Mix together the tomato paste with the sugar and spices in a small bowl and set aside.
Melt the smen or ghee in the base of a tagine or a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Place the pigeons, breast-side down, in the tagine or saucepan and cook for 2–3 minutes until the breasts are lightly brown. Transfer the pigeons to a plate.
Add the spicy tomato paste, bay leaves, cloves, lemon juice and measurement water to the tagine or saucepan and stir to mix well. Return the pigeons to the tagine or saucepan, cover and cook gently for about 1 hour, turning the pigeons in the sauce from time to time until they are tender.
Add the olives and cook gently for a further 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot with chunks of bread to mop up the sauce, if liked.