Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Sultan Atrash

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.


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