A forum devoted to current political, economic trends, and news of the Maghreb region.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Freedom of the Press in Morocco

A new report by Reporters without Borders hails the relative relaxation of restrictions on press freedom in Morocco. Still, it also highlights the state's tough stance on those journalists who dare transgress against the monarchy or issues of the territorial integrity of the kingdom. The examples of Rachid Ninni and Aboubaker al-Jamai are reminders that in the absence of true information autonomy, Moroccan journalists are still under the confines of a repressive press code in dire need of reform.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Early Election Results in Mauritania

Despite the results of recent polls, which projected a tight three-way race between Ould Abdel Aziz, Ould Boulkheir and Ould Daddah, Taqadoumy forum reports a sizable lead for Ahmed Ould Abdel Aziz in the initial stages of vote counting. As the results keep coming, Ould Abdel Aziz seems destined to win the presidential elections with over 53% of the votes with 80% of the ballots counted. opposition has already denounced "the electoral masquerade, which seeks to "legitimize the coup," declared Messaoud Ould Boulkheir, the principal rival of Ould Abdel Aziz.

Elections in Mauritania

Mauritanians head to the polls today in landmark presidential elections. The front runner is Ould Abdel Aziz, former junta leader who is running on a platform based on populism and being anti-Israel. Ould Abdel Aziz has also called for an end to corruption and instituting principles for good governance. According to recent polls, General Ould Abdel Aziz is trailed by Ahmed Ould Dada and Messaoud Ould Boulkheir. The former's agenda emphasizes the morals and values of "justice, equity, tolerance." Ould Boulkheir has espoused ideals of democracy and human rights, and has pledged his support for trade unions. There are high hopes that the elections will "renew lost trust" with Mauritanians after the 2008 coup that toppled the government of democratically-elected president Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Decline of Political Islam?

Interesting article on the demise of political Islam thesis. Nathan Field argues that the decline in Islamist electoral gains in authoritarian political systems is hardly a measure to assess the potential end or actual decline in Islamism. At the societal level, Islamists are engaged in their primary objective which is Da'wa and predication. The whole post-Islamism stance advanced by French scholars Gilles Keppel and Oliver Roy is premature and naive. Islamism is a current socio-political reality that will be part of the landscape of Muslim societies for years, if not decades, to come. In the absence of real political ideologies that could bring about concrete plans to immanent political and economic ills, Islamism remains the solution for many in the Muslim world.

Friday, July 10, 2009

al-Qaeda in North Africa

A growing and important threat to the Maghreb, the Sahel region and the rest of the Middle East, as a resurgent affiliate of al-Qaeda will only embolden other Jihadist groups in the region to seek a second wave of attacks against both foreign nationals and local societies. These groups, including AQIM, are not gangs of criminals devoid of any ideological political goals.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

First female general in Algeria

After Morocco's second ever female city mayor of Marrakech, Algeria has now its first female general. The Jerusalem Post reports that "Colonel Fatma-Zohra Aardjoun was named a general at the National Defense Ministry, in a promotion ceremony for the National Army, along with seventeen other male colonels. Four generals were also promoted to the rank of major-general."