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Rif Region (Morocco)

Last modified: 2014-04-16 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: morocco | er rif | rif | crescent(green) | star(6 point) | diamond | aza letter |
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[Flag of Republic of Er Rif] 2:3 image by Mark Sensen and António Martins, 16 Jun 2004
See also:

Republic of Er Rif (1920-1926)

A revolt broke out in the Spanish part of the Rif mountains, led by Muhammad ibn Abd-el-Krim al-Khattabi. Abd-el-Krim was born in 1882 in the Berber tribe of Bani Uriaghel. He studied Spanish and Arabic, and was appointed qadi al-qudat (Muslim judge) in 1915 in the Melilla district. He was also the editor of the Arabic pages of the newspaper El Telegrama del Rif. He was a supporter of the Egyptian nationalists and the Arab Wahhabits and a great fan of Kemal Atatürk. He fought the Spanish colonial administration and was jailed. He escaped with his brother, the future chief of his army, and organized the resistance of the Berber tribes in the Rif mountains.
Ivan Sache, 15 Jun 2003, quoting [Lux-Wurm 2001]

There was a Rif War between 1920 and 1926, led by Abd-el Krim (1882-1963) who proclaimed the Holy War against Spain. In 1921 he won over the Spanish General Sylvestre in Anoual.
Pascal Vagnat, 7 Jun 1996

In 1921, he defeated the Spanish army and was about to enter Melilla. Abd-el-Krim founded on 19 September 1921 the Republic of Rif and was appointed President of the Republic.
Ivan Sache, 15 Jun 2003, quoting [Lux-Wurm 2001]

Although this state is always referred to as Republic, Abd el Krim had the title sultan or amir.
Ralf Stelter, 12 Mar 2001

In 1923, an international status for Tangier was proclaimed. In 1924 after the Spaniards left the coast, he nearly threatened to conquer Fes and Tangier.
Pascal Vagnat, 7 Jun 1996

In April 1925, Abd-el-Krim threatened Fes and Taza. A Franco-Spanish conference convened in Madrid and a joint military action was set up. A Spanish army, led by General Sanjurjo, landed in Alhucemas, near Ajir, Abd-el-Krim’s headquarters. Paris sent 100 000 soldiers led by Marshal Philippe Pétain. Abd-el-Krim surrendered on 27 May 1923 in Izemouren. Three days later, he sent a letter to General Boichut, in which he confirmed his surrender, asked for the French protection for his family, and promised to liberate his French prisoners. On 4 June, he was brought with his family to Fes and exiled to the Reunion Island.
Ivan Sache, 15 Jun 2003, quoting [Lux-Wurm 2001]

In 1926, with the unification of the French and Spanish Military Commandment, he is defeated and is deported to the Reunion Isle. He escaped (1947) from a ship which returned to France and finally died in Egypt.
Pascal Vagnat, 7 Jun 1996

He escaped to Cairo in 1947, where he was granted political asylum. In Cairo, he founded the "Liberation Committee of Arab West" a.k.a. "Maghreb Bureau". After the independence of Morocco, he was invited by King Muhammad V to come back but he refused to do it as long as French troops would stay on the northern African land. Abd-el-Krim died in Cairo on 6 February 1963.
Ivan Sache, 15 Jun 2003, quoting [Lux-Wurm 2001]


Flag design

Hexagram

I think that can t be a a riffian flag because they dont have a six-pointed star in the flag; only Isreal has that i think that Abdel Karim el Ghatabbi would never accept this flag.
Abdel Karim, 07 May 2000

The hexagram, known in Israel as the Shield of David, was also used frequently in Muslim flags as the “seal of Solomon”. Examples:

It must be taken into account that Israeli-Arab enemity did not exist before the 1917 Balfour Declaration, and in practice started only after WW2. So Abd-el-Karim would hardly find it unacceptable to use a hexagram in his republic’s flag — leaving aside the fact that he would consider it an Arab, rather than (at the time) a Zionist symbol.
Santiago Dotor, 11 May 2000

Green emblem centered

[Flag of Republic of Er Rif] 2:3 image by Mark Sensen and António Martins, 16 Jun 2004

Design according to [ivaXX].
Mark Sensen, 6 Jun 1996

Ivanow reported the same flag, but in proportions 2:3 and with a green crescent and Magen David.
Ivan Sache, 15 Jun 2003

The flag of the Rif Republic as depicted in Banderas issue #1, drawn by Eduardo Panizo, is quite different from the one in Znamierowski 1999]. The one in Banderas looks like the above and was made according to an original captured flag kept in the Spanish Army Museum.
Santiago Dotor, 21 Jan 2002

So, Banderas published (in issues 1 and 6) two different depictions, both claiming to be drawn from the same original?!
António Martins, 11 Mar 2001

Emblem shifted to the fly

Er Rif Flag var. image by Ivan Sache, Mark Sensen and António Martins, 16 Jun 2004

On p. 105 of the French edition of Znamierowski Encyclopedie mondiale des drapeaux 2000]), the flag of the Republic of Rif is slightly different than in Ivanow]: The hexagram is confirmed, but the emblem is much smaller and shifted to the flag fly.
Ivan Sache, 11 Mar 2001

In Banderas 6, page 10, Tomás Rodríguez Peñas gives exact measures for the flag which is in the Museo del Ejército at Madrid. The device is offcentered to the fly.
Ralf Stelter, 12 Mar 2001

So, Banderas published (in issues 1 and 6) two different depictions, both claiming to be drawn from the same original?!
António Martins, 11 Mar 2001

Black emblem on long flag

Abd-el-Krim flag image by Ivan Sache, 15 Jun 2003

According to Lux-Wurm 2001 the flag of the Republic was red with a white lozenge in the middle of the flag, charged with a black crescent and Magen David. Here again, the image shows a flag, in proportions 1:2, with a green crescent and Magen David.
Ivan Sache, 15 Jun 2003


Abd-el-Krim’s personal flag

Abd-el-Krim flag image by Ivan Sache, 15 Jun 2003

Abd-el-Krim used a red flag with a white square canton charged with a black crescent.
Ivan Sache, 15 Jun 2003

as shown in Lux-Wurm 2001

Abd-el-Krim flag image by Ivan Sache, 15 Jun 2003

However, the image at Lux-Wurm 2001 has a rectangular canton — nearly square, indeed — and a green crescent! It is a pity that the editorial reviewer, if any, did such a poor job. It would have been easy to point out such a big discrepancy between the text and the matching image, and ask the author for correction.
Ivan Sache, 15 Jun 2003

Movement for the Autonomy of Rif

[Mouvement pour l'Autonomie du Rif] 2:3 image by Ivan Sache, 31 July 2005

A "Mouvement pour l'Autonomie du Rif" (Movement for the Autonomy of Rif) recently popped up on the Internet. It is difficult to assess the real representativity of this movement. It is clear that autonomous movements are not welcome in Morocco and will not be authorized there. However, a search on the Internet yields only the website of the movement (1), which is mostly in construction, and a thread on Tamazgha.fr (2) introducing the movement. On both sources, the movement is presented by "Winitri".
On the Tamazgha page, a flag for the autonomous Rif is introduced, "clearly inspired by the flag of the former Republic of Rif"". The image is indeed clearly inspired from the image on top of this page , which is shown with the same file name and without credit. The same flag is shown in a different artistic rendition on the top of the movement's homepage, so it can be considered as the flag of the Mouvement pour l'Autonomie du Rif, whatever this movement is.
The flag of the Mouvement pour l'Autonomie du Rif is blue with a white diamond charged with a yellow aza letter from the Tifinagh alphabet, a symbol widely recognized as theirs by Berbers (4).
(1) (obsolete)
(2) (obsolete)
Ivan Sache, 31 July 2005

Rif autonomist movements indeed exist, mostly in exile (regional parties are forbidden in Morocco). The few photos referring to those movement show they use the "regular" Berber flag. The sources I used for my report are no longer available- therefore, I think that the flag was nothing but a proposal put forward by the webmaster of the defunct site.
Ivan Sache, 15 Apr 2014


Other Rif Flags

Yellow-blue

(reconstruction!)
Yellow-blue Rif flag image by Jaume Ollé, 07 Jul 2001

In 22-9-1998 Hassan Amouch speak in amazigh net about a flag of the Rif republic that one of his friends garde jalousement for many years and that is different from the well know one The colours in diagonal are yellow, black and blue (this last one doubteful) with a crescent in the canton (no color indicated) and David star in the center (also no colour quoted). I tryed to reconstruct.

Jaume Ollé, 07 Jul 2001

Green-white

Green/white Rif flag image by António Martins, 26 Jun 2004

I know something [about] the real riffian flag: it is horizontal green and white. [editorial note: source not provided]
Abdel Karim, 07 May 2000


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