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Reactions in the Maghreb to the Gulf crisis and war.

WHEN THE GULF CRISIS OCCURRED, the Maghreb was in a peculiar period. Therefore, a brief overview of the situation prevailing in the region on the eve of the crisis is essential in order to better understand the different reactions to the crisis and to the war.

The Maghreb has been experiencing a period of transition characterized by cyclical instability which began in the early 1980s.(1) Despite the differences between the five regimes (Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia), all failed to fulfill the rising expectations of their populations. The rate of unemployment, with the exception of Libya, is very high; the demographic explosion has aggravated the acute housing crisis and created a mass of unemployed among the youth; the lack of democratic institutions alienated both intellectuals and masses; the prospect of European integration in 1992 raised new fears with respect to trade and immigration. Furthermore, the crumbling of the Eastern Bloc and the call for democratization in China and in Africa could not leave the Maghrebis oblivious to such developments. In fact, it may be argued that due to the hardships they have experienced, the Maghrebis have since the early 1980s increased their demands for democratization and for an improvement of their conditions of living well before similar events took place in Eastern Europe. The respective governments' inability to respond positively to such demands has led to riots in Morocco (1981 and December 1990), Tunisia (1984), and Algeria (1980, 1986, and much more seriously in October 1988). In brief, Maghrebi populations have rejected the processes of development imposed upon them by the so called "developmental dictatorships," and have sought radical change within a less authoritarian, perhaps democratic, context. From their perspective, neither the state capitalist/socialist experiment led by a single party, nor the liberal development under a monarchy have fulfilled their expectations. More importantly, the failure of system performance in the Maghrebi countries compelled the citizens to look elsewhere for salvation. The surge of radical Islamism can be explained, albeit partially, in this context. Yet, the emergence of radical Islam also should be situated in the international setting. Israel's defeat of the arabs in the June 1967 War was a severe blow to Arab nationalism, an ideology which had dominated the Arab World since the 1940s. One of the major consequences of the defeat has been the continuing rise of Islamic fundamentalism. In the late 1970s and in the 1980s, the Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia, appeared to many Islamic leaders in the Maghreb as the "ideal model" where wealth and Islam were mixed together and, therefore, should be emulated. This is not to say, however, that this model was attractive to the Maghrebis at large. As shall be seen below, the Maghrebis were and still are quite resentful of the Gulf countries.

Furthermore, at the international level, it should be pointed out that the Maghrebis, despite their geographical distance from the Mashreq, continued to be frustrated by the absence of a solution to the Palestine question and the issue of Jerusalem. The incapacity of the Arab regimes to find a political or military solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict undermined the legitimacy of these regimes in the eyes of their people. The West, mainly the United States because of its unconditional support for Israel, was also blamed as the main impediment to the establishment of a Palestinian state. Maghrebi support for Palestine should not be underestimated.

However, with the exception of the Palestinian question, the Mashreq was not a major preoccupation of the Maghrebis. Before the Gulf crisis, most Maghrebis, Algerians in particular, were not fond of Saddam Hussein, whose war against Iran was seen as senseless and unjust, Iraq being the aggressor. Government and masses alike believed that it was a war between Muslims and that it could only serve the interests of the "enemies of Islam," namely, the United States and Israel. Further, the dispute between Kuwait and Iraq before August 1990 attracted little attention in the Maghreb, where the major preoccupations were greater democracy, improvement in the standards of living, and more social justice. Therefore, Saddam Hussein's dictatorial Ba'thist regime was far from representing the model to be imitated because, in the eyes of the Maghrebis and other Arabs, this type of regime had serious limitations. The Gulf crisis took place amidst all these internal problems. In Algeria, in particular, the growing popularity of the Islamists, following their overwhelming victory in the municipal and departmental (wilayat) elections in June 1990, remained the main concern for Algeria and its neighbors. The crisis, in a sense, shifted the focus of attention and provided the Algerian regime with a badly needed respite.

Reactions in the Maghreb to the Gulf crisis can be identified within four phases.


The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on 2 August 1990 generated mixed feelings in the Maghreb countries. Regimes and populations alike were astonished.(2) At the government level, Algeria and Morocco expressed the strongest opposition to the occupation. Algeria demanded the restoration of the legal authorities in Kuwait with full territorial integrity. The Algerian Government asked for the immediate withdrawal of Iraqi forces and the respect of Kuwaiti sovereignty.(3) Algerian officials were fearful that the invasion would divide the Arab World even further and that it would provide a pretext for Western, mainly US, intervention in the area. From the onset, Morocco, too, adopted a firm position against the Iraqi invasion. This was largely due to the Moroccan monarchy's ties with the Gulf monarchies.(4) The political parties, too, were surprised by the invasion, but observed a reserved attitude because of the good ties many of them enjoyed with Iraq.(5) Similarly, Tunisia rejected the invasion without, however, condemning Iraq.(6) Libya, while arguing that the invasion was an Arab matter and that Arab unity was essential,(7) seemed more preoccupied with possible US intervention than with taking a clear position on Iraq's action. Mauritania, for its part, sided openly with Iraq.(8) At the Ministerial Council meeting in Cairo on 3 August, the Maghrebi states failed to present a common position. Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia voted in favor of the resolution condemning the occupation of Kuwait; Mauritania abstained and Libya did not even participate in the vote. Neither Libya nor Mauritania condoned the invasion, but their respective positions seemed to be predicated upon their desire to keep channels of communication open with Iraq.

At the popular level, the Islamists were the most vocal voices against Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. This can be easily explained by their resentment toward Saddam Hussein, a secular ruler who showed no pity toward the Islamicist movement. But the major reason for the Maghrebi Islamicists' initial support for Kuwait was determined by their financial dependence on Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states. The leaders of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) in Algeria described Saddam Hussein as either a Haddam or a Khaddam (destructor or servant) and challenged him to liberate Jerusalem. They also accused the Ba'th Party in Iraq of having massacred Muslims.(9)

A second trend in the Maghreb consisted of those who disapproved of the invasion, but showed little sympathy for the Kuwaitis, especially their regime. It is not unfair to say that Maghrebis in general despise the Gulf Arabs whom they often identify with the princes. They are resentful of their alleged egotism, their lack of generosity and consideration vis-a-vis the less fortunate countries of the Arab World, and their depraved conduct. The Maghrebis are scornful of the Gulf princes because of the image they carry--arrogance due to their wealth, immoral behavior, uncivilized manners, loose mores, hypocrisy with respect to religious values, and so forth.

