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ROSES FOR THE RIFFINS

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

The most cogent comment that the current Independent can make on the capture of Abd-el-Krim and the impending collapse of the resistance of the Riffians to the French forces in Morocco is that Spain must have learned that great resources and abundant population are necessary to successful schemes for colonial empire. That is all true enough; the Riffian episode has been a trenchant comment on Spanish weakness; but if it had been only that it would not have been as much in the head-lines as it has.

There is little news value in colonial and military inefficiency. The reason for the great popular interest in the Riffian campaign lies rather in the picturesque character of the conflict, where a race endowed with little more than good rifles and the ability to stand up for themselves even in an unfair fight taught the French and Spanish armies that late sad experience has not exhausted the combinations possible in war. The Riffian rebellion began as an unimportant matter of suppressing a few inconvenient barbarians; it developed into a conflict where airplanes and modern discipline were hard put to it to hold their own against irregular troops For the irregular troops fought in an irregular but highly efficient style. Everywhere the public was intrigued by this spectacle.

It was the Arabian Nights and a portion of the spirit of Mohammed's fierce armies coming in contact with the dreary military regime of hand-salutes and travelling mess-kitchen and courses in tactics. Abd-el-Krim himself was responsible for no small part of this drama. Instead of merely dismissing unsatisfactory subordinates, he blew them from the mouths of cannons; he offered rewards for people's heads; generally he behaved as an Oriental chieftain should, and was not at all ridiculous, because he was successful as well. He is in the hands of his enemies now. Even though he is an anomaly in the twentieth century, there is needed no evidence further than newspaper files for the past two years to show that the twentieth century appreciates him no less on that account.

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