By Majid Morceli
By Majid Morceli
San Francisco- The Western Sahara conflict, imposed on Morocco by the Algerian regime, has been alive for more than four decades, and strangely, the Moroccan public is not very concerned with it. A soccer game, a controversial song performed by a Moroccan artist, or few minutes of the series ‘Lcouple’ generates more curiosity, debate, and excitement from everyday Moroccans.
To blame Moroccans for their lack of interest in the issue would not be unfair. Since the beginning of the conflict, Moroccans have always been marginalized or kept in the dark by their authorities, and that is what Morocco’s foes have learned to capitalize on. Algeria never misses an opportunity to finance and support those who are sympathetic to the separatists and those who call for independence.
Take Spain for instance. There are about 800,000 Moroccans living legally in Spain, and about 3000 Sahraouis. To put it in perspective, for every Sahraoui sympathizing with the Polisario, there are 266 Moroccans. But when those who subscribe to the separatist agenda are pushed to the street to demonstrate and call for independence or human rights monitoring in the Sahara, what do Moroccans do? They are nowhere to be found, and the majority doesn’t even know what is taking place.
This phenomenon repeats itself all over the globe where Moroccans are present. When demonstrations take place in Dakhla or Layoone, the majority of Moroccans living both inside and outside the Southern provinces don’t even flinch. But at the same time, they get out in masses for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
One would think that with the advanced technologies in Internet communications, Moroccans would be more versed and aware of the magnitude of the resources being drained due to Algerian intransigence with no more purpose than to settle old scores from the distant past. Resources that could be well spent on child and adult education, healthcare, elder care, energy saving, poverty reduction, agriculture, and transportation improvement. The list is endless.
Morocco spends billions of dollars to keep up with the Algerians, who between the years of 2003-2007 and 2008-2012 increased their arms imports by 277%, to move up from 22nd to 6th place in the world.
Morocco has not sat with its hands crossed either. From 2008-2012, it purchased 24 F-16C combat aircrafts from the US, 27 MF-2000 combat aircrafts from France, three SIGMA frigates from the Netherlands, and 54 Type-90-2 tanks from China, spending billions of dollars, which could have been spent on improving the lives of Moroccans who are in dire need of help.
Many observers believe that Morocco and Algeria will never fight a war similar to the Iran-Iraq War. Still, both countries are arming themselves to the teeth. One must wonder what the purpose of these weapons is, other than tools of intimidation and dissuasion.
It’s high time for Moroccans to educate themselves about the artificial conflict imposed on Morocco by a relentless neighbor, who does not hesitate to kill a quarter million of its own. This is not a conflict between the Polisario and the Moroccan monarchy, which is what the Algerian regime wants you to believe. This is a conflict made and kept alive by Algeria to hurt the everyday Moroccan.
The Algerian regime believes that the only way to overthrow the monarchy is having the people of Morocco rebel against the king. This is thankfully a miscalculation. Moroccans understand very well that the king is a symbol of unity, especially in light of what is taking place all over North Africa and the Middle East.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission