prime minister – Liby Amazigh Mon, 31 Jan 2022 17:48:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 prime minister – Liby Amazigh 32 32 Morocco – well placed to benefit from Europe’s energy transition Wed, 19 Jan 2022 19:59:56 +0000

Population: 37.13 million (+1.2% vs 2020)

GDP per capita (PPP): $7,360 (+0.9% compared to 2020)

Debt to GDP: 76.6% (+1.2% vs 2019)

Power per capita: 765 kWh

Reduced fossil fuel subsidies, CSP leader

By the end of 2020, Morocco had 1.4 GW of installed wind, 530 MW of CSP and just 220 MW of solar PV, meaning total solar has only reached a third of its old 2020 target. With hydropower at 1.77 GW and 465 MW of pumped hydropower, the country already has a significant amount of clean energy – 3950 GW out of a total of over 10 GW. The rest of the electricity is mainly coal, dependent on Russian imports, with a small amount of natural gas. A new coal-fired power plant was commissioned in 2021, but the country then promised at COP26 not to build any more.

By 2030, Morocco aims to achieve 20% solar, 20% wind and 12% hydroelectricity in its energy mix, compared to 35% in 2019. Nuclear has been considered with a nuclear training center created in March 2021, and maybe there will indeed eventually be a nuclear power plant using SMR or some other modern technology. The country has room for at least several gigawatts of additional hydropower.

Surprisingly for a desert country, wind is still envisioned to be built as much as solar – and a look at a wind speed map shows you why. The southwest coast has almost the same wind speeds as the North Sea – but it has them on land. It is an exceptional resource that helps explain the reassertion of the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara – more on that later.

Morocco’s NDC under the Paris Climate Agreement was updated last June with a 45.5% reduction in emissions by 2030, 60% of which depends on foreign aid. The phosphate industry – for which Morocco has three-quarters of the world’s reserves and the third largest production – has gained particular recognition as an emissions reduction target.

So far, Morocco’s most unusual achievement in the energy transition is its CSP networks – 530 MW, or 8% of the world’s total CSP. He was also a pioneer in North Africa as the first to reduce fossil fuel subsidies. Morocco has only set up a national oil and gas projects division of the National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM) a few months ago, in November. If a large and suitable offshore gas field is discovered, you could see Western oil majors investing in new gas development in the country, but at this point in history, the “end of the beginning” of the energy transition, that seems unlikely. outside. Even the existing gas trade between Nigeria and Europe via pipeline died out after the failed renewal of the transit agreement with Algeria.

A not-quite-stagnant economy

In terms of wealth per capita, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and even Libya are surprisingly close to each other – but Morocco does so without Algeria’s fossil fuels – the country imports 91% of its gas and 99% of its oil – and with an HDI ranking. 45% of the population is employed in the agricultural sector once forestry and fishing are included and the sector accounts for 15% of GDP. You might think that Morocco doesn’t have the best agricultural land and you would be right. Agriculture is an investment that does not pay off quickly, any more than the fight against rebels in the Sahara, which has cost the country tens of billions over the past half century.

With a low-skilled workforce, manufacturing is also limited to lower-value propositions, and according to some reports, education levels may even drop. Currently, literacy is on par with Tunisia and Algeria at 79%, but the Arabization language policy and other factors have resulted in poor performance of Moroccan schools. Arabization aimed to sideline the Amazigh Berber language, a policy that was reversed by the new prime minister. But what Moroccans need most is to be able to speak English for business and work, a language that was only mandated to be taught in schools in 2002. European languages ​​left behind legacy of colonial times are the Spanish and French and the Amazigh-Arab dispute. is also a distraction. France is an important trading partner but that doesn’t go any further.

All in all, you have a poor country that still only has a growth rate of between 2% and 4% in most years, with its main sectors like tourism, agriculture, textiles and phosphates – all very basic efforts.

The silver lining is car manufacturing, which could account for up to 25% of GDP this year, with local content reaching 60%. The finance and sales destination is Western Europe, but Tesla’s electric vehicle chip manufacturing has also been the subject of noise. This industry and others will be bolstered by Morocco’s high-speed rail infrastructure projects, which could eventually extend to West Africa after recent military successes against rebel forces in the south of the country. Although the country is both poor and has poor institutions at best, it is more open for business than its neighbors and has some potential.

Conflict in Western Sahara reignited by developments

Morocco is a hybrid democracy. Real elections take place, but political parties are tamed by a monarchy that still wields great formal power. As a result, even under the Justice and Development Party (PJD), which is supposed to be Islamist in the style of the Muslim Brotherhood in a context of democracy and monarchy in Morocco, the burqa was banned in 2017 and diplomatic relations were established with Israel last year. . The PJD totally collapsed in the 2021 elections to be replaced by even more secular parties. Fame and clientelism guide the actions of Moroccan politicians more than ideology or vision.

The reconciliation with Israel has been overseen by the United States, with which it is strongly allied, including at the intelligence level, but it is the EU which is of course Morocco’s largest destination for exports and emigrants. . Then there is China – Morocco signed a Belt and Road Implementation Plan just weeks ago, making it the first state in North Africa to pass a protocol. ‘OK.

Morocco’s diplomatic standing is currently weak, feuding with Spain and France and ending official diplomatic contact with Germany, over all their stance on its dominance of Western Sahara. Like Turkey, the country can choose the extent to which it suppresses migration entering Europe through its territory, and its intelligence alliance with the West is also important in suppressing Islamist terrorism. Meanwhile, some politicians in the United States are calling for the revocation of American recognition of Moroccan sovereignty in Western Sahara – this recognition is how President Trump bought Morocco’s recognition of Israel.

The Western Sahara conflict dates back to 1975, but there was a ceasefire in 1991 that was only recently broken by Morocco, which forcibly restored the land route to Mauritania.

Algeria’s support for the Polisario Front, which is the Sahrawi independence movement in Western Sahara, is also one of the main reasons for the bad relations between it and Morocco, while Algeria is unhappy that Morocco is on good terms with Israel and accuses it of supporting the Berber secessionist movement MAK.

At least so far, these quarrels have not hampered existing trade, especially not with Algeria since this border has been closed since 1994 anyway. But Morocco could always use new agreements and more direct investment. foreigners – it usually receives 2 or 3 billion dollars a year, mainly from Western Europe.

Renewables could use a subsidy or auction system

Amusingly, the Polisario Front has accused Morocco of using green energy developments in Western Sahara to legitimize its occupation – this kind of “greenwashing” is new! The Front even produced its own net zero plan, drawn up with the help of some Western intellectuals. It is very likely that the Sahrawi cause still does not receive any substantial help outside of Algeria, and these intellectuals are just idealistic NGO types.

Another possibility worth mentioning for Morocco’s green future is the construction of solar power in North Africa coupled with UHVDC lines transmitting it to Europe. The Morocco-UK power project envisions a 3.6 GW, 3,800 kilometer subsea HVDC line across Devon. This line would cost billions with a power loss of up to 15% in transit, but would still be very attractive – giving Morocco a new export and the UK more capacity to use solar power. CSP’s presence in Morocco could also come into play with energy storage amplifying the ability to use the line consistently, but project developer XLinks seems more interested so far in a 5 GW battery complex and 4 hours accompanying 10.5 GW of solar and wind power.

Along the same lines, the Western Sahara region is perfect for green hydrogen production – excellent land availability, wind and sun, coastal, on the doorstep of Europe. But Morocco only has a 100 MW hydrogen tender scheduled for 2022, just as it has only installed 200 MW of photovoltaics. For wind power alone, Morocco has pledged to mobilize $1.6 billion in global financing for a 1 GW wind power program, which will be commissioned nationwide by 2024.

It is therefore a country in a good position, but it still has to seriously encourage renewable energies or establish a lot of significant short-term ambitions. Most likely, Morocco is still waiting for this foreign aid and the ideas mentioned in its NDC.

Almanac – Friday 01/14/2022 | KALW Fri, 14 Jan 2022 13:38:00 +0000

Today is Friday, January 14, 2022

January 14 is the 14th day of the year

351 days remain until the end of the year

64 days until early spring

The sun will rise in San Francisco at 7:24:12 a.m.

and sunset will be at 5:14:53 PM.

Today we will have 9 hours and 50 minutes of daylight.

The solar transit will take place at 12:19:32 pm.

The first low tide was at 1:55 a.m. at 3.20 feet

The first high tide will be at 7:41 a.m. at 6.11 feet

The next low tide will be at 3:12 p.m. at -0.21 feet

And the last high tide for Ocean Beach tonight will be at 10:18 p.m. at 4.66 feet

The Moon is currently 89.5% visible

a waxing gibbous

We will have the Full Moon in 3 days on Monday, January 17, 2022 at 3:49 p.m.

The January Full Moon is called the Full Wolf Moon.

The howling of wolves was often heard at this time of year. Wolves were traditionally thought to howl due to hunger, but we now know that wolves use howls to define territory, locate pack members, strengthen social bonds, and gather together for hunting.

This month’s moon is also called the…

Canada Goose Moon Central Moon Cold Moon Frozen Moon Blast Frost Moon Big Moon Greetings Moon

Hard Moon Severe Moon Spiritual Moon

Today it’s…

caesarean section day

International Kite Day

National Dress Your Pet Day

National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day

National Pothole Day (UK)

Organize your day at home

Ratification day

Take a Missionary to Lunch

Today is also…

Defender of the Fatherland Day in Uzbekistan

Donkey Festival in Medieval Christianity

Flag Day in Georgia

National Forest Conservation Day in Thailand

Old New Year and its related observance:

Azhyrnykhua in Abkhazia

Yennayer for Berber or amazigh people

Revolution and Youth Day in Tunisia

Sidereal Winter Solstice Celebrations in South and Southeast Asian Cultures; marking the Sun’s transition to Capricorn and the first day of the six-month Uttarayana period.

Magh Bihu in the Indian state of Assam

Maghe Sankranti in Nepal

Maghi in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh

Makar Sankranti in India

The first day of Pongal in Tamil Nadu

Uttarayan in Uttarakhand, Gujarat and Rajasthan

world logic day

On this day in history…

1900 – La Tosca by Giacomo Puccini opens in Rome.

1911 – Roald Amundsen’s South Pole expedition makes landfall on the eastern edge of the Ross Ice Shelf.

1952 – NBC’s longtime morning news program Today debuts, featuring host Dave Garroway.

1954 – The Hudson Motor Car Company merges with the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation to form the American Motors Corporation.

1967 – 1960s Counterculture: The Human Be-In takes place in San Francisco, California’s Golden Gate Park, kicking off the Summer of Love.

1972 – Queen Margrethe II of Denmark ascends the throne, the first Queen of Denmark since 1412 and the first Danish monarch not named Frederick or Christian since 1513

1973 – Elvis Presley’s Aloha Concert from Hawaii is broadcast live via satellite and sets the record for the most-watched show by an individual performer in television history.

2011 – Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali flees to Saudi Arabia after a series of protests against his rule, seen as the birth of the Arab Spring.

…and if today is your birthday, happy birthday! You are sharing this special day with…

83 BC – Mark Antony, Roman general and politician (died 30 BCE)

1741 – Benedict Arnold, British-American general (died 1801)

1875 – Albert Schweitzer, Franco-Gabonese physician and philosopher, Nobel laureate (died 1965)

1883 – Nina Ricci, Italian-French fashion designer (died 1970)

1886 – Hugh Lofting, English author and poet, created Doctor Dolittle (died 1947)

1892 – Martin Niemöller, German clergyman and theologian (died 1984)

1892 – Hal Roach, American actor, director and producer (died 1992)

1896 – John Dos Passos, American novelist, poet and playwright (died 1970)

1912 – Tillie Olsen, American short story writer (died 2007)

1915 – Mark Goodson, American game show producer, created Family Feud and The Price Is Right (died 1992)

1919 – Giulio Andreotti, Italian journalist and politician, 41st Italian Prime Minister (died 2013)

1919 – Andy Rooney, American soldier, journalist, critic and television personality (died 2011)

1936 – Clarence Carter, American blues and soul singer-songwriter, musician and record producer

1937 – Billie Jo Spears, American country singer (died 2011)

1938 – Allen Toussaint, American singer-songwriter, pianist and producer (died 2015)

1940 – Julian Bond, American scholar and politician (died 2015)

1941 – Faye Dunaway, American actress and producer

1944 – Nina Totenberg, American journalist

1947 – Taylor Branch, American historian and author

1948 – T Bone Burnett, American singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer

1952 – Maureen Dowd, American journalist and author

1957 – Anchee Min, Chinese-American painter, photographer and author

1963 – Steven Soderbergh, American director, producer and screenwriter

1964 – Shepard Smith, American television journalist

1967 – Emily Watson, English actress

1968 – LL Cool J, American rapper and actor

1969 – Dave Grohl, American singer-songwriter, guitarist and drummer

1982 – Marc Broussard, American singer-songwriter and guitarist

A long battle for acceptance for Morocco’s Amazigh community Wed, 12 Jan 2022 19:16:27 +0000 For decades, Morocco’s Amazigh community has advocated for official recognition of the new year as an official paid holiday, a symbolic recognition of the indigenous identity they hope to gain under the leadership of Amazigh Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch.

Every year, Morocco’s Amazigh community is on hot coals ahead of Idh Yennayer, the Amazigh New Year, as they hope for a last-minute official recognition of the indigenous holiday as a paid national holiday – a symbolic move the community has advocated for decades.

“The recognition of Idh Yennayer is an essential step for Moroccans to come to terms with their history and cultural identity,” said Abellah Badou, former head of the executive office of the Amazigh Network for Citizenship in Morocco. The New Arab.

“This would help strengthen their sense of belonging to the homeland and strengthen the values ​​of pluralism, cultural diversity and coexistence, especially since the Amazigh community has been marginalized and discriminated against over the past decades,” Badou added.

“The recognition of Idh Yennayer is an essential step for Moroccans to reconcile with their history and their cultural identity”

950 years ahead of the Gregorian calendar, the first day of the Amazigh calendar falls on January 13 each year. Other Amazigh communities in Tunisia, Algeria, Libya and Egypt begin Yennayer celebrations on January 12.

Historians are also divided on the origin of Idh Yennayer between those who believe that the choice of January 13 symbolizes the celebration of land and agriculture, and those who say the day is a commemoration of the Berber king Chachnak on Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II.

A beautiful diverse party

Each year in Morocco, the various Amazigh tribes – numbering more than eight million people out of the country’s 36.9 inhabitants – celebrate the indigenous year with traditional meals and folk music.

“I remember helping my family make couscous and then going to my grandmother’s house to celebrate Yennayer at night while showing off our colorful traditional scarves and dance moves,” said Fadma, 50, who left her Berber village near Agadir to live in the city of Kenitra, where she tries to preserve her identity by partying with her daughters.

“Idh JYnnayer”, “Idh Skas” or “Hakouzah”, the names differ according to the regions and the plates too, which can include the dish “Orkemen”, the porridge “Takla”, “Imshikhen” or “couscous with seven vegetables” – each region has its own preferences.

In the Souss region, for example, the natives celebrate the day with Tagoulla, a kind of mash made from barley or corn, served with a mixture of honey and Argan oil or butter. The plate has become a “taste identity” of the day.

Imazighen (Berbers) wearing traditional clothes celebrate the New Year according to the Imazighen calendar in Tizi Ouzou, Algeria on January 12, 2021

“When I was young, we used to put agormi (date kernels) inside takla porridge before serving it to family members, because it is believed that whoever finds the kernels in eating the hot dish will be the luckiest person in the next year. , Fadma said laughing while stirring the couscous broth.

Tastes, rhythms and dance moves vary between Rif, Sous and Ishelhien but the concept of celebration is the same, commemorating land and identity.

“But we must not forget that Idh Yennayer is more than Tagoulla and folklore – it is a celebration of land, citizens and memory as essential components of multiple national identities and different regions without any exclusions”, said said Amazigh activist Badou.

No more broken promises of recognition

In this Amazigh year 2972, the indigenous community of Morocco had higher hopes of finally obtaining the longed-for recognition after the appointment of the Amazigh politician Aziz Akhannouch as head of the country’s government, following the massive victory of his party the National Rally of Independents (RNI). in the September 8 elections.

Born in a small Moroccan Berber town near Agadir, the 61-year-old businessman built his political identity and his party’s electoral platform on representing the concerns and problems of the Amazigh community, winning the approval indigenous people in the country’s last elections.

Members of the Moroccan Amazigh Berber community sing as they celebrate the Amazigh New Year’s Eve near the parliament in the Moroccan capital, Rabat [Getty Images]

Once in power, the party has repeatedly echoed demands from the indigenous community to recognize Amazigh heritage, language and celebrations, but has so far failed to deliver on its promises.

The long-awaited real-time Amazigh translation during the parliamentary session was suspended, while government spokesman Mustapha Baitass dodged questions from journalists about the lack of official recognition of the Amazigh New Year that the RNI had been promising for a decade .

The country’s former cabinet, led by the Islamist party, the Justice and Development Party, has repeatedly said that recognition of Idh Ynnayer belongs to Morocco’s King Mohammed VI.

The biggest victory for Morocco’s indigenous peoples in their decades-long struggle was the recognition of Tamazight – the indigenous Amazigh language – as the country’s official language, following the 2011 constitution.

Released by the palace, the constitution has stifled the Arab Spring protests that have taken the country by storm, with young protesters waving the Moroccan flag alongside the Amazigh flag in massive demonstrations.

“The weak policy of establishing Tamazight as an official language reveals to us that we are facing a great collective “maneuver”, in which all political parties, without exception, have participated to varying degrees, to absorb the anger of the street. Moroccan in February 2011,” added Amazigh activist Badou.

Despite the recognition of the Amazigh language a decade ago, Tamazight is still limited to official signs of public administrations and institutions, while administrative formalities, the media and school curricula are still largely dominated by the French. since the years of colonization.

Nevertheless, with the new year comes new hope, and as the Amazigh community celebrates Yennayer, their struggle for recognition in Morocco persists.

Basma El Atti is New Arab’s correspondent in Morocco

Follow her on Twitter: @elattibasma

Before voting, Libyans must speak out | Opinions Wed, 29 Dec 2021 13:57:21 +0000

On December 22, just two days before the scheduled date of the Libyan presidential election, the electoral commission announced the postponement of the poll. The High National Electoral Commission (HNEC) suggested January 24, 2022 as a new date for the polls, after a parliamentary commission overseeing the elections deemed them “impossible” to take place on December 24 as originally planned.

However, so far there is no agreement on the new date or electoral procedures, nor on whether or not to hold presidential and legislative elections on the same day. But the lack of consensus on these logistical issues is by far not the biggest problem.

There are currently major unresolved issues that polarize the country and, in the absence of an open dialogue to resolve them, holding elections on January 24 or any future date risks plunging the country into a new cycle of violence.

The puzzles of past elections

Holding elections in the midst of strong political polarization has already proved disastrous for peace in Libya. After the overthrow of long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libyan and foreign actors rushed to the elections to revive the country’s political transition. But instead of bringing stability, the elections only worsened political and social tensions, resulting in repeated episodes of deadly violence.

On July 7, 2012, Libya held its first parliamentary vote since the collapse of the Gaddafi regime to elect the 200-member General National Congress (GNC). Although hailed as “free and fair” by the major Western powers and the UN, the elections did not bring stability to the country.

