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King Hassan II

General Ahmed Dlimi: coup leader or victim of sex scandal?

Ahmed Dlimi, Photo: Maroc Hebdo

Ahmed Dlimi made a career in the Moroccan army. This young army, also known as Forces Armées Royales, was officially founded on May 14, 1956. The name Dlimi is as infamous as that of the army he served. Both are characterized by arbitrariness, corruption, abuse of power and violence. The regime and the army are still in power, Ahmed Dlimi is not. His career ended as it had turned out with violence and scandals.

At the time Dlimi’s career took off, the armed forces consisted largely of soldiers who had served in the French and Spanish colonial armies. Well-known senior officers of this army were Generals Kettani Ben Hamou (1910 – 1965) and Mohamed Ben Mizzian Al Kassem (1897 – 1975). Their careers began in the colonial armies and they were the first Moroccans to be promoted to the rank of general.

The first achievements of this army were the bloody and violent repression of popular protests both in their own country and in Algeria. Notorious is the suppression of popular resistance in the Rif in 1958 and 1959. The rulers and the army did not hesitate to use poison gas and napalm against unarmed civilians. In 1963 it fought and lost a border dispute with neighboring Algeria, the so-called Sand War. And in 1975, Morocco became involved in the protracted Western Sahara War.

The same army was deployed against protesters in the Rif in 1984, who peacefully demonstrated against increases in the price of important foodstuffs. Many people were killed and injured.

In 1972, after the second military coup attempt, Hassan II convened his chief army officers and delivered the following message: “If I may give you good advice, I advise you to step back from political affairs and instead focus on making money”. In doing so, he introduced corruption within the military and at the same time implemented a reorganization in which the functions of defense secretary and chief of staff of the armed forces were abolished. Officer Ahmed Dlimi attended this meeting.

Left King Hassan II, right Colonel Ahmed Dlimi, Paris 1963. Photo: Getty Images

Disappearance of Ben Barka

Ahmed Dlimi was born in 1931 in Sidi Kacem, to a family descended from the Oulad Dlim clan from Western Sahara. These clan members have served in the armies of the Moroccan sultans since time immemorial. Lahcen Dlimi’s father was a translator for the French occupier at the time of the protectorate.

Dlimi studied at the French officer school Dar el Beida in Meknes and became a lieutenant there in 1953. In 1958, after an internship in France, he married the daughter of the Moroccan Minister of the Interior and friend of King Mohamed V, Messaoud Chiguer.

After her father was released from his ministerial post, he divorced her. Dlimi remarried the same year to Zahra Bouselham, a daughter of a family close to the Oufkirs.

In his position as an army officer he was involved in the violent crackdown on the popular protest in the Rif in late 1958 and early 1959. He then worked briefly for military intelligence. He was then appointed head of CAB-1, the Moroccan internal secret service, predecessor of the current DGST Direction Général de Surveillance du Territoire.

And as deputy police director, Dlimi was taken into custody by French authorities for involvement in the disappearance of Ben Barka on October 29, 1965 in Paris. Mehdi Ben Barka was leader of the opposition and opponent of King Hassan II. Dlimi was acquitted after remand in the Parisian prison of La Santé. Shortly afterwards, in 1967, Hassan II Dlimi was promoted to the rank of colonel.

Coup d’état

Colonel Dlimi was appointed General Director of the Police in 1970, headed by the Minister of the Interior, General Oufkir. Subsequently, Dlimi was appointed director of Royal Adjutants. Thus the colonel worked his way up to become an important security adviser to Hassan II.

Dlimi’s name was on the death list of the coup plotters during the failed coup of July 10, 1971 in Skhirat. He narrowly escaped death by hiding with a small entourage of Hassan II and escaping the coup plotters.

During the second coup d’état on August 16, 1972, he and King Hassan II were on board the plane that was shot at by fighter jets of the Moroccan army. After the emergency landing at Rabat-Sale airport, he managed to get Hassan II and himself to safety by quickly leaving the plane with a weapon at the ready. Dlimi wanted to liquidate the commander of the Moroccan Air Force, Colonel Hassan Lyoussi, immediately. Hassan II prevented him from doing so because he wanted to get the plans for this coup out of Colonel Lyoussi.

Dlimi saw an opportunity to retaliate against the coup plotters by acting as a magistrate of the military court during the trial of Oufkir and his fellow coup plotters.

Counterintelligence Service

Ahmed Dlimi. Photo: Maroc Hebdo

His role during and after the two failed coups helped Dlimi increase his influence and power. After all, there were few confidants left of Hassan II. The people around Oufkir had been executed or jailed. Dlimi was present at the liquidation of Oufkir in Hassan II’s palace in Skhirat. Dlimi is said to have fired at Oufkir together with General Hafid Alalui, after which King Hassan II gave him the final shot.