The Gulf war and its aftermath has unquestionably strengthened this Maghrebi perception of the Gulf Arabs. It is, of course, possible that the Maghrebis feel, subconsciously, that the Kuwaitis are Arabs who have had it easy, for they have never had to struggle--like the Maghrebis did, especially the Algerians, for their independence--or to work hard like the rest of the Maghrebis and other Arabs to build their societies. Furthermore, Maghrebis have felt that there is an injustice as far as the distributin of Arab wealth is concerned, particularly oil, which they believe is "given by God to the entire Arab Nation." In their eyes, the Kuwaitis and the other Gulf states have sold their oil at cut-rate prices to flood the market and bring down the price of oil, thus depriving countries, such as Algeria and Iraq, which have adopted nationalist economic policies, from financing their development. Gulf regimes are consequently perceived as mere puppets of the West to which they have sold their soul in exchange for military protection.

Subsequent to the invasion, the opposition parties in the Maghreb exhibited a wide variety of responses. In Morocco, the parties were rather slow to react to the Iraqi invasion, esentially because they were stunned by the event, but also because of their fear of provoking King Hassan II, whose close friendship with sister monarchies in the Gulf was common knowledge. Another reason is the fact, as indicated earlier, that some of them had close ties with the Ba'thist regime in Baghdad. In general, however, most parties took a prudent position, except for the communist Parti du Progres et du Socialisme (PPS), which condemned unequivocally the Iraqi regime and its "adventurist" policy.(10)

In Algeria, the reaction was similar. The communist Parti de l'Avant-Garde Socialiste (PAGS), like its counterpart in Morocco, condemned Iraq's military action. But, it also criticized Kuwait's and the other Gulf states' oil policies.

In Tunisia, a similar response could be observed, although a few parties, known for their pan-Arabism and their hatred of Saudi Arabia, such as the Union Democratique Unitaire or the Rassemblement Socialiste Progressiste, condoned the occupation of Kuwait. They believed--and still do--that the invasion was necessary for the security of the Arab nation or because they simply and bluntly viewed Kuwait as a creation of British colonialism and that it was rightfully an integral part of Iraq.

To sum up, the first phase was one of shock, embarrassment, confusion, and, sometimes, indifference. But, clearly, despite the antipathy toward Kuwait, very few Maghrebis condoned the invasion. The prevailing opinion was that the conflict between Iraq and Kuwait could and ought to be solved within an Arab context. In spite of the deep social, economic, political and historical differences that distinguish the various Arab countries, Arabs in general feel that they constitute a single family and that their problems should be resolved within that context. Western interference is viewed with suspicion. The West, especially the United States, is often perceived not only as an enemy, but as what some international relations theorists have described as an "active threat and as strong."(11) A commentary on Libyan radio following Kuwait's invasion warned:

The Arab nation's relationship with the Western world ... is governed by internal and international policies that follow untrustworthy, slippery lines and bends. This is due to the nature of the historical relationship which has always been accompanied by the notoriety of the Western world. The Arab man can never say a good thing about it. This is a result of an extensive experience from which the Arab man has reaped nothing except the West's aggression and treachery against Arabs without exception.... Historically, racially, religiously, and fatefully--no matter what flimsy pretexts have been used, the United States has seized the first opportunity to intervene militarily .... We are saying this while we see Arab quarrels which we hope will be resolved through fraternal understanding and dialogue inside the Arab family .... Through unity Arab quarrels will come to an end and through unity the United States will not be able to get near Arab soil. Through Arab unity Palestine will be liberated.(12)

Regardless of its demagogic nature, this statement reflected a common sentiment among Arabs. In the Maghreb, this sentiment was shared by the masses at large and by most political parties. The governments of Algeria, Mauritania, and Tunisia, were probably close to this position.


The Cairo Summit which was held on 9 August was a fateful one. Most Maghrebis today--and they are not alone--believe that the summit was an Arab cover sought by the United States to eventually destroy Iraq. The official positions in the Maghreb diverged considerably: The Moroccan government supported the summit resolution and agreed to send forces--albeit independently of the coalition forces--to Saudi Arabia; Libya rejected the resolution; Algeria abstained; Mauritania expressed reservation, whereas Tunisia refused to attend the summit altogether.

The most dramatic event, however, was US military involvement in the region beginning on 7 August. This provoked a radical change in Maghrebi attitudes. Clearly, Maghrebis were not only suspicious about, but plainly resentful of, the foreign military presence in the region. As put by the Algerian Ambassador to the United States at that time:

The people of the region resented a foreign intervention which we viewed as

an attempt by the West to hamper the ability of Arabs to make independent

decisions and control the economic resources of the region. People felt that

the invasion of Kuwait represented the best opportunity for the US and the West to gain a foothold in the strategic Gulf region.(13)

The Algerian Foreign Minister, Sid Ahmed Ghozali, said about the arrival of US troops in Saudi Arabia: "Well, this is the worst thing we were fearing.... Algeria's position is that the most catastrophic possibility in the Gulf crisis is foreign intervention."(14)

The military intervention in the Gulf region led to a dramatic turn of events in the Maghreb. The masses and political parties alike openly expressed unconditional solidarity with Iraq. The occupation of Kuwait was put in the background. Once the United States announced its intention to intervene massively in the region, the political parties vehemently expressed their suspicions and genuine concerns. The Maghrebis displayed an unprecedented show of support for Iraq. As described accurately by R. Girard, "The Maghreb found itself exclusively Arab, fundamentally supportive of Iraq. Saddam Hussein had awakened in the population the deeply ingrained sentiment of Arab national pride that only Nasser knew hitherto how to do it."(15)


Not surprisingly, the nationalist party, National Front of Liberation [FLN], strongly opposed Western presence in the region. The FLN rejected any solution imposed by the West and held that Arab affairs must be handled by the Arabs themselves. Many FLN leaders argued that international law had been invoked only to protect Western interests and questioned America's sudden "friendship" with the Arabs.(16)

The Mouvement pour la Democratie en Algerie [MDA], led by the old nationalist hero and first president of independent Algeria, Ahmed Ben Bella, played up the Arab nationalist card, i.e., one hostile to imperialism and to Arab reactionary regimes. The party extended unconditional support to Saddam Hussein. On 14 August, a communique of the party declared that "the new Western aggression is not intended to defend Kuwait, but to politically and economically dominate the Arabs by creating divisions among them."(17)

The Front des Forces Socialistes [FFS] also led by of one of the leaders of the Algerian anti-colonial struggle, Hocine Ait Ahmed, initially condemned the Iraqi annexation of Kuwait. However, by 14 August, the FFS leadership turned against the West and raised the question as to why the West did not respond to the 1982 Israeli aggression against Lebanon with the same firmness.(18) The party, therefore, advocated Arab solidarity and entente, while urging Arabs to reject foreign domination.

