Washington DC - If Sweden’s plan to recognize the self-proclaimed “Sahrawi Republic (SADR)” is a part of its new “feminist” foreign Policy agenda, then Foreign Minister Margot Wallström did not do her homework before undertaking this endeavor. She should have read Human Rights Watch reports describing the deteriorating human and civil rights in the Tindouf Camps. Sweden if indeed is pushing a new radically different diplomacy, it should insure that SADR free all political prisoners, end all forms of slavery and hold open and free elections.
Washington DC – If Sweden’s plan to recognize the self-proclaimed “Sahrawi Republic (SADR)” is a part of its new “feminist” foreign Policy agenda, then Foreign Minister Margot Wallström did not do her homework before undertaking this endeavor. She should have read Human Rights Watch reports describing the deteriorating human and civil rights in the Tindouf Camps. Sweden if indeed is pushing a new radically different diplomacy, it should insure that SADR free all political prisoners, end all forms of slavery and hold open and free elections.
Despite Morocco’s meek diplomacy, Moroccans around the world have rallied to denounce Sweden’s irresponsible and reckless action to recognize a phantom republic that would lead to more instability in North Africa. As a result, the Swedes’ attempts to meddle in the Algerian-Moroccan conflict over the Western Sahara got the attention of several international organizations including the Washington Post.
In its edition of Thursday October 8, 2015, the influential Washington Post published an article titled “Sweden’s subtly radical ‘feminist’ foreign policy is causing a stir” in which Adam Taylor tries to explain “Sweden’s subtly radical “feminist” foreign policy.”
The Washington Post writes that “after the new government took office, Wallström explained Sweden’s new stance as part of a broader “feminist foreign policy,” but at first it wasn’t totally clear what that meant. “ Along these lines, it is not clear how recognizing a Sahrawi Republic that only exists in the realm of the Algerian military junta goes to support this “feminist foreign policy”.
A sensible foreign policy stands on the principles of negotiations and consensus, and not on biased and influenced determinations. While the Social Democrat Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has the right to sympathize with the Polisario views, forcing Sweden to take a prejudiced position against Morocco based on personal demagogy is unfair and unreasonable to Swedish businesses and other Swedes who may disagree with him.
As the Post also reports, “The Web site of Sweden’s government now says that “equality between women and men is a fundamental aim of Swedish foreign policy” and that Sweden has a duty to ensure that “women and girls can enjoy their fundamental human rights.” If that is the aim of Ms. Wallström, then supporting the Polisario that runs refugee camps where slavery exists according to several human rights organizations, goes against the fundamentals of her policy.
Adam Taylor quote Ms. Wallström in an interview with New Yorker’s Jenny Nordberg in April during which she expanded on this definition, explaining that a feminist foreign policy meant “standing against the systematic and global subordination of women,” adding that it was “time to become a little braver in foreign policy.”
This statement is perplexing since the Saharawi Republic, as it stands today, doesn’t represent all of the people of the Western Sahara. There is nothing brave about recognizing a military entity that has been exploited by the Algerian military to harass its neighbors since 1976, as confirmed by several former high ranking SADR officials.
Sweden’s interest in the Western Sahara should focus on helping the increasingly vocal opponents to the current SADR leadership. The presidency of Polisario chief Abdelazziz, in power for thirty years, has put the interests of Algeria before the rights and the needs of the Sahrawis.
Ms. Wallström picked the wrong “cause” to showcase her independent foreign policy doctrine. Unlike that the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Western Sahara is multipart. Recognizing an independent Sahrawi Republic will not resolve tensions in North African, it will prolong the fighting’s and complicate the diplomatic situation on the ground.
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