Propaganda watch

August 2, 2012

Here’s a nice example of some pro-Moroccan propaganda about Western Sahara and the Polisario, in the Global Post:

Why are we perpetuating a source of instability in North Africa?

It comes with a health warning in the form of the following:

“Editor’s Note: The author of this article is the executive director of the Moroccan American Center for Policy, which has registered with the US Department of Justice’s Foreign Agent Registration Unit. The group’s activities are funded, supervised and coordinated by the government of Morocco.”

The same publication also ran this piece, in response, with no need for a declaration of vested interests by the author, who is a professor of Politics and chair or Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco.

The reality of Western Sahara

They make a nice pair.

Again, it seems that the most vocal foreign supporters of Morocco’s position are those who are paid to support it, by the Moroccan monarchy – paid foreign agents acting (in this case) in the US on behalf of a foreign power, to spread disinformation. And they even confess to it (well, sort of).

[Via the Moroccan Propaganda Watch page on Facebook]


Text of Military Agreement #1

November 8, 2011

In my last post I urged people to contact MINURSO and UN Peacekeeping to ask why vital information on the terms of the ceasefire in Western Sahara has been removed from the MINURSO website, and request that this information be reinstated. Here is the text in question, from Military Agreement (MA) #1, copied from the MINURSO website in October 2008 (from this address, which is now defunct: http://www.minurso.unlb.org/monitoring.html):

“MA#1 divides the disputed territory of Western Sahara into five parts:
• One 5 km wide Buffer Strip (BS) to the South and East side of the Berm;
• Two 30 km wide Restricted Areas (RA) along the Berm. The Buffer Strip is included in the
Restricted Area on the POLISARIO side and the Berm is included in the Restricted Area on
the RMA side;
• Two Areas with Limited Restrictions (ALR), which are the two remaining vast, stretches of
land of Western Sahara on both sides respectively.”

I quoted this text in a Briefing Note I prepared on the partition of Western Sahara, also in October 2008.

For a graphical representation of MA#1 click here. For Map A4-010 showing the ceasefire on the ground, see below, or click here for a jpeg version.

I’ve posted all this before, and will keep reposting it until MINURSO reinstates the relevant ceasefire information on its website, and Morocco’s propagandists stop their attempts to mislead the world into believing that Morocco controls all of Western Sahara, and that the Polisario-controlled areas are in fact an empty “buffer strip” set up by the UN for Morocco’s protection (the buffer zone is just 5km wide on one side of the Berm, and there is parity between the Moroccan and Polisario controlled zones, on either side of the Berm, in MA#1). Morocco is misrepresenting the situation on the ground in order to persuade the world that its “Autonomy Plan” for Western Sahara is viable. It is not, as it does not address the issue of partition, or of the Sahrawi refugees in Algeria. The information presented here, downloaded from earlier versions of the MINURSO website, clearly contradicts Morocco’s representation of the situation. Rabat is desperate to obscure the situation on the ground, and it seems likely that this is why MINURSO removed the information relating to the terms of the ceasefire, as a result of pressure from Morocco and its allies France and the United States, which are pushing for a normalisation of Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara. If this is not the case, all parties should be happy to see this information reinstated – that would be sufficient rebuttal.

Division of Western Sahara under the terms of the 1991 ceasefire agreement. Map from MINURSO.


Better to be talked about…

October 31, 2011

As regular readers of this blog will have noticed, my posts come in fits and bursts. By my own (admittedly quite slack) standards I’ve been pretty active lately, with four articles in just over a month. Usually when I’m this active there is a rapid response in the comments spaces from a small cabal representing the official Moroccan position on the Western Sahara conflict, enthusiastically pushing pro-Rabat and anti-Polisario/anti-Sahrawi propaganda. The cheerleader of this little group is someone who goes by the monicker of Ahmed Salem Amr Khadad (see here for a discussion of his approach and a for number of his comments). Ahmed Salem has been the most prolific commenter on my blog posts, and he can be found in many other corners of the internet, pouring scorn and vitriol on anyone critical of Morocco and its occupation of the disputed, non-self governing territory of Western Sahara, which both Morocco and the Polisario claim.