The major social and political divides had not been resolved, leading to unrest before and after the vote. Old grievances from the eastern and southern regions resurfaced, as their residents viewed the uneven geographic distribution of seats as a sign that their marginalization by Tripoli would also continue in post-Gaddafi Libya.

In addition, local political actors sought to weaken the GNC. Prior to the vote, the legislature was deprived of key powers, such as appointing a committee to draft the constitution and debate its provisions. Thus, the Tripoli-based GNC was born weak, suffering from limited powers and a lack of legitimacy. The cabinet he elected was also weakened.

This allowed rogue political actors to take advantage of interregional tensions for their own political gain. In February 2014, General Khalifa Haftar, a senior officer in Gaddafi’s army who had turned against him, launched his Operation Dignity, urging the Libyans to rebel against the GNC. In May, his forces stormed the GNC building in Tripoli and launched an offensive against armed groups in Benghazi.

With its mandate expired and the country falling into war, the GNC was forced to schedule new parliamentary elections in June. Amidst the violence and record turnout, the House of Representatives was elected. Many GNC members, mostly from the west, contested the results and refused to cede legislative power to the new body. Forces loyal to the GNC prevented the newly elected MPs from starting work. In November, the Libyan Supreme Court ruled that the June 25 elections were unconstitutional, but the House of Representatives, which had received UN recognition, ignored the resolution.

Thus, at the end of the year, the country was effectively divided between two camps: the General National Congress located in Tripoli, which acted as executive and was finally replaced in 2015 by the Government of National Accord (GNA). recognized by the UN, and the House of Representatives, which had moved from the capital to the eastern port city of Tobruk.

One of the main reasons why the elections failed to move the country forward was the lack of agreement between the various political actors in Libya and commitment to the basic political principles of democratic transition. Prior to undertaking these votes, no guarantees were put in place to ensure the acceptance and compliance of all parties with the final results. No meaningful steps have been taken to resolve the historic grievances of marginalized groups and preserve their representation in new state institutions. There was also no proper reconciliation between communities and tribes that had been involved in past violence.

The absence of these important elements of the transition process led to its eventual collapse. Gradually, the division over legitimacy and state representation dragged the country into a civil war between rival camps backed by regional actors.

It then took several years for the international community and Libyan civilian forces to try to relaunch the transition process. In 2020, a ceasefire was negotiated to end Haftar’s failed offensive on Tripoli. The Libya Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) was then launched, supported by the United Nations Mission in Libya (UNSMI) and regional and international actors, such as Egypt, Turkey, Russia, France, United States and Italy – each with their own interests in Libya.

In 2021, the Government of National Unity (GNU) was formed as an interim institution to advance the political process in the country, and presidential elections were scheduled for December 24. Despite the GNU’s initial approval, the House of Representatives eventually passed a no-confidence vote against in September.

Continuous polarization

Long before the vote, it was clear that old divisions continue to fester and undermine the transition. There were several sticking points, which reflect the widespread polarization in Libya and which undermined the electoral process.

First, the Election Law, which described electoral procedures and the post-election institutional setup, was not accepted by all parties. The provisions of the law were drafted and adopted by the House of Representatives, which failed to properly consult other Libyan state institutions, such as the GNU, the Presidential Council and the High Council of State ( HSC).

The law was also drafted in such a way as to erect the Libyan political system into a presidential regime, giving the presidency significant powers. The provisions of the law also allow current electoral office holders to stand for election and then return to office if they lose.

Second, no consensus candidate, who could unite a divided Libya, was presented before the elections. In fact, the first in the race were all division figures. Among them: GNU Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, who decided to run despite his promise not to do so; Aguila Saleh, Speaker of the House of Representatives and close ally of Haftar; Haftar himself; and finally, Saif al-Islam Kadhafi, one of Kadhafi’s sons, accused of crimes against humanity and wanted by the International Criminal Court and the Attorney General of Tripoli.

Saif al-Islam’s candidacy, in particular, has sparked a great deal of outrage among Libyans, who are dismayed that an election designed to put the country back on the path of democratic transition could bring the Gaddafi regime back. While he is the most controversial of these favorites, the others are also quite problematic. It is clear that they all want to come forward to restore or protect their positions and privileges and would be unable to defuse tensions, bring the country closer together and gain the support of all regional actors.

Third, just like in 2012 and 2014, there does not appear to be a consensus on the “rules of the game” before the presidential vote. The main political actors – backed by various armed groups – clearly disagreed about what would happen after the election, how the transfer of power would take place and how recognition of the results by all would be guaranteed.

In addition, there are no neutral security forces or a unified army that could ensure the calm of the vote, no neutral judiciary that could settle disputes, and no independent media that could keep the Libyan people properly informed. More importantly, there is no reconciliation among Libyans as old and new grievances continue to fester and various communities continue to be marginalized.

The path to follow

The UN, along with the international community, has tried to close its eyes to the internal divisions between the main Libyan actors and pushed the Libyans to organize elections at all costs, as it has done in the past, to the detriment of the nation.

It is clear that holding elections under these circumstances, which are quite similar to those of 2012 and 2014, if not worse, will not lead to peace and stability in Libya. This is why the postponement of the vote must be seen as an opportunity to prevent the country from descending into a new cycle of violence.

In order to put Libya back on a path of peaceful transition, the country needs a new national dialogue supported by the UN and the international community. It should bring together all Libyan stakeholders, including civil society, representatives of ethnic minorities (such as Amazighs and Tebu), marginalized areas (such as Fezza) and marginalized groups (such as women and youth) and seek to build consensus on the electoral process, relevant legislation, transfer of power and the division of powers between state institutions.

The main political actors should publicly declare their commitment to the electoral process, commit to respecting the final results and prepare to cede their power. The dialogue is also expected to result in a roadmap to address other critical issues of the transitional period, such as the drafting of a new constitution, the reunification of state institutions – especially the military – reform security sector and reconciliation among Libyans.

A decade after the fall of the Gaddafi regime, it is time for Libya and its international partners to learn from the mistakes of the past. Rushing the Libyans to hold one more election amidst severe polarization and latent grievances will lead to more instability and violence. Libya has the potential to emerge from its failed state, but to do so, it needs the support of the international community to hold a national dialogue and move forward towards peace and reconciliation.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Al Jazeera.

Women face obstacles in running for Libyan presidency Wed, 01 Dec 2021 17:31:19 +0000

Libyans go to the polls to elect their president for the first time. On November 22, the deadline for submitting candidatures, the total number of candidates for the country’s first place reached 98 people, in a country of 6.5 million inhabitants and less than 3 million eligible voters.

