By Mohamed Mouad Chahbane
By Mohamed Mouad Chahbane
Morocco World News
Marrakesh, Nov 7, 2012
Every Moroccan agrees that the ingenious idea of the Green March achieved the goal of retrieving the Southern Provinces of Morocco. Thus, many wonder why, after 37 years, the Sahara is still identified internationally as “Western.”
November 6th, 1975 is a date to remember. On that day, 350,000 Moroccans made history with their monumental effort to liberate the Southern provinces from the yoke of the Spanish occupation. The idea came to pass thanks to the late King Hassan II who had a clear, brave, and risky strategy to win this historic challenge. The international community expressed its support for Morocco through the participation of citizens from the U.S.A, France, Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, and many others.
Over the years, the Polisario Front earned financial and military support from the Qaddafi regime and successive Algerian leaders. It gained backing from the Algerian military, which disburses billions of dollars annually to finance the movement and to serve its own strategic and political interests in the region.
The challenges facing Moroccan diplomacy are many. The most important one is the growing number of sympathizers with what’s considered “the suffering of Sahraouis in Western Sahara.” This is a predictable result of the massive propaganda and the smart use of social networks as tools to fake realities and create slanders. In this regard, I evoke the “Kdim Ezig events” in 2010, when the Polisario seized the moment and received partial international support after presenting pictures of the 2006 massacres in Gaza as pictures of Sahraoui martyrs.
Terrorism represents another big challenge for Morocco and its neighbors as it threatens the security of Africa and the world.
Al Qaeda is active today in Africa. More than that, a terrorist group now controls the North of Mali which borders Algeria. There is daily drug trafficking between the Polisario and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb to fund their activities.
Under these circumstances and serious challenges, Moroccan diplomacy should seize upon opportunities to strengthen the Moroccan Autonomy Plan, which is seen by the international community as the only realistic proposal on the table that forms a credible basis for a solution. In this respect we need to see a more active role and effort by The Moroccan Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs (CORCAS), which assembles many Sahraoui dignitaries representing the different tribes of the Moroccan Sahara. The advisory committee should also facilitate a dialogue with the Sahraouis in the camps of Tindouf and those sympathizing with the Polisario.
Morocco should also employ the new constitution in defending our position, for it came with the ambitious regionalism which will increase each region’s influence and political power with a strong central government. All these reforms should be implemented on the ground to convince the international community that Morocco is on the right path to democracy.
As I’m writing this article on the occasion of the 37th anniversary of the Green March, I’m having mixed emotions of pride, responsibility, loyalty, and appreciation towards all the 350,000 women and men who made history. Those who affirmed that the Sahara has been Moroccan for centuries. Thank you. For you believed in our case, you are the model of each and every Moroccan.
Ending this so-called “conflict,” bringing back our Sahraoui brothers and sisters from the camps of Tindouf and building a strong Maghreb Union economically, politically, and socially is what we are all eagerly looking for.
Edited by Ryan McAllister
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