Monday, April 07, 2008

The Bodansky File

While researching my recent post on Edelman, I came across a Moroccan-American Center for Policy (MACP) press release from January 11, 2008, titled Western Sahara Negotiations Continue Despite Polisario War Threats.

The following paragraph in that release caught my attention:

In a recent analysis, Youssef Bodansky, former Director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS), noted that the greatest threat to stability in the Maghreb and Western Mediterranean was what he described as “the rejuvenation of the terrorism campaign” of the Polisario Front. The escalation by the Polisario comes in the midst of the latest United Nations effort to finally resolve the Western Sahara conflict.

Now this Youssef Bodansky is an Israeli-born political scientist and terrorism expert with ten mostly-terrorism-related books under his belt, a ton of articles in big publications to his credit, vast work experience throughout the US Government, and a reputation for having foreseen and predicted many of the terror incidents of the last few years, including 9/11. See Wikipedia for specifics.

With a resume like this one can hardly be faulted for thinking that maybe this guy knows a thing or two about terrorism and that he might be on to something when he makes such a damning statement about the Polisario. But having already been burned once by assuming the same thing about another pro-Israel terrorism expert, Claude Moniquet, I thought I’d dig a little further and try to find the “recent analysis” where the quote about “the rejuvenation of the [Polisario’s] terrorism campaign” came from. I scoured the internet and have come up empty. So a few days ago I shot off e-mails to both MACP and Mr. Bodansky for clarification and so far have heard nothing.

The reason all this is of interest to me is that most of the scholars I am aware of specializing in and writing on the Polisario (see Shelley, Zunes, Mundy, and even Jensen) clearly see the Polisario and the terrorism question in quite a different light. They are very consistently impressed by the Polisario’s refusal, even in the face of rather ugly state terrorism practiced by Morocco, to resort to terrorism. So I am forced to wonder, first of all, what past “terrorism campaign” Mr. Bodansky is referring to as being ripe for “rejuvenation.” Some have tried to construe a handful of Polisario attacks on fishing boats entering the war zone in the ‘70s and 80’s as terroristic activity, but few find this convincing. Secondly, I wonder what leads Mr. Bodansky to think that the Polisario is on the verge of changing their MO and adopting terrorism.

While trying to figure out where Mr. Bodansky is coming from on the Western Sahara issue, I happened to run across some interesting associations of his. He it turns out is on the Executive Commitee of a group called Global Panel America along with none other than Marc S. Ellenbogen, and who should appear on their Advisory Board but Hon. Hassan Abouyoub, Chief Foreign Policy Advisor to King Mohamed VI of Morocco. In a similar vein, Mr. Bodansky is also a Director of the Prague Society for International Cooperation of which Mr. Ellenbogen is President and Mr. Abouyoub a frequent guest. Both these groups appear to be behind-the-scenes networking organizations with very fancy members. Mr. Ellenbogen, in case you are not one of my regular readers, has written some of the most factually compromised material in recent memory on the Western Sahara and got his very own post on my blog last year.

Another interesting coincidence is that Mr. Bodansky is a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University, home of Professor I. William Zartman who also has interesting ideas about the Western Sahara and merited his own post. But Johns Hopkins is a big diverse place and I have no idea whether the two even know each other, so I will refrain from pursuing this angle.

Anyway, I reserve judgment on what all this means until I get a copy of Mr. Bodansky’s “recent analysis” that MACP promises will enlighten us all about Polisario terrorism.


  1. That's so shifty. I'm excited to find out how this story continues.

    Speaking of the MACP, I used their website to find copy of the France Libertes report about Moroccan POWs in Tindouf for a paper I was writing about SADR. I'll never wash off the shame.

  2. That is one impressively shifty crowd we're beginning to assemble here.

    I recall having run into the name Youssef/Joseph? Bodansky in some other (non-WS) issue before, and I also remember writing him off as either crazy or paid to publish crazy stuff, which in either case was not worth engaging with. I'll see if I can find out what it was. I think something related to far-right Muslim-bashing.

    Coming to think of it, that seems to hold true for a surprising number of the MACP/Morocco hirelings, and Rabat seems to have a sixth sense for tapping into the most virulent anti-Arab, Quran-burning fringe of the US right. I would not be at all surprised if, say, Front Page Mag picks up the Western Sahara issue soon. But I wonder what most Moroccans would say if they knew how many professional islamophobes in the US that are bankrolled by their tax money? Oh well, all for territorial integrity.

  3. the UN is giving Morocco his historical right to recover his soveranity, and the right to exist, you should know that morocco have no reason to exist if we don't recover totally our territory, you should know if there's a war about the moroccan desert, blieve me this region of the world will see the wort war ever, you know that all the region is threated by the terrorist.
    Morocco lost a big part of his territory 'Mauritania' Morocco will never let that happend again, and the prosperity of Europe depends, in Moroccan strenght to stoping terror coming from algeria, so before discussing somthing is not true at all,you should know the real algerian plans and spaniard,they are afraid that morocco recover his regional power, why polisario don't let humanitarian groups to check phisically the situation in tindouf'south algeria' because silmply they will know the truth, there's less than 60000 people living in the camps, anther thing, the moroccan sahara or the western sahara, have thier own representatives, the those real representative represent the majority of saharian people, 120000, so we have to use the logic,Algeria is afraid that this problm get solved, simplly because he next step from morocco, will be to as algeria to sign with him the northern borders, because there's no recognized border between morocco and Algeria in the north, regarding the spanish they knows that once Morocco recover his rights in the desert, he will concentrate in the ocuped cities in the north of morocco,hope now you understand, who created this fake organisation called polisario, it was considered in the 70ties as a terrorist organisation.

  4. Anonymous3:48 PM


  5. Mauritania is moroccan too and Senegal isn't it? i think it is, you have forgot the whole northern Algeria....wooo that's too much false sahara watch you reminded me of the moroccan dream...Abbas el Fassi big morocco have ever heard about?
    false sahara watch is belonging to the moroccan-amerian pre-paid band of liars which you are talking about believe me.

  6. i can feel algerian secret service around here, they always replay with lies, and sarcasme! who was talking about mauritania? who talked about other place, norther algiria is moroccan my silly friend, and the (big)we say the great morocco was a historical fact just read the USA and morocco treaty in 1777 and you'll understand, but you are turturing the poor saharan in the day light and speading your lies over the honest blogs over the night, yes full planing, to be a algerian merceneer,takes you all the time, by the way did you finished placing anti personl mines in the moroccan border, you are so stupid, you think there's no satelits. very sad your pathetic replay. the sahara is moroccan. and long life to the king, i'am from laayoune and proud to be moroccan, the hided algerian pan to annex this desert is over as URSS your main supporter.