Lately I’ve been wondering where Ahmed Salem has got to, as this blog has been somewhat lacking in comments in recent months. However, thanks to Will Sommer of the currently (and sadly) dormant “One Hump or Two” Western Sahara blog, the mystery of Ahmed Salem’s silence and apparent lack if interest in attacking my material has now been solved. It turns out that he’s not been ignoring me after all. Far from it. Instead, he’s been putting his not inconsiderable talents (and I’m not being entirely facetious there) to use setting up the following Facebook page, of which he appears to be the administrator:

    Against the propaganda of Nick Brooks for the account of Algeria

So if you want to know what nefarious activities I’ve been up to, sitting in my secret eyrie stroking my diamond collared fluffy white cat while counting my millions in Algerian blood money, you now have a one stop shop where you can learn THE TRUTH of my evil plans. Join it and have some fun.

I’ve asked to join myself, and am waiting with baited breath to see if Ahmed Salem will let me in. I can’t wait to see what he cooks up. If the other Moroccan propaganda sites purporting to reveal THE TRUTH about their enemies are anything to go by, there should be some real peaches in the pipeline (1) .

As Will said. “You know you’ve made it when you have a Facebook page devoted to opposing you. Congrats.” A little generous perhaps, but I have to say I am flattered. All fun aside, I’m guessing the Moroccans wouldn’t bother with this sort of thing unless they were at least worried about this blog having some impact. While I have no hard evidence, I suspect that Ahmed Salem is more than just an enthusiastic Moroccan nationalist doing this in his own time. Morocco takes its propaganda very seriously indeed, and invests a lot of effort in it. So, until I have evidence to the contrary, I’m going to take this as an official state-sponsored propaganda undertaking aimed purely at attacking me as an individual, because of my support for the Sahrawi cause and my opposition to Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara and its supporting propaganda campaign. It gives me quite a nice warm glow to know that I’m having such an impact.

As that great statesman, terrible old colonialist, and sometime genocidal racist Churchill is reported to have said, “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” Or maybe I’ll just go with the less objectionable and almost as amusing Oscar Wilde, with “it is better to be talked about than no.” (All quotes are unverified and may be apocryphal).

[Update: Ahmed Salem Amr Khaddad has declined my request to join the group unless I put some pro-Moroccan links on my blog. This sounds a little like attempted blackmail to me – you don’t like what someone is saying, so you set up a forum in which to attack them, and then say you will only give them a right of reply if they promote your views. I think this tells you all you need to know about the Moroccan approach to debate and criticism]

(1) See, for example, Polisario Confidential and Polisario Think Twice for Moroccan propaganda sites attacking the Polisario (who knows, maybe there is some real dirt to be found there, but here it’s lost in a far dirtier mire of fabrication), Sahara Developpement and CORCAS for sites extolling the virtues of the Moroccan occupation here rebranded as “decolonisation”, and Morocco Board and the Moroccan American Center for Policy for the muscular promotion of Moroccan views in general (including propaganda on the Western Sahara conflict).

For other views that don’t push the propaganda line of an aggressive expansionist country illegally occupying and partitioning one of its neighbours, look to any of the Western Sahara blogs and news links to the right.


Foreign friends

February 18, 2009

History demonstrates that unpleasant regimes bent on suppressing dissent and menacing their neighbours can always find foreign apologists who are ready to scurry to their defence without bothering to understand precisely what it is they are defending. It seems that Morocco is no exception in having an army of foreign sycophants ready to fight for its right to expand its territory through force and stamp on anyone who might object to its imperial designs. A growing chorus of appeasement can be heard from lobbyists, politicians and certain elements of the media by anyone who tunes into the news on Western Sahara.

The Francophone world has always been keen on Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara (with some noble exceptions), and this phenomenon shows no sign of abating. The latest bare-faced brown-nosing comes from the mayor for Woippy (no, I’d never heard of it either), François Grosdidier, who also happens to be vice-president of the French-Moroccan friendship group in the French parliament. In a article in Religious Intelligence (no jokes please) he is quoted regurgitating the Moroccan line. Here are a couple of choice quotes:

“Given Morocco’s legitimacy on the Sahara, this autonomy initiative, under the kingdom’s sovereignty, is wise and generous, and provides an honourable way out for all the parties.”

“[The Polisario] approach is useless, there is no point (for them) in continuing and they are no longer in the sense of history.”

It seems that French politicians love to talk about being part of history – Sarkozy has claimed that one of the problems with Africa is that “the African man has never really entered history“. Oh dear – despite the benefits of colonialism and the heroic attempts of Europe to civilise the benighted continent, not to mention all those fantastically well-conceived post-colonial development initiatives, those ungrateful Africans haven’t grasped the nettle of historical progress and lifted themselves “up” to the same level as Europe. What a pity Sarkozy doesn’t realise that ideas of historical progress are based on perversions of Darwinian evolutionary theory that have more to do with justifying racism and colonialism than they do with rational scientific enquiry. Unfortunately the dogma of historical progress is still used to justify aggression dressed up as the promotion and extension of civilisation – something else I’ve noticed in the arguments of those that support Rabat’s military push into the Sahara. But I digress.

