The 90th Anniversary of the Republic of Rif

The republic of Rif (1921-1926). Abdelkarim Al Khattabi

It was in September 18th 1921, When the Republic of Rif was created and the Rifian declared their independence from the Spanish occupation in the northern part of Morocco. Abdelkarim Al Khattbi, was the man behind the unification of the Rifian tribes, and the leader of the rifian revolution against the Spanish occupation.

The republic was a military and political association of tribes living in the Rif Mountains of northern Morocco. The supreme legislative and executive powers were exercised by the National Assembly, which was headed by the president, or emir, Abd al-Karim. The republic had a five-member government. The local administrative unit was a tribe headed by a kaid and a community council, or jamaah. The kaids were subordinate to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Council for Tribal Affairs.

The revenue from special taxes, for example a poll tax and a tax on personal income, was used for the needs of the army. For a long time the Rif Republic successfully fought off Spanish and French troops, defeating them repeatedly. The republic fell on May 27, 1926, under the united onslaught of the Spanish and French armies.

The Rif has been inhabited by the Rifains since prehistoric times. As early as the 11th century BC, the Phoenicians and Carthaginians began to establish trading posts on the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts, and founded cities such as Tetouan, Melilla and, in 5th century BC, Tangier. After the Third Punic War, Carthage was supplanted by Rome, and the Rif became part of the province of Mauretania. When the latter was divided during the rule of Emperor Claudius, Tangier became the capital of Mauretania Tingitana. In the 5th century AD, the region was raided by the Vandals, and Roman rule came to an end. The region remained under Vandal control until the 6th century AD when the Byzantines reconquered parts of it.

In 710, Salih I ibn Mansur founded the Kingdom of Nekor in the Rif and converted most Berbers to Islam. Arabs then established more cities. By the 15th century, many Spanish Moors were exiled from Spain and most of them lived in the Rif, bringing their culture, Andalusian music, and even establishing Chefchaouen. Since then, the Rif had suffered a lot of battles between Morocco, Spain and Portugal. In 1415, Portugal invaded Ceuta, and in 1490 Spain invaded Melilla. There was period of peace after, but war between Spain and Morocco arose again in 1859 in Tetouan where Morocco was defeated. The Spanish-Moroccan conflicts didn’t end. In the 20th century, under the leadership of Abd el-Krim El-Khattabi, the Moroccan guerrilla leader, The Riffians struggled against Spanish rule and aimed to free Morocco from French and Spanish colonization. Abd el-Krim later established the Republic of the Rif in 1921 which lasted until 1926, reinstating the Spanish protectorate. The region was returned to Morocco after its independence in 1956.

During the reign of Hassan II, stage known as the Years of Lead (in Morocco) Rif people was too repressed while sidelined. Because it is known for the existence of certain political organizations that demanded from a development for the area until the separation of the territory of Morocco.

In 1958-1959 a revolt broke out in the Rif was an uprising in the North African Rif region choked with aerial bombing in the region with napalm, white phosphorous and cluster bombs carried out by an embryonic Moroccan army, led by French officers and the head of which (and overseeing operations) was the then Crown Prince Moulay Hassan (the future Hassan II). The crackdown left a balance of several thousand dead Rif.

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9 Comments

  1. Youba says:

    The Amazigh language is the Original Language of all North Africa, from Morocco to Libya. The Amazigh language will Regain Force and Influence on All Levels. It is Only a Question of Time! Tanmirt*

  2. Uthemsaman says:

    No matter what, Imazighen and Thamazight will never die!

    Beacause Allah is with those who are just!

  3. mohamed says:

    finally some harsh facts about the history of Morocco_ part of it has been written with tears and blood – are courageously revealed. facts like these and other tough prdicaments of Amazighs ( suppression – dehumanizing- exclusion …) all explain somehow or other a sense of fanaticism among certain Amazighs. These should not be blamed, they should be understood. For thousands of our Rifian bothers to be killed on their homeland at the hands of despots is unforgivable. I love you Amazighs whereever you are, in the Atlas , in the Rif , in Sous or abroad. i love you even in your graves

  4. amazigh says:

    whatever they did, and whatever they do, we shall never die. and our fight will never stop

  5. yes we must to do hand together to be take our freedom , more than 70 years arab killing us at which time we still sleeping , wake up rifian

  6. arifie puro says:

    Abdelkarim was a real islamic mujahied and never had a flag with six star, this flag does represent israel not rifan muslims

  7. azer says:

    dividing is not the policy of him who wants to lead and develop.
    if the Qur’an is your book of enlightenment you will easily read that it commands unity.
    the second thing i want to mention is that you ,as rifians,lack all kind of communication.i meant you deal vertically as if other should ve your slave and have no opinion.
    i’ve experienced the life with rifians in nador,and the most stubborn and stoned people with whom you’ll always lose your bearing.their saying is sacred;they consider others as the meanest creatures and there’ no way of discussing or having any right of what islam has guarranteed

  8. The only thing that did well as France and the Spaina is to eliminate the rif state.
    Morocco a single entity and there is no option other than death

  9. ayouz imazighen narrif inu

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