General El Kanabi and the mysteries of the Green March

The Kingdom of Morocco celebrates, this Sunday, the 47th anniversary of the Green March. Indeed, on October 16, 1975, the late Hassan II delivered a historic speech which called on the Moroccan people to undertake a long peaceful march towards the South to liberate the Moroccan Sahara from Spanish occupation.

Its name is the Green March and it is a glorious epic which consisted in completing the territorial integrity of the Kingdom. This unprecedented event is part of the history of the 20th century. The Green March will bring together 350,0000 volunteers including 30,000 women from all over Morocco in order to peacefully put an end to the Spanish yoke and this without having had the slightest recourse to violence with a flag and a Koran. ” 350,000 this corresponds to the number of annual births in Morocco. I thought it was permissible for me to engage the solemn harvest that God gives us to bring back to the Fatherland a land that we have never forgotten », Explained the late Hassan II.

Initiated masterfully by the late Hassan II, this stroke of royal genius illustrates the strong cohesion and the act of faith between the Throne and the people as well as the unanimity around the constants and the sacred values ​​of the Moroccan nation.

But before calling for this March, the late Hassan II had previously received assurances from the International Court of Justice in The Hague (ICJ) that the Sahara has never been “terra-nullius” and that there had “legal ties of allegiance” between this territory and the Kingdom of Morocco. The ICJ even confirmed the existence of legal ties and allegiance between the Sultans of Morocco and the Sahrawi tribes.

Behind the scenes of a stroke of genius

This glorious and unprecedented act in modern history, imagined by the late king, was prepared for a long time behind the scenes, if we can put it that way. Few personalities were privy to the secret, only a few senior officials and state clerks had been privy to them. And after taking the oath, the team carefully chosen by the late Hassan II, got down to preparing an event which consisted in allowing more than 350,000 civilian volunteers (700,000 people registered on the lists) to cross fictitious borders and recover a territory that has always been an integral part of Morocco.

Major General Nourdine El Kanabi of the Royal Gendarmerie, now retired, was part of a happy few, informed of this event. He was kind enough to testify and give MoroccoLatestNews UK some details about this glorious Green March.

About a month and a half before this grandiose event, Hassan II, made us take an oath and each of us was given a mission. The operation was well thought out by the late king down to the smallest detail. He had gone all the way around the question, nothing had escaped him. he explains to us.

Ensuring the safety of volunteers

And to continue: “afterwards, we only had to carry out the royal directives meticulously and everything went like a letter to the post office. In fact, each of our missions consisted in providing the best security conditions for the 350,000 Moroccans called to march towards our Sahara. This involved heavy work and everything was done to do this (logistics supply transport etc.). The walkers should not miss anything, it was a royal instruction sine qua non”.

Our interlocutor specifies that‘”With the exception of the inner circle kept incommunicado, the first to be made aware of the operation were the governors of the Kingdom. Each province had to accompany with all the governance (Authorities, Governors, Caïds, Gendarmerie, Auxiliary Forces, Police, units of the Royal Armed Forces, Doctors as well as the representation of each ministerial department etc.) and the necessary (materials available, consumer products , means of transport, coaches and trucks, means of accommodation, tents and blankets, medicines…) its registered volunteers”.

Training of the personnel involved was necessary. General El Kanabi underlines in this regard: “In a short period of time, we had to train auxiliary agents in civics, patriotism and leadership without them knowing anything about what was going on until the day of the October 16 speech announcing the March. where they were informed like all Moroccans”.

“Once the preparation was complete and the announcement of this event, it had to be executed and executed to perfection. The late Hassan II made Marrakech a momentary capital of the Kingdom and it was the starting point of this glorious March before convoys and walkers converged on Agadir, the first transit camp then Tarfaya, the first stage of the march and which for the event became the largest bivouac in the world, does he note.

A meticulous organization

Delegations from brotherly and friendly countries also took part in this glorious epic (Saudi Arabia, Gabon, Jordan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Senegal, Oman, Sudan, etc.), as well as influential personalities of the time. For twelve days, ten daily trains will take the volunteers to Marrakech before they are transported by truck to the bivouacs of Tan Tan and Tarfaya.

The camps were arranged in a rectangle by province that the trucks delimited (towns, districts or douars of the latter remained distinct). There was a big place in the middle for gatherings. Each day a province invited another it was an opportunity for socio-cultural exchanges (dances, songs and stories near the campfires punctuated the evenings). The atmosphere was friendly and there were no incidents to report. On the contrary, there were even marriages, births and baptisms…”recalls our interlocutor.

On D-Day, it was from the operational headquarters of the Royal Gendarmerie in Agadir that the late Hassan II, by this historic sentence to his Prime Minister at the time, ordered that the Green March be: “By God who moves it and stops it, Osman forward”. It was seven o’clock in the morning and not nine o’clock as many had thought.

” The followinghighlights General El Kanabi, it is a procession of 350,000 walkers including 30,000 women who set off from Tarfaya for a march inside the Sahara for a few days towards Tah and the fictitious line behind a few kilometers before Hassan II orders the return of the walkers . It had been agreed I suppose with Spain and France not to cross this chimerical border, the two countries were aware of this glorious march and had acceded to the request of the late monarch, provided that it was peaceful. Moreover, for his first trip to the recovered southern provinces, Hassan II made a stopover there and prayed there for a long time”.

For our witness, “cThis march, which testifies to the ingenuity of our unifying king who, in a civilized and peaceful manner, has enabled the recovery of our southern provinces, has also succeeded in reconciling the Moroccan political family with itself. The late Hassan II also put the army back on track. It should not be forgotten that Morocco had just suffered two military coups d’etat and the army had been decimated in addition to being delivered, so to speak, to itself. This is what explains, moreover, the few setbacks at the start of the conflict with the Polisario. The latter, in addition to the support on the ground from the Algerian army, had benefited from super sophisticated weapons supplied by the Libya of Muammar Gaddafi, of which we did not have the equivalence”.

“As for the Algerian army after the famous battles of Amgala, we surrounded many elements and Houari Boumedienne only got away with it after Housni Mubarak, then vice-president of Egypt, had negotiated a whole night during an honorable exit and it was only in the early morning that the late Hassan II granted it to him.adds the retired general.

And to conclude with an anecdote: Housni Mubarak, then a young officer, had been taken prisoner during the sand war. The late Hassan II visiting Egypt brought him back with him to deliver him to Gamal Abdel Nasser.

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