This essay understands the significance of Tahrir Square as a radical shift both n the way of doing politics, from armed struggle to popular struggle, and in the definition of political identity, from religious to territorial. It seeks to understand the historical significance of the shift by placing it in the context of technologies of colonial rule (both the Ottoman millet system and British indirect rule) and post-colonial attempts to rethink and reform this mode of rule. The result is a historical reflection that begins with Steve Biko and the Soweto Uprising in 1976, Mahmoud Mohamed Taha and John Garang in post-colonial Sudan, and closes with Sayyid Qutb and the significance of Tahrir Square.
In this article, the issue of the Western Sahara is addressed by linking it to that of democratisation; to establish this link the argument is threefold. I first refer to the construction of Morocco’s national political space by creating a national identity and considering those of Algeria and the Sahrawi. The issue of the Moroccan regime and its strategies for survival by taking the lead in the Western Sahara issue is examined. Finally both the relevance and the influence of the future of the Western Sahara in the evolution of the current Moroccan political transition is considered.