Wednesday, October 27, 2010

U.S. Middle East talks--a model for Western Sahara?

U.S. Middle East talks--a model for Western Sahara?Posted By Anna Theofilopoulou, Jacob Mundy Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - 12:23 AM Share

The recent decision by the Obama administration to invite Israel and the Palestinian Authority to engage in serious negotiations over the Middle East conflict should be instructive for those interested in resolving one that seems almost as intractable -- the Western Sahara dispute.

Key to this new effort in the Middle East conflict is (1) the US is sponsoring and supporting the talks; (2) the US has demanded that the two negotiate seriously, tackle the difficult subjects that have trounced previous attempts for resolution; and (3) the US has given the two sides a one-year deadline.

Though the fate of the Israel-Palestinian talks still hangs on a knife's edge, a similar attitude on the part of United States towards the Western Sahara dispute might pave the way to a durable solution to one of Africa's oldest conflicts.

Although there are many differences between the two conflicts, which the protagonists on both sides hasten to point out, there are also several undeniable parallels. They are both about the annexation of a geographical area by another state resulting in a group of people either coming under occupation or becoming homeless. In both cases the participants pay lip service to the result that the international community would like to see but with their actions boycott such outcome. Both conflicts have resulted in thousands of refugees living in camps or in exile for over two generations. In both cases the key parties are unequal in power, on the one side a powerful Western-backed state and on the other a former liberation organization with influential allies. In both cases, the US has been a strong, steady and undeniable supporter of the occupying state while paying lip service to the rights of the dispossessed nation.

Morocco, who took control of the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara in 1975, precipitated a war with the Sahrawi nationalist front Polisario, which has been backed by Algeria and the African Union. Morocco, with strong support from France and the Regan administration, was able to occupy most of Western Sahara by the time the UN Security Council got involved in 1988.

Another important parallel between Western Sahara and the Middle East conflict is that both peace processes made important strides when the Carter, Bush Sr. and Clinton administrations maintained an active interest in seeking a resolution and pressured both sides to make compromises. Conversely, both conflicts drastically deteriorated under the George W. Bush administration, who not only adopted an increasingly passive attitude but also an unabashedly partisan one towards Morocco and Israel in his second term.

Recently getting things back on track, the Obama administration told the Middle East protagonists that the path to Israeli security and Palestinian statehood is through negotiations. The parties to the Western Sahara conflict should be told that only through negotiations will Morocco and Polisario be able to mutually define the meaning of sovereignty and self-determination. These negotiations should be based upon the exchange of views and compromise, not dictating outcomes.

An important aspect of a more aggressive initiative in Western Sahara will be the coordination of the Security Council. China and Russia have tended to let the United States do the heavy lifting with some neutral support from Britain. France, on the other hand, maintains an unambiguously pro-Moroccan position on the issue and Spain, the former colonial power in Western Sahara, vacillates between the parties depending on which party holds power.

A serious initiative in Western Sahara means that it will be imperative that the Group of Friends for Western Sahara -- United States, France, United Kingdom, Russia and Spain -- first agree that there will be no daylight between them regarding the framework for negotiations based upon previous UN Security Council resolutions (i.e., a negotiated political solution that provides for self-determination). Indeed, if there is any need for pre-negotiations in Western Sahara, it is amongst those Western states claiming the most interest in the issue.

At the beginning, Western Sahara does not need high-level intervention from the White House or the State Department. Luckily for the United States, they have the next best thing: the current UN envoy to Western Sahara is former US diplomat Christopher Ross, who brings with him the neutrality of the UN Secretariat and the ear of Washington. For now, all that is needed to jumpstart the peace process in Western Sahara is for Presidents Obama and Sarkozy to the let parties know behind the scenes that they must engage in serious negotiations, listen to each other and get involved in a meaningful give and take. Then a joint communiqué from the US, France and Spain should follow that clearly lays out the terms of reference for the talks, establishes a one-year deadline for an agreement and commits the Security Council to a withdrawal from Western Sahara if no agreement is reached. Indeed, the US should leverage its veto over the UN mission in Western Sahara, which France backs for Morocco and Spain backs for its historical guilt, to get Paris and Madrid on board.

In Western Sahara, unfortunately, the motivation for spending the political capital necessary for peace is far less compelling than in Israel and Palestine. Since the 1991 ceasefire, most of the violence in Western Sahara has either come in the form of Morocco's often-brutal repression of dissident Sahrawis or the structural violence of thousands of Western Saharan refugees living in harsh exile in camps in Tindouf, Algeria. Apart from renewed Polisario threats to return to arms if its national rights are not recognized, the situation is not one that seems to threaten regional stability or US interests. Indeed, Morocco's 100,000 strong military occupation of Western Sahara makes it one of the most secure areas in a region increasingly seen as infested with an Al-Qaida franchise. When compared to the suffering and instability wrought by the Israel-Palestinian conflict on daily basis, it is no wonder that Western Sahara has earned low prioritization.

Nonetheless the Sahrawi refugees must come out of 35 years of exile in the camps to live a regular life in Western Sahara. Morocco needs to address its own domestic socio-economic issues and stop pouring resources of unknown size into a territory that it can only keep calm and quiet through repression. Further, regional economic integration and security cooperation on terrorism in Northwest Africa needs to come out of the deep freeze engendered by the enmity between Rabat and Algiers over Western Sahara.

As in the Middle East, there are no guarantees that the status quo is sustainable in Western Sahara (indeed, US Special Envoy Ross has recently noted the explicit non-sustainability of the status quo). It is now clear that leaving the parties to their own devices in the Middle East has only served to undermine the conditions for a viable two state solution. Similarly, the chances for a peaceful, stable and long-term resolution for Western Sahara will only diminish as the Security Council allows Morocco and Polisario to wage war-by-other-means without respite.

Often one hears in Washington that the parties must first show the political will necessary to solve the issue. Only then will the US back an aggressive peace initiative in Western Sahara. The problem with this argument is that it leaves the parties in the driver's seat. Anybody who understands the conflict should know that this will never happen. As long as either Morocco or Polisario can veto the peace-process, whether directly or through their respective proxies, the Security Council will be held hostage to a deteriorating situation.

Anna Theofilopoulou covered Western Sahara and North Africa in the Department of Political Affairs of the United Nations from 1994 to 2006. She worked closely with former US Secretary of State, James A. Baker, III throughout his appointment as Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General on Western Sahara.

Jacob Mundy holds a PhD from the University of Exeter's Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. He is coauthor of Western Sahara: War, Nationalism and Conflict Irresolution (Syracuse University Press). Find more information about the book at

Monday, October 25, 2010

Escalation of violence against Saharawi civilians as Moroccan soldiers open fire killing a young boy near El Aaiun protest camp

Escalation of violence against Saharawi civilians as Moroccan soldiers open fire killing a young boy near El Aaiun protest camp

El Aaiun (Occupied Western Sahara), October 25th 2010, Sandblast Team

A 14-year-old Saharawi boy was killed and seven others were injured yesterday (Sunday) evening near the Saharawi civilian protest camp outside El Aaiun. The Moroccan army opened fire on two vehicles the victims were travelling in as they attempted to deliver essential food, water and medicines to friends and relatives among the thousands of Saharawi camped out for the last two weeks some 12km east of the occupied capital of Western Sahara (El Aaiun).

