The Moroccan army, Forces Armées Royales, abbreviated as (FAR), was founded on 14th of May 1956. This was after the dissolution of the French protectorate in Morocco, which lasted from 1912 to 1956. When it was founded, the ‘new’ army consisted of 30,000 people: more than 14,000 people, including 200 officers, from the French army, 10,000 from the Spanish army and about 5,000 from the resistance movement Armée de Libération Nationale (ALN) (1).
The new officers of this army received accelerated training in the schools of the occupiers, Spain and France. The Stakeholders of the FAR were General Mohamed Mezian (1897-1975) who served in the Spanish army and Kettani Ben Hammou (1910 – 1965) who served in the French army: both officers reached the rank of general in the Spanish and French army respectively during the occupation of Morocco.
Moroccan soldiers in the French army have fought against compatriots and neighbors such as Algerians and also fought under French flag in Vietnam.
Most of the Riffians in the occupying army have fought on the side of dictator Franco in the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939. Before that they fought against their own Rif population in the Rif-war (1911-1927). They served mainly in the Spanish infantry units called the Regulares and the Spanish Foreign Legion La Legión Española.
The Moroccan armed forces consists of the army, the air force and the navy. The latter was founded in 1960. The gendarmerie and the Royal Guard are officially part of the army.
(1) ALN is a resistance movement that sought the decolonization of North Africa, it was founded in the Rif in 1954.
Source: Amazigh Informatie Centrum
Translated by: Najat M.
To be continued
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A dozen republican Riffians burned and trampled on the Moroccan flag and the portrait of King Mohammed VI on Sunday 19 January in Betz, northern France. Videos and photos were posted on social networks.
On the anniversary of the events of 19 January 1984, when thousands of Moroccans protested against the high cost of living, more than a dozen of Riffian republicans demonstrated in front of the castle of King Mohammed VI in Betz, northern France. They burned and trampled on the portrait of the sovereign as well as the Moroccan flag. Images broadcast on social networks triggered a wave of indignation. Similar events had already taken place in October in Paris, when Riffian independence activists burned the Moroccan flag.
Demonstrators calling themselves “opponents of the monarchical regime” chanted the slogan “Vive le Rif“, waving flags of the Rif republic.
On 19 January 1984, thousands of Moroccans took to the streets, particularly in the cities of Nador, Al Hoceima, Tetouan, Ksar El Kebir and Marrakech, to protest against the high cost of living and the country’s economic situation as part of a “revolt for bread and dignity”. After days of riots, the forces of law and order intervened harshly caused hundreds of deaths to restore control.
Similarly in Paris
During the demonstration organised by Riffians in Paris on Saturday 26 October to mark the third anniversary of the death of Mohcine Fikri, a fish merchant whose death sparked a social protest movement in the Rif in northern Morocco, “republicans” trampled on and burned the country’s flag.
They demanded “the independence of the Rif” from “Alawite colonialism [in reference to the Moroccan royal family, editor’s note]”, waving the flags of the “Rif Republic” founded by Mohamed ben Abdelkrim el-Khattabi in the 1920s.
Faced with this gesture, which triggered an outcry in the Cherif kingdom, the Council of the Moroccan Community Abroad reacted firmly in a statement published on its official website, condemning a “childish” and “cowardly” act, which shows how much the kingdom was shocked by these acts and demonstrates its weak position. Also the regime and palace friendly news outlets like le360.ma came out with accusations and lies to condemn the flag burning, while not even daring to mention the reason of the sit-in!
By: Editorial Amazigh Informatie Centrum
Yuba whose real name is Jabir El Ghadioui (1982) (1) is a Riffian activist in Germany. For some years now he has been threatened for his views on the political and social situation in Northern Morocco, also known as the Rif. These intimidations and threats have increased since showing solidarity with the resistance movement in the Rif, the Hirak.
The Moroccan government has shown in its own country that it does not shy away from violence against its political opponents. Hundreds have been imprisoned and tortured. But does it go so far as to use violence against her critics abroad in addition to threats and intimidation? In Yuba’s case, it seems to be like that!