Grosdidier also claims that the Western Sahara conflict is impairing international relations, and uses this as an argument for supporting the autonomy initiative. As I’ve argued on several previous occasions (e.g. here), this is indicative of a poor understanding of the the situation, as the autonomy plan does not address the reality of partition or the issue of the refugees around Tindouf – as if Morocco would welcome tens of thousands of independence-minded Sahrawi and make any real attempt to come to an agreement with the Polisario. Grosdidier says that “pluralism does not exist” in the camps, but I don’t see too much evidence of it in occupied Western Sahara either.

I sometimes wonder what drives certain European politicians (and I include the UK here) who seem so eager to offer their services to foreign governments, effectively acting as agents of foreign powers with little or no regard to the interests of the people whom they have been elected to serve. After Blair’s stint as Bush’s enforcer/poodle (delete according to your preference), which served only to support ill-conceived foreign policy adventures and increase risks to British citizens, some of us are a little annoyed with this sort of behaviour. Well, maybe it’s just the money, the power, the foreign junkets, or a simple messiah complex.

It’s not only politicians that are busy appeasing Moroccan aggression, and not only in Europe. I keep receiving news alerts from the African Press Agency (with the byline “Unity is in Truth”), based in Dakar, Senegal, which could have been written by the Moroccan interior ministry. A common theme is how so-and-so supports the autonomy initiative or hails Morocco’s commitment to solve the conflict. The border between Western Sahara and Morocco is conspicuous by its absence on the the maps on the APA website. Hell, they could even use a dashed line rather than a solid one if they wanted to reflect its unresolved status, but I suppose even that would be too much for their Moroccan friends.

Another unedifying spectacle is this love-in between the author and the outgoing Moroccan ambassador. Reading it is like watching two extremely ugly people make out in public – a nauseating experience which makes you think “is that really necessary?” (No offence intended to the extremely ugly by the way.)

The Lebanese Dar al-Hayat has also been at it, or at least one Mohammed el-Ashab has, writing in its pages. el-Ashab talks about the Sahrawi’s “popular reluctance to unite under one umbrella”, which he claims is the biggest obstacle to solving the conflict. So not the partition or the blocking of the referendum then? To cast the problem as one of divisions between the Sahrawi rather than one of invasion, occupation, displacement and partition is disingenuous to say the least. He also talks about “the cease-fire which classified the areas outside the security fence as buffer zones in which no military or civilian movement is allowed.” Well, actually, it didn’t. The buffer zone, into which neither side is allowed, extends for only 5km east and south of the berm, i.e. in the Polisario controlled areas. Restricted areas extend for 30km either side of the berm, and no arms are to be carried in these areas. Outside of the restricted areas are two vast “areas with limited restrictions” in which normal military activity is allowed with the exception of anything that would constitute a concentration of firepower. As I’ve pointed out before, these conditions of the ceasfire are set out on the MINURSO website, which Mohammed el-Ashab evidently has not bothered to examine before putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. Not that he’s unusual in such uninformed pontificating (or is it deliberate misinformation?). Using elections as his theme, el-Ashab strives to convince us that everyone (the UN, the EU) is happy to see Morocco “practicing sovereignty in all its forms – including holding elections in all parts of the country since 1978”. I assume the country he is referring to is a putative greater Morocco which incorporates all of Western Sahara, although he doesn’t make it clear how Morocco has been or will be holding elections in the parts of Western Sahara that it doesn’t control. From his statement about “the frequent announcement of the “Polisario Front” that it operates in regions described as “liberated lands”” it seems that he might believe Morocco’s propaganda line that the Polisario doesn’t control any territory in Western Sahara, but this is not clear. I like the placing of “Polisario Front” in inverted commas – usually a sign of hostility.

There’s much more where all the above came from, and I’ll perodically highlight it. Of course if you want a real giggle you can always go to any number of websites whose purpose is to promote Moroccan interests and push pro-Morocco propaganda, such as that of the Morocco Board, the Moroccan-American Center for Policy, Maghreb Arabe Presse, CORCAS, or the dedicated anti-Polisario (and personal defamation) sites such as Polisario Confidential, Polisario Think Twice, Polisario Cannibals and Polisario Human Sacrifice. OK, I made the last two up, but those are about the only allegations that Morocco has not leveled at the Polisario.

