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Monday, March 19, 2018

Another Arab country is in danger of sliding into war

On Sunday, king Mohammed VI of Morocco made clear that his country is returning to the African Union, which left in 1984 in protest against the decision to the Western Sahara, which it considers its territory. Meanwhile, SADR war for independence may soon be resumed, and it is the fault of Morocco, forcing the Saharans to live in inhuman conditions.

The growing problem of global terrorism is of particular interest to each place where there is a sharp increase of political and military tension, and hence increase the terrorist threat, primarily Islamic. One of these places is a relatively prosperous by the standards of the North African Kingdom of Morocco capital in Rabat.

Neither war nor peace

“Polisario should cease to be a “left” movement to facilitate assistance from the EU and the political support from the United States”

At the beginning of July in the camp of the Western Saharan refugees Dahlia in the province of Tindouf in southern Algeria opened the extraordinary Congress of the popular front for the liberation of Morocco is complete without El-Hamra and Rio de Oro, better known as Polisario. After the sudden death of the leader of the Front, Mohammed Abdel Aziz, who just six months ago, in December 2015, was re-elected Secretary General of the Polisario (this automatically means the election of the President of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic), almost two thousand delegates were to elect a new head of the national liberation movement.

The Frente Polisario is recognized by the UN as the sole representative of the Saharawi people, many of whom now live in exile in refugee status, while the territory of Rio de Oro and Morocco is complete without El-Hamra – the red Creek and Golden river is under the occupation of Morocco. This conflict has gone on since 1975, and currently the United Nations considers Western Sahara the last colony in Africa. The armed struggle of the Polisario against Morocco stopped in 1991, when, under the auspices of the United Nations, emphasizing the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination, armistice was signed on the terms of the referendum, which will determine the fate of this former Spanish colony. However, for the past quarter of a century plebiscite frankly sabotaged by the Moroccan side.

To date, without waiting for approval from Rabat independence of the SADR has been recognized by 61 countries (mostly Africa and Latin America), 10 of which subsequently has frozen diplomatic relations with it. European countries not on this list, as there are none in the list of 26 countries to withdraw their recognition, except for Albania and shattered Yugoslavia.

Unrecognized and partially recognized States Mohamed Abdel Aziz was the leader of the faction politicians”, that is, the representative of the moderates, the supporters of a political solution to the Sahara conflict. In addition, he was considered the spokesman protalinski line in the leadership of SADR, as in Algeria is still not fully recovered from a victorious, but devastating war with the Islamists and did not want another destabilization in the region (especially since Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is seriously ill, and the new pluralistic multi-party system is still not fully settled). Yes, the terrorist threat posed by domestic Islamists eliminated, but perhaps their external invasion from Libya, Mali or Tunisia. Worse, officials in France, threatened that the next country of the “Arab spring” will be Algeria. In this situation, Algeria opposes military solution to the Sahara problem, but its impact, though substantial, cannot be decisive, especially because and in Algeria there are different points of view on the issue of SADR.

The fact that Mohammed Abdelaziz has been the leader of the “faction” of the party has its explanation. Before obtaining the state independence Polisario Charter prohibited the establishment of any political parties as fighting for the independence of the nation requires a unity of action. However, the leadership Front really care about pluralism and freedom of expression. So, the author of the newspaper OPINION became a witness as the driver of the car carrying a high-ranking delegates from Tindouf in Dahlu, fiercely criticized the leaders of the Front for the inefficiency in the presence of foreign guests. It is simply impossible to imagine in Morocco or any other Arab country, but the Saharans like naturally, and heads sluggishly justified, referring to objective difficulties.

Three factions

According to popular opinion, in the leadership of the Polisario competition between the three conventional fractions – “political”, “youth” and “military,” in addition, their interests are trying to defend the Saharawis living in Mauritania and Morocco in the controlled territories. The key issue dividing the fraction, is related to the resumption of war, the “peace faction” in the Polisario does not formally exist. Hundreds of delegates of the previous Congress, to talk with the Russian observers and guests, only the head of Federation of Saharawi women spoke out against the war, and then only with great reservations. So the question comes down to the terms and conditions of its renewal.

“Youth faction” insists on the immediate resumption of the war. More moderate part of it agree to wait for the outcome of negotiations with Morocco on a referendum, but not more than two years and with the unconditional beginning of hostilities in the event of a failure.

