Territorial Sovereignty of the Sultan of Morocco extended as far as his Religious Suzerainty
Fouad Ammoun was a Minister for Foreign Affairs in Lebanon. Born 1900, educated University of St. Joseph, Beirut, where he graduated. He was born the son of Maronite Christians and completed his law studies in Beirut, Lyon, and Monrovia. After working as a lawyer, he joined the diplomatic service of his native country and worked as a diplomat, inter alia, between 1948 and 1965 as a representative of Lebanon at the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN). In addition, he was temporarily Secretary-General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and from April 1 to November 18, 1964, Lebanese Foreign Minister.
“From 16 November 1965 he worked as a judge at the International Court of Justice (IGH) in The Hague. He followed the Egyptian judge Abdul Badawi, who had died in August of the same year in office. Fouad Ammoun initially served on the court until the end of Badawi’s remaining term in February 1967 but was re-elected in October 1966 for a nine-year term of office. From 1970 until his retirement from court in 1976, he was its vice president. The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the highest judicial body having trans-national jurisdiction. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) started work in 1946, after half a century of international conflict in the form of two World Wars. The ICJ has its seat at The Hague, the Netherlands, and has the jurisdiction to settle disputes between countries and examine cases pertaining to violation of human rights according to the tenets of international law. It is the judicial arm of the United Nations.”
Judge Ammoun ruled the ICJ rightly held that legal ties existed, at the time of colonization by Spain, between Morocco and Western Sahara in his separate opinion.
“The Advisory Opinion has thus taken account of the statements of one party to the treaty in order to attribute to it a meaning to which the text in no way lends itself in the absence of anv intrinsic basis deduced from the terms of the Convention: a meaning which appears to have sprung from nowhere and to be, to say the least, a pure figment of the imagination. What is worse, the interpretation has been made contra legem. Such an interpretation is calculated to undermine the very foundation of relations between States, namely the respect due to treaties. Morocco contended, in conformity with settled case-law, that, where two texts of a treaty do not agree, it is the more limited text that should prevail – in the present case, the Arabic text. The Advisory Opinion mentions this contention by Morocco but does not answer it. It could not reject it because, as 1 have said, it is based on settled case-law. It is true that European colonialist law at that time did not forbid secret treaties; but international morality has always condemned them; and it is the precepts of morality that have justly received the consecration of positive law in this case as in so many others. The Treaty of 8 April 1904 was also morally wrong because it empowered third parties to dispose of Moroccan sovereignty by secret negotiations, unknown to Morocco. This treaty explains the change in the attitude of England to Morocco, in which, with the exception of Tangier, it ceased to take any political interest.”
The Judge furthered stated as to the territorial sovereignty of the Sultan of Morocco:
“There is no doubt that the religious tie is one of the constituent elements in legal ties and in those of nationality, being additional to ethnic, social, cultural and economic ties and national aspirations, and making them more binding: the more so in that the Sultan possessed both temporal and spiritual powers, and appointed the caids who applied Muslim law. Modern examples showing the strength of religious ties abound: Ireland, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the States with constitutions which determine the religion of the Head of State or establish a State religion. The religious tie is thus a constituent element of the legal tie.”
“To prove the existence of the religious tie between Sahrawi and the Moroccans, one must quote in particular Paul Cambon, the French Ambassador in Madrid, who reported the following observation in a dispatch to his Minister of Foreign Affairs: “It has always been recognized that the territorial sovereignty of the Sultan extends as far as his religious suzerainty, and as it is beyond doubt that the peoples of Cape Juby are subject to him from the religious point of view, we could consider his sovereignty as indisputable.” (Documents diplomatiques français, 1871-1914, first series, Vol. VIII).
Finally, let us recall that the Islamisation of the States of Western Africa (Mali, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, etc.) was the continuation of that Arab conquest which generally set out from or through the province detached by colonization under the name of Spanish Sahara. The Kingdoms of Mali and of Ghana were thereby consolidated and remained strong and prosperous until the European conquest, which undermined their foundations by the partitioning of Africa and its colonization, and by the massive slave trade to North and South America, which was on a scale without precedent since the ancient days of Greece and Rome, and of which vestiges remain in apartheid in South Africa and in racial discrimination and segregation there and elsewhere.”
