CONTENTS OF Vol. 31, Nos. 1-2, 2006

Maghreb Review Vol 31 Nos 1-2 2006

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PROCEEDINGS of the 21st Annual conference on
English-Speaking Nations and the Mediterranean
held in Oxford on 11-12 July 2005


CLEMENT DODD: “Difficulties of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean: Britain, the United States and Cyprus”

ABSTRACT: Britain occupied Cyprus in 1878 with the agreement of the Ottoman Government in order to provide a British base to counter any further Russian aggression. However, history takes unexpected turns. This occupation, and later annexation, of Cyprus by Britain began at first to create problems for Britain not with Russia, but with Greece, with whom at the time the Greek Cypriots fervently wished to be united as part of the achievement of the Megali Idea.
    Cyprus led first to friction in Anglo-Greek relations. Then in the 1950s, fearing the island would become a Greek base only 40 miles away if Britain abandoned it, Turkey again became vitally interested in its future. To confuse matters further, the original role of Cyprus as a base against Russia greatly revived in importance when, in the 1960s, the Soviet Union began to gain serious influence in the Middle East. This now induced the United States to take a pronounced interest in the British bases and intelligence listening posts in Cyprus, deeply afraid that Cyprus could become a Mediterranean Cuba. President Makarios seemed to be holding out this prospect if he could not have his way with the Turkish Cypriots. He wanted them to be a minority, not an equal partner in government.
    In 1964 the UN, and all states save Turkey, in defiance of the internationally agreed 1960 Constitution for the island, fearful for the vulnerable bases and other facilities, consequently began to treat them, by then purely Greek Cypriot government, as the legal government of Cyprus. This put Greece and Turkey at odds, allowing Greece to use its position in the EU to help the Greek Cypriots obtain EU membership for Cyprus. Greece first threatened to block the EU/Turkey Custom Union in 1995 if a date for EU accession negotiations for Cyprus was not given. Secondly, Greece later intimated that EU enlargement would have to include Cyprus. As a result, Cyprus is now threatening to veto Turkey’s entry into the European Union.
   Is it then the case that in origin it is Anglo-American interference in East Mediterranean affairs that has produced the present difficulties for Turkey? This paper addresses this and related questions.


ALLAN CHRISTELOW: “The Muslim and Jewish Mediterranean in an American Mirror: Peter Markoe’s Algerine Spy in Pennsylvania (1787)”

ABSTRACT: Peter Markoe’s Algerine Spy in Pennsylvania was the first piece of American literature on the North African states, and it remains today the most neglected. When read through the optic of literary scholars in search of Orientalist stereotypes. It can seem a frustrating book compared to later works such as Susanna Rowson’s Slaves in Algiers (1794) or Royall Tyler’s Algerine Captive (1802). Yet when read in light of a knowledge of the contemporary situation in Algeria, derived especially from Arabic and Spanish sources, and in light of Markoe’s own background and connections, it can be seen as a work of remarkable richness, with a keen instinctive grasp of the dilemmas facing both Algeria and America at the time. It is a product of a time when Spanish-Algerian relations were at a key phase of renegotiation, and before popular mobilization in the US to free the Barbary captives. That mobilization laid the foundations for enduring themes and images in America that are invoked to this day.
    The presentation will first provide a synopsis of Markoe’s book. Then it will provide a sketch of his background: the son of a wealthy planter from St.Croix in the Danish Virgin Islands whose family were in the process of transferring their capital to Philadelphia. But Peter himself was a rebel, a lawyer by training but a writer by avocation, and unlike the moneyed elite a partisan of Thomas Jefferson’s radical republicanism.
    Next it will examine the re-negotiation of Algerian-Spanish relations leading to the truce of 1785 and how this related to the larger question of expanding Algeria’s commercial relations with Europe. Key proponents of the new opening were Hasan Pasha, the future ruler of Algiers, freelance diplomats the Comte d’Expilly and John Wolf. The Algerians had captured two American ships in 1785, and early correspondence from one of the captains, Richard O’Brien, indicates that these figures immediately set to work cultivating his support of their plans. As they knew well, however, there was scarcely a consensus in Algeria to pursue such an opening.
    Finally, the presentation will attempt to answer the question of whether Peter Markoe had any contact, direct, or indirect with the situation in Algeria, and whether any Algerians had a role in formulating his book. The book consists of letters written by one “Mehmet”, an Algerian sent to scout out the new land beyond the ocean. It would certainly not have been out of character for Hasan Pasha to send a “spy” secretly to America, nor to disown him when it proved convenient. There is a documented case of Algerian “spies”, at least some of whom were probably Jewish, being caught in Virginia. Lacking the legal tools to extradite them, the virginia state government apparently let them go on their way. And they announced quite plainly that they wanted to get to Philadelphia, a cosmopolitan centre where they could expect a much friendlier reception.
    Mehmet, in the end, was betrayed by a traditionalist rabbi in Lisbon, allied with conservative forces in Algiers. He was stranded in America, left with no choice but to seek assimilation. Markoe’s book can be seen as prescient, not only of the turbulence that would spoil efforts at a new, enlightened opening in the Western Mediterranean, but of the longer term trends and dilemmas that would affect Mediterranean Muslims and Jews and America’s relations with both these communities. His Jeffersonian vision was one of deep ambivalence, torn between a commitment to new principles of democracy and liberty and a nationalistic vision that excluded Non-Europeans and non-Christians.


