By Majid Morceli
By Majid Morceli
This time around, the king made it very simple on everyone who has a stake in the so-called Western Sahara. He told Moroccans that they are either with us or against us, which reminds me President George W. Bush, in an address to a joint session of Congress when he said “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” It is the same thing here; those who the king had in mind are either Moroccans or traitors. They cannot be one or the other depending on who’s ahead in the game.
To the Algerians, he could not be clearer; he said that the Sahara is in Morocco and in Morocco it will remain until the end of time. What else he needed to add? Is there anything else he could have said to be more blunt?
He again emphasized that Morocco will go all out to defend and keep the ‘Western Sahara’ as part of Morocco no matter what it takes. If the Algerians believe that Morocco will grow tired with time and the status quo is on their side, he basically told them not to bank on it, and if the artificial conflict is meant to stay unresolved with peaceful means through truthful and honest negotiations, then so be it. Not long ago, he had mentioned in another speech that Morocco will not let go an inch of its Sahara and yesterday he restated firmly what he had already said to avoid any misreading of his speech.
He was uncompromisingly forthright when he said to the Algerians that they are mistaking if they believe that their oil resources will change the outcome and that Morocco will never give a drop of sand of its territory.
To the Polisario he said that he tried to negotiate with them as Moroccans living in Tindouf, and just because Morocco chose to negotiate with them, it does not mean that it was out of our weakness. As a matter of fact, Morocco still favors negotiations regarding its autonomy proposal.
My favorite part of the speech is when he thanked the US efforts to find a solution, but at the same time asked if they would be more upfront and honest. Morocco is growing tired of their ambiguity and double game. No one doubts that the people and the government of the United States are very forthcoming with their support of Israel. As a matter of fact, many believe that Israel is actually the 51st state of the union.
Why can’t the US do the same with Morocco? Morocco has always been a big supporter of US policies and is supposedly considered a staunch and a strategic ally. Why is it that the US have chosen to never return the favor? After All, Morocco has never massacred Sahraouis, unlike Israelis who killed thousands of women, men, children, and even babies.
The Moroccan monarch asked the UN to abstain from amending MINURSO’s mission, while stressing that any biased move would jeopardize their stay in the disputed territory. Morocco will not accept any resolution that will strip it of its Sahara and the autonomy proposal is as far as Morocco can go.
He also asked the so-called Human Rights defenders about their logic in considering the destruction of others’ property as a human right. Isn’t Morocco the only nation in the region that welcomes them? We don’t see these right activists roaming freely in Ghardaïa where Algerians are massacred with the help of the security, or in Tindouf defending those who were arrested last week for demonstrating in front of the Polisario leader residence. Or is Morocco too easy to intimidate because it opens their doors to them?
The King speech will have a zero effect on the future of the ‘Western Sahara’ if the Moroccan people are not involved. Moroccans should get inspired from the Polisario themselves; they truly work hard on making Morocco look as an evil colonizer. They have done such a good job that many countries place a separatist movement on the same footing as Morocco.
When was the last time we have seen any action from Moroccans for their Sahara? What about those living in the Sahara itself? How come we have never seen them defending the cause? The king just told them that for every dirham “you bring, we spend 7 more on you.”
What about the so-called Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs (Corcas)? In deep self-inflicted coma? Why do they still exist? Weren’t they carefully hand-picked? It’s time for them to go and be replaced with people who are qualified and elected.
The road ahead is arduous and I am not sure if the upcoming regionalization is the way to go. What needs to be done is bring the rule of law and democratization to the region. Right now, the Sahara looks like Nouri Al maliki previous regime when he went after anyone who is a non-Shia. Many Sahraouis were marginalized in the Sahara, which created a servant who would execute anything Algeria asks for.
I think that the most important part of the speech is when the king said: “Our goal is to break with the previous system of governance and to enable the inhabitants of the region to participate in the management of their local affairs in a transparent, responsible way, making sure equal opportunity is guaranteed.” Let’s first dismantle Corcas who have been nothing but a disaster for Morocco. They truly succeeded in creating those will do anything to fight for Algeria and the Polisario.
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