The field includes figures from all walks of life, including Libya’s best comedian, first and former prime ministers, and past and current speakers of parliament. The son of the late Muammar Gaddafi, Saif Al-Islam, his father’s former secretary, Bashir Saleh, and a minister of the Gaddafi era have all joined the race. General Khalifa Hifter, the dominant force in eastern Libya, also hopes to win the presidency through the ballot box.

But on November 24, the High National Electoral Commission (HNEC) disqualified 25 candidates, reducing the list to 73. Different reasons were enumerated against each rejected candidate, including legal issues and dual nationality of another country, which Libyan law does not allow. any public office holder.

The candidate selection process and background check are carried out by different state departments such as the Attorney General’s Office, Passport Authority, Criminal Investigation Department and Secret Service. For example, Gaddafi and Saleh were disqualified because it turned out that they both had a final court verdict, violating a clause prohibiting any convicted person from standing for election.

The HNEC was left with a new roster of 73 qualified candidates, but the commission says after an appeal process, any successful caller could join the qualified candidates.

Two women stand out from the crowd: Laila bin Khalifa and Honeda Tomeya. Both make history by becoming the only two women candidates for the very first presidential elections since the country’s independence in 1951.

Tomeya introduced herself as a social science researcher. In her statement, she called on “all political actors and presidential candidates” to respect the results of the polls.

Bin Khalifa, the first woman to apply, said: “I dream of changing Libya. She is a well-known activist and has campaigned for more women to enter politics. She has in the past emphasized the idea of ​​quotas for women in elections. Bin Khalifa is also the leader of the Libyan National Movement, a small political party. She is originally from Zwara, a small town near the Tunisian borders with an Amazigh majority. The presidential candidacy of a minority woman is also unprecedented.

“Libyan male-dominated society makes it difficult for women to gain access to the highest political levels,” Fatima Adeeb, professor of law at the University of Tripoli, told Al-Monitor.

She also stressed that the law on presidential elections “does not provide for any quota for women candidates”. The fact that political parties do not participate in elections, she said, means “there is no way to impose a quota” for women.

Saleh Hassan, a retired lawyer from Benghazi, eastern Libya, stressed that “election quotas mean women need men’s support.” He added that “special arrangements for women in elections” mean that women will always need the help of men.

In a patriarchal society like Libya, lone women can only be heard if they have the support of men; a fact recognized by Ben Khalifa.

She appeared in a music video, after signing up for the polls, saying, “I have the support of many men and I can’t do anything without them. In the same clip, she also highlighted her struggle with the current and previous parliaments to include more women in political representation.

Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah has pledged to have at least 30 percent women in his cabinet, but his government has only three female ministers. Bin Khalifa said it was “disappointing”.

The new law on parliamentary elections requires 16 percent of seats to be filled by women. But it does not openly allow political parties to run for elections scheduled after the December 24 presidential elections.

In any case, this new law is “progressive compared to the previous one”, which gave women 10 percent of the seats, said Nuria Hussain, a lawyer from Tripoli. Yet it is below what the current interim government promised in March.

Many Libyan women believe their situation will improve as the country progresses in its democratic transition. Salem Hamza, a government consultant, said electoral laws could be disadvantageous for women now “but remember we are only ten years from this new Libya.”

Before 2011, there were no elections in Libya at all. However, Hamza stressed that “women need to be more involved” in local politics. He believes that women’s success “at the national level begins at the local level”. There are no female members in dozens of local councils in small towns and rural areas. Even the Tripoli city council has no women.

Almost all of the women’s activist organizations in Libya are very new, lacking in resources, experience and appropriate training. Hasna, a teacher in Misrata, who does not want her last name published, told Al-Monitor, “In Misrata there are hardly any women in the public sector, let alone in politics.”

Misrata, Libya’s third largest city, is very conservative, even by Libyan standards, and women’s participation in all public activities is occasional at best. Hasna believes that all governments over the past decade “have done very little for women.”

She points to the current Minister of Justice and asks “what has she done for her fellow human beings? Nothing. ”Hasna also quotes Foreign Minister Najla Al-Mangoush as saying that“ her own ministry is dominated by men ”, but many women in this ministry“ never reach the upper levels ”.

In Libya, where religious traditions and conservatism still dominate life, women still have a long way to go to be fully integrated in politics. Another obstacle has been violence directly linked to politics. Many women have paid with their lives to speak out on political issues, which is still fresh in the minds of many women.

The making of President Dbeibah | Habib Lassoued Tue, 02 Nov 2021 10:32:17 +0000

In recent months, Abdulhamid Dbeibah has become the center of a well-oiled operation aimed at shaping his image as a popular leader. Libyan and foreign specialists participated in the exercise, which was managed by a central operating room in Turkey working with public relations firms in the United States and the United Kingdom. Huge contracts would have been signed and teams mobilized to restore the image of Dbeibah and present him to the people as the man of the future.

There is a determination to ensure that Dbeibah and his team remain at the helm of the rich country for at least another decade. There are even those who speak of absolute control of the country by a government that will remain in the hands of a specific region and a particular group of the population.

This means that Dbeibah’s accession to the post of Prime Minister was not a coincidence and that the spending of at least $ 20 million to buy votes in the sessions of the Political Dialogue Forum in Tunis and Geneva was not was not an act of random bribery. It was just as calculated as the dismissal of the results of the international investigation into corruption charges at the Political Dialogue Forum. With wealth and money, the doors open on their own. The international community in the final analysis is not a charitable organization working for the general good on one side or the other. Decision makers are not angels. They are human beings who have interests in and have ties to transnational corporations, including oil and gas companies and construction companies. Senior Western officials are not immune to corruption, which they practice outside their country. They get big privileges, gifts and offers. Moreover, Libya is a wealthy country and it is currently ruled by a successful businessman who has surrounded himself with a team of rich people, traders, traders and credit barons. The governor of the Central Bank is part of the picture. Its role is actually indicative of the nature of the current scene.

Anyone who follows the course of events will realize that Dbeibah followed a plan that was meticulously prepared by regional and international actors. They sought to consolidate a political leadership based on hostility towards the leaders of the Libyan National Army (LNA), the marginalization of Cyrenaica and Fezzan, by keeping aloof from the Council of the presidency, by welcoming militias and mercenaries and by striving to gain popular support by promising the public that it will benefit from the immense wealth of the country, a dream cherished by Libyans for many decades.