JOHN WRIGHT: “Enforced migration: The black slave trade across the Mediterranean”

ABSTRACT: Historically, the Mediterranean Sea has been a forum for traffic and exchange between the three Old World continents of Europe. Asia and Africa. Commercial cargoes shipped in complex patterns between ports around this inland sea, and its large and small islands, used to include slaves of many types and origins. Indeed, a stealthy, small-scale Mediterranean slave trade lasted until the very end of the 19th century. During this enduring, enforced migration, black Africans were still being herded by long and ancient roads across the central Sahara to the outskirts of Tripoli, or to Benghazi, or other small harbours along the coast of what is now Libya. Thence, as they had been for centuries past, these unfortunates were shipped off to other cities and provinces of the Ottoman Empire — Constantinople, Smyrna, Salonika, Cyprus, Syria, the Aegean islands and the southern Balkans. These were all places where there was still a brisk demand for black slaves, and especially for women and girls as domestic and concubines. This paper briefly traces the rise and development of this branch of the black slave trade from the early Islamic era; the Saharan routes slaves were forced to travel; the North African markets where they were sold for export; their Mediterranean voyages to points of final sale; their numbers, ages and sex ratios; the prices and profits made on them. It also considers how the coming of steam navigation and European abolitionist pressures into the Mediterranean in the mid-19th century changed the appearance, but not necessarily the substance, of the trade until other events took control at that century’s end.


SAUL KELLY: “Britain, Libya and start of the Cold War”

ABSTRACT: The question of the Italian Colonies (that is, the future of Eritrea, Somalia and Libya) from 1945-1952 played a significant part in the breakdown of postwar Allied co-operation and the start of the Cold War.
    At the heart of this question lay the dispute between Britain and the USSR over Libya. Issues such as the political complexion of an independent Libyan state and international access to its strategic facilities proved highly contentious in the conference diplomacy and strategic planning of the early Cold War years. While Britain sought to establish a client state in Cyrenaica that would underpin its position on the eastern Mediterranean, the Soviet Union tried to claim Tripolitania as a war prize that would secure Soviet access to the inland sea.
    Based primarily on British and American sources, this chapter will analyze how the subsequent Anglo-Soviet struggle over Libya contributed to the disintegration of the wartime Grand Alliance and the onset of the Cold War. It will also consider the success of British efforts to establish a new client state in the eastern Mediterranean to buttress Britain’s Middle East position.


KEITH HAMILTON: “Régime change and détente: Britain and the transition from dictatorship to democracy in Spain and Portugal, 1974-76”