All of this propaganda is designed to give the impression that the conflict is effectively over and that Moroccan control over Western Sahara is all but a done deal. The point of all the misinformation dissemminated by Morocco and its foreign toadies is to persuade people that all they have to do is endorse the situation on the ground and the issue of Western Sahara will go away, userhing in a new era of regional cooperation, development and progress. But of course it won’t, as long as Western Sahara remains partitioned and between 100,000 and 200,000 disaffected Sahrawi remain in camps in the inhospitable Algerian desert. Even if Morocco’s autonomy plan is officially endorsed by the likes of the EU, the USA and the UN, the reality on the ground will still poison the politics of the region. And the African Union still stands behind the Polisario and the Sahrawi’s right to self-determination. Morocco may be planning to further entrench its position by invading the Polisario controlled areas once its autonomy plan gets the green light from the world’s major political powers, but this is hardly likely to achieve the stated aims of all those foreign politicians and pundits who are so keen to promote autonomy in the name of progress.

Related link: http://w-sahara.blogspot.com/2008/09/polisario-confidential-goes-to.html (Western Sahara Info)


Touching a nerve: a case study in propaganda

December 12, 2008

When I set up this blog I didn’t intend it to be so heavy on Western Sahara. However, the more I’ve worked in Western Sahara the more I have been exposed to the politics of the region –  in particular the anti-independence, anti-referendum, and especially anti-Polisario propaganda that emanates continuously from Rabat and supporters of Morocco’s occupation. This runs the gamut from laughable through inventive to sometimes offensive, and can be quite sophisticated. Having an over-developed social conscience I sometimes feel compelled to address this propaganda, and expose it where I can (although I really don’t want to end up as an apologist for the Polisario – the issue to me is not the nature of the Polisario, but rather Morocco’s occupation and the issue of self-determination, which would be at the heart of the Western Sahara question whether opposition to Moroccan occupation was led by Polisario or Mickey Mouse). My efforts in this regard are necessarily small, as countering the Moroccan propaganda machine could easily be a full-time job, and not one I’d want, even if someone was paying me (and they’re not, despite rumours to the contrary).

There are plenty of people on the Moroccan side (and the Polisario side – let’s be fair) for whom “information management” is a full-time job. Perhaps foolishly, in terms of time costs, I allowed myself to get drawn into a discussion with someone whom I presume is one of these professionals, over at Global Voices Online. The gentleman in question calls himself Ahmed Salem Amr Khaddad, and he claims to be a “Unionist Sahrawi”. (i.e. in favour of the forced union between Western Sahara and Morocco). I gave him the benefit of the doubt, and we had a long exchange, which eventually fizzled out. He paid me the compliment of commenting on Sand and Dust at long last, under a recent post. Now, when people post on your blog you can see their IP address, so I established that Ahmed Salem, or at least his internet connection, is based in Casablanca, with the IP address registered to the Office National des Postes et Telecommunications (based on plugging the IP address into the free web software at http://www.ip-adress.com/ip_tracer/).

After my last post on the McDonald’s and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s maps (I wonder if they’re now using the same source, or should that be sauce?), Ahmed Salem underwent a veritable eruption on Global Voices online, which had linked to my ramblings. Apparently I hit some sort of nerve. This is what he wrote:

“The article above comes from the blog of a very well known Polisario supporter under the name of Nick Brooks. His pro-polisario blog is about biases he is far from the situation on the ground. I have already discussed with Nick about his position. He always argues that he is impartial in his blog ?!#2~à@)&°0 !!!!! I told him so why putting just pro-polisarian links on your blog? Why not putting URLs form the unionist sahraouis website as CORCAS and many others supporting unionism in the region of Western Sahara? No way. Nick is not credible at all. He is supposed to conduct some research work in a buffer zone established by the UN in 1991 just after the war held between the moroccan army and the polisario troops supported by Algeria & Lybia. HE IS SPONSORED BY AN ALGERIAN STAKEHOLDER OIL COMPANY ;-). He is very closed to Polisario troops in the buffer zone.

I believe Nick is among those who would like to maintain the status quo in the Western Sahara issue to keep alive his research work and SPONSORING.

Nick has no lesson to give to the international community about the reality on the ground in Western Sahara. It becomes clear to everyone that Polisario leaders were lying and they are still continuing to lie on Human rights in Western Sahara.”

