Clockwise from top left: Government cavalry prepares for action, Foreign Legionnaires survey their surroundings, PRS militia capture government officer, Heavy armor after the Battle of Something, PRS militiamen readying their anti-tank gun, Legionnaires drop into Some Valley during the Something offensive, PRS troops evacuating Setif.
Morivi Volunteers |
Mouvement nationaliste berbères |
People's Republic of Sétif
The First Intifada was a general Berber uprising against the Morivaine government and ultimately devolved into full scale civil war during the 1940s. The conflict was one of the first to see terrorism used as a military tactic and open clashes between rival militias. The conflict began after members of the Mouvement nationaliste berbères (MNB) assassinated First Citizen Albert Lécussan while on a visit to the Setif departments. Subsequent civil unrest was unable to be put down by the Morivaine military without significant violence, leading to further violence and riots across the nation that spawned sectarian violence. The conflict was made more confusing by the defection of several pro-separatist military units and populations to the MNB cause. This destabilization of the nation would lead to the collapse of the Second Morivaine Republic and the formation of the institutions that would later formally become the Third Republic. The repercussions of the conflict would influence the nature of Morivaine politics for years afterward.
Today the First Intifada has become a major topic of debate in Morieux and around Maredoratica due to widely reported instances of extra-judicial killings, torture, and other war crimes by both sides in the conflict. Citing a lack of hard evidence, the National Convention of Morieux has categorically refused to open any investigations into war crimes committed by members of the Morivaine military, though they have investigated and prosecuted members of the MNB and leaders of various paramilitary groups. International researchers estimate that nearly 2 million Morivaines (both French and Berber) were killed in the conflict. The conflict would serve to inspire the Second Intifada in the late 1980s during which Berber extremists again attempted to destabilize Morieux by fomenting civil unrest, though this effort was less violent and less effective than its predecessor.
Morivaine colonization of Leucian coast can be traced as far back as Antiquity, when various Morivaine city states sent expeditions to begin settlements to facilitate trade between the mainland and Morieux. However, extensive efforts at colonization did not begin until the 1600s after Kingdom of Morieux was beginning to feel the effects of overcrowding. Upon arriving on the Leucian coast they found the area ruled by a collection of Islamic Berber principalities and states. Morivaine colonists tended to confine themselves to coastal towns and other settlements along the northern slope of the Aube Mountains. However, it did not take long for the relations between the deeply Catholic Morivaine settlers and local Berbers to deteriorate into armed conflict. Several Morivaine settlements, after being attacked by forces of Berber principalities, sent several pleas for help to the Kingdom.
King Robert I responded in 1625 by dispatching the Royal Army to Sétif in exchange for the French speaking settlers' official recognition of his sovereignty over the cities of Sétif, Séte, , Montarnaud, and Côte Saint-Luc. The Royal Army's technological superiority over the Islamic principalities resulted in brutal and crippling defeats for the anti-Morivaine forces. By 1723, the Kingdom of Morieux extended its control from the coast, over the Aube Mountains, and to the Orange River. On numerous occasions, Islamic coalitions attempted to dislodge the Morivaines from their settlements, or at least to stop the spread of Morivaine influence further into the interior. Time and time again Berber armies were destroyed before the power of the Royal Morivaine Army and its supporting local militias.
Morivaine settlement and expansion was momentarily paused in 1727 when the National Convention, tired of the mismanagement of the economy by the Royal Family and its noble advisors, abolished the monarchy in a fairly bloody revolution. One of the first acts of the National Convention was to formally establish the Morivaine colonial territory as three different departments. After a brief period of resettlement and reorganization, Morivaine settlers, mostly extremely religious Catholics and monarchists looking to leave behind the now secular First Morivaine Republic, pushed deeper into the interior. Many of these settlers were experienced soldiers moving their families, making them quite adept at defending against the local Berber population. They settled mostly on the prairie land between the Orange River and what is today the Morieux-Aquilian border. Despite their intent on self-reliance, the Morivaine Republic had dispatched troops to build a permanent presence in the borderlands in order to stop any future threat to the Republic from the former royalists. In 1830, the National Convention officially created three more departments on the Septimanian mainland.
Under the Second Republic (1872-1943), the Morivaine government established the Code coloniale in an effort to begin the assimilation of the large ethnic minority of Berber peoples in the new departments. Many Berbers refused to take the opportunity to become full citizens of the Republic, as the Colonial Code required that they officially renounce the right to be ruled by sharia law. The Colonial Code was updated in the early 1900s to include provisions for mandatory military service for all non-citizen Berbers and introduced certain restrictions on civil liberties for all Berbers who refused to seek citizenship.