Resistance against the Moroccan regime
Yuba has been providing a live stream video every Friday night for 4 years now on his Facebook page (2) and on YouTube (3). His 5000 Facebook friends and 24.000 followers and 34.000 subscribers on YouTube can follow information, news and backgrounds on what is happening in the Rif in Tamazight, the language of that region. Yuba is a fierce opponent of the Moroccan regime. In his opinion the Rif is occupied by them. And according to him, King Mohammed VI is a foreign ruler who, in his opinion, has no legitimacy to rule the Rif. Not only because he is a descendant of the Alawites, a dynasty which has no connection whatsoever with the Rif and does not even speak the Amazigh language, but above all because they collaborated with the colonial powers of France and Spain. These two countries waged a bloody war in the 1920s against the Riffian army of Abdel Karim Khattabi, who managed to liberate the Rif and established a sovereign state – the Rif Republic. The colonial powers only managed to defeat him by deploying huge armies and bombardments using chemical means, like mustard gas. It was France and Spain who hoisted the kings of Morocco to the throne.
These views and criticisms did not make Yuba popular among the royalists in Morocco. But the supporters of political Islam did not like him either. This was because through his livestreams in his mother tongue he addressed the way in which mosques in Europe are used to promote the economic and political interests of the Moroccan regime.
In his livestreams, for example, he spoke about the role of the Moroccan secret service in broadcasting imams to Europe to provide ‘Moroccan Islam lessons’ (4).
But through the example of a Moroccan imam in Amsterdam he also showed how far power, theocracy and dictatorship reach. This imam used his Friday sermon to speak out against the solidarity with the Hirak that would be forbidden in Islam (5). The Riffian writer Asis Aynan filed a complaint about this, as it creates obstacles to integration.
He also reported on a video, in which a security advisor of the Moroccan king can be seen stating that Spain should allow Morocco to proclaim its version of Islam, otherwise the country would be hit by terrorist attacks (6).
The fact that these statements by Yuba do not make him loved is evident from the many threats that reach him through social media, but which he also experiences physically. For instance, three people in Düsseldorf, in Moroccan cafés were looking for him, shortly after he had discussed in his video the influence of the regime on the Assalam mosque in Wuppertal. They let it be known that they intended to mistreat him and murder his “mother“.
Another incident took place in a Turkish restaurant, where five Moroccans tried to provoke him by shouting ‘Long live the king’. Yuba then picked up his phone and planned to call the police, whereupon the men fled.
Political attacks or terrorism?
That these actions do not make Yuba popular with the Moroccan authorities either is shown by a series of incidents.
It all started in 2015 with an essay by Yuba on various Moroccan online news sites (8). In this he discussed the theological thinking and its role in the maintenance of tyranny. In the article Yuba accuses the regime of abusing religion in oppressing and humiliating the people. The reaction was immediate. An imam, Mohamed Wasaidi, spent his entire Friday sermon (35 minutes) in the mosque of Yuba’s hometown, Tazaghin in the Rif, on Yuba‘s Essay (9).
He called on Yuba to be kill. In the words of the imam:
“…this dog [Yuba] doesn’t even deserve a life, nor a place in this muslim society… The murder of this kind of enemies of God is a religious obligation… The unbelievers are not far away, they are rather between us, the example is this pernicious so-called Yuba of Tazaghin… Our prophet Mohamed insisted on Jihad against this kind of enemies… He has to be executed in public… There has to be someone who has enough guts to kill him…”
This call made on 8 May 2015 can be seen as inciting murder with a terrorist intent. This was also the thought of Yuba, who immediately reported it to the police in Düsseldorf when he was informed of it.
In February 2016, while he was in the Rif, he decided to report the imam to the Gendarmerie post of the municipality of Kebdani.
He was assisted by a lawyer to defend him during the trial. This lawyer was convinced that they would win this case given the evidence, the whole sermon was on an audio file and the mosque was full of witnesses. An indictment was filed with the court of Nador. He was supported in this action by activists in the Nador region.