The Rassemblement pour la Culture et la Democratie [RCD], a party often accused of Berberism because of its initial ethnic membership and its defense of Berber culture, adopted a position similar to the official stance of the government. Thus, the RCD condemned both the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait and rejected the Western presence in the region. The party insisted on international legality.(19)

Although critical of Iraq, the Socialist Vanguard Party [PAGS] was hostile to any foreign presence in the Gulf. The party asked what had by then become a redundant question: Why has not the occupation of Arab territories by Israel elicited similar Western reactions? Furthermore, the PAGS was very critical of Kuwait for producing more oil than its assigned quotas.(20)

More interesting, of course, was the position of the Islamic Salvation Front [FIS]. The FIS showed real embarrassment. The Front's dilemma was how to justify Saudi Arabia's appeal to the US for protection. Its slogan revealed this problematic:

Let's brandish the torch of Islam. Let's brandish the Jihad. Down with the

lackeys of colonialism. No to the Iraqi intervention in Kuwait, no to the

intervention of the infidels in Saudi Arabia; and no to the governments com-

promised with the West. Yes to peaceful dialogue. Brothers, we refuse all

interferences in our affairs.(21)

But, once the masses demonstrated their opposition to a US presence in the Gulf and their condemnation of Saudi Arabia for inviting US troops, the FIS shifted gears and began to view its Saudi benefactors more critically. One of its spokesmen, Abassi Madani, declared:

What is taking place in the Gulf is a new form of Crusade, in addition to the fact that it is a violation of Islamic sovereignty and an aggression against the sanctity of the two holy Mosques, given the flagrant US presence and the Saudi regime's hasty permission for it to be there.... As far as what Iraq has done to Kuwait, the problem is a small one. There was no need to allow it to grow to such an extent that it has now become a Crusading war between Islam and its enemies.(22)

The FIS's leadership had by then probably realized that the domestic gains which could be obtained from supporting Iraq would far outweigh whatever financial and moral backing might be coming from Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf regimes.

In Algeria, then, except for a small minority, no party condoned the Iraqi occupation and annexation of Kuwait. But, all the parties, the government and the masses were unanimous in their condemnation of the presence of foreign forces in the region. This represented in their eyes a more serious situation than Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Algerians were convinced that the West's motivations for intervening in the region had little to do with genuine concern for international legality.

The Algerian press accused the international media--believed to be controlled by the Zionists--as being part and parcel of the anti-Arab conspiracy. Furthermore, a group of Algerian lawyers, writers, religious and political personalities decided to symbolically set up an international tribunal to put Bush and American policy on trial. The American president was accused of being "a threat to world peace and security."(23)

Moreover, Algerians were staunchly opposed to the embargo imposed on Iraq by the United Nations, now seen as a tool of the United States and its Western allies. The embargo was perceived as an unfair measure because no such severe actions were ever taken against Israel or other countries that had invaded their neighbors. The notion of "double standards" in foreign affairs became the dominant theme of political discussions throughout the Maghreb. Sid Ahmed Ghozali explained why Algeria--and other Maghrebi countries for that matter--were opposed to the UN sanctions:

Economic sanctions against Iraq mean the weakening, the wiping out of Iraq, and Algeria rejects this, just as we reject invasion, the process of invasion, the process of military intervention to solve differences between neighboring countries--brother and neighboring countries. We reject just as strongly any action which contributes to weakening the Iraqi people. And international economic sanctions will get the Iraqi people on their knees and we reject this just as strongly.(24)

Solidarity with Iraq, not necessarily with its leadership, became unconditional. It must be emphasized once again, that in this second phase, the Maghrebis had passed from a neutral, sometimes reserved, sometimes indifferent, attitude toward the conflict between Iraq and Kuwait to a pro-Iraqi stance. But this attitude changed only after the United States sent troops to the region. This reaction can be explained by the fact that Maghrebis, for obvious historical reasons, resent the presence of Western troops in any Arab country. This presence is reminiscent of their colonial past when French forces were in their countries to subjugate them. This corresponds to what some social psychologists have described as an image formation which "comprises a set of individual and collective memories that the event [in this case foreign intervention] may call into play. The occurrence of a spectacular event often leads a population to search its collective memory for types of information (such as analogies) useful in understanding or dealing with the new event."(25)

The prevailing perception at this stage was that the West reacted with such haste only because the aggressor, Iraq, was an Arab/Muslim country. Already, the notion of a Judeo-Christian conspiracy, prevalent during all the Arab-Israeli wars since 1948, dominated the commentaries in the media and among individuals. Dissent on the issue within Maghrebi societies became more and more difficult. Political parties and intellectuals who had condemned Iraq, now began to aim their critiques at the West. Intellectuals critical of Saddam Hussein started to question the motivations of the Western powers. The governments, aware of the harsh realities facing them domestically and internationally--in addition to their financial dependence on the West, coupled with the weakening of the USSR--attempted to limit the damage caused by Western intervention and the alignment of some Arab countries with the United States. They tried, with no avail, to find a diplomatic solution. Thus, Algerian President Chadli Bendjedid attempted, unsuccessfully and in a somewhat humiliating fashion, to find a diplomatic denouement to the crisis. All his efforts were fruitless except in convincing (along with Morocco, Tunisia, Sudan, Jordan, Yemen and the PLO) Iraq to free the Western hostages.(26) The failure of the Maghrebi regimes to influence the course of events could not have been more conspicuous. It was a weakness that the political parties, especially the Islamicist, wasted little time in exploiting.


Basically, the same evolution of the situation occurred in the Kingdom of Morocco. The parties proclaimed their solidarity with the Iraqi people and with its leadership. The Moroccan government sought to put pressure on the parties and the media to tone down the pro-Iraqi sentiments and to spare the Saudi government from being insulted publicly.