“Morocco’s religious ties to West Africa, in particular, date back to as early as the 11th century when Islam spread to the region through the Almoravid dynasty. Worshippers of one of the largest orders of Islam in West Africa, the Tijaniyyah Sufi group, still make annual pilgrimages to the zawya (religious monastery), in Fez. As a result of this history, many Muslims from Senegal to Mauritania still consider the Moroccan king as a spiritual leader, and Morocco as a sacred religious destination.”
“Looking South: Songhay During Ahmad al-Mansur’s reign, Morocco made two attempts to what some might characterize as colonies. Separated by roughly a decade, the efforts could hardly seem more dissimilar. One is among the most studied episodes in the history of relations between North African and Sub-Saharan states before the modern era; the second is hardly known at all. In the first, begun in 1590, al-Mansur’s Moroccan forces spent months crossing the Sahara desert, after which, their numbers whittled down to somewhere between two and three thousand men, they defeated an African army of the Songhay Empire at least fifteen times their size. Establishing their capital at the conquered city of Timbuktu, the Moroccan forces proceeded to exercise uneven and contested control over the northern bend of the Niger River and the surrounding region. A decade later al-Mansur proposed to England’s Queen Elizabeth I a joint effort to wrest from Spain control of the latter’s possessions in the Western Hemisphere. Although the influence of Moroccan administration in the Middle Niger lasted in one form or another into the eighteenth century, the effort in the Western Hemisphere never bore fruit, and faded into obscurity. These two efforts appear to represent the first and last attempts by an independent ArabBerber Islam to pursue its own program of colonization until Morocco’s intervention in the Western Sahara during the twentieth century.”‘
“Al-Sa’di identifies a Songhay slave imprisoned at Taghaza, Wuld Kirinfil, as the impetus. According to al-Sa’di it “was God’s decree and His destiny that he [the slave] should break out from that prison and flee to the Red City, Marrakesh….”1014 There he wrote a letter to al-Mansur describing the difficult circumstances under which the Songhay were living and the resulting ease with which they could be conquered.1015 The anonymous Spaniard asserts that the ostensibly same escapee claimed to be the brother of the Songhay ruler, Askiya Ishaq, that his throne had been usurped, and that in return for support in regaining his kingdom he would acknowledge al-Mansur’s suzerainty and reward him with great wealth. “Account of the Anonymous Spaniard,” in Hunwick, Timbuktu, 318-319″
“Robert Smith notes that in addition to information gained from trans-Saharan merchants al-Mansur had also sent to the Songhay court two Qur’anic specialists accompanied by two renegados and two Andalusians, all of whom were spies, and who at one point returned with a letter from the askiya’s nephew promising his allegiance if al Mansur sent an army to Gao. Unfortunately, Smith’s source is not documented and I have been unable to find any reference to these individuals in al-Sa’di, al-Ifrani, or the account of the anonymous Spaniard. Smith, Al-Mansur, 93.”
“Our intention is to spend what accrues from this [the tax revenue from the mine]—God willing—in pursuit of campaigning and jihād, and in stipends for those soldiers and armies who are under our exalted purview, and which we have established to lie in wait for, and inflict injury upon, the enemy of God, and which we have readied for defence of the authority (kalmia) of Islam, and to protect the lands and people. They are the armies of God. Were it not for the fact that their sharp swords form a barrier between you and the infidel tyrants, and their protecting cavalry strike blows in the face of unbelief before you, and prunes the thorns of infidelity by extirpating its warriors and partisans, and by constantly joining issue with it in its very land—its flowing torrents would inundate you, and its pouring rain would flood your land. [These armies of God] have reined in unbelief, so that you have slept securely under surety, and in equanimity and peace of mind under protection. We have dispatched this noble letter to you so that you might know what God has spared you through our swords, which have kept you safe in tranquility and ease, in gardens and springs; and that you might experience the help and happiness that our noble vision saw fit [to provide], in conformity with our exalted order for the amelioration of the condition of persons and places; and that you might not endeavor to nullify this duty, which brings such benefit to Islam; and that you might continually aid the part of God to fight the idol worshipers“
“Court chroniclers, in fact, assert that when al-Mansur addressed the consultative assembly he also stressed the greater glory of the Islamic community, emphasizing that the economic riches of the Sudan would aid the unity and expansion of Islam. Among the resources its conquest would provide was not only gold, but perhaps the timber needed for a navy. Whether opportunistic or genuine, an appeal to the notion of a universal Muslim polity could be as easily applied to ventures in the Western Hemisphere as it could to any in sub Saharan Africa. In fact, the historical moment in the Maghrib may have been ripe for the more fantastic. Al-Mansur had already laid claim to the loyalty of the Sunni population with his pretensions to the caliphate, and his specific references to the imamate had similar appeal to the Shi’a. But adding to the grandiosity of Muslim expectations was the approach of the Islamic millennium and the possibility that the long awaited redeemer of Islam, the Mahdi, a figure particularly resonant among the extensive Sufi brotherhoods of the Maghrib, might reveal himself in the person of Ahmad al-Mansur.”