The international community has allowed Dbeibah to take advantage of his political position and executive authority. The governor of the Central Bank has been asked to accompany the Prime Minister in all his requests. What matters in the end is how to successfully present Dbeibah as the face of the future with the traits of a liberal and democratic businessman who goes with his time and is ready to make transactional deals.

It is only natural that conspiracy theorists are followed. Forces supporting Dbeibah have reportedly called on the United Nations to intervene to ensure the adoption of the amendments proposed by the Independent National High Electoral Commission to the law on presidential elections promulgated by the House of Representatives on September 9. The UN mission clearly called for the removal of “restrictions on participation in elections to allow Libyans in public office to suspend their official activities from the moment they apply for the presidency, as proposed by the High National Electoral Commission. . “

The issue here relates to Article 12 of the Law on Presidential Elections promulgated by the House of Representatives. This stipulates that “all citizens, whether civilian or military, are deemed to have ceased to work and exercise their functions (for three months before the date of the elections); and if he is not elected, he will return to his previous post.

The first to react was Marshal Khalifa Haftar when he decided on September 22 to devote himself to the presidential election by temporarily ceding his duties as Commander-in-Chief of the LNA to Chief of Staff Abdulrazak al-Nazhuri.

Libyan Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah arrives at Martyrs Square in the capital Tripoli to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 2011 revolution on February 17, 2021 (AFP)

And because the international community insisted on holding the elections on time, contrary to what some parties were striving to achieve, it was suggested that the Election Commission amend this article to state that “every citizen, be it civilian or military, is deemed to have ceased to work and exercise his functions (on the date of the announcement by the Commission of the start of the electoral process) ”.

This means that potential candidates can stop working on the day they apply, as long as the position they held is managed by their assistants who can continue to promote their reputation and ensure that they are in the right position for the job. to be the most prominent candidate for the post of head of state.

Libya now faces two main options. Either change the law and allow Dbeibah to run in the presidential elections, or postpone the elections to allow him to prepare for the poll and relinquish his post three months before the new date.

The objective is therefore to allow Dbeibah to run for the presidency and to be the next president of Libya and thus to cut the grass from under the feet of Haftar, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, Fathi Bashagha and all the other controversial personalities. that are supposed to work.

He is undoubtedly capable of this after the tremendous work accomplished by the loyal press and public relations agencies made up of the most eminent specialists in the image industry and also by taking advantage of his position as Prime Minister to allow money to be spent. colossal for many social groups.

Dbeibah also tried from the beginning to take advantage of regional and tribal sensitivities, starting from the calculation that Tripoli is the largest demographic base and electoral reservoir and that the voices of Misrata, Tripoli, Zawiya, Amazigh (Berber) areas and a few other areas are sufficient to give him the lead.

It is natural that the international community finds itself among the accused, as it has practiced all forms of lies, hypocrisy and deception regarding the Libyan crisis since its outbreak in February.

He always leads with the same approach and when Dbeibah spoke a few days ago about his country’s frozen funds abroad, he knew what he was saying. He hinted that in the next step, each party will receive the reward it deserves.

]]> 0
Tunisian protesters attack TV crew – Middle East Monitor Mon, 11 Oct 2021 07:00:00 +0000

Yesterday, journalists working for Tunisian national television were “violently attacked” while covering “anti-coup” demonstrations.

Journalists’ Syndicate sources, quoted by local media, said the journalists, Fadwa Shtoro and Ayman Al-Hajj Salem, suffered “serious head injuries” as a result of the attack.

“Some protesters also attacked two photojournalists who were providing coverage,” the sources added.

Local security forces had intervened to protect the press team after they were attacked and removed them from the protest site.

On July 25, Tunisian President Kais Saied invoked Article 80 of the constitution to impeach Prime Minister Hicham Mechichi, freeze the work of parliament for 30 days, lift the immunity of ministers and appoint himself head of the executive until a new government is formed.

Ennahda: Tunisian justice is under pressure to serve political agendas

It comes after violent protests erupted in several Tunisian cities criticizing the government’s handling of the economy and the coronavirus. The demonstrators had called for the dissolution of parliament.

The majority of the country’s political parties called the move a “coup against the constitution” and the achievements of the 2011 revolution.

Protests against his actions have intensified in recent days, with Tunisians calling it a “power grab”.

Does the change of government affect religious freedom in Morocco ?, Evangelical Focus Fri, 01 Oct 2021 12:28:48 +0000

The Islamist Party for Justice and Development, in government since 2011, only won a tenth of the 125 deputies it had in the House of Representatives in the elections held in Morocco last September.

With only 13 places, the former main political party will now take a back seat in the opposition. The winner is the liberal Aziz Akhannouch, who got 102 deputies for his National Rally of Independents.

Akhannouch was appointed the new head of government and was tasked by King Mohammed VI to form a new government, with parties that “share the same principles and values”.

For Mustafa Akalay, renowned Moroccan academic figure, art historian and responsible for cultural activities, “the polls have spoken and the people chose a non-denominational government”.

“In these elections, the Justice and Development Party has been severely punished and abandoned by his own electoral base, disappointed by his clumsiness and his ambiguous and double standard speech ”, underlines Akalay.

After a decade with a government controlled by moderate Islamists, who came to power in the middle of the Arab Spring, many Moroccans are eagerly awaiting this new phase.

We are all excited about the political change. This is a new stage which opens in the pursuit of a new model of economic and human development in Morocco, designed by a commission of experts for a period of 15 years, until 2035 ”, explains Akalay.

Akalay thinks that “a new era of reform is looming and there are insights and good intentions for change, such as the election of women mayors in the three main cities: Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakech ”.

According to the academic, the population expressed its disappointment “at the chaotic management of cities. [by the government], and the incompetence of its leaders to implement a savage neoliberal economic policy based on the privatization of strategic sectors, favoring the well-to-do classes and punishing the most needy ”.

“They have also limited public recruitments in primary and secondary education, by not publishing public competitions and by introducing revocable private contracts, service provision contracts and not civil servant contracts, opening the door to the dismissal of these precarious employees, ”he adds.

For Akalay, the new government must embody “the establishment of a social state by generalizing social coverage, so that the most vulnerable can benefit from social protection and subsidies that preserve their dignity”.

“Without social justice, there is no democracy. a improving education and health care, as well as the right to decent work, are fundamental social rights enshrined in the 2011 Constitution which must be treated, legislated and implemented without delay ”, underlines Akalay.

The winner of the Moroccan elections, Aziz Akhannouch / Facebook Aziz Akhannouch

In addition, the president of the Amazigh (Berber) World Assembly, Rachid Raha, confirmed that the next Prime Minister has committed to the Amazigh movement to allocate a very large sum of one billion dirhams per yearr (over 95 million euros) for the promotion and development of the Amazigh language and culture.