The Mouvement nationaliste berbères was founded in 1924 by Ferhat Ben Hadj, a former soldier in the Tirailleurs berbères and veteran of the Great Maredoratic War, dedicated to the creation of a Berber state in the departments of southern Morieux. During the war, Hadj's unit was deployed to the Morivaine colony of Nouvelle-Rochehaut and fought alongside Ruccolian nationalists again the Questarians and their colonial troops. The Ruccolian nationalists had struck a grand bargain with the Morivaine administrators of the colony in which they would assist the Morivaine troops in the war against both the Questarians and Guurkhun in return for independence after the war. The experience of witnessing the Ruccolians fighting for the national sovereignty, and the Morivaine agreement to support independence, caused Hadj to begin exploring the issues of sovereignty, colonialism, and self-determination in the years immediately after the war. In the early years, the MNB became focused on exploring the possibility of autonomy and self-rule for some of the historically Berber areas of Morieux.
The MNB originally found traction in many of the predominately Berber trade unions of the Setif departments, primarily those of manual labors and farmer workers. It was heavily influenced by Sorelian economic thinking and rapidly found itself being drawn into the Workers' Struggle national political coalition. Some Berber politicians were elected to the National Convention as Workers' Struggle candidates during the late 1920's and late 1930's, though never more than a handful of Berbers were in the National Convention at one time. Despite promises by prominent Workers' Struggle politicians to reform the Colonial Code, no efforts were seriously mounted by the party to pass reform legislation. This lack of follow through on the part of the Workers' Struggle led to a split between the MNB and the LO in 1936. The loss of the votes of the MNB members resulted in the collapse of the Audiffret-Pasquier government.
The collapse of the MNB-LO alliance also led to an uptick in the radicalization of the MNB. While Hadj was originally opposed the use of armed resistance against the Morivaine government, some of his fellow veterans of the Great Maredoratic War highlighted the importance of the Ruccolian demonstration of their fighting capability in the Morivaine decision to allow independence to go forward. It was hypothesized by some members of the MNB, particularly Ahmed Abbas and Ibn Bendjedid, that the only reason the Morivaine government allowed Ruccolian independence was its inability or unwillingness to fight a possible insurgency in addition to dealing with the occupation of the Guurdalai. These members of the movement became increasingly influential in the face of the inaction of the LO and the defeat of the MNB stand-alone candidates in the 1936 and 1937 elections.
Timeline of the War
Assassination and Civil Unrest
First Citizen Lécussan arrived in Setif on 28th of Floréal (April 10th) and planned to spend the end of year holidays touring the coast between Setif and Mers El Kébir before heading back to the capital to resume negotiations with the PR over the Economic Security Measures Bill of 1940 when the National Convention reconvened. Despite the protest from the Committee for State Security's, Lécussan opted to take a reduced number of bodyguards on his trip and to purchase tickets on a normal train service rather than using a private train, dismissing any security concerns as "overly cynical." The First Citizen's press office also released the itinerary of Lécussan's travels to the local governmental offices and press in order to coordinate several speaking opportunities along the route of the trip. He was joined on his trip by the President of the General Council for Setif, Robert Althusser.
Using this information, Mustafa Oufkir, head of the local MNB organization, decided to attempt to "ignite the spirit of Berber nationalism" by acting to remove, what his diary described as, "the biggest obstacles to the creation of a Berber socialist state." It remains unclear whether of not Oufkir consulted other members of the MNB, either nationally or regionally, with regard to any action against the Morivaine administration. However, regardless of the wishes of the MNB leadership, Oufkir selected Tariq ibn Tashfin and Mohamet es-Sikeli to carry out his attack. Both men were members of the MNB who had served their two years conscription in the Morivaine National Guard and were citizens of the Republic. Wearing their dress uniforms, the men gained access to the Setif Grand Terminal where Lécussan was giving a speech before setting off on his trip. Shortly after Lécussan began his speech, Tariq and Mohamet both pulled grenades from their dress coats and tossed them to the stage before the local police or bodyguards could react. One of the grenades landed short of where Lécussan was speaking and exploded, killing three people and wounding a dozen more. The other grenade detonated within several feet of Lécussan and the assembled politicians while both of the attackers pulled their pistols and began firing at the stage. Several more people were killed before soldiers of the Gendarme arrived with police from outside of the station and shot both attackers.
An autopsy after the assassination showed that Lécussan was hit by several bullets in addition to serious injuries sustained from the grenade blast. Medical experts believe that he was dead before he even realized what was happening. Tariq ibn Tashfin bled to death after being shot by the arriving police officers while Mohamet es-Sikeli was wounded and taken alive and transferred immediately to the local police precinct after receiving basic medical attention. Survivors of the attack, many of them journalists covering the event, were quick to report that both the attackers had been wearing uniforms and had been of Berber decent, though no immediate connection was made to the MNB.
