Monday, October 5, 2009
Interpol Arrest Warrants in the Ben Barka Case
Interpol has issued international arrest warrants in the case of the 1965 disappearance of Moroccan leftist activist and opposition leader Mehdi ben Barka. The warrants are for four Moroccans allegedly involved in the kidnapping and disappearance of Ben Barka in Paris. Among the four wanted are General Hosni Benslimane, head of the Royal Gendarmerie and powerful military man in the kingdom; General Abdelhaq al-Qadiri, former head of Morocco's internal intelligence services, and former intelligence officers Miloud Tounzi, aka Larbi Chtouki, and Abdelhaq 'Ash'ashi. The case of Ben Barka has captivated the Moroccan political psyche for the past forty years, and it is highly unlikely that the warrants will be served at all. However, these warrants are seen as an indictment of the former regime of Hassan II and its possible involvement in the disappearance of the opposition and non-aligned movement leader. Mehdi ben Barka was a leading figure behind the emergence of the Union National des Forces Populaires (UNFP), which broke away from the Istiqlal party in 1959. Ben Barka, along with Fquih Basri, establsihed the New Left movement, which among other things, sought to overthrow the monarchical regime and to establish a socialist-leaning republic.