Colonel Dlimi reformed the intelligence services and in 1973 created the current counterintelligence & foreign security service, the DGED (Direction Générale des Etudes et de la Documentation), over which he was put in charge.

After two coup attempts, Hassan II froze the promotion of his army officers. Dlimi was exempted from this and was promoted to general, in 1975 Dlimi was appointed Commander of the Southern Military Zone, of the so-called “Sahara Army,” the army that waged war against Polisario. Thus Dlimi was put in charge of about 75% of the Moroccan army.

Rich General

Dlimi was one of the richest businessmen in Morocco and owned many businesses. In business he followed the example of the CIA: setting up companies to provide the organization with additional and invisible income. Dlimi did it that way too, and he personally benefited from the profits of the businesses he set up.

He was the first to open an Adidas outlet in Morocco. He registered this company under the name of an ex-army officer and politician, Colonel Abdellah Kadiri (1937 – 2019). The latter said in an interview: “Dlimi told me that in Hassan II’s Morocco you are never sure of anything, today I am a general and what I am tomorrow I do not know. This company (Adidas) is insurance for my children”.

Traffic accident or liquidation?

Funeral of General Ahmed Dlimi on January 27, 1983 in Rabat, Morocco. Photo: Getty Images

Moroccan state media reported Dlimi’s death on January 25, 1983. His car would have collided head-on with a truck and he would not have survived this traffic accident. He was on his way home from a visit to the king in Marrakech. Marrakech residents say Dlimi’s car was said to have been hit by explosives.

No one has seen the remains, not even his family and relatives, because the coffin was immediately sealed.

The truck involved was later found, but there was no trace of the driver. The truck would have been stolen. This accident may be a coincidence, but such an accident raises questions for high-ranking victims and certainly a close associate of the king.

According to Ahmed Rami (1946), former adjutant of Oufkir, now living in Sweden and now a radical Muslim, General Dlimi was planning a coup against the king.

Hassan II had heard of this and ordered the general to be killed. The international media such as Le Monde, took over Rami’s story. Gilles Perrault, author of the book “A Friendly Head of State, Hassan II of Morocco, Absolute Monarch” (1990), also devoted a chapter on Dlimi and his death, including Rami’s version.

Sex photos as a motive for attack

A completely different version can be found in the book ‘Les officiers de Sa Majesté: Les Dérives des Généraux Marocains 1956–2006‘ (His Majesty’s officers: the instincts of the Moroccan generals 1956–2006) by Commander Mahjoub Tobji (1942), the former adjutant of Dlimi.

Left Ahmed Dlimi, middle Mahjoub Tobji. Photo: Internet

It says that General Dlimi had “ears and eyes” everywhere in Morocco as an intelligence officer, even in the palaces of Hassan II.

For example, Dlimi found out that Mohamed Médiouri (1938), head of the Département de Protection Royale (head of Hassan II bodyguards unit), had a sexual relationship with the king’s wife, Latifa Amahzoune (1946). Dlimi is said to have informed the king of this and thus signed his own death warrant. In Hassan II’s Morocco such knowledge was not allowed and certainly not passed on, not even to the king.

Dlimi would even have photos of Médiouri and Latifa in bed together. He is said to have blackmailed Médiouri, who then sought help from Dlimi’s rival General Housni Benslimane (1935), the commander of the Royal Gendarmerie. He and Dlimi were engaged in a power struggle. Colonel Benslimane saw an opportunity to neutralize his powerful rival. He would then have received the green light from the king to end the general’s life.

Hicham Dlimi, a cousin of the general, released another version in January 2011. In an interview with the French weekly Valeurs Actuelles, he said the following:

Dlimi was very subservient to the king and thus became his best confidant. A yes or no from the king could only be obtained through Dlimi.

Left Ahmed Dlimi right Driss Basri. Photo: Maroc Hebdo

On the day of his death, he was visiting a friend in Rabat. This friend is said to have warned Dlimi about the Minister of the Interior, Driss Basri (1938 – 2007). After his visit he went to his house in the villa district of Palmeraie in Marrakech, on arrival he was summoned by the king to the palace there.

The king would have reproached him there. Dlimi is said to have tried to refute these accusations and to make it clear to the king who spread these rumors and accusations, namely director of Hassan’s protocol general Hafid el Alaoui (1910 – 1989), Driss Basri, Ahmed Réda Guédira (1922 – 1995), (one adviser to the king) and Mohamed Médiouri.