Once US intervention in the Gulf became known, the influential Istiqlal Party showed its traditional hostility toward the West, which it described as "imperialist and hegemonic." The leaders of the Istiqlal Party carefully avoided any direct attacks on the Gulf monarchies, but neither did they openly support Saddam's regime. From the party's point of view, a war would destroy Arab might and could benefit only Israel and the US.

The leftist Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP) displayed its traditional anti-American sentiments. The party raised the question of Palestine and the fact that Israel never abided by UN resolutions. The USFP's perception was that the United States was attempting to control Arab wealth and natural resources and to destroy the determination of the Arab peoples to free their economies from dependency on the capitalist West and to use their assets according to their own national interests.(27)

The Confederation Democratique du Travail (CDT) stated unequivocally that, "We are against those who are threatened by America and its allies.... The root of the crisis in the Middle East is the Palestinian question; there can be no solution to the conflict in the region unless the rights of the Palestinians are recognized and the Palestinians can return to Palestine."(28)

The National Union of Popular Forces (UNFP), close to the Iraqi Ba'th party, did not condemn the invasion of Kuwait. The party was against "the extremely serious UN decisions" and the attempts to isolate "brotherly Iraq, to destroy it physically and morally, thus reinforcing hegemony over the whole Arab nation and to erase from history the Arab future itself...."(29)

The Organisation d'Action Democratique Populaire (OADP) was strongly opposed to "imperialist" maneuvers aimed at preventing Iraq from enjoying its oil wealth. The party called on Arab states hostile to Israel and to imperialistic hegemony to close their ranks.(30)

King Hassan II, aware of the potential effects the crisis might have on Morocco's domestic situation, proclaimed, despite his lack of sympathy for the Iraqi regime, his neutrality in the conflict. In order not to cut himself from his subjects who displayed unquestionable popular support for Iraq, the king praised Saddam Hussein for having awakened the "international consciousness" on the Palestinian issue. He even conceded that he "understands the problems and the claims raised by Iraq." But, he strongly urged Hussein to withdraw from Kuwait.(31) The king tried unsuccessfully to organize a summit in Morocco to resolve the conflict peacefully between Iraq and Kuwait. The monarch played on two fronts: On the one hand, he adopted a position close to Egypt's and the "allies'." But, on the other hand, he took into account the popular mood which was staunchly pro-Iraqi.

Although he often raised the specter of a state of siege which he would impose in the kingdom in case of debordements (i.e., excesses, demonstrations getting out of hand), he never carried out his threats, even when Moroccan demonstrators demanded the return of their soldiers who had been dispatched to Saudi Arabia earlier.(32)


For reasons that have yet to be fully elucidated, Tunisia was quite surprisingly the Maghrebi country most affected by the crisis. It is definitely in Tunisia that Arab national sentiment regained its strength. Unlike what happened in the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars, the position of the government and the opposition converged. President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali espoused the public sentiment--perhaps to better control the Islamic fundamentalists who could have exploited the situation to their own advantage as did the Algerian Islamists--and obtained unanimous support from the legal opposition parties. The party in power, the Rassemblement pour la Constitution et la Democratie (RCD) took the lead in organizing marches in support of Iraq and its people. Popular support for Iraq and the condemnation of Saudi Arabia led to a division within the Islamist movement with regard to which attitude ought to be adopted.

Similar to the reaction in Algeria and Morocco, the protest movement emerged shortly after US troops began landing in Saudi Arabia. From a position of neutrality, Tunisians changed their attitude and adopted a decidedly pro-Iraqi stance. More importantly, many intellectuals and scholars proclaimed their solidarity with Iraqi policy and welcomed the return to militant Arabism.

Support committees, which brought together representatives from the opposition parties, the League of Human Rights, women's associations, and others, were set up and marches and rallies were organized throughout the country.(33) A brief review of the reactions of the different political parties and organizations will demonstrate the similarities with the situation that prevailed in the other Maghrebi countries, especially Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania. (In Libya, the few demonstrations that took place were visibly initiated and controlled by the authorities).

The Union Generale des Travailleurs Tunisiens (UGTT), strongly condemned the actions of Zionism and imperialism against the Arab nation. The Mouvement des Democrates Socialistes (MDS) insisted that Iraq withdraw its forces from Kuwait, but it also denounced the actions of the US administration, its Western allies, and of some Arab regimes. The Union Democratique Unitaire (UDU) justified the invasion of Kuwait as a necessity in the interest of Arab security. The UDU proclaimed its opposition to Saudi Arabia and held the view that by allowing the United States to use its territory, Saudi Arabia was committing treason. The Tunisian Communist Party (PCT), like its counterparts in Algeria and Morocco, was opposed to the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, but its members proclaimed their staunch opposition to any US presence in the Gulf region. The Rassemblement Socialiste Progressiste (RSP), strongly inspired by pan-Arabism, considers Kuwait to be part of Iraq and that Kuwait was the creation of British imperialism. Not surprisingly, the Islamist party, Ennahda [Renaissance], was opposed to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. However, once the US decision to send troops to Saudi Arabia was announced, the party was compelled to shift its position.(34) From exile, Rashed Ghannoushi, leader of the party, attacked the Saudis and stated that the objective of US intervention was to strengthen Israe's power and to perpetuate the exploitation of Arab wealth.(35)

In sum, during this second phase, the Maghrebis broke their neutrality and sided with Iraq. Clearly, not all the parties took a pro-Hussein position. Many parties displayed greater even-handedness in their analysis of the situation than others did. The Algerian RCD and the FFS, for instance, made it clear that they did not endorse President Hussein's dictatorial regime. Neither was their opposition to the United States' intervention made in the name of Arab unity. Nonetheless, whatever the nuances manifested by the various parties and organizations, support for the Iraqi people and condemnation of the West and of the Arab regimes which backed the West was almost unanimous.

The second phase of the Gulf crisis highlighted many facts about the situation in the Maghreb:

1. The crisis in the Gulf generated in the Maghreb a popular mobilization in favor of Iraq far greater than anywhere else in the Arab and Muslim world with the exception, perhaps, of Jordan and the occupied territories.

2. Unlike what occurred in the past, most Maghrebi intellectuals joined the masses. In Tunisia, for instance, most intellectuals adopted identical views to the masses in support not only of Iraq, but, paradoxically, of Saddam Hussein as well.(36) The Ben Ali regime itself, unlike Habib Bourguiba's during the Arab-Israeli wars, adopted an attitude more in line with the popular mood.

