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Western Sahara

Maghreb Media Roundup (October 11)

[Image of a ships graveyard in Nouadhibou, Mauritania. Image by slosada/Flickr.]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Maghreb and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Maghreb Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to maghreb@jadaliyya.com by Thursday night of every week.]  Algeria Algeria: North Africa’s Reluctant Policeman Maghreb and West Africa specialist Imad Mesdoua discusses the debate over Algeria’s increasingly important role in mitigating the security threat in North Africa and the Sahel regions. Iran backs Algeria's plan for national reconciliation in Libya Iran expresses ...

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Maghreb Media Roundup (September 12)

[Image of fishermen in Essaouira, Morocco. Image by Tiberio Frascari/Flickr.]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Maghreb and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Maghreb Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to maghreb@jadaliyya.com by Thursday night of every week.]  Algeria AQIM defectors raise fears of IS branch in North Africa Algeria and Tunisia are focusing their security concerns on the potential rise of an Islamic State branch in the Maghreb. Self-immolation in Algeria highlights housing crisis An Algerian man set himself on fire after he could not pay the rent and the ...

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Sahrawi Realities: Space, Architecture, and Mobility of Displacement (Part 1)

[View of the Sand Berm built by Morocco that separates between territory the Moroccan government controls and the territory the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) controls. Image by author.]

[This is the first of a series of articles that seek to reflect on the ways in which social mobilization, creation of space, and new modes of resistance intersect within the Sahrawi community. Between these grooves are nuanced conceptions of Sahrawi identity that are colored by varied experiences but a shared memory of external domination and displacement. The series is informed by research conducted during a weeklong stay in the Dakhla refugee camp, located about one hundred miles southeast of Tindouf. A week is nowhere near sufficient to fully grasp the over forty years Sahrawi refugees have lived in these conditions and away from their land. A week, however, is ...

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The Tindouf Refugee Camps: A Moroccan’s Reflections

[Image from the Tindouf refugee camp in Algeria. Image from Josephine Douet, FiSahara 2013.]

[Note from the Maghreb Page Editors: In coverage of the Western Sahara, the preferred adjective describing the conflict is “forgotten.” The Sahrawi are a forgotten people, their struggle for justice framed as a relic of a bygone age of liberation movements and decolonization. Such nostalgic portrayals impress the anachronistic nature of the subject; the forty-year virtual impasse in negotiations suggests that world leaders are content to relegate the Western Sahara issue to the history books. Realpolitik dictates a preservation of the status quo, while the rare news headline prompts the necessary handwringing (either over human rights abuses in the region or ambiguous ...

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June to June: The More Things Change, The More They Remain The Same

[Egyptian air force pilots touring US aircraft carrier, Suez Canal, Egypt. Image originally posted to Wikimedia Commons]

A year is a long time in politics, especially those of contemporary Egypt. In June 2012 the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) appeared to be firmly in the saddle. Acting in league with elements in the Supreme Constitutional Court, it prorogued parliament and then unilaterally amended the constitution, bolstering its powers while undermining those of the about to be elected President. In the ménage à trois of officers, Brothers, and “secular” oppositionists, the latter two were in a tactical embrace to oust the former. At the time, however, that seemed a rather fruitless liaison, for the military seemed to be in an unassailable position.  Fast forward to ...

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Roundtable Introduction: Beyond Dominant Narratives on the Western Sahara

In the past few decades, both media and academic scholarship have marginalized the Western Saharan conflict, rendering it largely insignificant within regional and global political imaginations. Beginning as a post-colonial dispute between regional powers in the 1970s, the conflict developed and was exacerbated as North Africa became an entangled site of Cold War rivalries. Following the 1975 Madrid Accords, in which Spain conceded on its promises to the Sahrawi people on honoring their right to self-determination through a referendum, Spain instead split the territory between Mauritania and Morocco. By then, the Polisario Front had grown as an armed struggle group, ...

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Lost in the Debate: Beyond Dominant Narratives on the Western Sahara Roundtable

[Image of Sahrawi women protesting against Moroccan policies in the Western Sahara. Image from Saharauiak/Flickr.]

[This is one of seven pieces in Jadaliyya's electronic roundtable on the Western Sahara. Moderated by Samia Errazzouki and Allison L. McManus, it features contributions from John P. Entelis, Stephen Zunes, Aboubakr Jamaï, Ali Anouzla, Allison L. McManus, Samia Errazzouki, and Andrew McConnell.] Following the French military intervention in Mali earlier this year in January, and the hostage crisis in Algeria that soon followed, major world powers briefly oriented their regional focus towards the Maghreb and Sahel regions. In the midst of the escalating conflict in Mali, pundits pointed to Morocco’s geopolitical position as an ...