The boy, Nayem El-Garhi, died instantly in the Nissan pick-up truck in which he was travelling, when it came under a hail of bullets at a control post, outside the camp. Saharawi sources report that seven others were wounded in the two vehicles, including the brother of the victim, Zupir El-Garhi. A Moroccan source puts the number of wounded at three people. All were taken to the military hospital in El Aaiun for treatment.

The victims had been pursued by the Moroccan army from the moment they left the city until their car was brought to a halt by the bullets some 2km from the Gdeim Izik camp, said the Saharawi source.

"Repeated calls by the Polisario Front and the Saharawi Government warning of imminent aggressive intervention by Moroccan forces against the protesters, have been confirmed by this cruel murder and attack on innocent young people who were trying to bring food to their families," a statement issued to the Sahara Press Service said.

The statement, which named two of the seven injured as Lagdaf El-Alwi and Mohamed Daudi, asserted that "the credibility of the UN is now being tested" and called on the international community to respond with a "rapid intervention to prevent a further tragedy.”

A delegation of peers and MPs will today address the issue in the UK with Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt MP, and have released the following reactions to last night’s developments:

“This death is a tragedy, but there are fears this is just the beginning. The UK government can help by urgently raising the issue with the Moroccan authorities to ensure the safety of those who peacefully protest the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara.” [Jonathon Evans MP]

“This is a tragedy and a disgrace and at a meeting I have later today with the Foreign Office Minister I’ll be asking that the UK government make the strongest possible reps to the Moroccans not only to allow safe passage but also, to end the political stalemate by allowing the people of the Western Sahara the free choice to decide the future of their own land.” [Jeremy Corbyn MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Western Sahara]

“I will be raising this issue with the Minister. We cannot continue to ignore the brutality of the Moroccan authorities against those who peacefully demonstrate for their right to independence. The first step is for the Security Council to implement human rights monitoring in Western Sahara.” [Mark Williams MP]

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Video of Camp Independence, alias: Camp mahfud ali Baiba

News from Camp Independence( alias Camp Mahfud Ali Baiba) October21,2010

تقرير عاجل جدا من مخيم النازحين والعيون المحتلة

بعد ما يزيد عن ثمانية أيام من النضال السلمي الراقي الحضاري الذي عبر عنه الصحراويين من خلال نزوحهم الجماعي، هاهي سلطات الاحتلال المغربي بشتى تلاوينها الأمنية والعسكرية تحاول اعادة صياغة جرائمها التي ارتكبتها أثناء غزوها الصحراء الغربية يوم 31 أكتوبر 1975، وذلك من خلال التعزيزات المتواصلة للجيش المغربي والقوات المساعدة والدرك الملكي والشرطة وقوات التدخل السريع، بمعداتهم وآلياتهم وأسلحتهم وذخيرتهم الحية.

ففي الأيام الأربع الأولى كانت الاستفزازات من اختصاص الدرك الملكي، والتي بدأت بزيارات كبار مسؤوليه الاستفزازاية للمخيم، واعطائهم الأمر للطائرات الاستطلاعية العمودية منها والمروحية لأن تقوم بطلعاتها الجوية من أجل تخويف النازحين، وقد سبب في سقوط جنين من رحم أمه وهي لالة أم لخوت. وأمام عدم اكتراثهم لهذه الاستفزازات، نهجت السلطات المغربية سياستين متوزايتين ترسخان مدى تنسيق كل الأجهزة القمعية، حيث أن القوات المساعدة التي كانت ولازالت الى جانب الدرك الملكي قبل ثلاث أيام من كتابة التقرير استنفرت قواها الساعة الثالثة بعد منتصف الليل لتخويف النازحين، مما سبب ذعر في صفوف النسوة والأطفال والمسنين الا أن عزيمة حرس المخيم ذللت من جبروت هذه القوة بالتنظيم المحكم ومحاولتها صد أي هجوم بصدورهم العارية، في المقابل الشرطة المغربية وفي ذات الأثناء تمركزت في مناطق متعددة شرق وشمال شرق العيون المحتلة حتى لا يتمكن النازحين الجدد من الوفود على المخيم، فتمت مطاردة العديد من السيارات والاعتداء على من فيها ومصادرتها بحجة النقل السري، ورغم ذلك انضمت الى المخيم يوم السبت الماضي 550 خيمة.

ومنذ أول أمس بدأ الحصار يشتد، حيث عمدت السلطات المغربية الى منع الدعم من أكل وأدوية وماء، وذلك بمطاردة السيارات التي تحمله لثنيها عن الوصول، ولم تنجح نسبيا. بالموازاة مع ذلك انقطعت شبكة الاتصال الهاتفي، مع العمل على بث الشائعات التي تلين من عزم النازحين وترهيب كل من حاول الانضمام اليهم. وكان النازحين قد وجهوا نداء استغاثة للمنتظم الدولي من أجل توفيرالتغذية اللازمة لهم والعمل على انقاذ مرضى السكري والربو الحاد من الموت البطء من خلال ارسال مادة الأنسولين والأكسجين.

وظهر أمس الأربعاء 20 أكتوبر 2010، تحركت الدعاية الاستخباراتية المغربية وعملائها ببث الأكاذيب والمغالطات عن النازحين في ظل التعتيم الاعلامي المفروض عليهم، من قبيل:

- أن لجنة النازحين تفاوض مع ولاة في الداخلية المغربية قادمين من الرباط،
- أن النازحين سيحصلون على العمل والسكنى.

الا أن ما شوهد عكس ذلك حيث طوقت العيون المحتلة وبخاصة الجهة الشرقية والشرقية الشمالية منها بالكامل، من طرف الشرطة المغربية التي استقدم عدد هائل من أفرادها الى حدود ظهر اليوم في أفواج من أكادير ومراكش المغربيتين، والتي تنظم دوريات متلاحمة ومتواصلة بأحياء المدينة، وتقيم هذه القوات المستقدمة من داخل المغرب في:
- دار الطالب،
- شارع الفرسان،
- المستودع الاقليمي،
- شارع الحزام،
- ملعب الشيخ محمد لغظف،
- شارع السمارة،
- مقر مكتب الكهرباء
- مستودع شركة بيرا
- شارع راس الخيمة.
- شارع المغرب العربي

وعزز الجيش المغربي من تواجده وتعداده بالموازاة مع ذلك، حيث حاصرت المخيم أمس 110 سيارات من نوع تويوتا مكدسة بعناصر الجيش قادمة من أم أدريكة والسمارة والكلتة، دعمت ب 30 سيارة مكشوفة، بالاضافة الى (الديارات) " تشكيلات التدخل السريع العسكري"، كل هذه الآليات قادمة من مناطق عسكرية بالصحراء الغربية حيث تتمركز منذ بداية الاحتلال، وهي كالآتي:

- الراجمة الأولى بمنطقة الكلتة المحتلة،
- الراجمة السادسة بالسمارة المحتلة،
- لابريكاد العاشرة بمنطقة حوزة المحتلة.

وصبيحة اليوم الخميس 21 أكتوبر 2010، شدد الجيش المغربي الى جانب القوات المساعدة الحصارعلى النازحين الصحراويين وتطويق كل المنافذ المؤدية اليهم، ومطاردة السيارات القادمة من العيون المحتلة ومنعها من الدخول الى المخيم مستعملين: الرصاص الحي والحجارة وقنينات الزجاج والهروات، مما ينذر بكارثة انسانية وتقتيل جماعي بحق الصحراويين العزل.