3. The crisis revealed, as never before since their independence, the Maghrebis' resentment toward the West.

4. Similarly, the crisis demonstrated the Maghrebis' profound antipathy toward Gulf Arabs for what they perceived as an undisputable arrogance and neophyte character.

5. The conflict revived in the Maghreb the revolutionary, populist, tradition. A consensus identitaire developed from which dissent was virtually impossible.(37) Western pressure on Iraq generated a sentiment among the Maghrebis of belonging to the same camp. A sense of solidarity grew stronger once it became obvious that the escalation was leading to an inevitable war. No longer was there any distinction between what the Algerian literary figure, Rachid Boudjedra, calls the official West (i.e., governments and chiefs of states) and the West that belongs to all humankind (i.e., that of intelligence, creativity, humanism, etc.).(38)

6. Western behavior during the conflict discredited the pro-democratic forces in the Maghreb. In the eyes of the Maghrebi masses and many intellectuals alike, Western notions of human rights, legality, and justice became meaningless. The West appeared as hypocritical and applying double standards. The West's policy of deux poids, deux mesures alienated most Maghrebis, who understood that, for the West, human values only apply to Europeans and their kind.(39) Western democracy and Western values were seriously questioned by most Maghrebis.

7. This Western attitude strengthened the position of Maghrebi xenophobes, obscurantists of all kinds who were now offered a golden opportunity to attack those Maghrebis who wished to emulate Western values and advocate modernity. The degree to which the Gulf war has affected the process of liberalization and democratization in the Maghreb remains to be seen.(40) What is already evident though is that the Islamists have succeeded in discrediting democratic, secular parties. The victory of the Islamic Salvation Front, an anti-democratic party, in the 26 December 1991 legislative elections, confirms this observation.

8. Although their sincerity toward the Iraqi people can hardly be questioned, political parties did, however, use the crisis to further their outbidding tactics. The Islamists, in particular, whose views toward the West are well known, benefitted from the arrogant and bullying behavior of the West toward Iraq.

9. The crisis is likely to have serious long-term repercussions on future European-Maghrebi relations. The perception that the conflict in the Gulf was a Judeo-Christian conspiracy awakened what is already well anchored in the collective memory of Maghrebis. As put by one of the greatest Maghrebi diplomats and intellectuals, the late Hamadi Essid, whom the Saudis forced to resign from his position as Ambassador of the Arab League in Paris during the Gulf crisis: "The West does in fact dehumanize us, invoking a kind of moral and historical fatality that would exclude us from the Judeo-Christian world."(41)

On the more positive side, the Gulf crisis demonstrated the Maghrebis' thirst for greater participation in the political processes of their societies. In Algeria, owing to the existence of the freest press in the Arab World, opinions were expressed in the most critical and constructive way. Undoubtedly, Maghrebis exploited the crisis to pressure their governments for genuine democratization and for more participation in political life.


The war in the Gulf generated radical reactions throughout the Maghreb. The intensity of the bombings in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities had a tremendous impact on the Maghrebi populations. The term hogra (bullying by the West) dominated every-day discourse. Although it is true that the parties used the occasion to push for further political and socio-economic changes in their own countries,(42) the predominant feeling among their members was that the West would never have acted in such a brutal manner had the target not been an Arab/Muslim country. The question often asked was: Why has the West never been so zealous in attempting to implement previous UN resolutions? The Maghrebis' greatest frustration was their inability to stop the war. At the official level, the five states called on the UN Security Council on 22 January 1991 to end the war. The masses responded to the war by organizing huge demonstrations. The Moroccan opposition announced a general strike for 28-29 January which would be devoted to prayers for the Iraqi people. An impressive demonstration took place on 3 February, in which the Islamists, officially banned as a party in Morocco, made an appearance. They shouted: "Saudi princes are traitors, we don't like them, and do not need their love." Palestinian and Iraqi flags were carried. Among the Moroccan slogans one could read: "Bush murderer! [French President] Mitterrand his dog! Fahd his donkey!" American, French, British, and Israeli flags were burned. Moroccans reiterated their call for a withdrawal of the Moroccan contingent from the Gulf, although only a few days earlier, the king had emphasized the fact that Moroccan troops in the Gulf were there solely for defensive purposes.(43) King Hassan was in a sense compelled to distance himself from the anti-Iraq coalition. The Tunisian government, fearful of depassements (spill-overs, excesses), tried unsuccessfully to forbid public demonstrations in the capital. In Mauritania, the most pro-Iraqi Maghrebi state, massive demonstrations were held. In Algeria, the democratic parties (RCD, PAGS, etc.) organized a demonstration on 24 January. Their slogan was very revealing: "A free and democratic Iraq," a message which undoubtedly suggested that they did not back Iraq's regime, but supported the Iraqi people. Various women's associations demonstrated in front of the local office of the United Nations shouting slogans against George Bush, the Arab emirs, and the UN. They extended full moral support to Saddam Hussein. The reaction of the Islamic Salvation Front was most instructive. A huge demonstration, mobilizing half a million people, was organized on 31 January by the fundamentalist leaders. "Death to the Crusaders! Death to the Jews! Death to France, Great Britain and the USA! Death to the traitors [i.e., the Saudis] who sold the holy lands to the Crusaders!" were the slogans launched by the first speaker at the rally.(44) Previous to that demonstration, the Front had called on the Algerian government to open training camps to send volunteers for the jihad alongside their Iraqi brothers against the allied forces. The Islamist leaders paraded throughout the capital in military uniforms. Unquestionably, despite a sincere sympathy for the Iraqis, the Islamist leaders' actions were politically motivated. This is probably why they were ridiculed by M'Hamed Yazid, a well-known nationalist figure: "They demand that Algeria send troops to Iraq when Algeria was not even capable of getting a ship loaded with semolina to Iraq."(45) Algerian President Chadli Bendjedid accused the Islamists of political maneuvering and demagoguery, while defending the Algerian government's position. He stated that: "We notice that the coalition forces have in this destructive war gone beyond the limits set by the UN Security Council.... The question of Kuwait is now exploited in order to destroy Iraq. This is the main objective sought.... It is a trap put in place years ago."(46) In spite of the president's consistent and realistic stance, it seems that Algerians felt that the government proved inept in its solidarity with Iraq. The most important point, however, is that the FIS used this opportunity to demand that President Bendjedid step down.(47) The FIS's objective was, of course, to further weaken the authority of the Algerian state and to prepare for a take-over.

