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The Tangier International Zone, is an International territory in northern Africa with a population of about 500,000. It lies on the North African coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel. It is bordered by the Rif Republic (former Spanish Morocco). The Tangier IZ is also called for short the Interzone. Its main city is Tangier.
The history of Tangier is very rich due to the historical presence of many civilizations and cultures starting from the 5th century BC. Between the period of being a Berber settlement and then a Phoenician town to the independence era around the 1950s, Tangier was a refuge for many cultures. In 1923, Tangier was considered as having international status by foreign colonial powers, and became a destination for many European and American diplomats, spies, writers and businessmen.
Administration of the IZT
The Tangier IZ, as an international territory is governed by the Control Committee and the Tangier Legislative Assembly.
Until 1930s the sovereignty of the Sultan of Morocco was formally recognized, by means of its personal representative the Mendoub. The Mendou issued decrees (dahir) in his name and administered the affairs of the native Muslim and Jewish Moroccans.
Members of the Control Committee are Spain, France and UK. They are represented by their diplomatic consuls. The presidency of the Committee is annually rotated by member countries. The role of the Committee is to supervise and assure that the provisions of the Conventions are carried out and safeguard the international status of the Interzone. The Control Committee as veto power on the acts and decisions of the Assembly and Administrator.
Legislative Assembly is composed of the representatives of the foreign and native communities. They serve a term of four years. The Mendoub served until 1930s as president of the Assembly.
The Administrator, named by the Legislative Assembly, carries outs the decisions of the Assembly and directs the International Administration of the Zone. The International Administration is in charge of medical, water, postal and communications services, public finances, transport, food and agriculture, and industries. it is also in charge of all administrative task of the Interzone. Its recruitment and enrollment is open to all inhabitants of the Interzone and foreign citizens.
Administratively the Interzone is divided in the City of Tangier (City Council) and districts (district boards). The city council and district boards are directly elected and supervised by the International Administration.
Tangier offers four types of education systems: Arabic, French, Spanish and English. Each offers classes starting from pre-Kindergarten up to the 12th grade, Baccalaureate, or high school diploma.
Due to its separate electoral representation for the Legislative Assembly, each community has its own groups of interest or political groups. The foreign communities originally had electoral lists headed by local notables. In the late 1920s the first party was the Commonwealth Party established by the English community, followed shortly by the Tangier Social Democrats
In the late 1930s Spanish immigrants and local residents founded, at the same time is Riffian sister party, the Iberian Citizens Union (Unión de Ciudadanos Ibéricos, UCI) to pressure and lobby for political participation at local level.
The French organized also in the late 1930 the Social Republicans of Tangier, Socialist Federation of Tangier and Left Alliance of Tangier.
The native community was divided in a pro Moroccan or Riffian parties. The main ones being the Berber Democratic Party (pro Riffian), Tangier Action (Action Tanger, pro Moroccan) until it was dissolved and its successor the Citizen's Political Action (pro Moroccan). The Party of Progress is the main leftist party that advocates full self government.
Tangier's economy relies heavily on tourism and its free port (Porto Franco).
Seaside resorts have been increasing with projects funded by foreign investments. Real estate and construction companies have been investing heavily in tourist infrastructures. A bay delimiting the city center extends for more than 7 km. Agriculture in the area of Tangier is tertiary and mainly cereal.
The infrastructure consists of a port that manages flows of goods and travelers and integrates a marina with a fishing port.
Artisanal trade in the old medina (old city) specializes mainly in leather working, handicrafts made from wood and silver, traditional clothing, and shoes of Moroccan origin.
Tangier has seen a fast pace of rural exodus from other small cities and villages, mainly from Riff and Morocco. This phenomenon has resulted in the appearance of peripheral suburban districts, mainly inhabited by poor people, that often lack sufficient infrastructure.