Rabat - The question of whether the Sahara should be Moroccan or become an independent sovereign state is a central political dispute in North African politics.
Rabat – The question of whether the Sahara should be Moroccan or become an independent sovereign state is a central political dispute in North African politics.
The conflict itself is a consequence of European imperialism. At the risk of oversimplification, Spain and other European states, financially and economically exhausted after the Second World War, could no longer afford the costs of maintaining colonial empires. They consequently proceeded to carry out what was known as decolonisation and gave independence to new nation-states. These new nation-states often faced conflicts. The dispute over the Sahara is one of them.
As for the purpose of this article, it will be argued here that (more than the proposed Autonomy Plan made by Morocco), the Sahara’s best alternative is its reunification with the Moroccan territory. This will be supported by the idea that security is the most fundamental element a people aspire to, and thus the chief criteria we should use to judge whether the Sahara should be part of Morocco or an independent sovereign state. Morocco is the best candidate to provide efficient security arrangements for the Sahrawi people, and thus is the most legitimate.
As mentioned above, security in its broadest sense is a fundamental element a nation aspires to. Political theorist Thomas Hobbes reminds us that ‘the safety of the people is the supreme law’. Without a secure state guaranteeing safety for of its citizens, Hobbes argues “there is no place for industry… no arts, no letters, no society, and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger”. Security is a core value of human life. To be secure is to be untroubled by danger or fear. Morocco is a good example of a state that succeeded in guaranteeing internal security in a continent troubled with high crime rates, civil wars, famine, and Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb. According to the CIA World Fact Book, Morocco has one of the lowest crime rates in Africa.
Furthermore, as a Moroccan citizen, I have seen first-hand Sahrawis living in Morocco and prospering in commerce, industry, administrative jobs, and enjoying a safe life guaranteed by the Moroccan police forces. People who live in the South and the Sahara also enjoy a great deal of benefits from the Moroccan government in terms of security from police forces. Despite the ongoing political debate on democracy in the Arab world, and the radical changes that the Arab spring has brought, Morocco has a credible sovereign. King Mohamed VI is a sovereign who guarantees individual security, and to another extent national security. On the other hand, I do not deny that there are areas which need considerable improvements. Just to name a few: unemployment, economic justice, a better educational system and a better health care system. Furthermore, (and this is a hypothesis) if the Sahara becomes an independent sovereign state as the Polisario wants, chances are high that it eventually will become a new failed-state with internal political disorder and rivalry and thus insecurity. A recent example of a nation gaining independence and becoming a failed-state is South Sudan. As a matter of fact, the characteristics that differentiate a secure developing state such as Morocco and a failed-state lie in the capacity of a state to guarantee security within its defined borders, and thus avoid internal anarchy.
I focused on the safety of the individual, because individuals represent the irreducible unit to which the idea of security can be applied. Consequently, the Sahara’s best alternative would be to reunite with Morocco and become fully recognized as a Moroccan territory by the international community, simply because Morocco is the best candidate in the sense that it is one of the brightest elements among African sovereign states in terms of the elements previously mentioned. The Sahrawis have everything to win in having that portion of the earth’s surface reunited with Morocco, if they want to live in a secure civil society guaranteed by a credible Moroccan State.
Edited by Benjamin Villanti
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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