By Yassmine Zerrouki*
By Yassmine Zerrouki*
Morocco World News
Fez, August 30, 2011
An Algerian scholar has stated on Sunday that Algeria might have been helping the Polisario mercenaries to travel to Libya to support Qaddafi in quashing the Libyan uprising.
“Algeria is run like a mafia. It is very plausible that one of the clans in power, wanting to do away with the thorny question of the Sahara, has supported the sending of members of the Polisario in Libya to discredit it. Any way, if this is proven, it is certain that the Polisario members were unable to travel to Libya without the help of the Algerian authorities,” said Algerian political scientist, Lahouari Addi in a statement to the French daily La Croix.
“According to the National Transitional Council (CNT), several hundred mercenaries of Polisario are believed to be held by the rebels. As soon as the rebels started taking control of Tripoli over a week ago, they rushed to the Embassy of Algeria in search of incriminating documents”, said Marie Verdier, author of an article entitled “L’Algérie résiste au changement”.
“Algeria has certainly denied the accusations made by the representatives of the new Libyan regime, but was careful not to demand the departure of Colonel Gaddafi, nor to recognize the CNT or even to establish informal ties with it, even though Libyan diplomats have hoisted the flag of the CNT on their embassy in Algeria,” the French journalist observed.
As far as the promises of reform in Algeria are concerned, she believes that the lack of support for the Libyan rebels is a testimony to the intention of the Algerian government not to reform the country.
“Since the beginning, the promises of reform have been perceived by everyone as a way for Algeria to weather the storm in the hope that the wind of freedom blowing throughout the Arab world would subside.”
“As time passes, the Algerian regime shows that it has chosen the camp of resistance to change, as evidenced by its deafening silence in the face of changes unfolding in Libya and even its support for Libyan loyalist forces,” she added.
Since the beginning of the Libyan uprising back in February 17th, the presence of the Polisario mercenaries with Gaddafi has resulted in tension between the NTC and Algiers. Many news reports have accused Algeria of sending the Polisario to Tripoli in order to help Gaddafi quell the uprising and save his regime.
Last March, Ali Richi, former Libyan Minister for Migration, had denounced the presence of the Polisario mercenaries with the Gaddafi troops. Mr. Ali asserted that the Polisario dispatched its mercenaries in order to help Qaddafi to suppress and kill his opponents. Mr. Richi went on to condemn the Polisario members for their “hypocrisy in claiming to fight for freedom and progressive ideal, while joining the mercenary army that Qaddafi has paid to attack Libyan protesters and cling to power”.
Last Thursday, the news website “geotribune.com” quoted a source of the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) saying that “some 556 of the Polisario mercenaries, involved in helping Gaddafi quell the rebellion were arrested by the NTC soldiers.”
Out of the 22 countries of the Arab League, Algeria along with Syria were the only countries to vote “no” last March when the Arab League approved an internationally sanctioned no-fly zone over Libya to protect the rebels and protesters.
Last April, a senior NATO Official said that the latter has details of Gaddafi’s deal the recruit 450 mercenaries from the Algeria-backed Polisario. The mercenaries were hired for two months at 10,000 each to quell the protests seeking to overthrow “the King of Kings of Africa”.
The flow of news pointing to the implication of the Polisario in quashing the civilian Libyan uprising pushed some Americans to bring this issue to the attention of American decision-makers. Last May, Congressman Mario Diaz Balarte wrote a letter to members of US Congress, in which he denounces the involvement of Polisario mercenaries in “Gaddafi’s murderous campaign against the Libyan people.”
He urged the Congress to make those who take up arms against the U.S and its allies pay the consequences of their choices.
*Yassmine Zerrouki is Morocco World News’s correspondent in Fez.
Editing by Adnane Bennis