Of course I replied. In fact I was quite flattered to have generated such a response. Whatever its other impacts, this blog appears to be raising the blood pressure of at least one Moroccan propagandist, and the fact that the practitioners of the Maghrebian dark arts find it necessary to indulge in such slander suggests that they feel my views have some relevance, and that’s gratifying. By the way, he’s right about my not being impartial (but wrong about my claims to be) – as another blog puts it: “truth not balance”

I have to say I’m not sure whether to be amused or disapproving of Ahmed Salem’s accusations, which I suspect are a little hypocritical, given that he’s probably employed to peddle propaganda. Out of interest I googled Ahmed Salem Amr Khaddad” to see what his web footprint was like – i.e. how busy he is on the web with his propaganda. Not huge, but significant. Maybe this isn’t his full-time job but he’s certainly pretty active, and his arguments are well-rehearsed and often inventive. In any case his arguments provide a good case study of the Moroccan propaganda machine, and anyone interested in what sort of arguments and tactics the Moroccans are using to persuade, cajole and insist would do worse than look at the works of Ahmed Salem Amr Khaddad.

In addition to Global Voices and this blog, he crops up on: Flickr; Magharebia; Wikipedia (as Moroccansahraoui, claiming to be from Laayoune); Palestine Think Tank (under his own name alongside another “Moroccan Sahrawi” using similar language and levelling the same accusations at the author of the article in question as he levels at yours truly: you looks well paid by the Algerian regime to defend a false cuase, from the bigining and Algeria is spending money to find people like you to spread this kind of lies….the only HYPOCRIT HERE IS YOURSELF); and Christianne Vienne’s website (she’s a Belgian senator, from what I can see). So he’s certainly busy, pushing the same line – that the majority of Sahrawi want to be Moroccan, that Polisario is a Marxist (or post-Marxist, now Islamic fundamentalist) organisation holding people against their will, that only a small percentage of the people in the camps around Tindouf are Sahrawi, the remainder being economic migrants from the Sahel, and so on, and accusing anyone who disagrees with him of being on the Algerian payroll.

Ahmed Salem likes to point to the CORCAS website a lot. CORCAS is the Royal Advisory Council on Saharan Affairs, appointed by the Moroccan government to give the appearance of a legitimate devolved administration. Their website has lots of articles about how great the Autonomy Plan is and how wicked the Polisario are, and not a few pictures of King Mohamed VI. I couldn’t help but think of the Egyptian Gazette, which I used to glance at in the early 1990s when I was living in Cairo, and which always kicked off with a story about President Mubarak.

Ahmed Salem also likes to argue that Morocco is bringing the benefits of development and modernity to poor primitive, neglected Western Sahara, and points to a number of Moroccan sites boasting about investment in the territory. His Flickr account (westernsaharaoccidental) consists of photos presumably intended to illustrate modernity and abundance in Laayoune and Dakhla, in the Moroccan-controlled areas of Western Sahara (market stalls groaning with fresh produce and aerial shots of modern conurbations). Most of these photos are captioned “Autonomy and more development to face the Globalization”. Of course different kinds of images can be found on sites such as ASVDH, which monitors human rights abuses in the occupied areas.

So, why am I bothering to devote attention to this propaganda merchant? Partly as a sort of right-to-reply after his outburst at me, but also (and more importantly) to cast a spotlight on the Moroccan propaganda machine while it’s in action and allow the few readers of this blog to scrutinize the arguments and tactics that form its backbone. The propaganda of Ahmed Salem and his fellow practitioners follows a number of key principles, which seem to include the following:

1. Steer the debate away from the issue of Morocco’s occupation and the holding of the referendum, and turn it into one about the Polisario, whom you should portray as a separatist group driven wholly or predominantly by Marxist or Islamist ideology. Ideally you should transform the debate into one about the historical origins and legitimacy of the Polisario, which you should misrepresent. Your aim should be to discredit the Polisario through accusations of slavery, child abuse, terrorism, human rights abuses, communism, and Islamic fundamentalism. People should be left with the opinion that the Polisario are so reprehensible that the Sahrawi, whom they represent, do not deserve independence. By contrast Morocco should be portrayed as a champion of democracy and human rights which offers a much better future.