After this interview, Dlimi returned home. A small truck would have blocked the way near his house. Dlimi is said to have driven an armored Mercedes with his driver, both heavily armed. When the driver of Dlimi tried to reverse that side of the road was blocked by an Audi. When the armored vehicle was fired from this car, this had no effect. Dlimi and his driver are said to have fired back and survived this first attack.

They failed to repulse the second attack by another group and Dlimi and his driver were killed. Dlimi’s body was placed under the truck and the driver’s body set on fire in the Mercedes. Dlimi’s gardener and the imam who washed his remains have been murdered. A friendly soldier who saw the remains before the coffin was sealed is said to have reported to the general’s nephew that his body was riddled with bullets.

One’s dead is another’s bread

Dlimi’s functions were later divided between the three soldiers: Colonel Major Abdelaziz Bennani (1935 – 2015) became Commander of the Southern Sector; Colonel Major Mohammed Cherkaoui (1922 – 2002) became Director of the Cabinet of the Royal Adjutants and Colonel Abdelhaq Kadiri (1934 – 2017) became Director General of the counterintelligence service DGED.

In various files on human rights violations in Morocco and in testimonials of victims, the name of General Dlimi is mentioned repeatedly. He is said to have personally tortured and assaulted the opponents of Hassan II, but it never came to a lawsuit, even his own death has not been investigated. General Dlimi’s family did not speak publicly about the cause of death, perhaps this is why they do not suffer from reprisals as was the case with the Oufkir family.

Source https://amazighinformatiecentrum.medium.com/is-de-marokkaanse-generaal-dlimi-slachtoffer-van-seksschandaal-664b668b4a50

Translation: Najat M.

The Rif rebellion of January 1984

[20–1–1984] A light armored vehicle patrols a street in Nador, northeastern Morocco, Friday, where mass protests and labor strikes against rising food prices were brutally suppressed, resulting in injuries and deaths among demonstrators [Photo courtesy of the UK  Socialist Worker Archive].

In the middle of the Cold War between the major superpowers at that time, the US and the USSR (1), and during the war in western Morocco between Polisario and Morocco, a revolt flared up in 1984 in all of Morocco.  The outbursts of protests were related to the poor economic situation. The cost of the war in Western Sahara had risen to around $ 3 million a day.  The external debt had risen to around $ 12 billion at the end of 1983, corresponding to 85% of the country’s GNP (2), while according to international statistics the GDP per capita was below $ 900 a year.  Around 20% of the population were unemployed.  Morocco had more than 20 million inhabitants in 1984.

On 19 September 1983, Morocco concluded the fourth stabilization agreement with the IMF (3) since 1978, under which it undertook to reduce subsidies on food items.  On the basis of this agreement, the IMF approved a stand-by credit of approximately $ 315 million for Morocco, but this was subsequently suspended because the Moroccan government had not applied the austerity measures sufficiently.

The “Club of Paris” (4) with 12 western industrialized countries granted Morocco a deferred payment on October 26 for an amount of $ 600 million in interest and loan repayment.  The amount was converted into a loan with a term of 8 years, the first four years of which would be free of repayment.  On November 3, the World Bank (5) and the 12 countries declared their willingness to grant new loans worth $ 535 million to Morocco, the share of the World Bank being $ 150.4 million.

At the beginning of January 1984, demonstrations against the price increases took place in Marrakech, Meknes, Safi and Oujda. According to press releases, serious riots had occurred in Marrakech from 8 to 10 January.  Army units from Western Sahara are said to have been deployed to restore order.

News service Reuters reported from Madrid on January 20 that violence had occurred a few days earlier in Al Hoceima and that police and military constellations were involved around and in high schools in the capital Rabat after riots on January 19 in which mostly students were victims.

In the northeastern city of Nador, in particular, there were alleged clashes between protesting students and the police on 19 January, in which 2 students were killed and more than 50 injured.  The riots spread to Al Hoceima, Tetouan and Ksar Al Kebir and lasted until January 21.  The Moroccan authorities and media initially did not provide any information.  Various foreign journalists in Tetouan were deported and journalists who wanted to visit Melilla and Ceuta Morocco from the Spanish enclaves were not admitted.

The regime sent to Nador tanks and soldiers from the cities of Taza and Oujda as reinforcements.  The streets of Nador were besieged and the inhabitants could not leave their house for days without running the risk of being arrested or executed at their doorstep.  During these days, students and unsuspecting citizens of Nador were arrested on the street, abused and imprisoned or executed for years and taken to a mass grave.  An eyewitness said that one of the people arrested by two soldiers was being lifted and dropped him on his back on a piece of rock.  A short time later he died.

