Laayoune: Plan B

Only hours before Morocco and the Polisario Front were to begin their third round of talks in manhasset, N.Y., hours after Mohammed VI had given a censorious speech reprehending Algeria’s grave human rights violations in the camps of Tindouf where it is said that Polisario holds hundreds of unwitting Sahraouis in cruel conditions, an insurrection erupted in the Gadaym Izik camp outside Laayoune. It sheltered, according to some accounts, over ten thousand people.

The violence was triggered when a battalion-size security force descended on the camp in the early hours of Monday in an attempt to raze it and disperse its residents using tear gas and water cannons. The protests seeped into Laayoune and resulted in substantial material damage and loss of life as a group of the camp’s residents that an official Ministry of Interior statement described as wanted criminals and subversive agents clashed with the security forces. Black smoke bellowed over the city and debris littered its arteries. The number of people injured and killed could not yet be confirmed. According to the BBC, about seventy people have been injured and over ten have died.

The Gadaym Izik camp stood up a month ago by discontented Sahraouis aiming to draw attention to their straitened economic circumstances. Others saw it as a protest against Morocco’s rule over Western Sahara. The tension intensified two week earlier when Moroccan police fired at a vehicle entering the camp; the incident resulted in the death of a fourteen year old boy. Moroccan authorities claimed the vehicle was carrying explosives and weapons.

The Moroccan government, fully cognizant that the situation could easily be manipulated by Algeria, the Polisario, and Spain, deployed considerable assets to the region and sought to mitigate the crisis by taking the uncharacteristic step of granting real estate lots, social aid cards, and employment. Local critics of the initiative reported that only a select few received lots and benefited from the social aids and employment opportunities; government officials and local personalities misappropriated the grants. The plan failed, disastrously upset by corruption; the Gadaym Izik camp persisted. The problem required more than vacuous promises and a media campaign.

I don’t discount the possibility that the riots could have been instigated by fomenters doing the bidding of the Spanish secret service in response to the unrest in Melilla, or the Algerian/Polisario security services as a retaliation to the Mustafa Salma Ould Sidi Mouloud affair which in turn was Morocco’s counter for the Aminatou Haydar fiasco. So it seems Morocco, Spain, and Algeria ‘secret services are playing tic for tac.


A. T. B. © 2010

About cabalamuse

venture down those ominous ways thread into that austere city
This entry was posted in Algeria, Laayoune, MOROCCO and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Laayoune: Plan B

  1. Jalil says:

    Merci de préciser le lien de la source dont est tirée cette importante information :

    According to the BBC, about seventy people have been injured and over ten have died.

  2. David James Vickery says:

    Cabalamuse, there is a distinct possibility that the U.S. military is in the process of constructing a base at Tan-Tan, Morocco. See this:

    You say: “So it seems Morocco, Spain, and Algeria ‘secret services are playing tic for tac.”
    I think it is entirely possible that the CIA may also have played a hand in the events at Laayoune and in the Gadaym Izik camp, for the Americans apparently have plans to do training in the Western Sahara. Seems there is a connection.

  3. cabalamuse says:

    Not constructing a base, but upgrading an existing Moroccan base up to U.S. operational standards and constructing a garrison on one side of the base to lodge U.S. military personnel.
    As far as the CIA’s involvement in the unrest in Laayoune, I have not seen any indicators. If you have, please, do share.

  4. fahd says:

    Assuming the “riots” were instigated by Madrid, Algiers or I don’t know what else…would that somehow take away the legitimacy of those Sahraouis refusing to submit to the Makhzen in your eyes?

    When we don’t even enjoy freedom of expression in Morocco, it’s no wonder the police can call anyone with non-mainstream opinions a “wanted criminal”.

  5. Max says:

    Le Front Polisario a affirmé mardi que 11 personnes ont été tuées, 723 blessées et 159 sont portées disparues après l’intervention des forces marocaines contre le campement. D’après Rabat, les heurts ont fait six morts, essentiellement dans les rangs des forces de l’ordre et aucun parmi les civils du camp.

    Copyright © 2010 AFP.

  6. I question, therefore I am says:

    Sidi Ahmed,
    Your in depth analysis seems a tad bridled in this piece. Am I reading too much into this? you certainly have written “too little” this time around.

    P.S. I get the feeling that I have just orbited around a hair ball

  7. I question, therefore I am says:

    A direct quote from the post above: “…and what else were you looking for?”
    By the way, Sidi Ahmed = Cabalamuse

    P.S. I see a spot light, a decrepit desk, and naked walls

    • David James Vickery says:

      Sorry for my mistake; I did not know that Cabalamuse is Sidi Ahmed. But how would I know that?

      Since you seem to be so smart, how about answering my question? Without sarcasm would be nice.