“Political faction” is closely connected with the administrative management of the refugee camps, in charge of distribution international aid, and its position is strongly influenced by the opinion of the world community. In principle, it is not opposed to the idea of the liberation war in the event of failure of the negotiations, but the resumption of hostilities, believes the worst of the possible options. However, she insists on the deideologization of the SADR – Polisario must cease to be a “left” movement to facilitate assistance from the EU and the political support from the United States.

Finally, the “faction war” consists of a demobilized after the armistice of military leaders, who have long been effectively denied access to political and administrative positions in refugee camps and were forced to engage in petty retail trade, which is very underdeveloped because of the lack of those camps full of commodity-money relations. Gradually after the elections, the military began to push the representatives of politicians, but this process is slow, and they are able to displace mostly women who ran the camps during the war. This fraction is well aware of the unpredictability of the results of the war, but it needs change, which are against policy.

In such circumstances, the most important question of all that has been put before the extraordinary Congress was the unity of the National Secretariat and the nomination of a single candidate. In the end it failed to do a single candidate was the legendary leader of the Saharans Ibrahim (Ibrahim) Gali. He joined the struggle for national independence in the 60-ies of the last century, was the first leader of the Polisario in 1973, he held the post of Minister of defense and commander of the military district during the war with the Moors, and later was a representative of SADR in Spain and Ambassador to Algeria. The last time he held the position of Head of one of the four Commissions of the front – on information work and agitation.

By secret ballot Ghali received from 1766 1895 votes, as alternative candidates have not been decided that each delegate has the right to enter the name of any person as a candidate (simple Saharans frankly amused by the idea that you can write yourself). And there is no doubt that the names included in the ballots that will later be studied for future personnel decisions.

Thus, we can assume that Congress designed the winning “faction war”, in addition to the nomination and victory of Gali, it is worth noting that the Chairman of the Congress was elected Minister of defence, Abdullah al-SADR Habib.


“Western Sahara with a relatively small number of the population has enormous natural resources”

The keynote speech of the elected President SADR sounded menacing. On the first day of the Congress, he modestly walked among the delegates in inconspicuous clothes, but immediately after the election dressed in military uniform and offered a brief but comprehensive program of action covering all sectors of activity, except for reason of economy. The leitmotif of his speech was the thesis that the Saharans, of course, want a peaceful solution to the problem, but it is ready to resume the war.

The refugees are just tired of waiting for change for the better. Since the signing of the ceasefire agreement and hold a referendum, a quarter of a century of life in the appalling conditions of the camps in the heart of the Sahara. Already a whole generation in the face of whom is brandishing a gun publicly before rejecting the agreement, sending employees of the UN Mission for the referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) and the allegations against Secretary-General of the Pak Ki-moon.

At the same time, the population of the occupied territories of Morocco expressed his discontent more and more loudly. If earlier it was mainly manifested in the form of acts of civil disobedience, hunger strikes and protests, now is the documents of the Congress of Polisario talking about full-fledged intifada, and the inhabitants of refugee camps are beginning to demand the resumption of the war for the liberation of the Motherland. People who had been in inhumane conditions should not be deprived of hope, but this is what went to the official Rabat.

Because in the keynote speech of Ibrahim Ghali, the word “peace” was used once, and “war” – three. This legendary sugar is well versed in military Affairs, and the most important section of his report was devoted to military construction, as well as the fact that the armed forces need reforms, and officers – in rejuvenation.

Movement, requiring the resumption of the armed struggle, is now growing not only in the camps, but also among the Saharawis living under occupation. They have nothing to lose and acquire they can do a lot: the Western Sahara with a relatively small number of the population has enormous natural resources. And if earlier it was believed that the main of them is the unique quality of the Deposit of phosphates and iron ore reserves, it is now even more valuable are the ocean coastal waters in the exclusive economic zone where fishing is extremely important in relation to the area of industrial fishing.

Taken together, all this creates a threat that not only in Western Sahara but also in Morocco can come Islamist terrorists from neighboring countries. And if now the problem is solved mainly by force (Islamic preachers from abroad corny not allowed in the region, and secret agents, apparently, destroy) in case of resumption of hostilities, the development may go in an unexpected way. Including therefore, the UN understand that the need for a referendum in Western Sahara is long overdue. Polisario proposes to a plebiscite three options for resolving the fate of SADR – independence, autonomy within Morocco, and full adherence to Morocco. But fundamentally, the people of Western Sahara should decide its fate itself. Any solution imposed from above, with the outbreak of violence, the echoes of which in the current era can thunder on the other side of the Mediterranean sea.

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