هذه المطاردات والملاحقات والتطويق و العسكري والأمني، أدى الى الهجوم على السيارات الوافدة على المخيم، حيث أنه حسب لائحة أولية من مصادر موثوقة بعين المكان، تعرضت 12 سيارة من نوع لانردوفير الى تكسير زجاجها والتهجم والاعتداء على من فيها بالضرب والرمي بقنينات الزجاج، وهو الذي أدى الى اصابة العديد بصابات متفاوتة الخطورة من بينهم حسب اللائحة الأولية دائما:

- فاطمة بوتباعة: اصابة على مستوى العين بزجاج،
- حورية الموساوي: اصابة على مستوى العين بزجاج،
- المهداوي أحمد ولد المحجوب، اصابات متفاوتة الخطورة على مستوى الرقبة والكتف والكلي،
- خديجتو ماء العينين: اصابة على مستوى الذراع،
- صلاح الجبار: اصابة على مستوى اليد،
- سيداتي الشكوطي: اصابة على مستوى اليد،
- أحسينا أحمادي: اصابة على مستوى الذراع،
- لحسن الحيسوني: اصابة على مستوى الرجل.

ولم يقف الحصار عند هذا الحد، بل تعمل السلطات المغربية على أشكال جديدية قديمة لحصار النازحين وتجويعهم، حيث شوهدت منتصف اليوم الخميس 21 أكتوبر 2010 جرافتان تعملان على حفر حزام رملي شبيه بحزام الذل والعار، يفصل العيون المحتلة عن النازحين الصحراويين شرقا، حيث حفرتا الى حدود كتابة هذا التقرير ما يعادل متر ونصف الى متران، وذلك ابتداءا من شمال شرق حي الراحة الذي يوجد في أقصى شرق العيون المحتلة متجهتان نحو جنوبه، في احتمال واضح الى حصار المدينة عسكريا وأمنيا وذلك بمحاولة سلطات الاحتلال المغربي فتح بوابات صغيرة لا يتسنى لمن يريد مغادرة العيون المحتلة شرقا المرور من غيرها.

كل هذا وغيره من أشكال الحصار المفروض على النازحين شرق العيون المحتلة والعيون المحتلة نفسها، يشير الى أن حياة النازحين الصحراويين ومصيرهم في خطر شديد، سيما وأن الجرحى والمرضى والحوامل منهم في حالة سيئة جراء هذا الحصار والتجويع والتقتيل البطيء الذي يطالهم.

الخميس 21 أكتوبر 2010
العيون المحتلة

Friday, October 15, 2010

Saharawi Govt. Press Release _ French Version.

Ministerio de Información

En signe de protestation contre les conditions socio-économiques plus que précaires et l’occupation de leur pays, le Sahara Occidental par le Maroc, les populations sahraouies dans les territoires occupés ont opté depuis trois jours pour une autre forme de la résistance pacifique en s’exilant massivement en dehors des villes et en dressant des Campement de fortune. Le nombre de ces personnes qui se trouvent à 18 km à l’est d’El Aaiun, capitale du Sahara Occidental, avoisine 7000 personnes.
La réaction des autorités marocaine ne s’est pas faite attendre puisqu’ elles ont dépêché, en plus de l’inspecteur général des forces armées marocaines, Abdelaziz Benani, du patron de la gendarmerie, Housni Benslimane et de hauts gradés de l’armée, des unités des forces armées royales, de la gendarmerie et des forces auxiliaires qui ont procédé à l’encerclement des dites populations par des fils barbelés et en leur refusant tout approvisionnement en eau, la nourriture ou les médicaments.
La répression marocaine féroce et les descentes punitives des services secrets marocains, notamment à Boujdour dont les populations se sont solidarisées avec celles d’El Aaiun et Smara ont fait 70 blessés et débouché sur des centaines d'arrestations, sur fond de violences massives des droits de l'homme. A l’heure qu’il est, et selon les témoignages qui continuent d'être recueillis, les informations en provenance du Sahara Occidental font état d’une pratique généralisée de la torture
La gravité de la situation dans les territoires occupés du Sahara Occidental, et notamment celle de ces populations, exige un engagement réel de la part de toute la Communauté internationale, d’autant que leur protection ne peut plus attendre, et chaque retard apportera inéluctablement de nouvelles souffrances.
Le gouvernement de la République Arabe Sahraouie Démocratique et la Direction du Front POLISARIO, tout en dénonçant énergiquement la réaction brutale des forces d’occupation marocaines, lesquelles doivent respecter les obligations qui leur incombent en matière du droit humanitaire international, relatif à la protection des populations civiles en temps de guerre.
Le gouvernement sahraoui et le Front POLISARIO lancent un appel pressant à la Communauté internationale, notamment le Haut Commissariat des Nations Unies pour les Réfugiés (HCR), le Haut Commissariat des Nations Unies aux Droits de l’Homme pour mettre en application, sans délai, la quatrième Convention de Genève de 1949.
Ce mouvement de protestation, qui interpelle la communauté internationale pour trouver une issue urgente au conflit du Sahara Occidentale, basée sur la justice et le droit, intervient à la veille de la visite de M. Christopher Ross et démontre, de manière on ne peut clair, la frustration du peuple sahraoui devant l’impasse et l’échec des Nations Unies dans la mise en application des résolutions pertinentes quant à la décolonisation du Sahara Occidental.

Bir-Lehlou , 15 Octobre 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

Landmines in Western Sahara: A summary of 10 years

Western Sahara

Ten-Year Summary
Both the Polisario Front and Moroccan forces used antipersonnel mines until the 1991 UN-monitored cease-fire. In 1999, a Polisario representative stated that it would join the Mine Ban Treaty if eligible to do so. In November 2005, Polisario proclaimed a ban on antipersonnel mines by signing the Geneva Call Deed of Commitment. Polisario has been destroying its stockpile of antipersonnel mines since 2006.

Western Sahara is contaminated with mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW). A 2008 survey by Landmine Action identified considerable contamination, particularly from unexploded submunitions and mines. Landmine Action initiated battle area clearance operations in 2008.

Between 1999 and 2008, Landmine Monitor identified 151 mine/ERW casualties in Western Sahara (44 people killed, 102 injured, and five unknown) with most casualties reported in 2006–2008. Casualty data collection improved over the past decade, but was incomplete and the number of casualties was probably under-reported. Intensive risk education was carried out from 1998–2000. After this, efforts were limited and mostly carried out by volunteers in programs that lacked the funding necessary for adequate dissemination of risk messages.

Victim assistance efforts have been limited throughout the past decade. Emergency transport remained inadequate and many mine/ERW survivors died before reaching assistance. Medical facilities in refugee camps lacked adequately trained staff and resources. Rehabilitation and prosthetics improved in 2008, with the start of an ICRC-supported program. Despite some assistance, there was an acute lack of economic opportunities for survivors and psychological support in refugee camps.

Mine Ban Policy
The sovereignty of Western Sahara remains the subject of a dispute between the government of Morocco and the Polisario Front (the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguía el Hamra and Río de Oro). Polisario’s Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) is a member of the African Union, but is not universally recognized. It has no official representation in the UN, which prevents formal accession to the Mine Ban Treaty. Polisario officials have, since 1999, stated that they would adhere to the Mine Ban Treaty if permitted to do so.