The imam of the Oulad Brahim mosque in Nador, however, was of a different opinion, he declared to support the statements of imam Wasaidi. A piquant fact is that although the views of this imam Mohamed Bounis were known, he was allowed to preach in Europe, among other things he gave a ‘lecture’ in the mosque in Zeist (10).
Although it was surprising that these imams were able to keep going, Yuba continued to have confidence in the good outcome of the case. After the Casablanca attacks in 2003 (11) Morocco, according to its own words, has a ‘zero tolerance’ policy against sowing hatred and strict anti-terror legislation. And these were the personal views of two imams!
This was Yuba’s idea, until the moment the lawyer let him know that he no longer wanted to assist him in this case. When asked in various circles why this lawyer, who had already received an amount in advance, suddenly withdrew, he was told that he had been ordered to do so by higher authority. “
I knew that the Moroccan regime has a dirty history when it comes to human right violations, but I hadn’t thought yet that it would get involved in terrorist attacks. But the news that my lawyer had withdrawn under pressure from higher instance made it clear to me that the regime wanted to get rid of me. Because they don’t want to be associated with these attacks, they’re playing the card of Islamic terrorism.” Thus Yuba.
And that the Moroccan government has more to do with the actions of the imams is also shown by the fact that imams like Mohamed Wasaidi are employed by the Moroccan Ministry of Religious Affairs and that the Friday sermons in Morocco are inspected by the authorities. Simply making an appeal in a full mosque to kill someone without the knowledge of the authorities is highly improbable. The imam worked in the same mosque for another four years after his ‘murder sermon’, after which he was transferred to a mosque in Aaroui where he still works.
German security service
Yuba felt that the regime wanted to get rid of him when he was visited in 2018 by two gentlemen from the German security service, the Bundesverfassungsschutz, who asked him a number of ‘routine’ questions about his report against the imam. But they also asked him if he felt unsafe and sometimes felt that he was being pursued.
Shortly afterwards he was told that the German authorities had dismantled a terrorist cell and that his photographs was found on the files of the confiscated computer. He was therefore of the opinion that these two events were not separate.
That this had not yet been done appeared when in April 2020 the same two gentlemen of the Bundesverfassungsschutz, were at the door again. With again the request to ask a few ‘routine questions’. Although these visits may also have to do with the personal protection of Yuba, who receives many death threats through social media from Morocco as well as from Europe, (7) he wanted to know the real reason for the visit. But the questions are the same, did he feel safe and did he ever notice anything strange? In short, he was left with more questions than he got answers to.
Until on 15 April 2020, a few days after the visit, he learned through the German media that the authorities of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia NRW, which includes Düsseldorf, have arrested five men from Tajikistan who are suspected of planning terrorist attacks on a US army base and a YouTuber.
Yuba thought that just like that he could be that YouTuber. When asked why the suspects from Tajikistan would want to kill him, when they don’t even understand his language, the Tarifit. Yuba answers that this is precisely the Moroccan regime’s tactic, so after a possible attack they can blame the terrorists and a link between terrorists from Tajikistan and the Moroccan regime won’t be made easily.
A history of state violence
The suspicions of Yuba are not strange if one considers the history of Morocco towards citizens who are not well disposed towards the regime. For example, it is known that the father of the present king had thousands of civilians killed and disappeared during his reign. But also the current king doesn’t seem to take human rights very seriously, given the imprisonment of civilians in the Reef who were demonstrating for better living conditions.
But the regime is also suspected of eliminating political opponents with targeted attacks.
There are serious suspicions that the Moroccan regime is behind the murder of journalist Omar Benjelloun in 1975. This case is quite similar to the intentions of the previously mentioned and imprisoned terrorist cells.
In the same way it appears that this murder was committed by an islamic organisation called Islamic Youth, the founder of this organisation Abdelkrim Motii still lives in exile (12).