ABSTRACT: The position of Portugal was, according to the British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, a ‘test of détente’. That, at any rate, was what he told the Soviet leader, Leonid Brezhnev, on 1 August 1975. The message, which reflected Wilson’s own concern over the apparent threat posed by communists and other parties of the extreme left to Portugal’s nascent democracy, was all the more poignant since it was delivered personally only minutes before the signing of the Helsinki Final Act, one of the highpoints of détente in Europe in the 1970s. It was also a salutary reminder that at a time when many commentators and some diplomats believed the Cold War to be over, developments in the Mediterranean basin appeared to portend an extension, if not necessarily an intensification, of the East/West ideological struggle. Whilst the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) had been engaged in its laborious deliberations in Geneva, Nato’s southern flank had plunged into crisis. The Yom Kippur war of October 1973 had already revealed profound divisions between the United States and its European allies in their attitude towards the region, particularly after Donald Rumsfeld’s delayed announcement in the North Atlantic Council that American forces had been put on low-level alert, and the subsequent Arab oil boycott had contributed to the onset of a world economic recession which brought suddenly to a halt over twenty-five years of unparalleled economic growth. Hardly less disconcerting for the Atlantic alliance were the events of the following year: the revolution in Portugal, the Greek government-inspired coup in Cyprus, Turkey’s military intervention in the island, and the uncertainty surrounding Greece’s future following the fall of the colonels’ régime in Athens. In addition, the Western allies were worried by the political instability which some feared would follow the death of two ageing dictators, Franco in Spain and Tito in Yugoslavia, and by the possibility of communists entering government in France and Italy. The situation did not go unnoticed in Moscow where party ideologists openly debated how the ‘crisis of capitalism’ might best be exploited to advance the cause of world socialism. And by the autumn of 1975 American analysts were speculating on whether for the Russians régime change might render détente and Brezhnev’s Westpolitik redundant.
    This paper focuses on British reactions to the revolutionary developments in Portugal following Caetano’s fall, and on British policy towards Spain in the months preceding and immediately following Franco’s death. It covers differences within the Atlantic Alliance over the handling of Portugal, particularly those resulting from Kissinger’s tendency to assume that it would be better to exclude a communist-dominated Portugal from Nato, and those relating to whether or not the Western powers should seek to influence the Soviet Union and its supposed encouragement of red revolution in Lisbon by threatening to cancel plans for a CSCE summit in Helsinki. In the Spanish context the paper similarly examines problems arising between the United States and Western Europe over the prospect of drawing a non-democratic Spain into closer ties with Nato prior to Franco’s death. British diplomats, some of whom wished to avoid a repetition of events in Portugal by encouraging contacts between representatives of the British and Spanish administrative and military establishments, had to cope with Labour politicians whose memories of the Spanish Civil War set them against any liaison with the régime in Madrid. While in the case of Portugal British diplomacy struggled to come to terms with a revolutionary present, in the case of Spain it was ensnared by a reactionary past. Both countries ultimately succeeded in making the transition to democracy, but ironically Portugal’s retreat from empire, which the British government had encouraged, was soon followed by civil war in Angola Soviet and Cuban involvement in which did much to undermine the achievements of détente in Europe.


EFFIE PEDALIU: “The US, the Mediterranean and the Cold War, 1945-57”

ABSTRACT: The deployment of American power in the Mediterranean in the post WWII period was incremental and hesitant. Initially, and up until, the second half of 1946, the US saw its role in the region as merely a supporting one to that of the UK. It was the British weakness in fulfilling its role that led the US to assume more responsibility. Although, the geostrategic importance of the region was recognised from early on, the US treated the region in a fragmented fashion. As crises developed American power was deployed to contain them, maintain the balance of power and keep the region safe for Western interests. It was only after the outbreak of the Cold War in Europe and Asia that the Mediterranean acquired the primacy of the North Sea and the Atlantic in American strategic thinking and it was only then that the US took steps to turn it into a true mare nostrum for American power. The paper will also argue that American hegemony over the Mediterranean region was completed in three stages:

  1. The stage of power sharing with Britain, which lasted from autumn 1943 until autumn 1946. During this period American policy was directed towards issues arising from the war and post war setting. It aimed at tackling these issues in cooperation with Britain.
  2. The transitional stage, which lasted from 1947 to 1949. During this period American policy aimed at replacing waning British power, which led to the direct involvement of the US not only in the Greek Civil War but also in areas of the Southern rim of the region such as Palestine.
  3. The hegemonic stage from 1940-57 during which America proceeded to establish and institutionalise its hegemony throughout the basin.


COLIN HEYWOOD: “What’s in a name? The onomastics of Algerine fleet lists circa 1700: a possible source for prosopographic and technological naval history”


1. Names of ships

  • Imber, study of navy of Suleyman I, from Ottoman financial records: ships — all in fact galleys — have no names.
  • In the English navy of Henry VIII’s time, and by 1600, all English naval ships have names — the Mary Rose best known.
  • In the Ottoman fleet at end of 17 century, by which time line of battle ships were being built (cf. Idris Bostan) — ships still have no names (identified by name/rank of commander).
  • But, the shipbuilding revolution occurs much earlier in Algiers: by 2nd half of 17 century Algerine war vessels of the Atlantic type all appear to have names (though smaller vessels and galleys still do not)
  • Starting point is a study of Algerine ship names published more than 30 years ago by Guy Turbet-delof (Revu. Internationale d’Onomastique, xxi, 1970), a short but insightful piece of work.
  • 1st. Question: do names (or “names”) come into use coevally with the adoption of ‘round’ ships at beg. Cf 17 century, and with the renegades who pour into Algiers at that time, especially from Holland and England, where they are used to serving on or commanding ships which are identified by name.
  • ‘Names’ are actually iconographic and analphabetic, like public house signs (and other establishments, from mercers to booksellers) in an age of minimal literacy.
  • 2nd Question: Is this the reason for the difference and uniqueness?? of Algerine (and other Barbary) corsair practice amongst Muslim/Islamic/Ottoman shipping of the pre-modern era?