On 3 November 2005, Polisario Minister of Defense, Mohamed Lamine Buhali, committed Polisario unilaterally to a ban on antipersonnel mines through the Deed of Commitment administered by the NGO Geneva Call. The Deed pledges Polisario to a ban on use, production, transfer and stockpiling of antipersonnel mines, and to cooperation in mine action.

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling
Both Polisario and the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces used mines extensively until the 1991 UN-monitored cease-fire. In the past decade, Morocco and Polisario have periodically traded accusations of new mine use, but both have denied it.[1] In October 2008, Moroccan officials told a visiting ICBL delegation that Polisaro rebels are still laying mines, but no concrete evidence has been presented.[2] In May 2009, however, Morocco told Landmine Monitor that it did not have any information about Polisario mine use in 2007 or 2008.[3]

Polisario is not known to have produced or exported antipersonnel mines. Polisario officials claim they acquired antipersonnel mines in the past by lifting them from Moroccan minefields, especially those around the berms (defensive earthen walls about three meters high).[4] Based on mines destroyed in 2006, 2007, and 2008, Polisario stocks have included antipersonnel mines of Belgian, Chinese, German, Israeli, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Soviet, United Kingdom, and Yugoslav manufacture.[5]

Polisario has not revealed the total number of antipersonnel mines it possesses. In 2002, Polisario told Landmine Monitor that it no longer had a stockpile of antipersonnel mines, except for 1,606 disarmed mines on display in a military museum.[6] In January 2006, however, Polisario’s Chief Engineer told Landmine Monitor that its stockpile consisted of more than 10,000 antipersonnel and antivehicle mines.[7]

Polisario has undertaken three public destructions of stockpiled antipersonnel mines, pursuant to the Deed of Commitment. It destroyed a combined total of 8,637 antipersonnel mines in February 2006 (3,316 mines), February 2007 (3,321 mines), and May 2008 (2,000 mines).[8] Landmine Monitor had previously reported that the 2006 and 2007 destruction events included 284 antivehicle mines. Geneva Call, which requested clarification from Polisario, was told that the destroyed mines were MK1 antipersonnel mines, not K1 antivehicle mines. Polisario also said that mines recorded as FMP1 were actually Portuguese-made M969 mines.[9]

Scope of the Problem
Western Sahara is contaminated with mines and ERW, especially cluster munition remnants and other UXO, although the precise extent of contamination is not known. More than 2,000km of berms were built during conflict in the 1980s, and remained after the 1991 cease-fire between Morocco and Polisario. Moroccan troops emplaced antipersonnel and antivehicle mines in and around the berms. Landmine Action has claimed that Western Sahara is “one of the most heavily mined territories in the world.”[10]

Landmine Action deployed to Western Sahara in 2006 and trained local operators to conduct a survey of dangerous areas and items. The survey, which concluded at the end of 2008, identified 154 cluster munition strike sites, 40 mined areas, one ammunition storage area, and 486 individual items requiring spot clearance.[11] It found that contamination is concentrated around water holes, traditional settlement sites, and transport routes and determined that unexploded submunitions pose the greatest threat to people and animals.[12] Landmine Action believes that further survey is required in the 5km buffer zone leading to the berms.[13]

Casualty data is hard to obtain. From reports received, Landmine Monitor identified 26 casualties (nine killed, 16 injured, and one unknown) in Western Sahara in 2008, resulting from 16 mine/ERW/cluster munition incidents. Casualties included 12 adults (11 men, one of unknown gender), four children (three boys and one girl) and 10 casualties of unknown age (at least three of whom were male, the gender of the rest was unknown). Antivehicle mines caused 10 casualties, antipersonnel mines four, submunitions four, and unknown devices eight. Seven casualties occurred in Polisario-controlled Western Sahara (one killed and six injured) and 19 casualties occurred in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara (eight killed, 10 injured, and one unknown). The most common activities at the time of the incident were travel (seven), herding/tending livestock (six), and playing (three). The activities of the other casualties at the time of the incident were not known [14]

Morocco reported 11 mine/ERW casualties (three killed and eight injured) in an annex to its voluntary Article 7 report for calendar year 2008, in mine-affected provinces of Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara.[15] Mauritania’s National Humanitarian Demining Program for Development (Programme National de Déminage Humanitaire pour le Développement, PNDHD) reported that two men from Mauritania, both nomadic herders, became casualties in a mine incident in Western Sahara in 2008. It was not noted if they were killed or injured. [16] It is not clear if these casualties overlap with those identified by Landmine Monitor in 2008.

The 26 casualties identified in 2008 represent a decrease from the 36 mine/ERW casualties in 18 incidents identified in Western Sahara in 2007 (12 killed and 24 injured). However, reporting for 2008 is not thought to be comprehensive. In 2007, seven casualties also occurred in Polisario-controlled Western Sahara (three killed and four injured) and 29 in were reported in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara (nine killed and 20 injured).

Casualties continued to occur in 2009, with 22 reported as of 10 August. One person was killed and 21 injured in nine mine/ERW incidents, include one citizen of Mauritania. Eight casualties occurred in Polisario-controlled Western Sahara (all were injured) and 14 were reported in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara (one killed and 13 injured). Six casualties were caused by antipersonnel mines, 11 by antivehicle mines, four by unknown mine types, and one by ERW.[17] This number includes five people injured while crossing a mined area of the berm during a protest, some 70km from the Saharawi refugee camps.[18]

In 2009, PNDHD reported two Mauritanian casualties, both nomadic men in two separate incidents in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara. One incident was caused by an antipersonnel mine and the other by an antivehicle mine. Both casualties died while being transported to Mauritania for emergency medical assistance.[19] There was insufficient detail to ascertain if these casualties were included in other reporting for Western Sahara.

Between 1999 and 2008, Landmine Monitor identified 151 mine/ERW casualties in Western Sahara (44 people killed, 102 injured, and five unknown). The majority, 86 casualties, were reported in the period from 2006–2008. This was most likely due to improved casualty data collection in recent years. The total probably under-represents the actual number of casualties during the period.[20]The total number of mine/ERW casualties in Western Sahara is not known and many incidents may not be recorded; estimates of the number of casualties since 1975 range up to some 2,500 people.[21] According to official Polisario estimates found in the ICRC annual report there were some 450 mine/ERW survivors from Western Sahara among the refugee population living in camps in Algeria.[22] A Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) assessment in the Tindouf refugee camps in 2000 identified 320 landmine survivor amputees. The Saharawi Campaign to Ban Landmines (SCBL) registered 345 mine/ERW survivors from the refugee camps. The Moroccan Association of Mine Victims in Smara reported that in 2007 at least 100 mine survivors were living in Smara, in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara.

Risk profile
Based on casualty and survey data the people most at risk of mine/ERW incidents are nomads with their herds, children playing, and people driving cars or riding camels. Mine/ERW contamination is concentrated around water holes, traditional settlement sites, and transport routes.[23]

Program Management and Coordination
The UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) has established a mine action coordination center (MACC), which was upgraded from a mine action “cell” in February 2008. Western Sahara does not have official victim assistance or risk education coordination.

Data collection and management
The MACC began to collect mine/ERW casualty data in 2008, and data collection continued to improve in 2008–2009, though under-reporting likely continued.[24] Due to the lack of facilities—including hospitals—in Western Sahara, incidents in remote areas often go unreported. In addition, people who are injured by mines/ERW close to the vicinity of the buffer zone often do not seek medical assistance, due to the political situation.[25] As a result many of them unnecessarily die from their injuries.

