An Ambitious Conceit: The Greater Moroccan Ambition Outside the Western Sahara,” Google Docs. This was written as a final project for a graduate class on Morocco I took last semester (it is not the final draft version, but rather the second to last draft). My original outline was too large, and so portions of it were eliminated, including two additional sections comparing “Greater Morocco” to other forms of irredentism (in Syria, and Ethiopia) and contemporaneous ideologies (pan-Islamism, pan-Arabism, pan-Africanism, and a more detailed analysis of the ideology and Morocco’s behavior in international organizations). I am working on constructing these sections now, but as I am somewhat strapped for time (and books and scholarly resources) this process is moving depressingly slow.

Here is the works cited page.


9 thoughts on “Paper

  1. Will read this carefully. It seems very well-done, though I already have a couple of minor quibbles:

    – Cuba’s role in W. Sahara is overstated. Havanna was the second-most important backer of Polisario for some time (now, it’s South Africa), but so vastly distant to Algeria as to be practically irrelevant. They gave university scholarships, perhaps some marginal military education in the late 70s, and sent a couple of doctors to the camps, same as with every other African country. Libya, on the other hand, gave what was at times *very* significant backing (1973-1984), to the point where Algiers was reportedly becoming uneasy with it in the early 80s, since they wanted to remain on top of the issue.

    – Syria & Iraq did have W. Sahara policies, for a while. Syria was outspokenly pro-Polisario when they felt the need for Algerian support after the Egypt-Israel deal, although they have now slipped back to ambiguity; and Iraq apparently for some time commanded its Baath Party branch in Mauritania to persist in demands for Greater Mauritania, i.e. annexation of the ENTIRE Western Sahara. Very weird policy, and I don’t know for how long they kept that up. Possibly it was some sort of oddball Saddamist way of expressing hostility to both Morocco (pro-US) and Algeria (pro-Iran in the early 80s).

    Anwyay, that’s just something I spotted in passing. It doesn’t really concern the subject of Greater Morocco, and as I said, it seems like very good work.

  2. Thanks for your take alle.

    Regarding the Syria and Iraq policies, if you could send me any sources on that I would be most grateful (especially with respect to the Ba’th branch in the W. Sahara, as this adds another element to the concluding remarks and over all analysis of Arab attitudes towards G.M.). The sources I had access to (human and textual) did not mention these countries in any major way and my human sources tended to dismiss questions about these two states (“erratic” or “inconsistent” was how they described them).

    As for Cuba, I agree I over stated its role, but this was done purposefully. The Algeria and the Sahara were key elements in Cuba’s foreign policy regarding Africa as a whole. Space constraints kept me from giving a just coverage of Libya and other countries off the continent, so I went for Cuba because I have access to a lot of documents and individuals involved in the Cuba-Algeria relationship. Their relationship has declined in importance in recent years but for a time it was one of Algeria’s major allies and vice versa. I’m not trying to make excuses, but that is the reasoning for the place Cuba has in the paper.

    You’ll also notice that the Senegal section is very sparse (if not deficient), and I would like to improve expand it.

    Again, thank you for your remarks and I look forward to more in the future.

  3. sir you know the evil devil, to mix you up, his main game is to mix 40% of the truth with 60% of lies, and then he gets you, maybe your diformed work, mixed up few readers, but as you an i know, it’s just not true, you have a lot of time to sepend, maybe you are one of the lobbiying group that algeria contracted.

    what about algeria when they stole part of morroco?
    you should thankx morocco to play the role of the bad police man protecting you back door from terrorists, coming from algeria, and get trained in the same camps as polisario. oh yes theres spanish spys wh reported this information, and polisario,is controlling the drogs and terrorists weapon into this region.
    you should say thank you morocco. shame on you

  4. Disregarding the evil devil for a minute,

    1. The paper: read it yesterday, and it really was as interesting as I had expected. Of course I have my disagreements with some things, but most of them very minor. Good job.

    2. Iraq & Syria: not much, but sent in private mail. Anyway, after reading the whole paper, this point was even more minor than I thought. Oh, and another thing, still minor, but … I remember discussing Abu Jaber’s book on the Baath with you: annexed to it, you’ll find a report from the VI National Congress, where the party unequivocally condemns Morocco in the Sand War of 1963. No relation to Western Sahara, but definitely to Syrian/Iraqi-Maghrebine relations generally, as well as to the (neo)-Baathist view of Greater Morocco vs. colonial borders (it seems Algeria’s presumed “progressiveness” won over all objections to colonial borders). Abu Jaber seems unaware of the war, and translates it as “Maghreb” having attacked Algeria rather than “Morocco”, but if you read it yourself, you’ll see there is no doubt about the context.

    3. Senegal: I found this part perhaps most interesting, because I’d read virtually nothing about it before. Sure it could use expansion though, but I guess sources are scarce.

    4. Mali: Have been trying to find stuff on Mali before, with no luck. It’s missing almost entirely from your paper, which you should do something about, if possible.

    5. Cuba: I can agree with Algeria being a main interest of Cuba in Africa, but the involvement in W. Sahara has not been very extensive — perhaps compared to other countries, since so few have been involved at all in W. S, but not if you compare with Cuba’s general level of involvement in other colonial disputes in Africa. It’s an open question how much is ideology and how much is simply a result of the cosy relationship with Algeria. As digging a little deeper into Cuba b/c of good sources etc, good reason.

    Now please hand back any and all parts of Morocco you’ve stolen and say thank you.

  5. Oh, and by the way, there’s another angle to this which is very interesting: European/colonial territorial vs. Maghrebi/precolonial tribal-Islamic sovereignty concepts. The fact that Morocco pre-France defined itself in terms of community and individual allegiance, rather than through boundary lines, has jumbled this question a lot, and allowed for all sides to design definitions and arguments to suit their interests.

    Some of it available in this text by George Joffe.

  6. What exactly are you looking for in resources Nouri? Shoot an email, or post here and maybe i can help.

    2 “alle”:

    You kind of lost me on your second post. The pre-fanco bit.


  7. Morocco (and the rest of the region) organized the state not primarily through territorial demarcation, but through allegiance by a person or tribe to a specific ruler. Especially so in the Saharan areas, where there were not only few land marks to draw borders from, but populations were also nomadic, and their allegiances shifting with time (and depending on who asked). That laid the groundwork for quite a lot of confusion, when the exact territorial limits of Morocco’s borders was to be determined in (often unfair) negotiations with colonial powers, and it also both forced and assisted the Greater Morocco vision by enabling early Istiqlali nationalists to translate even temporary shows of support by some distant tribe into a claim for territorial sovereignty, since thas was the only way in which Moroccan sovereignty was defined earlier.

    Ah, just read the article 🙂

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