Previously, the Benkirane government, in the name of an exclusionary and outdated pan-Arabism, had refused to recognize the linguistic and cultural Amazigh identity of the Moroccan population of origin, mainly Berber.

Another area of ​​society for which expectations are also renewed after elections is that of religious diversity.

“Religion is incompatible with politics and should not invade public space, nor shape the masses, but be limited to the private sphere,” Akalay says.

The scholar explains that “religious diversity exists in Morocco with proof of a long-standing presence»In cities like Tangier, where the Franciscan order has existed for eight centuries.

For religious minorities, the change of government should bring “respect for their beliefs and beliefs, that is, freedom of religion and worship, which will promote effective religious diversity and fruitful interreligious dialogue” , he emphasizes.

“We thank Jesus, the Islamists are gone. God answered our prayers and now we have the government we wanted, ”said Imounan, a church planter living in Agadir. Christianity today. “Akhannouch is a businessman. He doesn’t care if you worship the sun or the moon. He won’t chase you, ”said another second-generation Christian.

Spanish news site Protestant digital spoke to a community of Christians in Morocco who “prefer to meet in secret,” and they “have no desire to seek licenses from the Moroccan government. We are always ready to sacrifice our personal interests to serve the interests of the Kingdom of Morocco “.

Nevertheless, they “are very proud because political Islam came out of government through elections and pools and not through coups, as happened in Egypt, Tunisia or Algeria.”

“We consider that the Kingdom of Morocco represents a unique reference in its region, and it is in the process of peaceful transfer of power through elections and law enforcement», Concluded the Moroccan Christians.

Posted in: Evangelical focus – world
– Does the change of government affect religious freedom in Morocco?

]]> 0
Algeria: large, volatile and dependent on oil – Region – World Sat, 18 Sep 2021 07:00:00 +0000

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika waves to the crowd wearing a traditional “burnous” dress from the Kabyle ethnic minority in Tizi Ouzou, Algeria. PA

Here are some key facts about Algeria, where former veteran President Abdelaziz Bouteflika died two years after resigning after weeks of massive protests against his candidacy for a fifth term.

The largest country in Africa

Algeria, which has 44 million inhabitants, is the largest country in Africa although most of its territory is desert.

Over 80 percent of the population lives along the Mediterranean coast, where the capital Algiers is located. Almost 54% are under 30 years old.

The country has some 10 million ethnic Amazigh (Berber) people, most of them living in Kabylia, a mountainous region east of Algiers.

The official languages ​​of Algeria are Arabic and the Tamazigh Berber language but not the former French colonial language, although it is widely spoken.

Former French colony

A French colony since 1830, Algeria became independent in 1962 after a war that lasted nearly eight years.

In 1963, Ahmed Ben Bella, secretary general of the National Liberation Front (FLN) which had led the fight against the French regime, became its first president.

Two years later, Houari Boumediene of the FLN overthrew and imprisoned Ben Bella, continuing to rule Algeria as a one-party state until his own death in 1978.

Colonel Chadli Bendjedid was then elected president, a position he held until 1992.

Civil war

In 1988, violent demonstrations shake Algiers, prompting the authorities to declare a state of emergency.

The army cracked down on protesters but introduced political reforms that ended the one-party system.

However, when the country held its first multiparty parliamentary elections in 1991, the military intervened to prevent the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) from gaining an overwhelming majority.

This sparked a civil war from 1992 in which some 200,000 people were killed. The Armed Islamic Group (GIA) has claimed responsibility for numerous massacres of civilians.

At the height of the conflict, FLN veteran Abdelaziz Bouteflika won the 1999 presidential election. His amnesty law helped end the war in 2002.

Events of the “Hirak”

Bouteflika won a fourth term in 2014 despite suffering a stroke the previous year that confined him to a wheelchair.

His candidacy for a fifth term in 2019 sparked mass protests, which forced him to resign on April 2 after losing support from the powerful military.

He died two years later, on September 17, at the age of 84, after being hidden from the public at his residence in western Algiers.

In December 2019, Bouteflika’s former prime minister, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, won the presidential election with an official turnout of less than 40%.

The protesters of Hirak, an Arabic word for “movement”, immediately rejected Tebboune, demanding an end to the system of governance in place since independence.

Oil dependent

Algeria retains a huge public sector from its long years of one-party rule.

It is Africa’s third-largest oil producer and one of the world’s largest producers of natural gas.

Oil revenues help subsidize fuel, water, health care, housing and basic items.

But they fell sharply in the face of the global economic slowdown triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Oil and gas account for around 90 percent of Algeria’s total exports. Its hard currency reserves have fallen from $ 180 billion in 2014 to less than $ 50 billion this year.

Tebboune acknowledged Algeria’s continued “vulnerability” to fluctuations in oil prices after successive governments failed to take steps to diversify the economy.

Short link:

]]> 0
Behind the scenes of Tunisia’s extradition of an Algerian political refugee Tue, 14 Sep 2021 11:58:55 +0000

In detail: Algerian political refugee Slimane Bouhafs was kidnapped in Tunisia and forcibly extradited. Amid mounting speculation, activists say this sets a worrying precedent for human rights after Kais Saied took power.

Rights groups in Tunisia are demanding an explanation from the authorities on the mysterious kidnapping of Algerian political refugee Slimane Bouhafs and his extradition to his country of origin, where he runs a serious risk of persecution.

Tunisian President Kais Saied on September 3 promised to open an investigation into the suspicious return of Bouhafs, 54, a converted Algerian Christian and refugee recognized by UNHCR, during a meeting with the Tunisian League for the Defense of Human Rights. ‘man (LTDH).

His promise to investigate came on the same day that Amnesty International called the Tunisian authorities to “carry out rapid and in-depth investigations into [Bouhafs’] kidnapping, enforced disappearance and enforced return to Algeria ”.

“Slimane Bouhafs, an Algerian Christian convert and refugee recognized by the UNHCR, was reportedly kidnapped in Tunisia on August 25 and later resurfaced in an Algerian police station”

“The launch of the investigation was more of a diplomatic move to end public criticism,” Zine said. Ghébouli, an Algerian political analyst, said The New Arabic. “If the story had grown, it would have created a problem for Tunisia, especially in this period of crisis since the takeover of the president, which has continued indefinitely.”