As of June 2009, the MACC was not yet entering casualty data into the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA). IMSMA was being adjusted to accept casualty data for 2009.[26] In October 2008, the MACC installed IMSMA at the Landmine Action office in Tifariti and provided training to both local and UK-based staff. The format of casualty data collection forms was finalized and they were being used by Landmine Action for entry of current incidents into IMSMA. No retrospective entry of casualty data had taken place as of August 2009. Landmine Action planned to work with the Chehid Cherif Landmine and War Victims Centre in Rabouni to verify casualty data at the center and enter it into IMSMA. [27]

The Collective of Saharawi Human Rights Defenders El-Aaiun Western Sahara (Collectif des défenseurs saharaouis des droits de l’homme El-Aaiun Sahara Occidental, CODESA) occasionally identified casualties reported in the media, but did not systematically report on casualties in 2008. In 2008, CODESA continued to operate informally, but a lack of legal status hindered its activities.[28] The SCBL did not provide casualty data to Landmine Monitor for 2008–2009.

Mine action program operators

National operators and activities
Risk education
Casualty data collection
Victim assistance


Chedid Cherif Landmine and War Victims Centre

Moroccan Red Crescent Society

International operators and activities
Risk education
Casualty data collection
Victim assistance

Landmine Action


Strategic mine action plans
A strategic mine action plan is in place, and as of June 2009, an operational plan for MACC had been completed as well.[29]

Integration of mine action with reconstruction and development
From 2008–2009, Landmine Action conducted an assessment of how development could be supported in areas cleared of contamination by its clearance teams. The assessment identified the need to increase food security for semi-nomadic populations in the northern sector where water supplies are intermittent. Goat herders are said to be most affected by lack of water and take risks by entering known contaminated areas to reach water. Some have initiated their own agricultural schemes which face suspension in the dry season when water is insufficient and herders are forced to return to the refugee camps. A proposed project would build on current entrepreneurial efforts to facilitate access to water for herders, to be launched in areas where Landmine Action has cleared farmland.[30]

Local ownership
Commitment to mine action and victim assistance
In early 1999, Morocco and Polisario signed bilateral military agreements in which both parties agreed to cooperate with MINURSO in the exchange of mine-related information, marking of mined areas, and the clearance and destruction of mines and UXO in the presence of MINURSO observers. These agreements do not cover minefields along the berm and minefields that Morocco regards as an integral part of its defenses.[31]

Mine action standards/Standing operating procedures
Landmine Action uses its own standing operating procedures and works in accordance with Memorandum of Understandings it signed with MINURSO and Polisario.[32]

Demining and Battle Area Clearance
Landmine Action was the only international demining operator in Western Sahara in 2008. It conducted only battle area clearance (BAC) and explosive ordnance disposal in 2008, but was seeking funding in 2009 to equip and train teams to conduct mine clearance.[33]

Battle area clearance in 2008
In January 2008, while its survey was ongoing, Landmine Action began clearance operations. In June 2008, it completed clearance of the village of Budib and conducted its first community handover to the local population.[34] Results of Landmine Action BAC in 2008 are summarized below.

BAC in 2008[35]

Surface BAC* (m2)
Sub-surface BAC (m2)
Unexploded submunitions destroyed
Other UXO destroyed
Antipersonnel mines destroyed
Antivehicle mines destroyed


* Visual inspection

Risk Education
Moroccan authorities continued to report mine/ERW risk education (RE) in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara in 2008—to 12,600 herders and nomads in 12 provinces[36] MINURSO provided improved safety training for UN staff.[37] No activities were identified in the Polisario-controlled part of Western Sahara.[38]

RE was provided by the Moroccan Army, local authorities and representatives from rural communes, provincial health authorities, the provincial offices of the Moroccan Red Crescent Society, the Disabled Persons Support Association (Association d’Appui aux Personnes Handicapées), and the Moroccan Association of Mine Victims in 2008.[39]

The Moroccan Army and its Royal Moroccan Gendarmerie (state police under the military) conducted an RE campaign which included marking with warning signs, providing information to locals regarding forthcoming large-scale demining operations, and informing local people when the land had been cleared. An annual RE campaign is conducted through public outreach including conferences, media, pamphlets, and school visits to reach people likely to enter mine-affected areas.[40] Local volunteers were trained to disseminate RE. There was no permanent capacity to implement RE and authorities had to continuously retrain RE volunteers.[41]

A number of organizations have reported providing RE in past years, including, the Moroccan Association of Mine Victims (based in Smara) in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara in 2007, Landmine Action from 2006–2007, and the Saharawi Campaign to Ban Landmines from 2005–2007. From April 1998 to May 2000, NPA implemented a large-scale RE program for approximately 100,000 refugees in Western Sahara.

Victim Assistance
The total number of survivors is unknown; reporting has indicated that there are 450 survivors in the Rabouni refugee camps near Tindouf in southwestern Algeria and at least another 100 in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara. Due to a lack of comprehensive data, these are likely significant underestimates.[42]

People involved in mine/ERW incidents in remote areas continued to die from their wounds in the long periods before receiving medical attention.[43] There are no ambulances and survivors have to wait for a passing vehicle to take them to the nearest health facility, which may be hours away. MINURSO increased its emergency response capacity for UN personnel working in contaminated areas in Polisario-controlled areas.[44] On the Moroccan side of the berm, there are medical facilities in the towns of Dakhla, La’Youn, Ousserd, and Smara. Some survivors were also treated in nearby towns in Morocco.[45]

Persons with disabilities are among the most vulnerable in the Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria. A continuing lack of adequate medical care and the absence of understanding about disability issues increased the vulnerability and distress of disabled refugees in the camps.[46]

The Polisario authorities offer basic free healthcare for all Saharawis in each of the four refugee camps near Tindouf.[47] The refugee camps’ health system consists of “regional hospitals” in camps and a referral hospital in Rabouni as well as a psychiatric hospital. Medical issues that cannot be treated in the camps are referred to nearby Tindouf, or more distant facilities if necessary. Medical facilities in the camps lacked resources, and services were dependent on international aid for medicines and materials. There was a lack of continuity of medical staff because qualified doctors and nurses work on a volunteer basis. Inadequate coordination between donors and humanitarian agencies contributing to the health system in the camps was reported in 2009.[48]

The Chedid Cherif Landmine and War Victims Centre in the Rabouni refugee camp continued to provide rehabilitation and socio-economic assistance to mine/ERW survivors, but faced challenges in providing services due to a lack of resources.[49]

In May 2008, the ICRC officially started producing and fitting prosthetic and orthotic appliances at the physical rehabilitation center established in the Chedid Cherif Landmine and War Victims Centre in 2007. ICRC services were directed to persons with disabilities, including mine/ERW survivors and other persons with disabilities.[50] The new center can produce 80–100 prostheses annually, as well as producing other mobility devices and providing physiotherapy. The ICRC began training nine locally-hired staff, five prosthetic-orthotic technicians, and four physiotherapists to build the capacity and sustainability of the center, and provided management support. [51] In 2008, 50 people benefited from services at the center, 18 receiving prostheses (94% of them for mine survivors). Other mobility devices were also produced and most beneficiaries received physiotherapy.[52] An improvement in the manufacture of prostheses was noted following the increased ICRC support.[53]

