The Aash'n African Administrative Zone (commonly shortened to AAAZ) is a series of non-contiguous territories governed by the Aash'n, roughly analogous to the Maghreb, but with several distinctions. It was established in 1968 by the United Nations Aash'n Affairs Council. Technically, there are no human citizens of the AAAZ, though humans do live in the area, whose needs are accommodated on a site-by-site basis, and are subject to Aash'n law within these areas.
It wasn't long after the Aash'n arrival on Earth that it became painfully aware they would require representation to prevent them from being walked over. With this in mind a council for the race in its entirety to have its views shared and to discuss potential issues was created, a special branch of the UN: the United Nations Aash'n Affairs Council, whose first act of business was to sign a treaty guaranteeing hospitality between humanity and its Aash'n guests. Seating thirty delegates, two from each Aash'n vessel-colony, the council existed so that the species had a solid body to talk to Earth nations with.
The idea was optimistic, but soon proved dangerous. The Aash'n were not natural democrats and found the decision-making process of the UN tedious and dull, and also felt the requirement that they be directly elected from their people ludicrous. Most of the Aash'n, they reasoned, lacked any form of technological literacy and were hopelessly under-educated. For this reason it was felt by the technological elite that they could not be trusted to choose sensible and determined politicians.
The move was met with hostility by some nations. President John F. Kennedy was reportedly involved in several heated discussions with the three strongest Aash'n, Executive Communicators El*xe Min, Kendro Mor Shan, and *lowi *lona. These three were particularly derisive of how Kennedy was threatened by losing office due to lack of popularity with 'unsophisticated paupers'. When news of this reached the press Kennedy his Republican opposition, chiefly presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, capitalised on his continued support for the Aash'n despite the insults, and heavy rhetoric over Kennedy's 'weak character in front of alien bullies' cost him heavily in the election later that year.
Instead, the Communicators began to grow closer to the authoritarian Eastern bloc. Even so the Communicators remained vocal on their disdain for Earth's political systems. In September 1964 Nikita Kruschev and Executive Communicator Mor Shan allegedly got into a foul-mouthed argument over excessive Kremlin bureaucracy and communism that only stopped when the translators for both parties decided that it would be wiser to avoid talking. However, the ideals of communism laid the basis for the future organisation of the Aash'n, much to the horror of the West.
In January 1965 the UNAAC announced that they wished to create a new, legitimate state and to declare designated areas surrounding their vessels territory of the Aash'n nation-to-be. Most parties were ambivalent, though Maghrebi politicians were horrified at the prospect of losing even more land to an alien race that the had not been entirely happy hosting. As the process of creating a new nation slowly dragged on, however, it became clear that much more opposition was forming. As the constitution of the new state began to take alarmingly communist ideals NATO members tried to throw up as much flak as possible to stall the process and prove to the Aash'n that the move was pointless. They had tried desperately hard over the last two decades to stop communist expansion, and were not content to see an alien race plant it in Africa and probably manage far more efficiently than either the USSR or PRC.
The Aash'n Nation
But the Aash'n were very much aware of what NATO was attempting. After a fourteen-hour filibuster by the French ambassador to the UN in July 1965 the Communicative Chamber of the UNAAC decided that they should fight underhanded tactics with underhanded tactics - fighting fire with fire. They entered into close negotiation with President Nasser of Egypt, using his ideas of playing the superpowers, and were able to secure from him the promise that, with exceptions, all territories within twenty km of an Aash'n vessel on Egyptian soil were to be considered sovereign territory of the Aash'n Nation. This announcement in December 1965 sickened the US, seeing how easily its control had been undermined, but knew that it couldn't attempt any overt actions of hostility against Egypt and the (unrecognised) Aash'n Nation lest they bring out Soviet sympathies and ignite war.
The Aash'n had locked the rest of the world into indecision. They could not stop supplying aid as it was against the charter signed in 1964, and using military force to dissolve the Aash'n Nation would be looked upon with disgust. Not only would any aggressor face worldwide persecution they would also have to deal with the five hundred million Aash'n themselves, who would be determined to fight to survive. Only one option was open, and even that remained risky: trade embargoes on Egypt, the sponsor of the Aash'n Nation.