Whatever their feelings about Iraq or Saddam Hussein, Maghrebis in general felt that the war was unjust; that it was genocide;(48) that it was a Zionist/imperialist scheme; that no such punishment would be imposed upon others, especially Israel, l'enfant cheri of the West. In their view, the West intended to destroy Iraq not because it had violated international law, but because Saddam Hussein had built a strong state capable of defeating Israel in the future.(49) The real causes for going to war against Iraq were, therefore, according to most Arabs, (not just the Maghrebis), motivated by the need to secure Western access to cheap oil and to prevent any Arab country from achieving power, and from modernizing.(50)

The war revived the collective memory of the Maghrebis, especially the Algerians, who, as put accurately in the French newspaper, Le Monde, "saw the Gulf war as a repetition of the Algerian war, equating the Iraqis, victims of bombings with napalm, to the [Algerian] freedom fighters who struggled for independence...."(51) Indisputably, it was the common colonial past that created the sense of solidarity with Iraq and that strengthened the sense of common identity of the Maghrebis against "they", i.e., the West and its accomplices.(52) Given that the leading forces against Iraq were the traditional colonial powers, plus the United States, a feeling of deja vu became self-evident. Taoufik Ben M'Rad, a Tunisian intellectual, explained that the other reason why people supported Iraq, was:

We Maghrebis, in particular, cannot forget that in the recent past we have

been the victims of a hated colonialism and that our wars for independence

have caused us--especially, sister Algeria--more than a million victims.

More precisely, the military component of the anti-Iraq coalition was formed

by the four traditional colonial powers, the United States, Great Britain,

France, and Italy. It was therefore natural that we sided with our Iraqi

brothers, victims of imperialist aggression.(53)

Although, as pointed out earlier, Saddam Hussein was, for the Maghrebis, no model to be emulated, the perception persisted that regardless of the past wrongdoing of the dictator, he was now the only Arab/Muslim leader who defied the West. He was now seen as a hero who swept away past and present Arab humiliations by the West. Therefore, even if his resistance ended in defeat, it was still victory,(54) for Iraq faced the most formidable war machine in human history. The perception was that the West, Israel, and the Arab traitors failed to make Saddam Hussein submit to the humiliating conditions they sought to impose upon Iraq. He was no longer seen as the Haddam or Khaddam even by his previous fundamentalist detractors, but as the Zaddam (the go-ahead type, the man with tremendous drive and courage). Consequently, once Iraq was destroyed by the "allied" forces, the Maghrebis showed great compassion for the man who sought to avenge Arab humiliations. In any case, they saw the "war as an unequal contest between a 30-nation coalition and a lone Arab country, the purpose of which was to destroy the only Arab state capable of standing up to Israel."(55) For them, he did help the Arabs regain their lost pride. As put by Essid: "If Saddam Hussein has become an Arab hero, it is not because of what he is, but because he put up fierce resistance to the United States, the institutional protector of the state of Israel."(56) Others argued that "Saddam is not a [Panama's] Noriega, but the new Saladin, who will free the great Islamic nation."(57)


The Gulf war has had an impact not only on the Maghreb's relations with the West, but on inter-Arab relations as well.(58) President Bendjedid declared in a speech on 24 February 1991 that Algerians ought to rely on their own forces. "We expect nothing from others, even from our Arab brothers, some of whom prefer to invest in and transfer their wealth to the West, thus forgetting those who are closer to them."(59) The bitterness toward the Gulf Arabs increased immeasurably.(60)

The analysis of the Maghrebi reactions to the Gulf war reveals several major points and confirms others:

1. According to the Maghrebis, the West has clearly demonstrated its opposition to the technological progress of the Arabs. In substance, Maghrebis argue, the West says that Israel can have nuclear weapons, whereas the Arabs are not allowed to. The Algerians reacted bitterly to Western reports in April 1991 which alleged that Algeria was developing nuclear technology with Chinese help.(61)

2. The prevailing perception among masses and intellectuals alike is that the West seeks to dehumanize the Arabs. They argue that the West invoked the human rights of the Kuwaitis, and later of the Kurds, but has done little when the human rights of the Palestinians have been violated in the last 40 years.

3. In the Maghreb, France lost much of its prestige. The Maghrebis lost faith in France's so-called independent foreign policy (France is now seen simply as a puppet of the United States), its democratic values, its talks about human rights, its left-wing, progressive, politics, its media, etc.(62) France lost most of its credibility even with those intellectuals who wished to emulate the French political system and societal organization. At the official level, Algeria, for instance, made it clear--at least in rhetoric--that it would favor relations with Spain and Italy to the detriment of relations with France. Yet, of course, realism has dictated to Maghrebi leaders that an alternative to French-Maghrebi relations will not be built overnight. Historical and geographical constraints have compelled Maghrebi countries to weigh carefully their relationship with their northern neighbor. As put by Sid Ahmed Ghozali: "Whatever we do, France is facing us on the other side of the Mediterranean, which is smaller than the Atlantic. We have common interests. We do not forget it. In the choice that France made during this [Gulf] crisis, Algeria's feeling is that the Maghrebis counted for less than nothing."(63)

4. The Maghrebis felt that the Gulf war, more than any Arab-Israeli conflict, was a war made against them. The main reason, of course, was the colonial past which continues to haunt generations of Maghrebis.

5. The Maghreb felt that Iraq's defeat was yet another Arab defeat. But, unlike past wars, the sense of humiliation was less pronounced. After all, Maghrebis held the view that Iraq fought against the most powerful countries on earth and was betrayed by the Gulf Arabs, Egypt, their own inefficient and impotent regimes, and by the Soviet Union. Said a man interviewed in the street of Algiers: "I don't care that he [Hussein] lost the war; at least he stood up to them [the allied forces]. And, let them kill more of us. France killed more than a million of us Algerians and we are still alive. At last, now after the Gulf War as an Arab, I can walk with my head held high."(64)

6. More importantly, the war allowed many opinions to be expressed in the Maghreb. It is quite obvious that when they attacked the corrupt Gulf monarchies and regimes, the Maghrebis were in fact attacking their own rulers. The war, therefore, demonstrated that a radical social crisis exists in the Maghreb countries. Despite the substantial material assistance provided by both the governments (especially Algeria) and private groups, Maghrebis were resentful of the incapacity of their rulers to provide greater support to the Iraqis. Maghrebis, to this day, are critical of the inability shown by the regimes to stop the war or to come to Iraq's rescue.

