamed Bakar
    06- Ould Essalek El Batal
    07- Elmahfoud Essalek Abd Elouadoud
    08- Leibeidi Essalek Abd Elouadoud
    09- Elhoussen Ebaia Mohamed Fadel
    10- Ahmed Mohamed Ould Omar Eddalii
    11- Abdalahi Cheheib
    12- Mohamed Ali Beini
    13- Mohamed Ould Alati
    14- Mohamed Essaleh Lehbib
    15- Mohamed Embarek Bada
    16- Mohamed Ould Ahmed Echrif
    17- Lekhbabi Dadi
    18- Lekhbabi Ahmed
    19- Balah Ould Embarek Ahmed
    20- Lehssan Mohamed Embarek Bouhanana
    21- Ghali Lehssan Mansar
    22- Embarek Cheheib
    23- Mohamed Ali Kediri
    24- Said El Beillal

    It should be stressed that the city of Smara is actually sealed by the Moroccan forces of occupation, while the house of the Saharawi human rights activist, Hamadi Ennassri, is still under surveillance. (SPS)

    082/090/110 231500 SEPT 08 SPS

  15. Anonymous2:39 AM

    is it true that's algeria and it lap dog polisario are about to recognise (kosovo,abkhazia,south ossetia and probably bask region) as independent state

  16. More and more brutality in Western sahara this time in the occupied city of Smara,and here is a link to some pictures of the victimes of the Moroccan security forces,it down bellow the news which in Arabic:

  17. Also a camarde was arrested in a cyber cafee named NIGER.NET last friday night by six secret agents who took him and his PC to the center of detention in Aaiun city and tortured him before he was asked many questions and undressed.the next day they told him that he was accused of belonging to the POLISARIO supporters and to be in contact with them more he was accused of to belong to a terrorist group,and here's the link from UPES website in Arabic:

  18. your friend looks like a moroccan ???
    ah he is moroccan !!! sorry...

    well i think the economic growing power of morocco is the key for this false problem created by algeria...

    time is running for the head of polisario al marrakchi, he must negociate to have the most from morocco and return to live with his family that is living peacefuly in morocco

  19. Anonymous10:51 AM

    oh Moroccans

    you have obsession on Algerians piont!
    There are no Algerians here. Only “pure” and real Saharawis and the real people who support their legitimate issue

    If you want to discuss with Algerians you know where you can find them…. this is wrong place

    I am not sure if you ( morrocans ) can discuss with algerians as/ in the same way - you do with saharawis.

  20. Anonymous10:53 AM


    go ahead and dont care what morrocans said or will said.
    you are real diserve to be free in your main land Western Sahara

  21. hmm created means if Algeria did'nt support polisario and its imaginary country sadr all sahraoui would be devoted fot morocco, thats the facts, but well now it's true that lot of them want to change M6 by the 30 years president od polisario al marrakchi. dreamers :))
    you know the world is more complex that you could imagine, you tell a child you are moroccan and he grews moroccan and proud of it.
    there is a large part of algeria that were moroccan with people that gave for hundreds of years allegiance to the king but france took it and made it algerian, and now it's algerian, sahara is moroccan since 1975 it's becoming more and more moroccan as time goes on...
    my dear sahraoui you are moroccan and you ll be proud of it as morocco became stronger and greater....

    a moroccan proud of its country ;)

  22. Interview With Michel Ghandour of Al-Hurra
    Secretary Condoleezza Rice
    Waldorf-Astoria Hotel
    New York City
    September 25, 2008

    QUESTION: One final question, Madame Secretary. What are you trying to do to solve the problem – the Western Sahara problem between Algeria and Morocco?

    SECRETARY RICE: Well, we have – or the UN has a new envoy, Chris Ross, Ambassador Chris Ross, in whom we have a lot of confidence – an American. He knows the region. He’s well respected in the region. When I was in Morocco and Algeria, I encouraged the parties to really get this done now. There are proposals on the table. We don’t need to go back to square one. Obviously, this is going to involve some kind of autonomy. And so we really do urge the parties to sit down and get this done.

    are we ok now? can we switch to real problems and forget this algerian/moroccan thing

  23. Hey Saad - we've missed you!

    You say "you tell a child you are moroccan and he grews moroccan and proud of it".

    I guess this is what someone told you when you were little - bless, how sweet ;-)

    All my life I've been told that I'm British, but that doesn't mean I have to slavishly defend every immoral action of the British government, which is composed largely of careerists and idiots who pursue counterproductive policies in a wide variety of areas (with a few notable exceptions).

    Why the difference between us I wonder? Maybe the standard of childhood indoctrination is higher in Morocco.