These were enacted by NATO members and a few other countries in March 1966, and soon Egypt felt the effects. Its economy began to stall, even with Soviet support. Sympathies rapidly developed throughout the rest of the Maghreb and the Arab world, but they were mostly powerless to stop the NATO-enforced blockade. Unsurprisingly there were protests elsewhere, and in Paris two million people emerged to contest the move. But NATO was stalwart. President Kennedy did not enjoy what he was doing, but in a speech on March 31st announced that he was doing it 'for the good of our guests' and that he was 'not out to sow distrust, only to fight an immoral government'.
Anger flared up in the rest of the Aash'n community. Their leaders petitioned the leaders of their host countries to allow them to create similar Aash'n nations to show their solidarity. Libya was the first to concede, and on May 27th 1966 two more vessels joined the Aash'n Nation, reviling NATO. It was only a matter of time before the rest of the vessels joined, and by November the Aash'n Nation had expanded to cover all fifteen vessels in the Maghreb. NATO sanctions had been met by the Arabian decision to raise oil prices. The Aash'n were at the heart of a rapidly intensifying global conflict.
Neither the Arab world nor NATO were prepared to back down, and it soon appeared that the situation had no resolution. Even the Eastern bloc could not continue to supply these areas with vital aid to support them and in February 1967 announced that they would be slashing exports by 30%. Riots were tearing at the seams of NATO; in March France withdrew from the organization entirely, and a four-day riot caused massive damage in Seattle. But the Maghreb was on the edge; famine was starting to run rife, the economy had all but collapsed, and several reports of Aash'n citizens being lynched were heard. The US thought victory was inevitable.
A miracle was needed. It came in the form of the wonders of Aash'nite biotechnology. They had seeded millions of crops in their zones, some of which were in the middle of desert, and had managed to sustain their population greatly. The crops, however, were mildly poisonous to humans, and therefore the Aash'nite surplus could not be put to effective use - until April 1967, when Aash'n and Egyptian scientists reported that, in spite of the odds, they had managed to successfully crossbreed Aash'nite crops and wheat that took root in the desert. The plants grew rapidly, taking only three months to develop fully, and when they were harvested in July the famine sweeping the Maghreb and Arab worlds were destroyed. By establishing the hybrid wheat as Aash'n property the nation was able to support itself financially, and by signing numerous trade agreements with friendly countries the effects of the embargo slowly became undone. The second harvest in October proved to the world the resilience of the Aash'n and the ineffectiveness of the blockade and finally, reluctantly, NATO backed down. It was the beginning of the end for the organization as a legitimate force.
World leaders reconvened with the UNAAC to discuss the future of the Aash'n Nation. For the first time the Aash'n Communicative Chamber was in the superior position, able to press through reforms with massive speed and with little foreign influence to stop them. It was agreed that the Aash'n Nation should, in name, be dissolved, as it already carried negative connotations of the relationship between humanity and the Aash'n. In its place would come the Aash'n African Administrative Zone, composed of larger partitions of land around their vessels and with huge portions of previously useless desert sold to the Aash'n for crop usage. The nations of the Maghreb, plus Egypt, were guaranteed alliances with the new AAAZ, and several trade agreements were signed with their Arab allies. No trade sanctions were to be enacted for the next decade.The agreement finally pulled through in less than a month, though the nation itself was finally established on January 1st 1968. Only one part of the new nation deliberately harked back to the old: its capital at Giza City on the outskirts of Cairo.
Cold War hangovers
See ClimateFollowing the arrival of the Aash'n, they proceeded with intense genetic modification programmes to create strains vegetation able to colonise the deserts. These were initially seeded around the Aash'nite vessels, but by 1970 the development of desert-hardy crops meant that tracts of near-coastal desert had been colonised. This led to a population explosion in the Maghreb. Due to coinciding with the height of the Green Revolution, techniques of pest control and usage of fertiliser ensured maximum yields from these early crops. As the inner deserts were explored with new infrastructure, irrigated with massive desalination projects, and similarly tamed to produce crops, a greater variety of plants were introduced, both engineered and natural. The result was to create a eclectic mix of biomes, carefully engineered, ranging from a Mediterranean climate to rainforrest. Terran plants and animals dominate the Europe-sized green zone but it is interspersed with many Aash'nite species. In some places the 'normal' wildlife gives way entirely to bacteria farms and reserves of both Saharan and Aash'nite life. The region varies, with a mountainous west and naturally fertile Nile Valley in the east. This has been supplemented with extensive canal and river construction, along with an ongoing process of desalination and orbital manipulation with geostatioanary satellites.