Archive for June, 2013

Southern Morocco’s forgotten conflict

From Syria to Libya to Mali and Iran, conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa are perpetually covered in the media. Yet one conflict zone in that region—Morocco’s southern provinces, known as the Western Sahara—is hardly in the news; and when it is, the decades-long cold war between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front is so often misunderstood. A myth has taken hold – perhaps because it is more dramatic – that the Western Sahara is “Africa’s last colony,” and the Polisario Front is leading a struggle for “liberation” and “self-determination.”

The Polisario certainly likes it that way, and works hard to perpetuate that story line. Its very existence depends on the media and the international community believing that they are the sole legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people. (more…)

María Muñiz, the Polisario’s Nightmare

The statements made by Member of the European Parliament María Muñiz, during a recent visit to Western Sahara dealt a blow to the Polisario and triggered a hysterical reaction on the part of Mohamed Abdelaziz. According to informed sources in Tindouf, the Polisario leader got very angry after he heard the statements María Muñiz, who was visiting Western Sahara part of a European Parliamentary delegation, made to Spanish news agency EFE.  (more…)

The Failed States Index 2013

We are pleased to present the ninth annual Failed States Index. The FSI focuses on the indicators of risk and is based on thousands of articles and reports that are processed by our CAST Software from electronically available sources.

We encourage others to utilize the Failed States Index to develop ideas for promoting greater stability worldwide. We hope the Index will spur conversations, encourage debate, and most of all help guide strategies for sustainable security. (more…)

Egypt opposition urges Morsi to quit

Egyptians flooded the streets on Sunday determined to oust Islamist President Mohamed Morsi on the anniversary of his turbulent first year in power, in the biggest protests Egypt has seen since the 2011 revolt.

A sea of jubilant protesters converged on Cairo’s Tahrir Square and the large avenue outside the presidential palace, as well as in several others squares of the capital as army helicopters circled overhead.

Police sources told AFP that hundreds of thousands of protesters had taken to the streets in Cairo alone.

As chants of “Leave!” rang around the capital, the presidency insisted that dialogue was the only way out of the crisis.  (more…)

How the Algerian DRS Missed to Infiltrate Hafiz in the CFCM

Algeria has finally missed its last minute forcing to have the French-Algerian Chems Eddine Hafiz, lawyer of the Polisario Front, elected to the chairmanship of the CFCM, French Council of the Muslim Faith.
The Great Mosque of Paris (GMP), notoriously subservient to Algeria, was forced to backtrack under pressure from other federations of Muslims in France. The Rally of France’s Muslims (RMF, close to Morocco), the Coordination Committee of Turkish Muslims in France (CCMTF) and the French Federation of Islamic Associations of Africa, the Comoros and the Caribbean (FFAIACA) voted against Chems-Eddine Hafiz.  (more…)

Novelist Sahar Khalifa wins Zafzaf Prize

Mohamed Zafzaf Prize for Arabic Literature committee decided to award this year’s prize to Palestinian novelist Dr. Sahar Khalifa, and the ceremony and presentation of the prize was set for Sunday.
The committee was composed of novelists Ahmed Al-Madini from Morocco, Wasini Al-A’raj from Algeria, Ismail Fahd Ismail from Kuwait, and Abdu Jubair from Egypt, in addition Asilah Forum Foundation Secretary General Mohamed Benaissa. (more…)

theartsdes​k in Fes: Patti Smith and the Sufis The punk poetess and other sparkling sacred music at the Fes Festival

“The boy looked at Johnny – he was surrounded by white and blue tiles, in the medina.” Patti Smith was improvising on her classic album Horses in her first, compelling, gig in Morocco. Smith has a history of Moroccan connections: she knew the Tangier-based writer Paul Bowles and plugged into that pre-punk Beat generation, but there were some raised eyebrows as to what exactly she was doing at a “sacred” music festival. “Birdsong is sacred,” she said when challenged on this, surrounded by the twitter of birds at the open courtyard of the Riad Sheherazade where she gave her Press Conference the day before. “And so is Jimi Hendrix”.  (more…)

Libya wants to join European security body

Libya has applied to become a partner of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe in a move that, if successful, will mean it will have joined Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco in this Vienna-based body.

The OCSE is an intergovernmental organisation founded in the Cold War, which works on the premiss that Europe’s security can best be assured by assisting states far beyond its borders to achieve peace and stability. If Libya becomes a partner, it will receive support not simply on security, such as arms and border control, but will also be helped to promote human rights, freedom of the press and fair elections (more…)

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