    Nationalism as a means of unifying a people struggling against oppression is understandable. But nationalism among people whose country is not under threat, and which simply serves the interests of an unrepresentative government, is childish and silly - a sort of Stockholm syndrome if you ask me. Unless of course you work for the government in question and are serving your own narrow interests and those of the people paying and instructing you.


  24. i'm proud of my country because it's moving in the right direction and because it has made me what i am, and i'm proud of what i'am.

    that doesn't mean i agree with all what the government do...

    and what do you think about what condi said?
    You prefer what the eternals presidents of polisario/algeria say?

  25. Anonymous10:24 AM

    Mr saad
    You/ Mekhzen can say what you think
    Saharawis never be Moroccans and Western Sahara will never be a Moroccan even if the occupation will take hundreds of years

    And to let you be” happy “ they will never be Algerians too even if the they will be refugees there for hundreds of years

    So take it easy

  26. So the u.s secretary of state is a mekhzen agency ? :)
    morocco is one of the oldest kingdoms still existing, there was never a country called western sahara... you sure needs some hundreds of year of polisario propaganda to convince people about your imaginary sadr thing...

    still waiting for the majority of sahraoui that are living under moroccan flag to take weapons and fight, what a peaceful colonisation... lol

  27. Anonymous5:52 PM

    The Bou Craa phosphate mine is located 100 km inland from the capital city of El Aaiun. The Bou Craa area's phosphate resources were discovered by the Spanish in 1947; phosphate deposits are near the surface and are very pure. Phosphate mining, however, did not begin until the 1960s. Since 1974, the Bou Craa mining operation has been growing steadily. In 2000, the mine covered more than 1 225 hectares. In 2001, its output was approximately 1.5 million metric tonnes of phosphate.

    Morocco controls the area of Western Sahara where the mine is located and jointly operates the mine with Spanish interests. While the mine amounts to only two or three per cent of Morocco's phosphate production, the reserves are valuable because of the uranium that can be extracted from them.

    The phosphate-containing rock is transported from the Bou Craa mine to the port at El Aaiun via a 100-km-long conveyor belt, which can move 2 000 metric tonnes of rock per hour. The conveyor belt is visible as a straight line from the upper left corner toward the centre of the 1987 and 2007 images above. Below these images are two long, horizontal images, captured in 1972/1973 and 2000. The conveyor belt is visible in the 2000 image running from the mine to the coast. Note the fringe of drifting sand spreading downward from the belt's path (yellow arrows).

  28. Hello Saad, are you sure Morocco is a "kingdom"? I think "kingdom" is an inaccurate english translation of "sultanate". A King is nowadays not a "leader of the faithful" nor is he responsible for waging the Holy War anymore. But the sultan still is, is'nt he?

  29. i don't know the differences, the religious part of the king is something cretaed to shut up the islamists and extremists, but guess it's not enough :

  30. Those people on the pictures who are brutalised by the Moroccan forces are not Algerians as you think they are indegenous Sahrawis calling for their right in self-determination.
    As a sahrawi am very proud to be backed by Algeria because the Algerians had defended their land and their right in self-determination with their lives and they teached the French colonialism what resistence and revolution could achieve,that is the very differance between Moroccans and Algerians,the first had been given independance and the Algerians who strove for theirs and they gave one million and half martyrs that's why they apreciate our strugle and they support us and we are glad to be supported by the nation of million and half martyr,on the contrary am asking the Moroccan commenters if they are proud to support and be supported by the zionist?if you are human i thought you would rather die.

  31. Hello Saad, about this religious power of Mohammed VI: this is as old as the Sultanate itself, so I don't think it is invented to tackle extremists or islamists. The Sultan has always been the one to call for Jihad from the very beginning, as I have been informed. And this religious power is not something from the ancient past for the Sultan's father used it for the Green March into Western Sahara in 1975, did'nt he?

  32. well i did some research and it's true that the religious power of the king was something that helped him in the ancien past having people around and creating the kingdom, but now nobody takes it seriously... we see him more like a king that loves jet ski and do a good job.
    about sahara h2 did not pronounce the word Jihad.
    the green march was pacific and it forced spain to withdraw without fight...
    unfortunately the war then was against algerians and polisario troops so against muslims, that's not jihad

  33. devoteof... : what you are writing about algeria is too naive, the dictators that rule this country doesn't even give the right to the autodetermination to their own people and you think they are honest when they are talking about it for sahara? they did not recognise kosovo, did no speak about tchetchnia ect....
    you know fighting is good, if and only if the purpose is good, when i see polisario, i see some people that want to be a life/minister,president ect...
    I'm really sad for the sahraouis that live in poor condition in tindouf, why don't they come back to morocco and negociate/fight there???
    You know if i were a sahraoui that feel like being colonised by some country, i will go bring my people from tindouf, say algeria to mind its own business, take a knife, a fork and fight till i die...
    an army can win against an army, but it can never win against a population...