This Abdelkrim Motii has always denied the murder during several interviews. According to him, his organisation grew too fast and became too big in the eyes of the Moroccan regime. According to Motii, the regime saw an opportunity to eliminate two enemies in one fell swoop. By eliminating their political opponent Omar Benjelloun for good and putting the murder in the shoes of the Islamic youth.
Yuba is just one of the many Riffian activists in Europe who are trying to expose the Morocco regime. Morocco, for example, tried to accuse a well-known Riffian activist who is in government service in the Netherlands of subversive activities. Morocco then asked the Netherlands for his extradition. After a thorough investigation by the Dutch government, Morocco got zero on the petition.
To be continued…
Legend / sources
1 Jabir El Ghadioui was born in 1982 in Tazaghin, a place on the Mediterranean Sea between Nador and Al Hoceima. He joined the Amazigh Movement in the Reef as an activist, later he became a sympathizer and participated in the demonstrations of the ‘Graduate Unemployed’ then became active in the Movement of Autonomy for Rif. In 2011 he fled to Europe. In 2014 he began to express himself as a Rif Republican and regarded Morocco as a colonizer of the Rif, he did so with messages on his own Facebook page. In the year 2015 he became a naturalised German citizen. In 2018 he officially renounced Moroccan nationality and informed the Moroccan authorities of this in writing.
2 Facebook page of Yuba https://www.facebook.com/amanghi.agrawli
3 YouTube channel of Yuba https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClfEvEuWjr0wbWsgyZeFfwQ
4 Relationship between Moroccan Secret Service and imams
In November 2008, the Moroccan Ministry of Islamic Affairs held a meeting in Marrakech, which was attended by a large number of imams and heads of Islamic communities in Spain. During this huge meeting the imams were promised funding for their organisations and mosques in exchange for their loyalty to the Moroccan state’s understanding of Islam. The question posed at the time to the Spanish intelligence service is: what is the relationship between the head of secret service DGED Yassine Mansouri and the religion to frame this meeting of imams working in Spain by DGED. https://medium.com/@AmazighInformationCentre/how-to-use-Morocco terrorism-for-the-reef people-movement-to-be-beaten-cd77b94606de
5 Imam forbids Moroccans to demonstrate in the Netherlands https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FORip4svwLE
6 Advisor King of Morocco threatens and blackmails Europe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9q1YXd_FFU
7 Death threat to Yuba on social media https://youtu.be/OCn84XgXETs
8 Article of Yuba on Moroccan sites
9 Friday speech by imam Mohamed Wasaidi http://islamino.net/play-Amazigh-61283.html
10 ‘Lecture’ of Moroccan imam in Zeist https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zS6eZBLN3oo
11 Moroccan ex-minister ‘testifies’ on terrorism https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWiBZ3v72uc
12 Abdelkrim Motii https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdelkrim_Motii
The Moroccan army committed a failed coup on July 10, 1971 against the king in the palace of Skhirat. The following year Air Force officers commit a new coup, this time the plane of King Hassan II, on the return trip from France, was attacked in the air by fighter jets.
In the near future, the Amazigh Information Centum will publish more short articles on this historical event. We will do this by means of testimonies of persons who were present during this incident, such as the fighter pilot Salah Hachad or referencing books of critical authors such as Gilles Perrault, Stephen Smith or various newspaper articles.
Port Lyautey / Kenitra, largest US army base
The United States built military bases, radar stations and other military facilities in Morocco during the Second World War and the Cold War. The US defense personnel were permanently present in Morocco. The naval and air force base Kenitra was built by France in 1933 during the French occupation. The area where the base is located was conquered by the US in 1942 from the French Vichy regime during Operation Torch.
Nearly 10,000 Americans were stationed at Kenitra Air Force Base in the 1950s, making Kenitra the largest US overseas base outside of Japan. It was a closed American town within Morocco with all necessary facilities. Kenitra is located at a distance of 40 km from Rabat. After 1956, the Moroccan air force also used part of this air base where the Moroccan third air force base is housed (BAFRA 3). The American army left Kenitra’s army base in 1977.
Translated by: Najat M.