  8. I question, therefore I am says:

    Dear DJV,
    I apologize for my comment that did come across as a bit ostentatious. I was actually hoping that Ahmed would elaborate more on what you have brought to the table especially that it does in essence fly in the face of what he has posited two years ago in his ringing endorsement to AFRICOM presence in Morocco.
    P.S. I question not to stump just to understand

    • cabalamuse says:

      Two years ago, in “AFRICOM BASE IN TAN TAN CONFIRMED,” I wrote:

      I remain skeptical that AFRICOM will use the base as a headquarters. AFRICOM headquarters will remain in Stuttgart, Germany as I’ve stated in a previous article. Cap Draa will most likely house a minimally manned forward Command and Control (C2) element as well as a logistical base for the pre-positioning of War Reserve Materiel (WRM), i.e. bare base systems, medical, munitions, fuels mobility support equipment, vehicles, rations, aerospace ground equipment, air base operability equipment and associated spares and other consumables. The base will coordinate with and provide support to Marine Air/Ground Task Force (MAGTF) elements, US Navy combat ships, US Army Special Operations units, US Air Force Logistical fleet, and National Guard forces. Marine Expeditionary Units (MEU), US Air Force fighter jets, and Army Operational Detachment Alphas will, thus, be able to use the Moroccan Sahara as year-round training grounds. Their programs will include a training package for the Moroccan military, one of which is the African Lion reiteration.

      And that is true today and has been confirmed by AFRICOM officials.

  9. I question, therefore I am says:

    Sidi Ahmed,
    Indeed that is exactly what you wrote, and you went on to extol the many benefits that Morocco stands to reap from an American presence in the Sahara. You made the case as to why you believe such presence will quell this long protracted saga of attrition and even bring it to a screeching halt. Clearly, this is not the case. The area is more fecund of unrest than it ever did.
    Never mind what AFRICOM said or confirmed, their hook has to be baited with fudge laced sedatives for me to even consider bitting.
    P.S. I saw a man that looked just Hans Morgenthau at Whole Foods today.

    • cabalamuse says:

      I stand by my assessment of the benefits Morocco will reap from a robust and engaged presence of AFRICOM in the region. Some of the benefits as they pertain to anti-terrorism and anti-drug operations are already apparent; AFRICOM’s official existence is only two years old; U.S. DoD presence prior to Oct. 2008 was seasonal. It will take a few more years before we see a palpable positive economic impact. As far as regional stability, the murders and vandalism Laayoune experienced were the work of a group of criminals and hardly qualifies as instability; The incident lacked sustainment and grassroots support. Paris saw more action during the last strike. Does that mean that the French political system is collapsing? I think not.

      • le raisonnable says:

        Anti-drug benefits? How about letting people choose what they want to ingest instead? What a thwarted view of freedom you lot have!

  10. I question, therefore I am says:

    I commend you for wanting to stick to your analysis.
    Your argument is littered with non sequiturs. You seem to assert a logical connection and a causal relationship exists between AFRICOM presence in the region and all those ambitious and wishful benefits that Morocco stands to gain. I am having a hard time spotting that logical link…not enough beef bro!
    Your dismissal of the recent events in Laayoun as thuggish is just too simplistic a reasoning and one that sounds awfully similar to the official rhetoric. As much as I hate to admit it, this was an uprising. Whether it achieved its goals or not is secondary to social science theory whose oath you and I are both under.

    P.S. Professor Burk was such a nit-picked everything

    • David James Vickery says:

      To **I question, therefore I am** in particular,

      US Africa Policy, Mixed Messages and Grave Doubts
      I received this today by email and thought I would share it with you.

      Note: I very much appreciate Sidi Ahmed’s work and I don’t want to cause any kind of trouble for him.

      • I question, therefore I am says:

        The real colonial forces are moving into Africa to buttress the quasi colonial forces ( IMF, WB)
        I ain’t no political analyst, but attrition is the word that comes to mind.
        A Quote from a South African Political Scientist:
        “The threat of Africom, the United States superior military command set specifically to deal with Africa is real and must never be taken lightly by all reasoning Africans.” Such a pronouncement would have been grounds for military intervention had it been made by a Muslim.
        Thank you so much for that link, I got quite an education this morning.
        Note: I also love Ahmed’s work and wish him well in his reading and writing

      • cabalamuse says:

        From a political science perspective, the quote is only half a truth. Any political scientist will tell you that what Africa needs, today more than any other time, is alliances with non-African politically and economically powerful entities. The IMF, WB, and AFRICOM are the type of entities we need to work with to alleviate poverty, maximize on resources, reform political thinking. Of course their interests are their number one priorities, but that should not stop us from working with them to advance African interests. There is no such thing as a political or economic void. If we reject the U.S. from Africa, China, with its child labor laxity and profiteering enthusiasm, will take its place. There is a race afoot between the two on the continent as you already know. African intellectuals need to stop using colonialism phobia as an excuse and look to a future of alliances if they intend for the continent to emerge.

