Politique

Morocco, Polisario, why war is possible…

le 24 avril 2018


In one fell swoop, the tension rose several notches over the weekend between Morocco and the Polisario separatists.

Mr. Nasser Bourita, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Omar Hilale, Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Mr. Saad Eddine El Othmani, Prime Minister, in turn, issued serious warnings to the Algiers-backed mercenaries, who are guilty of serious provocations, first in Guerguerate, and then in the No Man’s Land located between the Royal Armed Forces’ frontline and the Algerian border, in the south-east of the Kingdom.

Unrelenting provocation

At the Guerguerate border post in the direction of neighbouring Mauritania, the Polisario’s militia has hindered the movement of cargo vehicles heading south on a daily basis and has continued to behave in a manner which has caused serious tension in recent months, refusing to give in to the withdrawal orders issued by UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres.

The separatist leaders, which have adopted an extremely threatening stance, have openly shown that they are intent on lending credence to the fallacious theory of a “state inside a liberated zone”, which would be governed from the observation posts occupied since 1991 by the MINURSO at Bir Lahlou and Tifariti.

It is well known that when the ceasefire was declared in 1991, Morocco accepted the creation of a buffer zone in the south-eastern region of the Southern provinces, provided that there was no incursion by the Polisario’s militia or the Algerian army and that the zone was placed under the supervision of the MINURSO.

The separatists have announced that “ministries of sovereignty”, including a Ministry of Defence, will soon be transferred from the Tindouf camps to one of the two aforementioned places.

Such a decision is indeed in blatant violation of the ceasefire agreements and the commitments made at that time under the supervision of the United States and France.

Algiers and the Polisario, who have suffered a series of diplomatic setbacks since Morocco re-joined the African Union, are clearly looking to heighten tensions again, less than a month before the UN Secretary General presents his annual report to the Security Council at the end of April, with a view to extending or repealing MINURSO’s mandate.

And, according to a number of ‘calculated’ indiscretions, it would appear that the draft report is somewhat favourable to Morocco …

Faced with such a situation, the Kingdom is faced with a triple option.

The three options

It could simply ignore the shenanigans and provocations of the Tindouf mercenaries, showing that it was insensitive to their bluff, relying instead on Mr. Guterres’ wisdom and the sense of responsibility for which Security Council members are generally renowned.

But, a major disadvantage would be that the establishment of a ‘sovereign state’ within Morocco’s own borders might come to be accepted as reality rather than pure fiction, placing the separatists on par with the Kingdom, a State constituted more than twelve centuries ago! Since November 1975 and the glorious Green March, Morocco’s sovereignty over the southern provinces has never been undermined and there can be no question of ever accepting such a fait accompli.

The second option would be to influence the UN decision-makers and the Security Council’s permanent members so that they urge the separatists and their ‘leaders’ to come to their senses and cease provocation, which would otherwise result in a situation that was irreparable.

This would seem to be the Kingdom’s preferred option, if the firmness and seriousness of the warnings given by Morocco (Bourita, Hilale and El Othmani) last weekend and the way in which the political parties have come together on the home front, are anything to go by.

But there is no guarantee that the warnings made by our officials will be quickly followed up by action, while the deadline of the end of April is not far away.

And Moroccans are probably beginning to think that Algeria and its Tindouf puppet have finally opted for an open crisis to oblige the Kingdom, volens, nolens, to come to the negotiating table.

But, if, as the saying goes, “the camel driver knows exactly what the camel is thinking” and Rabat has seen right through this strategy waged by Algiers and the mercenaries, it cannot be ruled out therefore that our country, certain of its rights and the fact that the separatists have indeed violated the 1991 agreements, considers it to be casus belli and takes the provisional military measures that such a situation requires.

At the present time, we can therefore rule out the hypothesis of a robust and definitive military response from Morocco which would put an end to these provocations by the Polisario by cleaning out Guerguerate, Bir Lahlou and Tifariti in one fell swoop.

It is well known that the Royal Armed Forces have the means, if not the burning desire (!!!). The fact that they hold the balance of power is beyond any doubt.

Therefore, “si vis pacem, para bellum” (If you want peace, prepare for war).

Fahd YATA

Original articlehttps://lnt.ma/maroc-polisario-guerre-possible/