SADR proclamation: Take a look at diplomatic, legal gains of Sahrawis amid Moroccan arrogance, flagrant violation of 1991-cease fire (Part 4)
Besides Algeria, Morocco eyes to trigger bilateral crises with other countries that abide by the laws of international legality regarding the Sahrawi issue, resorting to staging lies and baseless accusations.
The Sahrawi people continue their honorable struggle for independence and continue to gain more support for their just cause, as they celebrated, last week, the 46th anniversary of the establishment of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), with much determination and enthusiasm to recover their unalienable rights.
In addition to the Moroccan provocations targeting its neighboring country Algeria, Morocco eyes to trigger bilateral crises with other countries that abide by the laws of international legality regarding the Sahrawi issue, resorting to staging lies and baseless accusations.
For some time, Morocco has experienced a series of diplomatic quarrels with a number of countries, first with Germany, then with Spain and Iran, against the backdrop of the conflict in Western Sahara occupied by the Kingdom since 1975.
In March 2021, Morocco revoked its Ambassador in Berlin, accusing Germany of a “negative stance” regarding the disputed Western Sahara territory as Berlin called for a closed-door UN Security Council meeting to debate the US decision to recognize Moroccan sovereignty over the territory, in return for the Moroccan normalization of ties with the Zionist Entity.
A fresh dispute erupted between Morocco and Spain over the latter’s decision to host Western Sahara President, Ibrahim Ghali who was hospitalized at a hospital in Logroño in northern Spain, after he was infected with COVID-19, before his transfer to Algeria for convalescence.
His presence in Spain has angered Morocco which has accused the government in Madrid of endangering and sacrificing relations with Rabat.
Morocco summoned Ricardo Díez-Hochleitner, the Spanish Ambassador to Rabat, to complain about Ghali’s presence in Spain.
Spain, for its part, responded by clarifying that the decision to hospitalize the Sahrawi President is a humanitarian-based move as Spain acted on purely humanitarian grounds.
A few days later, a sudden influx of 8000 migrants of all ages, including about 1,500 minors, and even entire families, poured into Spain, swimming from Morocco using inflatable boats and dinghies around the borders fences or walking across at low tide into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in northern Africa, which became along with Melilla enclave magnets for African migrants.
The spike in arrivals sparked widespread controversy on social media users who linked this record number over a single day, directly, to diplomatic tensions between Morocco and Spain. Analysts elucidated that Morocco is turning a blind eye to thousands of migrants heading to Spain’s Ceuta enclave with a view to pressing Madrid to recognize its alleged sovereignty over Western Sahara.
As for Iran, the Moroccan Foreign Minister said, in a televised interview broadcast in May with the President of AIPAC – the USA, that the “Polisario Front would receive arms from Iran as well as military training for its cadres," an accusation denied, in the strongest terms, by the Islamic Republic of Iran through its Foreign Ministry’ Spokesperson, Saeed Khatibzadeh.
It is not the first time that the Moroccan government throws baseless accusations at Iran. Earlier in 2018, Morocco severed ties with Iran, accusing it of supporting the Polisario Front as Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita alleged that Iran and the Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah provided weapons and training to the Polisario Front via Iran’s diplomatic representation in Algeria.
The three parties; Algeria, Iran, and Polisario Front rejected, in the strongest terms, the Moroccan government’s allegations and emphasized that Iran’s diplomats have not provided support for Polisario Front.
Last month, the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to new allegations pronounced by the Morocco side on Hezbollah’s support for the Sahrawi army in the refugee camps in Algeria’s Tindouf that includes the Sahrawis’ camps.
Algeria’s Special Envoy in charge of Western Sahara and Maghreb countries, Amar Belani, refuted the allegations of the Moroccan Ambassador to Geneva that the Lebanese Hezbollah group supports the Polisario Front. He denounced these lies and gross manipulation.
He said the allegations “stem from a set of misleading lies … caused by the Moroccan regime’s isolation in international institutions over its human rights violations in the Sahrawi region."