  11. David James Vickery says:

    I’m thankful to have met you.

  12. The recent incidents at the Gadaym Izik camp in Laayoune city in western Sahara

    The Independent Commission For The Defense Of Human Rights In Western Sahara has watched and reported the development at the Gadaym Izik camp in Laayoune city in Western Sahara from the first day, denouncing the unethical and unprofessional way by which some Spanish media treated the incidents related to Gadaym Izik camp in Laayoune city .

    Thousands of Saharawi people (people from the Western Sahara) left their homes to set up camp fifteen kilometres from El Aaaiun city, in protest against the social policy of the Moroccan government In the southern provinces kown as Western Sahara.They claimed that” While Morocco offers benefits to refugees returning from the human rights violations of Tindouf camps in Algeria , many Sahrawis who never left Morocco have not yet received anything. ” The Sahrawi demonstrators wanted Morocco to ensure their right to employment, housing and a decent living. “We are not against giving privileges to our brothers returning from the camps of Tindouf. We also recognise their suffering endured in the camps, and the risks they have taken during their escape from the Algerian camps through the miles of desert to their homeland ( Morocco). However, we as indigenous residents feel the oppression because no one cares about us and the suffering of our youth from unemployment and neglect and the difficulty of living,” Mohammed Salem Salek told The I.C.D.H.R. in Sahara.
    However, when the Moroccan government,that has spent billions of dirhams on Western Sahara,started to solve the social problems of the protesters,some traffickers, gangs and opportunists serving the foreign agendas of the Polisario separatists and their mentor Algeria resorted to blackmail and violence to prevent people from leaving the camp.
    The Moroccan security forces,who were in a difficult situation of self-defense and, which left 10 painful casualties among them, did not fire a single gunshot in their intervention. 70 elements of the security forces have been injured .

    We need to remember that the Kingdom of Morocco launched an innovative and imaginative plan, in April 2007, to offer its Southern Provinces of the Sahara autonomy and self-determination within the context of Moroccan Sovereignty.Many great countries such as The United States and France reiterate that Morocco’s proposal to grant substantial autonomy to its Southern provinces, known as the Sahara, is likely to help find a solution to the 35-year dispute over the former Spanish colony, with Washington dismissing as “unrealistic” the establishment of an independent state in the region as called for by the Polisario separatists and their mentor Algeria.The Moroccan proposal offers the people of the Sahara, the Sahrawis, the opportunity to run their own affairs democratically through their representative legislative, executive and judicial bodies, while benefiting from Moroccan sovereignty in matters of foreign affairs and defence.This Initiative for the Sahara region will enable the Sahrawi People to achieve self-determination through free, modern and democratic means, and accords with both international law and internationally accepted norms and standards. It is the resolution of this thirty-five-year conflict, that will facilitate the economic and democratic development of the whole Maghreb and help to promote peace, security and stability in North Africa.
    The Initiative was launched to overcome the deadlock in United Nations’ mediated negotiations between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Republic of Algeria and their proxy the Polisario Front. As the work of several United Nations’ Secretaries-General and their Personal Envoys to the region have failed to reach a mutually-acceptable solution, the Kingdom of Morocco drew up the Initiative for negotiated autonomy for the Sahara to reach a lasting political solution to the conflict.

  13. I question, therefore I am says:

    Sidi Ahmed,
    Please do not attribute your opinion to political scientists. The overwhelming majority of the epistemic community especially the political science faction abhors the work of IMF and WB in Africa and other LDCs. Read about the SAPs (structural adjustment program) and their devastating effects.
    Why don’t tell us what Samir Amin think about what you have advanced above. You and I would both agree on his opinion on the question of development.
    P.S. Sorry for the apparent appeal to authority that I am committing here. I know it is a fallacy and I admit to it

    • cabalamuse says:

      “The overwhelming majority of the epistemic community…” I wasn’t aware the opinions of the epistemic community on the work of the IMF and WB were censused. I am fairly familiar with the conditionalities these organs attach to their loans. African governments’ opposition to SAP is fueled by their fear of transparency. Since the enactment of the Abuja treaty in 1991, the African Economic Community (EAC) has little to show in terms of progress. Are you saying African nations should shun all alliances with international organs? The bottom line is that African nations need to implement strategies conducive to advancement instead of strategies to entrench dictatorships.