Eyewitnesses reported that in the port city of Al Hoceima the head of a cafe visitor was pierced by a bullet.  His brain is shattered on the wall.  Those present got the shock of their lives and suffered a trauma.

According to a FAZ report (6) from Madrid on 22 January, more than 150 people were killed in the riots suppressed by the police and the army, mainly because of soldiers who would have shot at the demonstrators with machine guns.  That same evening, King Hassan II delivered a radio and television speech to the nation – the first official mention of the riots – in which he announced the cancellation of the price increases.  He came to his decision after the capitalization he ordered had shown that 40% of the Moroccan population lived below the poverty line, according to the World Bank this was even 42%.

On 24 January 1984, when peace seemed to have returned to Morocco, 2 Moroccan organizations in France (the AMF and ATMF (7)) reported that more than 400 people had died in the riots.  Diplomatic circles then reported about 60 deaths.  MAP published the first official figures on January 25: 29 dead and 114 wounded (including 26 members of the security forces).

On January 28, there were about 100 detainees among USFP members (8), mainly from the party’s youth movement.  On 1 February, Spanish newspapers reported that more than 500 arrests had been made in Nador and the surrounding area, especially among students.  They are said to have been taken to the Kenitra military prison to be tried by military tribunals.  The Observer (12/2/1984) estimated the total number of detainees at 5,000.

The heaviest punishments were pronounced by the tribunal in Nador in trials behind closed doors.  On February 29, the same Observer reported that after pronouncing 175 new judgments (up to a maximum of 5 years in prison), the number of people convicted of the riots had risen to 700.  At the beginning of March, the PPS (9) announced that 66 students, including 2 members of the PPS and three of the USFP, from Agadir had been sentenced to prison terms ranging from 6 months to 2 years.

Le Monde reported on March 16 that, according to the authorities, around 1,800 people were imprisoned for riots, while the opposition spoke of 1,550 prisoners.  On 18 April MAP (10) reported that the majority of 1,800 detainees in 13 different cities had since been sentenced to prison terms ranging from 2 months to 10 years and to fines of 200 to 20,000 Dirhams.  At the same time, MAP announced that the Oujda Tribunal had sentenced one of the defendants to 15 years in prison, the most difficult sentence up to that point.

Le Monde of 30 May wrote that approximately 1,000 of the approximately 1,500 arrested had since been sentenced.

On April 28, 2008 a mass grave was discovered “by accident” near the Tawima military barracks just outside Nador.  There were 16 bodies in the mass grave, which at the time were victims of the Moroccan regime.  The bodies were transferred to the Al Hassani hospital in Nador for DNA testing.  It is unclear whether these are victims of the student demonstration in 1984 or of the Riffin rebellion during the years 1956-1959.  There would be several mass graves from both years.

After the appointment of the current King Mohamed VI in 1999, the so-called Reconciliation Commission was established the Instance Équité et Réconciliation (IER), with the aim of reconciling the regime and the Moroccan people for the crimes committed by the state during the period  1956–1999.

This commission was set up with a Royal Decree of Mohamed VI to send a signal to the people that he “distances himself” from state crimes under the reign of his grandfather, Mohamed V and his father Hassan II.  The new monarch wants to start with a clean slate.

The committee has issued a final report containing the recommendation to respect human rights.

The treatment of the more than 500 detainees of the Riffine People’s Movement in 2017 proves that nothing has changed in Morocco.  Torture, threatening with rape are the usual practices at the Moroccan police stations.  King Mohamed VI praised his policemen in his 2017 speech after the people had hoped for the prisoners’ grace and investigation after the gross violation of human rights.

Most of the article has been copied from this website: http://www.ethesis.net/marokko/marokko_deel_I_hfst_5_6.htm

Information on the website has also been used: www.amazigh.nl

(1) USSR Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Federation of Republics during the Communist period of Russia between 1922 and 1991, which was in ideological and power struggle with the USA at world level.
(2) GNP gross national product, The total value added of all goods and services in a given period, usually one year.
(3) IMF The International Monetary Fund, A UN organization for international monetary cooperation, financial crisis relief and credit for states with payment problems.
(4) The Paris Club, an international informal group of countries that mediates between lenders and countries that have little or no ability to repay loans.
(5) World Bank, An international financing institution providing loans, credits, guarantees and technical assistance to developing countries and countries in transition.
(6) FAZ De Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a national German newspaper.
(7) ATMF Association des Travailleurs Maghrébins de France, Association of Moroccan Workers in France.
(8) MAP Maghreb Arab Press, Moroccan State Press Agency.
(9) USFP Union Socialiste des Forces Populaires, Moroccan socialist party.
(10) PPS Parti du Progrès et du Socialisme, Moroccan socialist party.

Translated by: Najat M.


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