There is pervasive unemployment in the refugee camps. Mine/ERW survivors and other persons with disabilities are among the worst affected. There was no suitable work and most remained permanently unemployed.[54] Polisario authorities and partner organizations in the camps have reportedly made significant efforts to assist persons with disabilities in economic reintegration, through income-generating schemes including small shops and a bakery.[55] In 2008, the NGO Triangle Génération Humanitaire (TGH) continued to provide economic reintegration assistance to the elderly and to persons with disabilities through centers in the four refugee camps. For 2008, TGH project staff were not aware of any direct program beneficiaries who were mine/ERW survivors.[56] Schools for children with disabilities, including physical disabilities, are run by Polisario in all of the Saharawi refugee camps.[57] Psychological support for those in the refugee camps is inadequate and the mental health needs of refugees are not systematically addressed.[58]

Morocco has reported that that the military makes land and air facilities available to transfer mine/ERW survivors to the nearest hospital, where they can receive medical care free of charge. Hospitals near mine-affected areas had their capacity increased in 2008.[59] Other accounts from mine survivors’ organizations have reported that mine/ERW survivors injured in areas of Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara need to pay for their own emergency transportation and medical costs at hospitals in both Western Sahara and Morocco.[60] An orthopedic center, including a prosthetics workshop and services for mine/ERW survivors, is connected to the in El Hassan hospital, La’Youn, in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara.[61] The ICRC Special Fund for the Disabled (SFD) had planned to provide assistance to the orthopedic center in La’Youn in 2008, but the plan was delayed due to “procedural obstacles.”[62]

Support for Mine Action
In 2008, Spain reported contributing US$294,520 (€200,000) to mine action in Western Sahara, for unspecified mine action via the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Clearance.[63] Reported mine action funding in 2008 was 67% less than reported in 2007. No international funding reported to Landmine Monitor since 2000 has specifically addressed VA needs in Western Sahara.

Landmine Action reported overall support for its programming in Western Sahara from Germany and Norway, as well as from UNMAS and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.[64]


[1] See, for example, Landmine Monitor Report 2003, p. 651; Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 717; and Landmine Monitor Report 2001, pp. 1,059–1,060.

[2] ICBL, “Mission Report: Morocco, 26–29 October 2008.”

[3] Permanent Mission of Morocco to the UN in Geneva, “Response to Questions from the Canadian NGO Mines Action Canada,” 18 May 2009.

[4] They may have acquired mines from other sources as well. Some of the stockpiled mines Polisario has destroyed are not known to have been in Morocco’s arsenal, such as those of Belgian, Portuguese and Yugoslav origin.

[5] “Observations made during field mission by Landmine Action UK,” provided by email from Landmine Action, 3 May 2006. See also, Landmine Monitor Report 2007, p. 1,095; and Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 1,196.

[6] Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Polisario, 27 June 2002.

[7] Interview with Mohammed Fadel Sidna, Chief Engineer, Second Military Regiment, Tifariti, 15 January 2006.

[8] See Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 1,118; Landmine Monitor Report 2007, p. 1,095; and Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 1,196. The mines included: 96 M-35 (Belgium); six Type 58 (China); 5,480 VS-50 (Italy); 146 SB-33 (Italy); 76 M966 (Portugal); 20 M969 (Portugal); nine MAI75 (Romania); 303 MK1 [or Number 7] (UK); 109 PMD-6 (USSR); 1,490 PMD-6M (USSR); 12 PMN (USSR); 60 POMZ-2M (USSR); 535 PROM-1 (Yugoslavia); 267 VS-33 (unknown type, presumably Italian); 22 “NEGRO” (unknown type, attributed to Israeli origin); and six E-58 (unknown type, attributed to German origin).

[9] Geneva Call, “Information for Landmine Monitor 2009,” June 2009, received by email from Anne-Kathrin Glatz, Program Officer, Geneva Call, 5 June 2009.

[10] Landmine Action, “Western Sahara 2007 Activities,” London, April 2008, p. 2; and email from Melissa Fuerth, Operations Officer, Landmine Action, 19 June 2008.

[11] Melissa Fuerth, “Remnants of War: the legacy of armed conflict in Western Sahara,” Landmine Action campaign article provided by email from Melissa Fuerth, 20 February 2009.

[12] Email from Melissa Fuerth, Landmine Action, 20 February 2009.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Email from Tammy Hall, Senior Technical Advisor for Mine Action, MINURSO/MACC 29 June 2009; email from James Mbogo, IMSMA Officer, MINURSO/MACC, 19 August 2009; and email from Penelope Caswell, GIS Officer, Landmine Action, 16 July 2009.

[15] Morocco Voluntary Article 7 Report, “Annex,” April 2009.

[16]Telephone interview with Lt.-Col. Alioune O. Mohamed El Hacen, Coordinator, PNDHD, 24 June 2009.

[17] Email from James Mbogo, MINURSO/MACC, 19 August 2009; and email from Penelope Caswell, Landmine Action, 16 July 2009.

[18] Saharawi Journalists and Writers Union (Unión de Periodistas y Escritores Saharauis, UPES), “Five Saharawis injured by landmine blast during peaceful protest against Moroccan wall in Western Sahara,” 10 April 2009,

[19] Interview with Lt.-Col. Alioune O. Mohamed El Hacen, PNDHD, in Geneva, 27 May 2009.

[20] See Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 1,122 (36 casualties in 2007); Landmine Monitor Report 2007, p. 1,099 (24 casualties in 2006); Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 1,199 (two casualties in 2005 and no confirmed casualties in 2004); Landmine Monitor Report 2004, pp. 1,221–1,222 (one casualty in 2003; four casualties in 2002; three casualties in 2001; four casualties in 2000 in one incident); and Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 1,037 (51 military casualties in 2000–2001).

[21] See Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 1,124; and Landmine Monitor Report 2007, p. 1,100.

[22] ICRC, “Annual Report 2008,” Geneva, 27 May 2009, p. 375.

[23] Email from Melissa Fuerth, Landmine Action, 20 February 2009; and see Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 1,123.

[24] Telephone interview with Tammy Hall, MINURSO/MACC, 29 June 2009.

[25] Email from Penelope Caswell, Landmine Action, 16 July 2009.

[26] Telephone interview with Tammy Hall, MINURSO/MACC, 29 June 2009.

[27] Email from Melissa Fuerth, Landmine Action, 20 February 2009; and telephone interview with Penelope Caswell, Landmine Action, 19 August 2009.

[28] US Department of State, “2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Western Sahara,” Washington, DC, 25 February 2009; and Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 1,123.

[29] Email from Tammy Hall, MINURSO/MACC, 9 September 2009.

[30] Email from Melissa Fuerth, Landmine Action, 20 February 2009.

[31] See Landmine Monitor Report 2007, p. 1,097.

[32] Email from Melissa Fuerth, Landmine Action, 19 June 2008.

[33] Ibid, 20 February 2009.

[34] Melissa Fuerth, “Remnants of War: the legacy of armed conflict in Western Sahara,” Landmine Action campaign article provided by email, 20 February 2009.

[35] Email from Melissa Fuerth, Landmine Action, 20 February 2009.

[36] Moroccan Voluntary Article 7 Report, ‘Annex,’ April 2009.

[37] “Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara,” (New York: UN Security Council, 13 April 2009), S/2009/200, para. 28, p. 7.

[38] Telephone interview with Tammy Hall, MINURSO/MACC, 29 June 2009; email from Gaici Nah Bachir, Association of Saharawi Victims of Mines (ASAVIM), 24 March 2009.