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The Cost of Authoritarianism: Beyond Dominant Narratives on the Western Sahara Roundtable

[In this photo released by the Moroccan Royal Palace Morocco's King Mohammed VI right talks with Ahmeddou Ould Souilem Minister of the Presidency former member of the Polisario Front rebel movement, left, as Morocco's Interior Minister Chakib Ben Moussa, center, looks on at the Marchane Palace in Tangiers Thursday, 30 July 2009, on the occasion of the king's tenth anniversary accession to the throne. Image by AP Photo/Royal Palace/HO.]

[This is one of seven pieces in Jadaliyya's electronic roundtable on the Western Sahara. Moderated by Samia Errazzouki and Allison L. McManus, it features contributions from John P. Entelis, Stephen Zunes, Aboubakr Jamaï, Ali Anouzla, Allison L. McManus, Samia Errazzouki, and Andrew McConnell.] The Moroccan regime's reaction and that of its supporters’ to the United States' attempt to extend the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to monitor human rights was predictable and logical—predictable because, as usual, hooliganism was adorned with the mask of patriotism, both in the media and in ...

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The Last Colony: Beyond Dominant Narratives on the Western Sahara Roundtable

[Image from the Tindouf refugee camp in Algeria. Image from Wikimedia Commons.]

[This is one of seven pieces in Jadaliyya's electronic roundtable on the Western Sahara. Moderated by Samia Errazzouki and Allison L. McManus, it features contributions from John P. Entelis, Stephen Zunes, Aboubakr Jamaï, Ali Anouzla, Allison L. McManus, Samia Errazzouki, and Andrew McConnell.] Western Sahara is a sparsely-populated territory about the size of Italy, located on the Atlantic coast in northwestern Africa, just south of Morocco. Traditionally inhabited by nomadic Arab tribes, collectively known as Sahrawis and famous for their long history of resistance to outside domination, the territory was occupied by Spain from ...

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World Social Forum Highlights Shock Doctrine in Tunisia

[Banner from the World Social Forum in Tunisia. Image from Wikimedia Commons.]

An estimated fifty thousand people from five thousand organizations in 127 countries spanning five continents participated in the World Social Forum (WSF) in Tunisia over the past week. By choosing to come together in Tunis, this year’s Forum evoked the sprit of the 2011 revolt that inspired uprisings around the world. The WSF also focused attention on the complicated status of that revolt, which in Tunisia has not brought the political or economic changes many hoped for. Conversations with local activists often focused on the recent assassination of opposition leader Chokri Belaïd and government dealings with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Many in the ...

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Chomsky on the Western Sahara and the “Arab Spring”

[An image of the aftermath of the October 2010 protests in Gdeim Izik. Image from Wikimedia Commons.]

One of the most significant consequences of the term “Arab Spring” has been the evocation of a constructed timeline that placed the protests in the North Africa and the Middle East within a limited spectrum of time and space. The desire to enforce problematic nominal labels produces a narrative that shapes the way certain events are understood and discussed. The result is the acceptance of what is or is not considered legitimate dissent and the denial or reduction of historically embedded forces that continue to shape realities in the Middle East and North Africa. Since last year, Noam Chomsky has argued that the so-called “Arab Spring” did not begin in Tunisia, ...

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Moroccan State Propaganda and the Western Saharan Conflict

[Uniformed police officer attacking nonviolent protestor. Laayoune, Aug. 25, 2012. Image by Mariah Kennedy-Cuomo/Huffington Post.]

On the first day of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights’ visit to the Western Sahara “to assess the human-rights situation in both Western Sahara and the Algerian refugee camps where displaced Sahrawi live,” Kerry Kennedy, the president of the center, gave an account for the Huffington Post. Her piece details a crude encounter with the DST (Moroccan intelligence services) after her delegation witnessed DST officers brutalizing a peacefully protesting Sahrawi woman. Plain-clothed officers beat her to the ground, as shown in the accompanying images. When the officers noticed their actions were being caught on camera, other officers rushed to block the ...

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Maghreb Media Roundup (September 25)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Maghreb and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Maghreb Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to maghreb@jadaliyya.com by Thursday night of every week.]  Algeria Algeria ready to host Libya dialogue Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra called for warring Libya militias to meet for a national dialogue ...

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Sahrawi Realities: The Remembrance of Gdeim Izik (Part 2)

[This is the second article in a two-part series that seeks to reflect on the ways in which social mobilization, creation of space, and new modes of resistance intersect within the Sahrawi community. Between these grooves are nuanced conceptions of Sahrawi identity that are colored by varied experiences but also a shared memory of external domination and displacement. The series is informed by research conducted during a weeklong stay in the Dakhla refugee camp, located about one hundred miles ...