In the hours following the attack, large anti-Berber riots and demonstrations broke out across Setif, quickly spreading to neighbor cities in the following days. Several of the demonstrations turned violent, with ethnic Morivaines entering Berber townships and set about destroying homes and businesses. At least one demonstration resulted in gunfire in Setif, touching off a new level of violence as angry protesters exchanged gunfire with local Berbers attempting to stop the protesters. Police units in the area, either unwilling or unable to stop the violence, did not respond to the protests, allowing the violence to continue. It is believed that nearly 10,000 Berbers were killed or seriously wounded in the riots, and several millions Ecus worth of property damage was done in Setif, Sete, and elsewhere. Moderate members of the MNB deplored the violence in strong terms through public statements, but in the end called for the Berber population to remain calm and let the government investigate the situation. More radical members of the MNB, outraged by the police's failure to respond to the violence, openly called for the Berber population to begin organizing itself into self-defense units.
attacks on government buildings, installations, terror attacks on morivaine quarters
repeated army "victories" via "blues" and "SAS" but politically losing after repeated heavy handedness, development of harkis/militia systems
Unwilling to continue the state of emergency and condone the operations of the Morivaine military in the southern departments, members of the Workers' Struggle blocked all attempts by the National Convention to pass a motion continuing the state of emergency. Instead, members of the movement introduced a bill to the floor of the National Convention calling for the opening of an investigation into the alleged abuses by the National Guard in their efforts to pacify the southern departments. After several days of heated debate, a coalition of LO and GPA passed the resolution and ended the state of emergency on the 10th of September 1940. Within hours of the news, Morivaine military units in the metropole moved to assume control of key media and governmental offices. Over the first few days, the National Guard arrested nearly all of the LO and GPA deputies who had supported the motion to end the state of emergency. Charged with "Crimes against the Republic" several of the leaders of the LO and GPA were executed by military tribunal. Exact figures are still a matter of debate, but scholars estimate that roughly 20-27 delegates were executed by the National Guard in the first few days of the coup.
In response, more protests broke out across the southern departments as labor unions and farmers groups took to the streets to condemn the actions by the military. Outside of the southern cities, riots broke out in Saint-Nazaire and Oron where local reservists, called up for deployment to Setif, sided with the protesting workers when confronted by police. They rapidly overwhelmed the police forces and seized the local armory, as well as the radio stations, broadcasting their intention to depose what they called the "illegally installed fascist government in Saint-Lo." Before the military was able to jam and shut down the transmissions, it was picked up and spread throughout the Setif departments. Some units, disaffected with the government due to the gruesome nature of the fighting with the MNB, deposed their officers and declared neutrality. Other units, mainly those from the heavily industrialized areas of northern and western Morieux, immediately declared their hostility to the new government in Saint-Lo and negotiated a ceasefire with the MNB. A group of disaffected soldiers stormed the main administration building in Setif and announced the formation of the Sorelian Officers Movement and entered into talks with the MNB to form a new government for the Setif departments. On September 19th, 1940, the People's Republic of Setif was proclaimed by the SOM and MNB.
The People's Republic of Setif enjoyed popular support from LO and GPA voters, who represented a majority of the working class and farmers in the southern departments, in addition to the support of the Berbers thanks to the inclusion of the MNB. Many of the units that had originally declared their neutrality upon hearing of the coup quickly swore allegiance to the PRS, particularly those units that had a high percentage of recruits from northern Morieux and La Prairie. Most defecting units arrested their officers without incident, though in cases where some elements sought to defect while others remained loyal to Saint-Lo fierce fighting broke out. It was not until late October that the PRS had solidified its control over most of the southern departments.
However, the support for the PRS was not universal in the southern departments. Many from bourgeois classes of the southern departments harbored ardent anti-Berber, anti-socialist feelings and deeply supported the original military campaign against the MNB. Upon the declaration of the PRS, these groups were outraged at what they perceived as a stab in the back by the working class and the Sorelian Officers Movement. They immediately set about forming and funding a collection of local self-defense groups that would, in time, grow to become the Organisation de la milice secrète (OMS). National Guard officers and units who had not defected to the PRS began to openly arm the Milice and worked to help them link up with National Guard units still loyal to the emergency government in Saint-Lo, directing them to rally along with other government forces near the cities of Deux-Riviere and Mers El Kébir. Some units, particularly those comprised of business owners and commercial farmers in and around the cities of Setif and Sete set about forming underground cells that provided intelligence to the emergency government as well as beginning their own campaign of terror against Berber and PRS targets.
The Emergency Government, styling itself the Emergency Committee for National Salvation and Unification responded to formation of the People's Republic of Setif with the announcement of a naval quarantine of the rebellious departments. The Committee for National Salvation issued an international notice that any and all international shipping transiting the waters between the Morivaine Metropole and the southern departments would be stopped for inspection and escorted through the area. Any ships breaking the quarantine or failing to submit to inspection would be captured or sunk. The pronouncement brought international condemnation, but the Committee for National Salvation managed to negotiate the creation of a multinational convoy system through the area that would be protected by neutral naval forces and escorted by Morivaine ships and planes as it passed through the contested area.
Milice strengthen positions in Mers El Kebir and the western border area of the southern departments
PRS declares solidarity with rioters in northern metropole, but can't physically support them in any significant way.
Emergency government moves to crush rebellion in northern metropole
PRS begin offensive aimed at Mers El Kebir
Navy begins bombardments of PRS positions near Setif and provides support to Milice in DR and MeK
Fort Saint-Louis Agreements
Better representation, end of colonial administration, end of electoral fraud, etc.