According to the Algerian diplomat, in 2018, Morocco severed its diplomatic ties with Iran under the pretext that it supports the Polisario Front, as an excuse to reap the “fruits and benefits from regional and non-regional partners." Belani explained that the Moroccan allegations have all been refuted.
A new spat has erupted between South Africa and Morocco in their long-running feud about the political status of Western Sahara, as South Africa and the African Union recognize it as independent, and keep reiterating along with a range of countries, at the head of which Algeria, that the UN should stick to its original 1991 resolution to hold a referendum on the independence of Western Sahara.
The latest row was sparked by an article published by the Moroccan Press Agency (MAP) which said that South Africa had been completely isolated during a UN Security Council meeting on Western Sahara in New York on April 9, 2020, because of its “sclerotic ideological position” on the issue.
The South African government’s response to the MAP article suggests that it believes the article represents the Moroccan government’s position.
The MAP article also accused South Africa of trying to “instrumentalize” the COVID-19 pandemic, as South Africa stated that Morocco had responsibilities to the Western Saharan people in the crisis, calling on it “to fulfill its responsibility as the occupying power by ensuring the necessary access, and unhindered passage of humanitarian and medical supplies, to the territories that it occupies."
In short, Morocco resorts to hostile politics against all countries that adhere to the application of international legitimacy in Western Sahara and refuse to acknowledge its alleged sovereignty over the Sahrawi lands listed as a non-decolonized territory.
In conclusion, Western Sahara is located in a very sensitive region, affected by a bunch of scourges, including terrorism, cross-border crime, drug dealing, and illegal migration. The failure to achieve a peaceful, just, lasting, realistic, and mutually acceptable solution and in respect of international law will likely plunge the North African region into turmoil and total chaos. This solution would also allow the Sahel region to coordinate its efforts with a view to launching intensive programs of economic and social investments in the border zones that lack development in addition to stronger coordination in terms of security.
Internationally, depriving the Sahrawi people of freely deciding their future and the failure to convince Morocco to immediately withdraw from the territory, respect its internationally recognized borders, and allow the Sahrawi Republic, the founding member of the AU, to exercise full control over all its territory would also entail a dangerous precedent in international law where strong nations can violate the territorial integrity and freedom of weaker ones.
To this end, any proposed solution to this clear-cut conflict of decolonization must be discussed, decided, and approved by the Sahrawi people and them only. No other country, organization, or entity is entitled to decide over the future of the territory. A free vote in a long-promised referendum on self-determination must be organized under the supervision of both the UN and the AU, in which the people of Western Sahara should make a decision between various choices, namely; independence, free association with another entity or the integration into an existing entity (SPS).
Noting that the SADR has led, since its inception, “battles” at all levels to achieve independence and put an end to the plundering of its wealth by the Makhzen, thus, deploying immense efforts to make the voice of its people heard throughout the world. Subsequently, the outpouring of solidarity and support shown by the free peoples in favor of the Sahrawi people has continued to increase, reflected in the numerous visits paid by foreign officials, politicians, and associative actors in the Sahrawi Republic and the refugee camps, in addition to the meetings, conferences and mobilization campaigns organized in particular in the European capitals in order to include the Saharawi issue in international forums and put an end to this conflict that has lasted too long.
The Sahrawi refugee camps have recently received the visit of the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Honduras, Torres Zelaya Gerardo José Antonio, who reaffirmed the solidarity of his country with the Sahrawi people and their just cause, in addition to the visit of the President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Francesco Rocca, who called for raising the international community’s awareness of the humanitarian situation of refugees.
Numerous forums and events were also organized with the participation of delegations from different countries and various affiliations in solidarity with the Sahrawi people.
Several activities were also organized by political parties and human rights organizations held almost every month around the world to highlight the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination and alert the local authorities to the need to respect international law through the organization of a referendum on self-determination. The mass rallies observed in many capitals and major cities, including Spain, Germany, Italy, Australia, and Austria, are another form of solidarity with the Sahrawi people to enable it to exercise its sovereignty over its territories and natural resources.