2. Emphasise that independence is not realistic and that those who support the referendum are seeking to prolong the conflict and are just causing more suffering for the people in the Tindouf camps. Pretend that your concerns are for the well-being of the Sahrawi refugees (although insist elsewhere that they are not refugees and many are not Saharawi), thus making your opponents appear callous and uncaring about the refugees – make it clear that anyone who disagrees with you is guilty of using the refugees as political pawns in pursuit of a sinister political agenda.

3. Portray the Tindouf camps as detention centres in which people are held against their will. Morocco has the best interests of the people in the camps at heart – they want to be Moroccan.

4. Emphasise the nature of the conflict as one between Algeria and Morocco, rather than between Morocco and the Polisario, and insist on Algeria’s links to terrorists, Marxists/communists and Islamic fundamentalists. Always emphasise the leftist or “eastern-block” nature of the countries that have historically supported the idea of independence – your audience is predominantly a western one and this will help to discredit the idea of a referendum on independence.

5. Accuse any foreigners supporting the referendum of being in the pay of Algeria, and any Sahrawi or Moroccan groups who question Morocco’s occupation of belonging to irrelevant, extremist, fringe political groups. It is very important to persuade people that those who disagree with the position of the Moroccan government are a tiny minority whose views do not count.

6. Emphasise the benefits that Morocco is bringing to the occupied areas of Western Sahara – the issue is really one of development, not invasion and occupation. Opponents of autonomy within a greater Morocco are ill informed extremists and are against modernity and development.

7. Deny that the Polisario controls a significant part of Western Sahara and portray this as a buffer zone set up by Morocco in cooperation with the UN. Accuse anyone talking about the “Free Zone” of propaganda. Very few people have been to the Polisario-controlled areas, and most people do not know that they exist, thinking instead that Morocco controls all of Western Sahara. It is very important to maintain this impression.

8. Give the impression that the UN and the international community support Morocco’s position and its autonomy plan, and see this as the only realistic option. Insist that Morocco’s autonomy plan is compatible with the principle of self-determination.

9. Invoke the views of international bodies when they support the Moroccan position, but dismiss views from the same bodies when they appear to support the holding of a referendum or the idea of independence. For example, cite UN envoy van Walsum’s controversial comments that independence is unrealistic, but dismiss the original UN resolutions on Western Sahara as irrelevant.

10. Dismiss countries that recognise Polisario as the legitimate government of Western Sahara as irrelevant, usually Marxist, regimes. Similarly, argue that the original rulings of the UN on the need for self-determination are irrelevant because the security council was dominated by leftist governments whose opinions should not count.

11. Portray the conflict as a hangover from the Cold War rather than a conflict about decolonisation.  Emphasise that it was a manifestation of the conflict between Western capitalism and Eastern communism, which the West won. Emphasise that the Polisario and the independence cause had support from the East – the message should be that, being on the losing side in the cold war, the Polisario and Algeria should give up the independence struggle as the world has moved on.

12. Make lots of stuff up and don’t worry about consistency – it doesn’t matter if many of your assertions contradict each other: if you push them hard enough some of them will stick.

13. If people remain unconvinced by all the above tell them to shut up and write, PREFERABLY IN CAPITALS, that they are not impartial/objective,  that they have no credibility or authority to speak about the topic, that they do not understand the situation, and that they must be in the pay of Algeria and the Polisario.

I’m sure we can add to this list – suggestions are welcome.

I hope Ahmed Salem appreciates the attention I’ve devoted to him. He’s always telling me off for not linking to pro-Moroccan websites on this blog. While this is a bit rich given his sole focus on links to CORCAS and other pro-Morocco, anti-Polisario websites, I’ll let that pass and hope that this post redresses the balance. I’m sure he’ll appreciate my collecting his works and presenting them as a set of handy links alongside the one to CORCAS. Maybe he’ll do us the honour of commenting again here, saving me the trouble of more harvesting of his opinions from other sites.


Caught out by Moroccan propaganda

January 17, 2008

More on the MINURSO vandalism story to follow soon. In the meantime, here is an interesting article from afrol News, in which the organisation apologies for publishing a story based on Moroccan propaganda. The original story, about the talks between the Polisario and Morocco in Manhasset, linked the Polisario with terrorism. The subsequent apology states that this error was due to the original piece having been written by “an inexperienced journalist using sources planted by the Moroccan government.” The editor of afrol is clearly rather embarrassed by the incident. He goes on to say that

Reporting on the Western Sahara conflict is a delicate issue that requires much knowledge of the region and its history and the Moroccan side’s increased spread of false news…

Hopefully other journalists covering the conflict in Western Sahara will heed these wise words.