Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘military operations

Morocco “Reef Independent State”: Abdel Karim Khotabi (1882-1963)

It is about time that historian and geopolitical researchers do their due diligence and discover the connections, causes, and catalysts that linked all the Arab uprisings from the end of WWI to the beginning of WWII.

Major Arab revolutions (sustained and protracted mass disobedience activities to military operations) were carried out against the colonial occupying forces of France, England, Spain, and Italy in Morocco, Libya, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Iraq and Turkey.

Morocco experienced the phenomenal resistance of the Reef against both the Spanish and French troops from 1912 to 1927.

Libya started its resistance against Italy in 1911 under the leadership of Omar Al Mokhtar, and Italy had to invest plenty of resources and manpower to end the armed resistance around 1935…

Egypt experienced several mass uprising, starting with Arabi Pasha and culminating with Saad Zaghloul…

The Palestinians started their successive mass disobedience activities in 1929 and culminated from 1936 to 39. The british Empire was forced to dispatch 100,000 troops to quell this unprecedented opposition, using new torture methods and humiliation and terror tactics that Nazi Germany emulated without any improvement on them…

The Syrians started their resistance in 1918 in three provinces, engaged the French troops in Maysaloun and continued their steadfast opposition in the Huran and Golan Heights under the leadership of Sultan Atrash from 1925 to 1927

The Iraqi people started their opposition to the British occupation in 1920 and kept their resistance under the leader  Rasheed 3ali Kilani till the beginning of WWII

Turkey of Kamal Ataturk counter attacked and regained their territories, and more than it expected. For example, France ceded a vast part of Syria (Alexandretta, Adana, and Antakya…) to Ataturk in 1936 in order to get this dictator alliance against the German-Soviet treaty to splitting Polonia…

This post is a biography of the Moroccan Abdel Karim Khotabi (1882-1963) who led the armed and political resistance against the Spanish and French colonialist occupying forces.

It is reported that members of the nascent Palestinian resistance organization (Fateh) visited China and met Chairman  Mao Tse Tong in 1964. The Fateh wanted to learn the process of China popular resistance. Mao replied: “You are barking at the wrong tree. Go and learn from the master of people’s resistance Al Khotabi…” Al Khotabi was in exile in Cairo at the time and will die in the same year

Abdel Karim Al Khotabi was born in the town of Ajdir. His father was the leader of the largest tribe in the Reef of Morocco, the Bani Woryagel. The province of this tribe was never occupied by the colonial powers of spain and France.

The naval assaults of this tribe on the colonial forces were done at the request of the smaller tribes under occupations.

Abdel Karim Al Khotabi was educated in the city of Melilla (under Spanish rule), and received his university education in the oldest of Arabic universities, the Karaween University in Fas, and was appointed chairman of all the judges (kadi al  kudat) before 1915.

At the instigation of the French, the Spanish General Esporo submitted Abdel Karim to interrogations by a military tribunal. Abdel Karim admitted that his obedience is toward his caliph, the Turkish Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey had declared war on France and England in WWI, and Spain was supposedly a neutral nation, furnishing both alliances with goods and needed supplies…

Abdel Karim Al Khotabi was released and captured again and sent to prison in order to blackmail his father into softer positions toward the colonial occupiers. Instead, the father’s reaction was to declare war on spain.

The Spanish troops suffered frequent defeats that culminated in the disastrous battle of ” Anwal” in 1921.

And Abdel Karim Al Khotabi established the “Republic of the Reef“, formally called “The Federal Republic of the Reef Tribes” and dispatched diplomats to European States and the Arab States and the States Union for recognition as an independent member. Al Khotabi sent two letters to Britain MacMillan PM who refused to answer them.

The province counted barely 1 million and Abdel Karim managed to raise an army 130,000 strong. He focused on the infrastructure of roads and telephone communication lines.

This first independent State in the modern Arab time was divided into districts called Mahkamat (Court) with autonomous jurisprudence, military police and administrative responsibilities.

This federal government had four ministers: Foreign Affairs,Treasury, Commerce, and the counselor to the President a de facto Prime Minister. The president retained the defense portfolio.

The national Assembly voted on a constitutional document, stating:

1. No recognition to France mandated power over Morocco

2. Withdrawal of all Spanish troops from the Reef province

3. Recognition of the complete independence of the new State

4. Instituting a Constitutional government

5. Spain was to pay compensation for loss and harms done in the occupied land

6. Establishing formal relationship and commercial contracts with States that recognized the independence of the Reef republic

7. Ajdir is to be the Capital…

In 1925, the combined forces of France and Spain managed to annex the reef province and Abdel Karim Al Khotabi and the members of his extended families were sent to exile by France to the Island of Reunion, close to Madagascar.  Twenty years later, France decided to transfer Abdel Karim Al Khotabi in 1947 and the ship stopped in Port Said in Egypt.