2. Use of Algerine ships’ names (or ‘names’)

  • We have the lists — used earlier by Turbet-Delof and Belhamissi — but only ones and twos. With more — nine — from English archival sources covering period 1675-1715 — some questions can be asked since ships can be, with some accuracy identified.
  • Consuls and others who made the lists collected information also on number of guns, number of crew, and name and ethnicity of commander/reis.
  • hence, we can ask technological and prosopographic questions and compare the Algerine (and other Barbary) war fleets with European and Otoman ones;
  • establish a prosopography of the reises;
  • estimate number of crews, both for sailling and oared vessels — fits or not w/estimates re number of Xn slaves in use at time ...

Concluding remarks.

Sources indigenous and ‘foreign’ ... Some thoughts.


STUART SCHAAR: “President Woodrow Wilson and the Young Tunisians”

ABSTRACT: Tunisian nationalists saw in Wilson’s fourteen points an occasion to play on the contradictions in the post- World War I alliance and weaken France’s hold over its Tunisian protectorate. In the 1970s other Tunisians struggling for greater human rights exploited President Jimmy Carter’s support for this issue to engage Americans and use them to help form Tunisia’s first human rights organization. I was involved in the 1970s attempt to liberalize the Tunisian regime of President Habib Bourguiba. I helped form a delegation of prominent U.S. citizens who traveled to Tunisia and participated in the founding conference of the country’s human rights organization. We met first in the Tunisian airport and then in the street in front of the Africa hotel, since soldiers prohibited us from meeting inside the building. Faced with armed officers holding machine guns, the organizers of the human rights organization of the mid-70s went ahead anyway, confident that the military would not attack them while the U.S. delegation was present. Jimmy Carter’s policies in promoting human rights had reached into the North African country of Tunisia. In a similar way, Woodrow Wilson’s verbal support for self-determination lent legitimacy to the Young Tunisian’s demand for a Constitution and an elected assembly after the first World War. My own experiences during Jimmy Carter’s presidency has given me insights into what may have happened during the earlier period.
    As early as 1962 Nicola Ziadeh in his book on the development of Tunisian nationalism had pointed out that the Young Tunisians had sent a telegram to President Wilson asking his help to end the French Protectorate. Using arguments that they thought might convince President Wilson of the justice of their claims, the Young Tunisians took their case to the International Tribunal for Rights and Justice, demanding that the court conduct an investigation into conditions in Tunisia. The Tribunal refused to intervene on the grounds that what transpired in the Protectorate was considered an internal matter of France and did not fall within the court’s jurisdiction. One member of the Young Tunisians living in exile in Berne Switzerland, Muhammad Bach Hanba, wrote to Wilson in April 1919 asking him to help place Tunisia under the protection of the soon to be formed League of Nations, in effect taking it away from France. During 1919 the Young Tunisians, led by ‘Abd al-‘Azīz al-Tha’Ālbī, attempted to contact Wilson while the President resided in France. Their attempts to do so, with the help of the French President of the Human Rights Organization, failed. Wilson took the same position as the International Tribunal and did not intervene in Tunisian affairs.
    This brings up the more general question of Wilson’s position on self-determination. Despite his verbal support for this notion, he did little to undermine the established colonial order. In Latin America he even ordered marines into Cuba and other countries to stem nationalist uprisings. This paper also examines the new secondary literature on Wilson and his position on self-determination more generally.
    I have consulted the Wilson papers at Princeton University and read through all their documents for the year 1919. In addition I seen archives in Tunisia (those of the Prime Minister’s office) and in France at Nantes belonging to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and in Paris, the Quai d’Orsay archives. In addition, new books and articles on Wilson examine critically his positions on self-determination. All these sources help to clarify his impact on Tunisia, and by extrapolation, on other countries of the third world.


Book Reviews / Comptes-rendus

Index to Volumes 1 to 30, 1976-2005 /
Table Anneés 1976-2005

THE MAGHREB REVIEW — A Manifesto for the Twenty-First Century /
LA REVUE DU MAGHREB — Un Manifeste pour Le XXIème Siècle

Conditions of Publication /
Conditions de Publication



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