7. Maghrebi masses and many intellectuals have drawn the important conclusion that colonialism is not dead. But, they have also come to realize that the best defense against it is hard work, technological progress, socio-economic development, political participation, and even regime replacement.

8. Because Maghrebi regimes counted for little during the crisis and war, despite their many attempts to stop it, their legitimacy has been seriously questioned. In Algeria, for example, Houari Boumedienne obtained a posthumous legitimacy, for many Algerians argued that "had he been alive, he would have done something." His picture was carried during the demonstrations, thus making his successor, Bendjedid, look like an impotent ruler.

9. The necessity of working harder at achieving Maghrebi unity, not at the official level, but at the popular base, has become an important demand by the political parties. During the crisis and the war the Arab Maghreb Union highlighted its limitations.

10. Another consequence of the Gulf war was the narrowing gap between intellectuals and Islamists. Even though this may be a transitory phase, domestic as well as international issues (closing of Western borders to Maghrebi immigration or the increasing difficulty in obtaining a simple tourist visa, and so on) could make this phase a more lasting one and perhaps strengthen the fundamentalist trend. The admiration of many Algerian and Tunisian intellectuals for Islamists is rather puzzling, for, traditionally, intellectuals in these two countries have been more Western in outlook and aspirations.

11. An additional consequential point is that the Gulf war has somewhat discredited, the Islamist parties whose funding by the Gulf Arabs, especially Saudi Arabia, became common knowledge after the war. One may speculate that the divisions within the Algerian and Tunisian Islamist movements were in part due to their assessment of their relations with the Saudi and other Arab benefactors after the Gulf crisis and war. The existence of a Jaz'ara (Algerianist) faction within the now banned FIS is revealing.

12. The Gulf war has had the deepest impact on Maghrebi perceptions of the West. The Algerian press, for example, publishes periodically articles on the West's continuous aggressive behavior toward Iraq. Many Maghrebis are convinced that the New World Order will make it extremely difficult for Arabs, in general, and for Maghrebis, in particular, to challenge the Western threat.(65)

13. A curious element was also apparent during the crisis and war: Whereas a phenomenon of Saudization, Bahreinization, Qatarization is taking place in the Mashreq,(66) the Maghreb, with its strong particularities and its Berber heritage, was more Arabist during the crisis than the Mashreq. Only further research will be able to explain the nature of such a phenomenon. Finally, although it may appear paradoxical, while the Gulf war has created divisions within the Maghrebi Islamist movements, it has simultaneously strengthened Islamist ideology. The West's relations with the Maghreb will certainly be different. The Gulf was has deepened the socio-cultural differences that exist between these two worlds. The Gulf war has also added an extra element of hatred toward the West in the Maghrebi collective memory. Although the West seems to be willing to live with Islamist regimes in the Maghreb--e.g., France's backing for the FIS--only genuine cooperation between the West and the Maghreb at all levels and a just solution to the Palestinian question--so dear to the Maghrebis--may change Maghreb-Europe relations in a radical way.


(1.)Excellent analyses of this period of transition at different levels can be found in Bassma Kodmany-Darwish, ed. Maghreb: Les annees de transition (Paris: Masson, 1990).

(2.)See Renaud Girard, "Maghreb-Irak, une paradoxale solidarite," Revue des Deux Mondes (Paris), March 1991: 47. All translations from French and Arabic documents hereinafter are mine.

(3.)Algerie Presse Service (Algiers) in English, 4 August 1990 reprinted in Foreign Bulletin Information Service, Near East and South Asia (hereinafter FBIS-NES), 90-151, 6 August 1990.

(4.)"Morocco which remains faithful to its principles, today voices its solidarity with Kuwaiti brotherly people, victim of the Iraqi invasion." Minister of State Moulay Ahmed Alaoui quoted in FBIS-NES-90-153, 8 August 1990, p. 16.

(5.)See Mustapha al-Ahnaf, "L'opposition maghrebine face a la crise du Golfe," Maghreb-Machrek (Paris), no. 130, (October-November-December 1990): 101.

(6.)FBIS-NES-90-151, 6 August 1990, p. 23.

(7.)See FBIS-NES-90-152, 7 August 1990, p. 13.

(8.)FBIS-NES-90-153, 8 August 1990, pp. 15-16.

(9.)See Pierre Rondot, "L'Algerie et la crise du Koweit," Defense Nationale [Paris], (January 1991): 119.

(10.)FBIS-NES-90-157, 14 August 1990. The Algerian Communist Party [Parti de l'Avant-Garde Socialiste] was initially equally critical.

(11.)"If an enemy is perceived as an active threat, he is viewed as engaging in an activity immediately threatening, hostile to our interests, and requiring attention on our part. If an enemy is perceived as strong, he is considered to have potential or actual capabilities of taking direct or indirect actions which adversely affect us, with high probability of success unless we do something to check, equal, or surpass his power." David J. Finlay, Ole R. Olsti, and Richard R. Fagen. Enemies in Politics (Chicago, Illinois: Rand McNally and Co., 1967), p. 2.

(12.)FBIS-NES-90-152, 7 August 1990, p. 13.

(13.)Abderrahmane Bensid, "The Maghreb and the Gulf Crisis," Arab-American Affairs, No. 35, (Winter 1990-91): 29.

(14.)FBIS-NES-90-153, 8 August 1990.

(15.)Girard, "Maghreb-Irak," une paradoxale solidarite," op. cit., p. 48.

(16.)El-Moudjahid, 16 august 1990.

(17.)Cited in al-Ahnaf, "L'opposition maghrebine ...," op. cit., pp. 105-106.

(18.)See Rondot, "L'Algerie et al Crise du Golfe," p. 120.

(19.)A more elaborate and sophisticated view is discussed by the Secretary General of the RCD, the psychiatrist, Dr. Said Sadi, in "Garder le cap vers la democratie: Hypotheses pour le monde musulman," Herodote-Revue de Geographie et de Geopolitique, Nos. 60-61 (1st and 2nd quarter 1991): 33-40.

(20.)al-Ahnaf, op. cit., p. 107.