      • I question, therefore I am says:

        Sidi Ahmed,
        No bones there about the lack of transparency that ushers in dictatorship. Are you saying that these foreign powers have their hands cleans from the legacy of totalitarianism that have plagued the region for decades?
        Your narratives are too sanitized. Bad governance is definitely the problem resides; but who stands to lose more from good governance. I know it is not the People

  14. I question, therefore I am says:

    BTW sidi Ahmed,
    I forget to address the PS community and the question consensus. There may not be a consensus of opinion but when someone like Joseph Stiglitz, a policy genius and an academic authority comes out railing against the WB policies as wrong headed, then we should all pause.
    Sidi Ahmed,
    I have reluctantly accepted Mr. Huntington view that real Democracy comes after a phase of militarization.( your comment about “enforced stability” in an earlier post) I now understand it just like I understand that Market liberalization have to be preceded by institutional reform. I have carefully followed your writing and you, my friend, have been wavering in your diagnosis of the situation between bad governance and just pure paranoid rant about the shadow of a grim colonial past that appears to be rearing its ugly head again.
    Stop being dismissive in your argument. You may be right. African scholars may be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. Is that a trivial matter worthy of dismissal? I think not!!

    • cabalamuse says:

      My whole point is that African nations can not progress by following a strategy of isolation and protectionism. No one denies that colonial powers have a great deal to do with the legacy of totalitarianism on the continent. I am not being dismissive of the traumatizing effect covetous foreign powers had on the African psyche. There are lessons to be heeded from that episode in our history.
      Despite his scathing criticism of IMF and WB as tools in the hands of powerful special interest entities in his “Globalization and its discontents,” Joseph Stiglitz never called for their elimination; in fact, he recognized their importance and called for large scale reforms of these international institutions in his “Making Globalization Work.” I agree that IMF and WB need to be reformed, but I maintain that their interaction with African nations is unavoidable, downright necessary if these nations want to attain higher productivity levels (impossible with protectionism) which in turn will raise average living standards. This idea was advocated by another Nobel laureate in economics – in fact the first American Nobel laureate in economics – Paul Samuelson, the father of modern economics analysis and one of Stiglitz’s mentors.

  15. David James Vickery says:

    I’m finding this very interesting and instructive. Thanks to both of you.
    Please keep up this conversation.

  16. Pingback: Global Voices in English » Morocco/Western Sahara: Gadaym Izik Riots Become a Volatile Political Crisis

  17. Pingback: Morocco/Western Sahara: Gadaym Izik Riots Become a Volatile Political Crisis @ Current Affairs

  18. I question, therefore I am says:

    I am so glad you brought up “Globalization & its Discontents”. Professor Stiglitz was not just critical about IMF policies in that book, he gave it a shellacking (to borrow a recent word from President Obama) Prakash Loungani of the IMF noted that Stiglitz made a critical reference of the IMF 340 times in that book, an average of one cited infraction per page.
    340 times!!! Sidi Ahmed, what would call that? A disagreement? Galileo and the pope had a disagreement in juxtaposition to what happened between Joe and IMF.
    Foreign powers descend on African Nations with their hand sanitizers and First Aid kits. They open up those kits and Guess what’s inside? One orange plastic capsule of pills inscribed with the words: Liberalizationism. Then you turn the capsule sideways and read: consume daily in haste (screw institutional and legal reform) don’t worry about negative side effects (this ain’t intended to help you in the first place)
    Sidi Ahmed,
    Read about the case of Zimbabwe; Structural adjustment in Zimbabwe was not introduced in response a sagging economy. On the contrary, things were looking pretty impressive. The IMF got involved with some harsh loan conditions and it was pretty much a stairway leading straight up to hell. You would think that the WB and IMF would get by now. Oh! Let me take that back. They actually do get it. It is working according to plans, their plans NOT that of African nations. If the foreign powers heart was in the right place, then, there is nothing dumber than doing the same thing over and over again and expect different outcomes (as the saying goes)
    Sidi Ahmed,
    The bottom is that no African nation is at a liberty to play protectionist. The bottom line is that no African nation is thriving because of IMF or WB policies. The bottom line is that corruption and fractured justice systems retard development. The bottom line is that IMF and WB don’t believe in incremental increase in Liberalization dosage; poor economies tend to overdose and never recover. The bottom line is that African Farmers WILL NEVER be able to trade with the heavily subsidized farmers from the north.

    P.S. Eid Mobarak

  19. Pingback: Morocco/Western Sahara: Gadaym Izik Riots Become a Volatile Political Crisis | Africa

  20. Pingback: Gadaym Izik riots become a volatile political crisis - The News

  21. David James Vickery says:

    Hello, and I hope everyone enjoyed the Eid. I just received this and thought I’d pass it along.

    General Carter Ham Offers Condescension, More War

  22. I question, therefore I am says:

    Thank you for the link; very powerful stuff as usual
    Happy Eid to you too brother Daoud

  23. Pingback: Dear Nairobi (en Tdot en Kampala) « Molisa Nyakale

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