The circumstances of Bouhafs’ departure from Tunisia remain unclear. He was reportedly abducted by three men in civilian clothes from his home in Tunis on August 25. He disappeared for four days before resurfacing in an Algiers police station and then reappearing in an Algerian court on September 1 facing six undisclosed charges related to “terrorism”.

What made the case somewhat bizarre was the fact that on August 29, the same day the dissident was confirmed in detention, party leader Qalb Tounes and media mogul Nabil Karoui and his brother, Ghazi Karoui, were arrested in Algerian territory on charges of illegally crossing the border. A court in the eastern city of Constantine ordered Karoui’s detention on September 4.

Nabil Karoui was released by a Tunisian court on June 15 after spending more than six months in detention for money laundering and tax evasion.

According to Ghebouli, Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra’s frequent visits to Tunis this summer were aimed at “reaching an agreement” whereby Algerian leaders took advantage of President Saied’s vulnerability at the height of the political crisis in the small northern state. African.

On July 25, Saied took control of the country after suspending parliament and sacking the prime minister, later extending his takeover after a month.

“Algeria offered its political support to the Tunisian head of state after the events of July in exchange for the extradition of a political activist,” said the Algerian academic.

There has been growing speculation via the Algerian and Tunisian media that the arrest of the former Tunisian presidential candidate along with his brother came in exchange for the almost simultaneous surrender of the Algerian political refugee.

“After facing two years of unjust imprisonment in Algeria, Slimane Bouhafs went to Tunisia to seek safety, but it seems that he was not far enough from the reach of the Algerian government”

Algerian news site The avant-garde claims that Bouhafs was handed over to Algerian authorities as part of a deal that involved Algeria returning Nabil Karoui to Tunisia while Saied carried out an anti-corruption purge hitting politicians and businessmen.

Civil society organizations in Tunisia, on the other hand, have avoided such guesswork. A few days after the meeting with Saied, the secretary general of the Tunisian League for Human Rights, Béchir Laâbidi, excluded any link between the two cases, saying that the Karoui brothers would be sentenced to three months in prison suspended and expelled. directly to Tunisia according to Algerian law. .

Algeria and Tunisia are bound by an agreement stipulating the extradition by one or the other country “of any person prosecuted or convicted” in the other.

However, neither the Tunisian nor Algerian authorities have made a statement on the Bouhafs affair, nor have they specified whether he had been deported or extradited to Algeria in accordance with a request from the Algerian government, which aroused strong support. concerns about the questionable record.

The incident comes amid political uncertainty in Tunisia following the takeover of Kais Saied. [Getty].

Romdhane Ben Amor, spokesperson for the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES), denounced the silence of the Tunisian state, qualifying it as a “lack of responsibility” in reference to non-compliance with its international commitments.

Under international human rights law, Tunisia is obligated to protect refugees and must not return them to a country where they risk persecution or human rights violations.

In addition, Tunisia should respect its commitments as a State party to the Convention against Torture which explicitly prohibits the extradition of individuals to countries where they would risk being tortured or ill-treated.

It is also required to protect the right to life of individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction, under the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Ben Amor also criticized the United Nations Agency for Refugees in Tunisia, under whose protection Bouhafs had been placed, for reacting “not quickly” and “passively”.

UNHCR said it was “gravely concerned by reports of the forcible return to his country of origin of a refugee recognized by UNHCR in Tunisia” in an official response to his kidnapping.

“This action was staged within the framework of a security cooperation between the Tunisian and Algerian parties, in full coordination with the Tunisian Ministry of the Interior”, declared the person in charge of the communication of the FTDES. The New Arabic.

He wondered how the Tunisian presidency could ignore the Interior Ministry’s plan, arguing that the head of state currently holds all executive powers.

“We are very concerned that Tunisia has not fulfilled its obligation. This reflects the state of threatened rights and freedoms that we have observed since the President’s coup, ”the spokesperson said.

“There has been growing speculation that the arrest in Algeria of the former Tunisian presidential candidate Nabil Karoui, accompanied by his brother, came in exchange for the almost simultaneous delivery of Slimane Bouhafs “

“After suffering two years of unjust imprisonment in Algeria, Slimane Bouhafs traveled to Tunisia to seek refuge, but it seems that he was not far enough from the reach of the Algerian government”, declared Amna Guellali, Amnesty’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa. in a Press release.

“The Tunisian government shares responsibility for his fate and should reveal its role in his kidnapping and return,” she added.

The Algerian political opponent was sentenced in 2016 to three years in prison in Algeria for Facebook posts deemed offensive to Islam. He was released in 2018 after a presidential pardon and fled to Tunisia, then obtained refugee status in 2020.

Tunisia’s awareness or possible cooperation in the forcible transfer of Bouhafs to Algeria would constitute a serious violation of the principle of “non-refoulement” and of international refugee law, setting a worrying precedent for Tunis.

The incident caused great consternation among Tunisian civil society. At least 40 local rights groups have published a joint statement August 30, demanding “clarification from the [Tunisian] authorities on the mysterious circumstances ”of the Algerian activist. They also noted that the Tunisian constitution specifically prohibits the extradition of political refugees.

While the charges against the activist are still unknown, official sources cited in Algerian media said he was accused of belonging to the Movement for the Self-Determination of Kabylia (MAK), a political group that claims the independence of the predominantly Amazigh (Berber) region of Kabylia in the northwest as Algerian authorities define as a terrorist organization.

The forced return of Bouhafs comes against a backdrop of political repression under the pretext of counterterrorism in Algeria. Amnesty reported that since April this year, Algerian authorities have increasingly used general accusations of “terrorism” or “conspiracy against the state” to prosecute anti-Hirak regime activists and human rights defenders.

The High National Security Council (HCNS), chaired by Algerian President Tebboune, announced in May that the opposition political organization Rachad and the separatist group MAK had been designated “terrorist entities”. On August 18, the HCNS also ordered the arrest of all members of the two movements which the authorities accused of having played a role in the devastating fires in Kabylia.

On September 6, a few days after Bouahfs’ appearance before the Algiers court, Algerian police arrested 27 other alleged members of the MAK.

“The Algerian power now wants the public to focus on these two groups [MAK and Rachad] who are both seen as a threat to national security and generally hold them accountable for everything that happens at the national level, ”Ghebouli said.

According to the political analyst, despite suspicions about Tunisia’s role in the Bouhaf incident, little international attention will be paid to the story of an Algerian refugee forcibly returned at a time when the young Arab democracy is grappling with more pressing issues like a political roadmap, institutional legitimacy and the separation of powers.

Alessandra Bajec is a freelance journalist currently based in Tunis.

Follow her on Twitter: @AlexandreBajec

]]> 0