Rabat - For the last 39 years, the late King Hassan II and his successor Mohammed VI have traditionally made speeches on the anniversary of the Green March on November 6th, to inform the Moroccan people of the latest developments on the issue and establish future policies and roadmaps. However, this year, there was a total departure from this tradition. The king’s speech appeared to be for Moroccans, but its message is actually for Algeria, the United States, France, England, Spain, and international organizations, especially the United Nations.
Rabat – For the last 39 years, the late King Hassan II and his successor Mohammed VI have traditionally made speeches on the anniversary of the Green March on November 6th, to inform the Moroccan people of the latest developments on the issue and establish future policies and roadmaps. However, this year, there was a total departure from this tradition. The king’s speech appeared to be for Moroccans, but its message is actually for Algeria, the United States, France, England, Spain, and international organizations, especially the United Nations.
Autonomy is the most Morocco can offer to solve the Western Sahara conflict. Beyond that, there is no other solution. The Moroccan people are ready for the worst, to defend their historical territorial claim, come what may. The foes of Morocco are known and declared, but friends have to express, unambiguously, their allegiance, once and for all. The king pointed out, with force, that Morocco is in the Sahara and the Sahara is in Morocco, and let no one doubt the determination of the Moroccans to defend their homeland from any possible threat:
Morocco will remain in its Sahara, and the Sahara will remain part of Morocco, until the end of time.
Algeria: for God’s sake, make up your mind
Algeria, or to be precise, its military establishment, has always been ambiguous about their relationship with Morocco. On the one hand, they always say that they have nothing against the Moroccan people and “that Moroccans are their brothers in religion and culture,” etc. On the other hand, they house the Polisario Front and pay for their food and the weapons they use against Morocco. The Algerian government warmly shakes the hands of Moroccans across the frontier with smiles, but at the same time, they stab them in the back. Recently, they even fired on Moroccans who were on Moroccan soil, on the grounds that they are smugglers.
Algeria is refusing to open its borders with Morocco; borders that were unilaterally closed in 1994, after the attack on Hotel Asni by Algerian terrorists. Their argument is that it is the Moroccans who imposed visa requirements on Algerians, and as a result, they have to suffer. The Algerian government knows very well that if they open their borders with Morocco, thousands, if not millions, of Algerians will come spend their vacations and even long weekends in Moroccan cities and spend their petrodollars bolstering the Moroccan economy. The Algerian establishment is not ready to accept that.
When the French colonized Algeria in 1830, Morocco, which was a strong empire feared by European nations, immediately expressed its solidarity with Algeria, and in 1840 welcomed the Emir Abdelkader, whom the French pursued for having declared Jihad on them to liberate Algeria. In 1844, Morocco fought the French army at Oued Isly on behalf of the Algerians. To defend Algeria, a land they considered part of their country, the French set about to weaken the Moroccan Empire and in 1912 declared it a protectorate, as a form of retribution and punishment. If Morocco did not fight the French to liberate Algeria, it might have never been colonized, after all.
In his November 6 speech, King Mohammed VI was clear with Algeria, asking the leadership to speak their minds clearly and stop playing games. They cannot have their cake and eat it, too:
Unless Algeria – the main party in this conflict – is held accountable, there will be no solution. Moreover, without a responsible approach to the tense security situation in the region, there will be no stability. This is not intended to offend Algeria, its leadership, or the Algerian people, whom we deeply respect. My words are carefully measured and unambiguous. I am talking about facts and a reality everyone knows about. Whenever Moroccans talk about that reality, the Moroccan government, political parties and the press are accused of attacking Algeria.
USA and the West: on which side are you?
Morocco has always been a staunch ally of the West with no strings attached. In 1942, the Americans landed their troops in Morocco to prepare for D-Day, and with the troops came hundreds of intelligence personnel to spy on Nazi Germany. It was called “Operation Torch”. Also, thousands of Moroccan soldiers, enrolled by France, gave their lives to liberate Europe. Furthermore, Morocco was on the side of the US and Europe during the Cold War, and took part in all the Gulf wars to bring down Saddam. Morocco has also fought and still is fighting Islamist terrorism with much dedication; indirectly protecting the West and its values.
Morocco has been and still is the gendarme of Europe, stopping hundreds of illegal African immigrants from crossing into Ceuta and Mellila, the two Spanish presidios in Morocco. By so doing, Morocco is protecting Europe from African from mass exodus to their Eldorado.