Abdel Karim Al Khotabi asked political asylum and Egypt agreed.

Abdel Karim Al Khotabi was asked to chair the “Maghreb Liberation Council” at the instigation of the Moroccan  leader Alal Al Fassi.


“Justice rendered” and “Grapes of wrath”: Books or military operations?

In July 1993, during Yitzhak Rabin PM, and April 1996 (Shimon Perez PM), Israel launched two devastating military operations into Lebanon, destroying all Lebanon infrastructure, hydraulic and electrical systems, roads, bridges…

Over 500,000 Lebanese civilians in south Lebanon had to flee their villages and towns, and hundreds were killed…

In 1993, Timor Goksel (UN  contingent spokesman) clarified the reason for the vast Israeli military operation called “Justice rendered”:  “Hezbollah (resistance movement against Israel occupation of south Lebanon) has managed to kill too many (relative to previous periods) Israeli soldiers in short lapse of time…Hezbollah was leading a resistance  very much within the rules of the game: Israeli soldiers for resistance fighters killed in engagements…”

In the decade 1983-93, for every Israeli civilian killed by obsolete Katiousha rockets, 30 Lebanese civilians were harvested by Israel shelling of towns and villages. Now, since Israel soldiers were being targeted, deadly and punitive military operations were the response.

Israel main objective was to pressure the State of Lebanon (its army) to restrain Hezbollah zeal for resisting occupation.  Israel know that Lebanon never enjoyed any valid central power to confront any faction, much less a resistance more heavily armed and supported by Iran in organization and funding.

The Israeli military propaganda was that Israel was equipped with the latest technologies to automatically locate incoming rockets and respond within seconds and destroy rockets before impact…Reality proved to be very different: Israel just applied random violence on Lebanese civilians… The question in the high command was: “How Israel army was to pulverize 54 Lebanese towns and villages bordering Israel and force the civilians to transfer northward?”

In 1993, and for 7 days and nights, Israel bombed and ruined 70 villages and destroyed Lebanon infrastructure.  Over 140 Lebanese civilians were killed, over  350,000 fled, and only 9 resistance fighters fell martyrs in retaliation for two dead Israeli civilians.

This time around, Israel was retaliating against Lebanese and Not against any “Palestinian terrorists“.  The internal political climate in Lebanon rallied around Hezbollah’s right to resist the occupiers.

The US of Clinton had to hurry to Damascus to strike a cease fire agreement with Hafez al Assad.  Hezbollah won politically: The US agreed to recognize Hezbolla’s rights to resist occupation: fighting is among fighters!  Three weeks later, Hezbollah killed 9 Israeli soldiers in a single day:  The July 1993 operation was supposedly in retaliation for 7 Israeli soldiers killed between 1985 and 1993.

In October 1994, Hezbollah climbed a mountain and planted its flag on an Israeli bunkers manned by 70 soldiers of the “elite” Givati: The Israeli soldiers dispersed haphazardly in the adjacent forests.

And this exploit was filmed by “embedded” Hezbollah cameramen who showed the document the same night on Hezbollah’s TV station “Al Manar“.  An instant hit story around the Arab world. This valiant operation by Hezbollah came in retaliation of the Israeli bunker in Dabcheh shelling the large town of Nabatieh and killing an entire two families.

The “Grapes of wrath”Israeli vast operation in April 1996 had for purpose to pressuring Syria to “restraining” Hezbollah and consequently to alienating Syria from Iran.

The operation lasted 17 days and nights: 500,000 Lebanese civilians fled, 165 were killed, 13 resistance fighters fell, and again all Lebanon infrastructure destroyed, to be rebuild for the nth time.

In this operation, the UN contingent in the town of Qana warned Israel of the existence of Lebanese civilians in their compound: Israel thus shelled the compound with 13 mortar shells of the 155 mm caliber and killed 102 civilians!  Lebanese totally backed Hezbollah and even “right wing and isolationist” Christians donated money and acclaimed Hezbollah.

The US of Clinton had to hustle back to Damascus for another cease-fire deal.  The French headed the negotiation and US Christopher had to bow down to the new agreement: Israel has no longer any “rights” to targeting Lebanese civilians.

Since 1996  operation, Hezbollah escalated its operations from 200 on average to 1,000 in 1998.  By 1999, the number of Hezbollah’s operations climbed to 1,500.  In 2000, Israel was forced to withdraw without negotiation or any preconditions.

In June 2006, Israel tried one more time with an operation that lasted 33 days with full backing of Bush Junior.

Israel lost the war and the political clout and is reduced to count Hezbollah as a true army and at par as a determined and efficient deterrence force to consider in any later operations.

Note 1: details taken from “A history of Lebanon” by David Hirst, correspondent in Lebanon and the Middle-East for 30 years

Note 2:  You may read on genesis of Hezbollah




March 2023

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