The Making of North Africa's Intifadas

by Laryssa Chomiak , John P. Entelis
published in MER259

As the waves of protest inspired by Tunisia continue to roll across the Middle East and North Africa, analysts have remained puzzled by the mysterious timing, incredible speed and cross-national snowballing of these uprisings or intifadas. In the six months following the electrifying scenes of thousands occupying Avenue Habib Bourguiba in downtown Tunis, directing the imperative Dégage! (Get out!) at President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the Tunisian “virus” has spread across the region, unleashing apparently similar moments of resistance and revolution. Yet a “back-door” view of the intifadas reveals wide variations.

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Room to Breathe

Creating Space for Independent Political Action in Morocco

by Daniel Burton-Rose
published in MER209

Less than a block from the seventeenth-century walls that surround Rabat’s medina (old city) is the Association Tamaynut. Inside the three-room office one can attend meetings, listen to lectures and participate in passionate discussions. A young man, Ibrahim, is there every weekday from morning until night. One of Morocco’s many thousand unemployed college graduates, he spends his free time doing volunteer work that he finds gratifying.

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How Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan and Even Egypt Became IMF "Success Stories" in the 1990s

by Karen Pfeifer
published in MER210

Just as European missionaries were the spiritual handmaidens of nineteenth-century colonialism, so has the International Monetary Fund (IMF) assumed a modern-day mission in support of world trade, finance and investment. The mission aims to convert the benighted heathen in developing countries to the enlightened religion of the free market, whose invisible hand guides self-interest toward the best possible outcome. Once expected to join world Christendom after their conversion, penitent countries today have structural adjustment programs (SAPs) to guide them to their place in the global economy.

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Western Sahara Poser for UN

by Jacob Mundy | published April 28, 2009

Morocco serves as the backdrop for such Hollywood blockbusters as Gladiator, Black Hawk Down and Body of Lies. The country’s breathtaking landscapes and gritty urban neighbourhoods are the perfect setting for Hollywood’s imagination.

Unbeknown to most filmgoers, however, is that Morocco is embroiled in one of Africa’s oldest conflicts—the dispute over Western Sahara. This month the UN Security Council is expected to take up the dispute once more, providing US President Barack Obama with an opportunity to assert genuine leadership in resolving this conflict. But there’s no sign that the new administration is paying adequate attention.

Western Sahara Between Autonomy and Intifada

by Jacob Mundy | published March 16, 2007

In late February 2007, Western Saharan nationalists celebrated the thirty-first anniversary of their government, the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic. The official ceremonies did not take place in Laayoune, the declared capital of Western Sahara, but in the small outpost of Tifariti near the Algerian border. This is because most of Western Sahara is under the administration and military occupation of Morocco, which claims the desert land as its own.

No Buying Off the Past

Moroccan Indemnities and the Opposition

by Susan Slyomovics
published in MER229

Since King Mohammed VI ascended the throne in 1999, Morocco has created various bodies to pay cash awards to Moroccans "disappeared," imprisoned or tortured for their political beliefs under the reign of his king father. But there have been no trials of the jailers and torturers. Former prisoners continue to resist regime efforts to "turn the page" on Morocco's repressive past without genuine truth and accountability.