“Accordingly, in their capital of Timbuktu the Moroccans created a collaborationist Askiyate under Sulayman ibn al-amir Askiya Dawud. By establishing the seat of their administration at Timbuktu they had simultaneously distinguished themselves from the Songhay at Gao, secured the primary crossroads of trade between the Middle Niger and the north, and positioned themselves in the midst of the region’s preeminent scholars, jurists, and merchants. It is unclear which of these considerations dominated Moroccan colonial thinking. Al-Mansur appears to have placed at least some importance on engaging the patricians of Timbuktu. From earlier communities these elites had inherited a tradition of independence in which urban centers operated autonomously under the leadership of their own scholars or jurists.1046 A prior Songhay ruler, Sunni ‘Ali, had ignored that precedent to his disadvantage. His inattention to the prerogatives of the elite had led to a massive exodus of the wealthiest merchants and scholars as he advanced upon the city in 1469.1”
“It seems inconceivable that al-Mansur’s Songhay adventure did not in part attempt to counter European movement along Atlantic pathways toward the sources of gold— movement that Morocco could not stop in the maritime arena, but could potentially combat by crossing the expanse of the Sahara. As to the second factor, while Stephen Cory examines alMansur’s desire to establish a western caliphate as ample motivation, the sharīf also had before him the examples of the Portuguese and Spanish, who now controlled lands and wealth across the ocean in the Americas and India.”
“To the south the Arma administration of Timbuktu found itself largely abandoned upon al-Mansur’s death, and from 1608-1610 it tottered on the brink of collapse.1076 Though it recovered, the last pasha appointed from Marrakech died two years later.1077 From that point forward local garrisons selected pashas from amongst their own number, and eventually from those born in the Middle Niger. In 1657, as the Alaoui dynasty supplanted the Sa’di in Morocco, the population of Timbuktu rendered a bay’a to the local pasha, formally signaling the Arma administration’s independence. Al-Mansur’s, and Morocco’s, first and only successful imperial venture had lasted for less than three generations
Source: MOROCCO IN THE EARLY ATLANTIC WORLD, 1415-1603 A Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Georgetown University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in History By Earnest W. Porta, Jr., J.D
“Western Sahara has been part and parcel of Morocco dating back to the nomadic, semi-nomadic to the most recent sedentarisation of the mixed people of the Sanhaja Amazigh, Arabs and black Africans who unified under the direct rule of the Moroccan authorities, at least since the XIth century under the Amazigh Almoravid Empire followed by that of the Almohads of the post-modern Arab-Muslim period, extending from Niger, Mali, reaching to the Ghana Empire, Senegal, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Portugal and Spain. It is this Muslim period which is the root of its problems as Spain could never forget or forgive the reign of the Amazigh Empire over Spain, a similar resentment felt by successive Algerian governments since they became an independent state in 1962.”
“Decisions of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) interpreting treaties, however, have “no binding force except between the parties and in respect of that particular case.” Sanchez-Llamas v. Oregon, 548 U.S. at 354, quoting Statute of the International Court of Justice, Art. 59, 59 Stat. 1062, T.S. No. 933 (1945) (emphasis added by the Court). ICJ decisions “are therefore entitled only to the ‘respectful consideration’ due an interpretation of an international agreement by an international court.” Sanchez-Llamas v. Oregon, 548 U.S. at 355, quoting Breard v. Greene, 523 U.S. 371, 375 (1998) (per curiam). Justice Stevens, concurring, noted that, even though the ICJ decision “is not ‘the supreme Law of the Land,’ U.S. Const., Art VI, cl. 2,” it constitutes an international law obligation not only on the part of the United States, but on the part of the State of Texas. Id. at 1374. This, of course, does not make it enforceable against Texas, but Justice Stevens found that “[t]he cost to Texas of complying with [the ICJ decision] would be minimal.” Id. at 1375.”
