In a large, heavy bottomed soup pot heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, season with a pinch of salt and saute for about 8 - 10 minutes, until it's translucent and soft. You don't want them to brown, so lower the heat if neccessary. Add the spices: cinnamon, coriander and red pepper flakes and stir into the onions. After about 5 minutes, add the garlic and stir. Cook just for another 30 seconds or so.
Add the dates, carrots and sweet potatoes and season them all with salt and pepper. Stir to make sure the vegetables are coated in the spices and oil. Add the crushed tomatoes and stir again. Add 3 cups of vegetable stock. Stir it all together.
With the heat on medium high, bring to a gently boil, uncovered. Simmer until the carrots and sweet potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped bell pepper, the chickpeas and the olives and stir to incorporate. Season again the whole thing with salt and pepper. If the stew seems too thick, add some or all of the last cup of stock.
Simmer until the bell pepper is tender and the rest of the vegetables are soft, about 5 to 8 minutes. Taste it and add more salt, pepper or crushed red pepper as you like.
If you're not serving this right away, let it cool down and then refrigerate until you are ready to serve it. Gently re-heat over medium to medium low and taste again for seasoning. Serve with or without a grain, but definitely with a lemon wedge so that people can squeeze that bright juice over it all.