(21.)Cited in Benjamin Stora, "Le Maghreb face a l"Europe," Esprit-Cahiers de l'Orient, No. 172 (June 1991): 224. See also the ambiguous response given by the leader of the FIS, Dr. Abassi Madani during a phone interview, reported in FBIS-NES-90-156, 13 August 1990.

(22.)FBIS-NES-90-161, 20 August 1990, p. 6.

(23.)Le Monde, 30 November 1990.

(24.)FBIS-NES-90-153, 8 August 1990, p. 8.

(25.)Karl W. Deutsch and Richard L. Merritt, "Effects of Events on National and International Images," Herbert Kelman, ed. International Behavior: A Social-Psychological Analysis (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965), p. 136.

(26.)Le Monde, 13 December 1990.

(27.)al-Ahnaf, op. cit., p. 101. See also FBIS-NES 91-009, 14 January 1991, p. 26 for further details on the party's position.

(28.)al-Ahnaf, p. 102.



(31.)Le Monde, 14-15 October 1990.

(32.)For further details, see Pierre Rondot, "Le Maroc face a la Guerre au Koweit," Defense Nationale (May 1991).

(33.)The National Committee for Supporting Iraq was formed on 12 August 1990. According to the Tunisian Radio, "The working program of the committee is to provide moral and intellectual support to Iraq in its crisis, which is represented by the dangers constituted by the presence of foreign forces in the region." See FBIS-NES 90-156, 13 August 1990, p. 34. See also FBIS-NES 90-157, 14 August 1990, p. 20; FBIS-NES 90-158, 15 August 1990, p. 15; FBIS-NES 90-203, 19 October 1990, p. 17.

(34.)Although I perused through literally dozens of press articles from Tunisia, I owe much debt to al-Ahnaf, op. cit., for this overview of the political parties' reactions in Tunisia.

(35.)For Rached Ghannoushi's elaborate position on the Gulf crisis, see his interview in Jeune Afrique, no. 1572, 13-19 February 1991, pp. 50-53.

(36.)See Salah Zeghidi's critical assessment of Tunisian intellectuals in "De la maturite de la pensee a la derive politique-Lettre ouverte a Hishem Djait," Esprit-Les Cahiers de l'Orient, no. 172 (June 1991): 32-51.

(37.)For a social-psychological approach to this question, see Finlay, et al, Enemies in Politics, pp. 19-20.

(38.)Rachid Boudjedra, F.I.S. de la haine (Paris: Editions Denoel, 1992), p. 85 f.

(39.)See, for instance, Tassadit Imache, "Nous apres le deluge," Esprit-Cahiers de l'Orient, no. 172 (June 1991): 100, where the author states that "Si l'humain est une valeur universelle, l'homme universel repond au signalement de l'Europeen (et ses allies). En dehors des adherents du club, toute autre culture, religion, mode de vie, de pensee, fleure sa barbarie indecrottable." In other words, although the human is a universal value, universal man is only the European. Those belonging to other cultures and religions are excluded from that depiction.

(40.)For a similar point, see Michael C. Hudson, "After the Gulf War: Prospects for Democratization in the Arab World," The Middle East Journal, Vol. 45, 3 (Summer 1991): 410, 426.

(41.)See his interview in Le Temps Strategique (Geneva), no. 38 (February 1991): 12. In another article explaining the reasons why Tunisians supported Iraq, it was stated that "there has been at first a reaction of solidarity with a Muslim and Arab country threatened by Judeo-Christiantiy." Taoufik Ben M' Rad, "Les Raisons de notre solidarite avec l'Irak," Realites (Tunis), no. 290 15-21 March 1991, p. 15.

(42.)See The Christian Science Monitor (International Edition), 18-24 January 1991.

(43.)Le Monde, 5 February 1991.

(44.)Le Monde, 2 February 1991. See also, The Economist, 26 January 1991.

(45.)Le Monde, 25 January 1991. He was making reference to the ship sent by the Algerian women's organizations which was intercepted by US warships, hence forcing it to return home.


(47.)Le Monde, 2 February 1991.

(48.)Ben Bella, too, talked about genocide, crusades and called on the government to break off diplomatic relations with France and asked the Arab people to attack US interests everywhere in the world. See Ibid.

(49.)See Jeune Afrique, no. 1573, 20-26 February 1991, p. 36.

(50.)See Muhammad Hallaj, "US Gulf Policy: Going the Extra Mile for War," Arab Studies Quarterly, Vol. 13, Nos. 1 & 2 (1991).

(51.)Le Monde, 28 February 1991.

(52.)"Images of 'we' and 'they' are significant in establishing one's own identity, in legitimizing actions and programs and in providing rationales and models for attaining goals. Invoking the enemy makes it possible to moralize by counter-example." Finlay, et al, Enemies in Politics, p. 19.

(53.)M'Rad "les raisons de notre solidarite avec l'Irak," op. cit., p. 15

(54.)"Iraq is the word for victory [...] We must believe in Islam, but also in Saddam, with bodies and souls." L'Opinion (Istiqlal's newspaper), 21 February 1991.

(55.)The Economist, 30 March 1991, p. 50.

(56.)Essid, interview in Le Temps Strategique, op. cit., p. 11.

(57.)L'Opinion, 19 February 1991.

(58.)See Hilal Khashan, "The Quagmire of Arab Democracy," Arab Studies Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Winter 1992): 25 ff.

(59.)Le Monde, 28 February 1991.

(60.)The author visited the Maghreb in July and August 1991, where he held numerous conversations with people from various social groups. The identity of views was simply astonishing. The hatred toward Gulf Arabs and the West had reached incredible proportions.

(61.)See Le Monde, 13 April 1991 and 30 April 1991. The Algerian press responded by accusing the West of seeking excuses to attack Algeria as it did in Iraq.

(62.)For a good overview, see Paul-Marie de La Gorce, "Les relations entre la France et le Maghreb: la dechirure," Jeune Afrique, no. 1572, 13-19 February 1991.

(63.)Le Monde, 5 March 1991. Tunisian officials were even more explicit as to their attachment to good relations with France. See Le Monde, 21-22 April 1991.

(64.)Reported from a discussion the author had with an old man he met in a cafe in Algiers in July 1991.

(65.)In an editorial titled, "Malheur aux vaincus," the author argues that the West intends to destroy Libya, Syria and Algeria because of the "atomic danger they represent." See, El Watan (Algeria) 4 December 1991.

(66.)Khashan, "Quagmire," op.cit., p. 24.
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Author:Zoubir, Yahia H.
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