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Morocco royal guards killed in bus crash: 16 dead, 8 seriously wounded

Sixteen members of Morocco's royal guards were killed in a bus accident on Saturday.

The Reality of Western Sahara

Commentary: A rebuttal on accusations concerning the Polisario and Moroccan occupation.
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The wreckage of a Morrocan tank is pictured near the Western Sahara village of Tifariti. Western Sahara is a former Spanish colony which was annexed in 1975 by Morocco. The Polisario Front, backed by Algeria, wants independence for the territory on the west African coast. (Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images)
As with Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor, Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, and Iraq’s short-lived occupation of Kuwait, there are those who will try to justify illegitimate foreign occupations by making up such bizarre stories. However, it doesn’t mean they should be taken seriously.

Western Sahara in geopolitical stalemate

A generations-old territorial question between Morocco and Algeria poses new risks.
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A Sahrawi woman walks in the desert near the Western Sahara refugees camp in Tindouf. Morocco’s de facto governance of Western Sahara since gaining full control in 1979 remains a point of bitter contention for the Polisario and Algeria. (Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images)
RABAT and WASHINGTON — Relative to large pockets of human suffering in sub-Saharan Africa in the form of widespread famine or civil wars, the fate of Western Sahara, a disputed desert territory and its 120,000 people, is easily overlooked. Yet this particular conflict undermines regional security in North Africa and perpetuates a troublesome humanitarian situation. Amid a changing climate colored by the Arab Spring and the ascent of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Western Sahara is an unfortunate liability.

Al Qaeda leader in north Africa sentenced to death in absentia

Abdelmalek Droukdel, who fought in Afghanistan, is believed to regard Al Qaeda’s former leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as his inspiration. 

Morocco opens its first sex shop. Or does it?

Is the opening of a sex shop in Casablanca under the new Islamist government sign of liberalization? Or is it a fabricated anti-government ploy?
The Casablanca Love Cradle Trusting Bed, named -- bizarrely enough -- after a city that just opened its first sex shop. Maybe. (

When I heard about a real sex shop opening in Morocco, I couldn’t wait to find out what they actually might sell.

Would products include, for example, the Casablanca Love Cradle Trusting Bed? It must!

How does one find out?

Not easy.

It turns out that nobody seems to know where this shop is or whether it even exists, Al Arabiya News reports:

News of the inauguration of a sex shop in the Moroccan city of Casablanca did not stir the ethical and religious controversy expected to take place in a conservative society, but also took a political dimension as suspicions arose over an anti-government ploy. The timing of the inauguration of the first sex shop in Morocco drove several activists to view the action as a political one aimed at embarrassing the new Islamist Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane appointed in November 2011.

The sex shop opening was claimed to be a clear anti-government ploy because all news organizations that reported the story started their articles with the same sentence: “Under an Islamist government, a sex shop has been inaugurated.”

This sentence, apparently, translates to some sort of major political hypocrisy.


Morocco: Controversy over religious freedom

CASABLANCA — Despite a new constitution and other reforms, Morocco does not have provisions guaranteeing religious freedom for its citizens.

Morocco votes on constitution to curb king's powers

Although King Mohammed is widely expected to win, Morocco's February 20th Movement said the proposals didn't go far enough, and called for a vote boycott.

Moroccan police say Marrakesh bomber dressed like a "hippie"

Authorities say the lead suspect in the April 28 cafe bombing wore a "hippie" disguise.
Tourists walk past the cordonned-off area around the Argana restaurant (in background) in Jamaa El-Fna square in Marrakech is pictured on April 28, 2011 after a powerful blast killed 15 people there, six of them French nationals, public television reported quoting medical officials. An interior ministry official confirmed the report and said an investigation was under way to shed more light on the blast which occurred on Jamaa El Fna square, a favourite spot for foreign visitors, in central Marrakesh. Earlier reports spoke of the accidental explosion of several gas canisters in the Argana cafe in the middle of the square. (ABDELHAK SENNA/AFP/Getty Images)

Moroccan anti-terror officials are now on heightened alert for what they believe is the latest weapon being used by Al-Qaeda in North Africa: guitar-wielding hippies. 

Authorities in Morocco told Reuters that the prime suspect in the April 28 bomb blast outside a cafe in Marakessh, which killed 17 people, disguised himself as a "hippie".

According to the New York Times:  

The suspect, identified as Adel al-Othmani, walked into the cafe wearing a wig and carrying a guitar and the two bags in which he had hid the explosive devices, the official said. “He looked like a hippie,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The official said the man ordered an orange juice and left the cafe without the bags. “He used a mobile phone to detonate the bombs afterward,” the official said.

Last week's bomb blast on the edge of the popular Djemma el Fna Square in Marrakesh, one of Morocco's most visited tourist destinations, was the worst terror attack in the North African kingdom since 2003.  

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