“Justice Breyer, joined by Justices Souter and Ginsburg, dissented, writing that “the consent of the United States to the ICJ’s jurisdiction[ ] bind[s] the courts no less than would ‘an act of the [federal] legislature.’” Id. at 1376. Even when an ICJ decision has binding force as between the governments of two nations, it is not necessarily enforceable by the individuals affected. If, for example, the ICJ finds that the United States violated a particular defendant’s rights under international law, and such a decision “constitutes an international law obligation on the part of the United States,” it does not necessarily “constitute binding federal law enforceable in United States courts. . . . [W]hile treaties may comprise international commitments . . . they are not domestic law unless Congress has either enacted implementing statutes or the treaty itself conveys an intention that it be self-executing and is ratified on these terms.”
“In the spirit of institutionalism, ICJ judgments in contentious cases are binding on the parties, final, and without appeal. See, e.g., Robert O. Keohane et al., Legalized Dispute Resolution: Interstate and Transnational, 54 Int’l Org. 457, 458 (2000). Among other things, it has led to the acknowledgment that final judgments of the International Court are binding as a matter of international law, but to assertions by the Executive Branch that such judgments have no direct effect within the national legal system. Second, although treaties are recognized by our Constitution as the supreme law of the land, that status is no less true of provisions of the Constitution itself, to which rules of procedural default apply. We have held “that an Act of Congress . . . is on a full parity with a treaty, and that when a statute which is subsequent in time is inconsistent with a treaty, the statute to the extent of conflict renders the treaty null.” Reid v. Covert, 354 U.S. 1, 18 (1957) (plurality opinion) . . . .”
“We the Congress of the 13 United States of North America, have been informed of your Majesty’s favorable regard to the interests of the people we represent, which has been communicated by Monsieur Etienne d’Audibert Caille of Sale, Consul of Foreign nations unrepresented in your Majesty’s states. We assure you of our earnest desire to cultivate a sincere and firm peace and friendship with your Majesty and to make it lasting to all posterity. Should any of the subjects of our states come within the ports of your Majesty’s territories, we flatter ourselves they will receive the benefit of your protection and benevolence. You may assure yourself of every protection and assistance to your subjects from the people of these states whenever and wherever they may have it in their power. We pray your Majesty may enjoy long life and uninterrupted prosperity.”
Source: History of the U.S. and Morocco
Suzerainty: suzerainty (countable and uncountable, plural suzerainties) A relation between states in which a subservient nation has its own government but is unable to take international action independent of the superior state; a similar relationship between other entities. Suzerainty is any relationship in which one region or polity controls the foreign policy and relations of a tributary state, while allowing the tributary state to have internal autonomy.
Suzerainty: means ‘an upper sovereign’. The difference between suzerainty and sovereignty is that the tributary state or person has all the benefits of independence and self-rule albeit limited to some extent. One nation or state has an upper sovereignty (suzerain) over the other (tributary state). In numerous historical empires, suzerainty existed whereby one empire was more influential and powerful than the weaker one while the latter enjoyed self-rule. However, today’s international laws do not explicitly reconcile with the idea of suzerainty since a state can only be sovereign or not sovereign.
A suzerainty is a situation in which one powerful state, region, or people are in control of the foreign policy of a tributary vassal state. This extends to matters to do with international relations. The subservient state or nation enjoys self-rule and independence only limited to some degree. The suzerain state enjoys special benefits from the subservient nation such as freedom from tariffs, payment of taxes to the suzerain, and the stationing of military troops in the other country’s land. In return, the more powerful state protects the tributary state militarily.
Definition of suzerain 1: a superior feudal lord to whom fealty is due : OVERLORD 2: a dominant state controlling the foreign relations of a vassal state but allowing it sovereign authority in its internal affairs. French, from Middle French souserain, from sus up (from Latin sursum, from sub- up + versum -ward, from neuter of versus, past participle of vertere to turn) + -erain (as in soverain sovereign) — more at SUB-, WORTH
“To alter, amend, or add to any treaty, by inserting any clause, whether small or great, important or trivial, would be on [the] part [of courts] an usurpation of power, and not an exercise of judicial functions.” Id. at 135, 109 S.Ct. at 1684 (quoting The Amiable Isabella, 6 Wheat 1, 71 (1821)).