[39] Morocco Voluntary Article 7 Report, ‘Annex,’ April 2009; and see Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 940.

[40] Interview with El Arbi Mrabet, Governor, and Hamid Barez, Adjoint Coordinator, Office of the Coordination with MINURSO, Ministry of Interior, Rabat, 29 October 2008; statement of Morocco, Standing Committee on the General Status and Operation of the Convention, Geneva, 25 May 2009; and Morocco Voluntary Article 7 Report, Form I, April 2009.

[41] Interview with El Arbi Mrabet and Hamid Barez, Ministry of Interior, Rabat, 29 October 2008.

[42] Estimate based on official Polisario estimate of 450 mine/ERW survivors from Western Sahara amongst the refugee population living in camps in Algeria. ICRC, “Annual Report 2008,” Geneva, 27 May 2009, p. 375; and Moroccan Association of Mine Victims reporting at least 100 mine survivors in Smara. See Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 1,124.

[43] Email from Gaici Nah Bachir, ASAVIM, 15 August 2009; and Landmine Monitor analysis of casualty data provided by email from Tammy Hall, MINURSO/MACC, 29 June 2009.

[44] “Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara,” (New York: UN Security Council, 13 April 2009), S/2009/200, paras. 27 and 28, p. 6.

[45] Landmine Monitor analysis of casualty data provided by email from Tammy Hall, MINURSO/MACC, 29 June 2009; Morocco Voluntary Article 7 Report, “Annex,” April 2009; Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 1,125; and see the report on Morocco in this edition of Landmine Monitor.

[46] TGH, “Improve the Living Conditions and Restore Basic Livelihoods of Disabled People in Saharawi Refugee Camps,” undated,

[47] See Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 1,125. The Sarahwi refugee camps in Algeria have identical names to these towns in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara, which may sometimes cause confusion as to the location of medical facilities.

[48] European Commission (EC), “Supporting document to the Commission Decision on the approval and financing of a 2009 GLOBAL PLAN For humanitarian actions from the budget of the European Communities in Algeria, ECHO/DZA/BUD/2009/01000,”, April 2009, p. 4,

[49] Email from Gaici Nah Bachir, ASAVIM, 15 August 2009.

[50] ICRC, “Annual Report 2008,” Geneva, 27 May 2009, p. 329.

[51] Ibid, p. 375; and ICRC, “Physical Rehabilitation Programme: Annual Report 2008,” Geneva, May 2009, p. 59.

[52] ICRC, “Physical Rehabilitation Programme: Annual Report 2008,” Geneva, May 2009, pp. 58–59.

[53] Email from Gaici Nah Bachir, ASAVIM, 15 August 2009.

[54] Ibid.

[55] TGH, “Improve the Living Conditions and Restore Basic Livelihoods of Disabled People in Saharawi Refugee Camps,” undated,

[56] Email from Anne Trehondart, Project Manager, TGH, 7 April 2009.

[57] Timothy Kustusch, “Saharawi school sets standard in education for disabled,” UPES, 31 March 2009,

[58] EC, “Supporting document to the Commission Decision on the approval and financing of a 2009 Global Plan for humanitarian actions from the budget of the European Communities in Algeria, ECHO/DZA/BUD/2009/01000,” April 2009, p. 4,

[59] Statement of Morocco, Ninth Meeting of State Parties, Geneva, 26 November 2008; and interview with the Director of the Gelmim Military Hospital, Gelmim, 27 October 2008 in ICBL, “Mission Report: Morocco, 26–29 October 2008.”

[60] Email from Gaici Nah Bachir, ASAVIM, 15 August 2009; and Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 1,125.

[61] Interview with El Arbi Mrabet and Hamid Barez, Ministry of Interior, Rabat, 29 October 2008.

[62] ICRC SFD, “Annual Report 2008,” Geneva, April 2009, p. 23.

[63] Spain Article 7 Report, Form J, 30 April 2009.

[64] Landmine Action, “Survey and clearance - Western Sahara”,

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Noam Chomsky : Les dix stratégies de manipulation de masses

Noam Chomsky : Les dix stratégies de manipulation de masses
Le gouvernement marocain suit minutieusement les dix stratégies de Chomsky pour maintenir le peuple marocain muselé.

Au Maroc, cette stratégie a créé une climat de délire dans lequel le misérable qui n'a pas mangé depuis des jours se sente dans "le plus beau pays du monde".

Parmi les stratégies qui ont eu le plus de succès, le climat de faux nationalisme pour camoufler les véritables raisons qui ont conduit le Maroc à envahir le Sahara Occidental et maintenir le pays dans un état de guerre depuis plus de 36 ans. L'intégrité territoriale a été bien vendue pour cacher les directives des maîtres occidentaux de Rabat.

Voici les dix stratégies de Chomsky resumées par le journal Jijel-Info.

Le linguiste nord-américain Noam Chomsky a élaboré une liste des « Dix Stratégies de Manipulation » à travers les média. Nous la reproduisons ici. Elle détaille l'éventail, depuis la stratégie de la distraction, en passant par la stratégie de la dégradation jusqu'à maintenir le public dans l'ignorance et la médiocrité.

1/ La stratégie de la distraction

Élément primordial du contrôle social, la stratégie de la diversion consiste à détourner l’attention du public des problèmes importants et des mutations décidées par les élites politiques et économiques, grâce à un déluge continuel de distractions et d’informations insignifiantes.

Noam Chomsky

La stratégie de la diversion est également indispensable pour empêcher le public de s’intéresser aux connaissances essentielles, dans les domaines de la science, de l’économie, de la psychologie, de la neurobiologie, et de la cybernétique.

« Garder l’attention du public distraite, loin des véritables problèmes sociaux, captivée par des sujets sans importance réelle. Garder le public occupé, occupé, occupé, sans aucun temps pour penser; de retour à la ferme avec les autres animaux. » Extrait de « Armes silencieuses pour guerres tranquilles »

2/ Créer des problèmes, puis offrir des solutions

Cette méthode est aussi appelée « problème-réaction-solution ». On crée d’abord un problème, une « situation » prévue pour susciter une certaine réaction du public, afin que celui-ci soit lui-même demandeur des mesures qu’on souhaite lui faire accepter. Par exemple: laisser se développer la violence urbaine, ou organiser des attentats sanglants, afin que le public soit demandeur de lois sécuritaires au détriment de la liberté. Ou encore : créer une crise économique pour faire accepter comme un mal nécessaire le recul des droits sociaux et le démantèlement des services publics.

3/ La stratégie de la dégradation

Pour faire accepter une mesure inacceptable, il suffit de l’appliquer progressivement, en « dégradé », sur une durée de 10 ans. C’est de cette façon que des conditions socio-économiques radicalement nouvelles (néolibéralisme) ont été imposées durant les années 1980 à 1990. Chômage massif, précarité, flexibilité, délocalisations, salaires n’assurant plus un revenu décent, autant de changements qui auraient provoqué une révolution s’ils avaient été appliqués brutalement.

4/ La stratégie du différé

Une autre façon de faire accepter une décision impopulaire est de la présenter comme « douloureuse mais nécessaire », en obtenant l’accord du public dans le présent pour une application dans le futur. Il est toujours plus facile d’accepter un sacrifice futur qu’un sacrifice immédiat. D’abord parce que l’effort n’est pas à fournir tout de suite. Ensuite parce que le public a toujours tendance à espérer naïvement que « tout ira mieux demain » et que le sacrifice demandé pourra être évité. Enfin, cela laisse du temps au public pour s’habituer à l’idée du changement et l’accepter avec résignation lorsque le moment sera venu.