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The State of the Western Sahara

In June 2013, Maghreb Page co-editor, Samia Errazzouki, and I produced an electronic roundtable of articles describing various historical and political contours of the Western Saharan conflict, opening with a brief summary of its history:  Beginning as a post-colonial dispute between regional powers in the 1970s, the conflict developed and was exacerbated as North Africa became an entangled site of Cold War rivalries. Following the 1975 Madrid Accords, in which Spain conceded on its promises to ...

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New JADMAG: Beyond Dominant Narratives on the Western Sahara

Beyond Dominant Narratives on the Western Sahara Edited by Samia Errazzouki and Allison L. McManus  Electronic copy: $3.99  Paperback: $6.99  In the past few decades, both media and academic scholarship have marginalized the Western Saharan conflict, rendering it largely insignificant within regional and global political imaginations. Beginning as a post-colonial dispute between regional powers in the 1970s, the conflict developed and was exacerbated as North Africa became an ...

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HRW Report on Tainted Trials and Statements Obtained by Torture in Morocco

[The following report was released by Human Rights Watch on 21 June 2013.] Morocco’s courts are convicting defendants based on confessions they claim were obtained through torture or falsified by police, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The country’s judicial reform agenda needs to include stronger safeguards to ensure that courts discard as evidence any statement made to the police under torture or ill-treatment. The one hundred-page report, “‘Just Sign Here’: Unfair ...

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The Last Colony: Photo Essay on Western Sahara

[This is one of seven pieces in Jadaliyya's electronic roundtable on the Western Sahara. Moderated by Samia Errazzouki and Allison L. McManus, it features contributions from John P. Entelis, Stephen Zunes, Aboubakr Jamaï, Ali Anouzla, Allison L. McManus, Samia Errazzouki, and Andrew McConnell.] [The photos above were taken by Andrew McConnell, who also wrote the following text.] The territory of Western Sahara is Africa's last open file at the United Nations Decolonization Committee. The year ...

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Global Geopolitics of the Western Sahara: Beyond Dominant Narratives on the Western Sahara Roundtable

[This is one of seven pieces in Jadaliyya's electronic roundtable on the Western Sahara. Moderated by Samia Errazzouki and Allison L. McManus, it features contributions from John P. Entelis, Stephen Zunes, Aboubakr Jamaï, Ali Anouzla, Allison L. McManus, Samia Errazzouki, and Andrew McConnell.] Immediate steps shall be taken, in Trust and Non-Self-Governing Territories or all other territories which have not yet attained independence, to transfer all powers to ...

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US Policy Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Beyond Dominant Narratives on the Western Sahara Roundtable

[This is one of seven pieces in Jadaliyya's electronic roundtable on the Western Sahara. Moderated by Samia Errazzouki and Allison L. McManus, it features contributions from John P. Entelis, Stephen Zunes, Aboubakr Jamaï, Ali Anouzla, Allison L. McManus, Samia Errazzouki, and Andrew McConnell.] The official narrative on the origins of the Western Sahara conflict is often presented as a case of an Algerian-supported African decolonization effort in which a ...

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Maghreb Media Roundup (May 24)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Maghreb and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Maghreb Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to maghreb@jadaliyya.com by Thursday night of every week.]  Algeria Deux quotidiens, Mon Journal et Djaridati, interdits de parution Mourad Hachid reports that two Algerian newspapers are censored because of their ...

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HRW Report on Repression and Reform in Morocco and the Western Sahara

[The following report was released by Human Rights Watch on 31 January 2013.] Moroccans still await tangible improvements in human rights a year after the adoption of a progressive new constitution and the election of an Islamist-led parliament and government, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2013. Even as government ministers talked of reform, the courts imprisoned dissidents during 2012 under repressive laws curtailing free speech, and after unfair trials. The police ...

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Inaugural Issue of Journal on Postcolonial Directions in Education

Postcolonial Directions in Education is a peer-reviewed open access journal produced twice a year. It is a scholarly journal intended to foster further understanding, advancement and reshaping of the field of postcolonial education. We welcome articles that contriute to advancing the field. As indicated in the editorial for the inaugural issue, the purview of this journal is broad enough to encompass a variety of disciplinary approaches, including but not confined to the following: sociological, ...

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Divesting from All Occupations

In response to ongoing violations of international law and basic human rights by the rightist Israeli government of Benyamin Netanyahu in the occupied West Bank and elsewhere, there has been a growing call for divestment of stocks in corporations supporting the occupation. Modeled after the largely successful divestment campaign in the 1980s against corporations doing business in apartheid South Africa, the movement targets companies that support the Israeli occupation by providing weapons or other ...

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