  34. Saad, the religious power of the Sultan is not something from the past. It was used for the Green March, although you are right this march was not a Jihad because it was directed against the Saharawi people who are muslim.
    In the past the Sultan called for a Jihad against Ceuta and Melilla for several times. It is remarkable he asked Holland and England for support in his Holy War. Guns and ammunition and so. And he got it, too. But not enough to defeat the Spanish, obviously.
    In our times there is still a call for a Jihad against Ceuta and Melilla. The Sultan who has the power to acll for Jihad is surpassed by Al Qaida-big mouths. Why does the Sultan choose to not use his power? He could call for a Jihad in a respectable manner, through negotiations and international law, and in a peacefull manner. Why does the Sultan only rides his jetski and keeps silent about the Jihad? The Jihad is his responsibility. He is the Leader.

  35. there was no question of jihad in the green march, 3 points :
    1- a pacific march to make the retrieve of sahara more popular among moroccan from north and south and to explain to sapin that morocco is serious and want the sahara
    2-diplomatic negociation with spain that ended with madrid agreement that gives sahara to morocco and mauritania
    3-war against polisario and algeria (amgala...) to secure the sahara, the sahraouis that stayed there were not harmed and now have good lifes.

    very smart, that's what we are waiting from leaders. a good vision for the sake of population,
    religion have nothing to do with that, it's something that is personal, the country that follow religion and not brain is doomed, the king and more and more moroccan know it

  36. Saad, you are right. There was no Jihad against Saharawis for Jihad is a religious struggle against the infidel world. Saharaouis are Muslims.
    Morocco occupied the land of the Saharawi starting with the Green March of Moroccans carrying photographs of their Sultan and the Qur'an; green is the colour of Islam. It was no Jihad but the occupation of north of Spanish Sahara was done in the name of Islam on orders of the Sultan who is the leader of the faithfull.
    Spain did not give the whole of the Sahara but divided it between Mauretania and Morocco and the Saharan peoples front for the liberation of Saguía el Hamra and Rio de Oro ofcourse attacked these invaders. They have the right to defend their territory in international law, and in Islamic law too. But the Saharawi don't wage Jihad, they just call to respect UN resolutions like resolution 2072 on Sidi Ifni from 1965.

  37. Will, I hope you've seen this...

  38. Van kaas you said :"but the occupation of north of Spanish Sahara was done in the name of Islam on orders of the Sultan who is the leader of the faithfull."
    i say : "but the liberation of north of Spanish Sahara was done in the name of the moroccan territory's integrity on orders of the king who is the leader of all the moroccan (muslim, jews or christian)"

    it's an endless debate... i just want to know what's your problem with morocco and islam ?
    do you live in a city were moroccan gave you a bad feeling about this country and islam?
    because your racism is quite obvious....

  39. Saad says: "but the liberation of north of Spanish Sahara was done in the name of the moroccan territory's integrity....
    Ok Saad, I know you have a complicated view on territorial matters and you probably agree with this excuse for the illegal annexation of a neighbouring land. But when you say it was on orders of the king who is the leader of all the moroccan (muslim, jews or christian)" you are getting a bit surreal.
    For the Sultan may think he is a religious leader of Muslims, but for the rest he is only the head of state for Moroccan citizens. But he is not a leader of Jews, Christians and seculars in any respect. He holds a lot of power, much too much tot my taste, but thats not the same a being a leader. And he does not use his power properly. And so my bad feeling about Morocco and Islam comes from the Sultan, mate.
    By the way, what is your explanation for the occupation of the ¨Mauretanian part¨ of Western Sahara which the Spanish did not cede to Morocco?

  40. by leader i mean the head of state,morocan jews are respected and have good position in morocco, some jews are consultants of the king wich is more important than minister...
    that's why the king is not just the leader of muslims it's kind of stupid to say that, islam is just a part of moroccan identity...
    about mauritania well i think that's a large part of mauritania and algeria were moroccan but you the coloniser of our countries you took a pen and draw maps and countries as you wished, just to satisfy your cupidity, just find something about a country named sahara before the 20th century....
    it makes me laugh to see you coming know and calling us coloniser, trying to divide us...
    But since we, arabic are so stupid, it will work...fighting each other is the best thing we do...
    Damn world

  41. Ok Saad, the Sultan is the head of state in Morocco, and he is also the 'leader of the believers' in Islam. So obviously he is not the leader of those who do not believe in Islam in Morocco. That's simple and clear to me. Now I have a question. Is the Sultan also the leader of those who believe in Islam in the Maghreb? Since 'Maghreb' is the Islamic name for 'Morocco'. Would he -for instance- be the leader of believers in the Algarve, which, I have been told, is a historic part of the Maghreb? >Enlighten me!