5/ S’adresser au public comme à des enfants en bas-âge

La plupart des publicités destinées au grand-public utilisent un discours, des arguments, des personnages, et un ton particulièrement infantilisants, souvent proche du débilitant, comme si le spectateur était un enfant en bas-age ou un handicapé mental. Plus on cherchera à tromper le spectateur, plus on adoptera un ton infantilisant. Pourquoi ? « Si on s’adresse à une personne comme si elle était âgée de 12 ans, alors, en raison de la suggestibilité, elle aura, avec une certaine probabilité, une réponse ou une réaction aussi dénuée de sens critique que celles d’une personne de 12 ans ». Extrait de « Armes silencieuses pour guerres tranquilles »

6/ Faire appel à l’émotionnel plutôt qu’à la réflexion

Faire appel à l’émotionnel est une technique classique pour court-circuiter l’analyse rationnelle, et donc le sens critique des individus. De plus, l’utilisation du registre émotionnel permet d’ouvrir la porte d’accès à l’inconscient pour y implanter des idées, des désirs, des peurs, des pulsions, ou des comportements…

7/ Maintenir le public dans l’ignorance et la bêtise

Faire en sorte que le public soit incapable de comprendre les technologies et les méthodes utilisées pour son contrôle et son esclavage. « La qualité de l’éducation donnée aux classes inférieures doit être la plus pauvre, de telle sorte que le fossé de l’ignorance qui isole les classes inférieures des classes supérieures soit et demeure incompréhensible par les classes inférieures. Extrait de « Armes silencieuses pour guerres tranquilles »

8/ Encourager le public à se complaire dans la médiocrité

Encourager le public à trouver « cool » le fait d’être bête, vulgaire, et inculte…

9/ Remplacer la révolte par la culpabilité

Faire croire à l’individu qu’il est seul responsable de son malheur, à cause de l’insuffisance de son intelligence, de ses capacités, ou de ses efforts. Ainsi, au lieu de se révolter contre le système économique, l’individu s’auto-dévalue et culpabilise, ce qui engendre un état dépressif dont l’un des effets est l’inhibition de l’action. Et sans action, pas de révolution!…

10/ Connaître les individus mieux qu’ils ne se connaissent eux-mêmes

Au cours des 50 dernières années, les progrès fulgurants de la science ont creusé un fossé croissant entre les connaissances du public et celles détenues et utilisées par les élites dirigeantes. Grâce à la biologie, la neurobiologie, et la psychologie appliquée, le « système » est parvenu à une connaissance avancée de l’être humain, à la fois physiquement et psychologiquement. Le système en est arrivé à mieux connaître l’individu moyen que celui-ci ne se connaît lui-même. Cela signifie que dans la majorité des cas, le système détient un plus grand contrôle et un plus grand pouvoir sur les individus que les individus eux-mêmes.

Jijel-Info, 1/10/2010

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Testimonie from Western Sahara

A London-based journalist, broadcaster and human rights campaigner, 2010 Comment Awards nominee Stefan Simanowitz writes for publications in the UK and around the world including: the Independent, the Guardian, the Financial Times, Prospect the New Statesman, In These Times, the New Internationalist, and the Mail & Guardian. He has worked with Nelson Mandela and the ANC during South Africa’s first democratic election campaign and chairs the Free Western Sahara Campaign and the Westminster Committee on Iran. He has a background in law and worked for Liberty, the European Commission as well as attending the Truth and Reconciliation Hearings in South Africa. He also writes on travel and culture, music reviews, books, film and theatre and takes photographs to accompany his reviews and reportage. Website

The Other Afrik - North Africa - Algeria - Morocco - Western Sahara
Running the gauntlet: Silent Saharawis protest on streets of Western Sahara
Friday 1 October 2010 / by Stefan Simanowitz, for the other afrik

“They tore off my clothes leaving me naked in front of their ferocious eyes,” twenty year-old Nguia El Haouasi tells me describing an ordeal she suffered last year at the hands of Moroccan police. As a campaigner for self-determination of her native Western Sahara she has been arrested many times. On this occasion she was released after just 24 hours but not before she had been beaten and tortured.
I met Nguia, a delicate young woman, at an international conference in Algiers last weekend. At the end of the conference whilst other delegates were flying home in comfort, Nguia along with 72 other human rights defenders from Western Sahara would have to run the gauntlet of returning to their home in Layoune where they knew the Moroccan police would be waiting. The human rights defenders decided to stagger their travel, flying in three separate groups accompanied by international observers and journalists.
The first group arrived on Monday and despite a large and intimidating police presence, they were allowed to pass unmolested. The second group were not so fortunate. On Wednesday evening as the 28 activists came out of the airport terminal the police closed in. “They started shoving, punching and kicking indiscriminately" said one of the observers Carmelo Ramirez, president of the Federation of Institutions in solidarity with the Sahara (FEDISSAH). “One young activist, Mohamed Mayara, was seriously wounded by a blow to the head.” According to Ramirez, Mayara "chose not to go to hospital out of fear” and was instead treated in an ambulance where he received several stitches to his head and lip. Spanish actor Guillermo Toledo who travelled with the human rights defenders from Algiers was attempting to record the assaults on his mobile phone when he was also targeted. “Several police men jumped on me, pulling me down, kicking and punching me." He suffered a fractured finger.
The third group arrived on Thursday evening and managed to travel to the house where Saharawi activists had gathered to celebrate their return. Around 100 police had also turned up and surrounded the house. Holding hands and with their mouths taped-up 94 activists held a sit-down protest in the street in front of the bristling police. According to Spanish journalist Laura Gallego who was there, the police were “plunged into confusion” and stood by, uncertain how to react. The protest was heralded by Saharawi human rights activist, Asfari Ennaama, as an important victory. "Our silence said so much. Our silence was an eloquent denouncation of the repression to which we subjected, our lack of freedom and the violation of our rights."
This Friday marks the first anniversary of the arrest of several prominent human rights defenders who were arrested in Casablanca airport after returning from a visit to the refugee camps in Algeria where around 165,000 Saharawi have lived in exile for over 35 years. Three of the activists - Brahim Dahane, president of ASVDH, Ali Salem Tamek, Vice-President of CODESA, Ahmed Naciri vice president Samara Saharawi Human Rights Committee – are still imprisoned in Sale jail, Rabat awaiting trial by a military tribunal. If found guilty of ’treason’ they could face the death sentence. Meanwhile over 20 expert witnesses are expected to give testimony of human rights abuses in occupied Western Sahara to the United Nations Decolonisation Committee in New York next week. Campaigners will also gather there to call for the United Nations to immediately enforce Security Council resolutions requiring a referendum on self-determination in Western Sahara.
At the conference in Algiers the human rights defenders had been in buoyant mood. After having given their testimony - which included many horrific stories of torture, rape and sodomy - they mingled easily with the delegates who represented over twenty countries. Forty-year old Ibrahim Brahim Saber, an activist who has been in and out of prison since the age of sixteen was well aware of the risks he faced in returning home to Layoune. “I have been beaten and tortured many times and in many ways” he said. “But none of us have chosen this life of struggle. We were born into it.”