Currently, Morocco is the only Arab country that is enjoying stability and security in all of the Middle East and North Africa.
For Mohammed VI, Moroccan’s contribution to peace and stability in the world has to be recognized, unambiguously:
I wish to express my appreciation to the Secretary-General of the United Nations Organization and to the major international powers – especially the United States of America and the White House in particular – for making a positive contribution at various stages to finding a solution to this issue. While valuing their support for Morocco’s efforts and for the negotiating process on the basis of the autonomy initiative, I am calling, today, for a clear position concerning this conflict. At a time when they reaffirm that Morocco is a model for democratic development, an influential state in ensuring security and stability in the region and a partner in the fight against terrorism, there is some ambiguity in the way they deal with the question of its territorial integrity.Unless Algeria – the main party in this conflict – is held accountable, there will be no solution. Moreover, without a responsible approach to the tense security situation in the region, there will be no stability.
For the last decade, Morocco has been helping African countries strengthen their economies by investing generously in banking, insurance, telecommunications, fisheries, logistics, housing, etc. Morocco is also helping countries in turmoil, like Mali, in different ways. Morocco provides hundreds of scholarships to African students, and also religious training to dozens of African Imams in the moderate Islamic tradition.
Morocco has always been on the side of the US and Europe, but when it comes to its national cause, they back away from Morocco, sometimes invoking human rights concerns and threatening to support Polisario’s independence claim.
The US and Europe also want to have their cake and want to eat it, too.
UN: on what foot do you stand?
Morocco has always contributed troops to the United Nations peacekeeping missions in Europe and Africa in a very unselfish manner, but has received nothing in return for its help. The UN has been cryptic and ambiguous as to its real agenda for the Sahara. Morocco has allowed the UN, through its MINURSO mission, to control the ceasefire in the region, in order to make accommodations for a political solution, namely the Moroccan-proposed solution of greater autonomy for the region.
Alas, from time to time UN officials come up with unacceptable proposals such as the possibility of asking MINURSO to investigate human rights claims in the Western Sahara. For Morocco, such an action would be an official denial of its authority over the area.
The King rejects flatly such proposals:
– We say ‘No’ to the attempt to change the nature of this regional conflict and to present it as a decolonization issue. Morocco is in its Sahara and never was an occupying power or an administrative power. In fact, it exercises its sovereignty over its territory;
– ‘No’ to any attempt to reconsider the principles and criteria of the negotiation process, or any attempt to revise and expand the MINURSO mandate to include such matters as the supervision of the human rights situation;
– ‘No’ to favoring the real party concerned in this conflict and allowing it to evade its responsibilities;
– ‘No’ to the attempt to place a separatist movement on the same footing as a United Nations Member State; ‘No’ to giving legitimacy to the lawlessness prevailing in Tindouf.
The sovereignty of Morocco cannot be hostage to the ideological ideas and stereotypical approaches of some international officials. Any deviations or fallacies in this regard can seriously undermine the United Nations’ action in this case. »
Since Morocco retook its southern regions from the Spanish colonial power, it has undertaken the most drastic development effort that has ever occurred in the south. As such, Morocco has spent billions of dollars creating, from scratch, big cities with all possible comforts.
This is highlighted clearly by His Majesty’s speech:
In addition to the lives given for the Sahara, Moroccans have made other forms of sacrifice – moral and material – for the development of the southern provinces, sharing whatever they had with their brothers and sisters in the south. Everyone knows what the situation was like in the Sahara before 1975. For those who do not know the truth – or those who prefer to ignore it – let me remind them of some facts: Since we recovered the Sahara, for every single dirham of revenue from the Sahara, the state invests 7 dirhams there, as part of the solidarity between the regions and between the sons and daughters of the nation. As for human development indicators in the region in 1975, they were 6% lower than in northern Morocco, and 51% lower than in Spain.
However, it seems that the UN does not acknowledge this. They only acknowledge the claims of the Sahrawis that have been financed and trained by Algeria to counter the legitimate claim of Morocco on the southern provinces.
As such, the UN also wants to have its cake and to eat it too.
If tomorrow there is a war with Algeria over the Sahara (and I truly pray it will never happen), Moroccans, to a man, will defend their country and their legitimate territorial rights. But at the same time, I am afraid no sensible Algerian will defend his country’s desire to bash Morocco for purely hegemonic designs.
Let us hope wisdom will prevail over want in the region. Amen.
© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.