Rabat – Algeria may be convinced that it has no responsibility in the Western Sahara conflict, but for Morocco, its eastern neighbor has always failed to shoulder its role in the decades-long regional conflict.
In an interview with the France-based magazine Jeune Afrique, Morocco’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Nasser Bourita, discussed all of the recent development in the conflict, as well as Morocco’s decision to cut ties with Iran.
Bourita started his interview by discussing Algeria’s denial of its status as the main party to the ongoing conflict over Western Sahara. According to Bourita, “nobody in his right mind” could believe that the Western Sahara conflict can be solved without Algeria.
Over the years, Morocco has been urging the United Nations to urge Algeria to participate in the UN-led political process. This year, Morocco escalated its rhetoric and called on the United Nations to pressure Algeria, as its separatist ally, Polisario, has increased its illegal actions east of Morocco’s defense wall.
On April 4, King Mohammed VI addressed an urgent letter to the United Nations, emphasizing that “it is Algeria that hosts, arms, backs up, and brings diplomatic support for the Polisario.”
In his interview, Bourita recalled a paragraph added in the latest Security Council resolution 2414, which calls on Algeria to contribute more to the political process and to “strengthen its commitment to the negotiations.”
Algeria Will Create More Troubles
“Morocco knows that Algeria will remain stubborn, rejecting its role in the regional conflict,” he said. Bourita said that the country is expecting more problems from its eastern neighbor. “As we know them, they will certainly create other problems in the region and beyond.”
He added that Algeria is still working to “mislead the public,” referring to both the Algerian and international public, through its media claims that the resolution was in favor of Algeria itself.
The minister added that Algeria continues to cover up its political, social, and economic crises by creating problems and tensions to “distract Algerians from their real concerns.”
He emphasized that Morocco has long called on Algeria to discuss the Moroccan-Algerian border issue, with the aim of reopening the border, regardless of the status of the Western Sahara conflict.
Algeria Backs Hezbollah-Polisario Collusion
In his interview, Bourita also discussed Morocco’s decision to cut ties with Iran because of its interference in Morocco’s domestic affairs. The Moroccan official pointed that Algeria has backed the collusion between Hezbollah and Polisario. He said that some meetings between the separatist front and its Iranian proxy Hezbollah were held secretly with Algeria ’s knowledge.
He added that Algeria is eagerly trying to push out Polisario from the Tindouf camps in southern Algeria to clear its responsibility as the country that shelters the “regionally destabilizing separatist group.”
On May 1, Morocco decided to sever diplomatic ties with Iran, as Morocco presented evidence of collusion between Polisario and Hezbollah, specifically proof that the “Iran-backed Hezbollah movement has provided the separatist group with weapons and training in the Tindouf camps in Algeria.”
While Algeria, Iran, and Polisario denied any involvement, Bourita said in his interview that Morocco “would not have bothered to submit a file to Tehran if it [evidence] was not solid.”
“The file was carefully prepared, for weeks, on the basis of information collected and cross-checked over several months,” said Bourita, adding that the document summarizes “proven and precise facts: dates of visits by senior officers of Hezbollah in Algeria, dates and venues of meetings with Polisario officials, and a list of names of agents involved in these contacts.”
Bourita added that Morocco did not make any move until all elements were studied, verified, and confirmed.
In the document sent to Iran, the minister also unveiled the names of senior Hezbollah officers who have traveled Tindouf since March 2017 to meet Polisario leaders, and oversee training sessions and the construction of facilities.
The list of the officials includes: Haidar Sobhi Habib, chief of Hezbollah’s external operations; Ali Moussa Dakdouk, military advisor to Hezbollah; and Haj Abou Wael Zalzali, head of military training and logistics, he added
stressing that Algeria has a hand in the recent tension between Iran and Morocco, Bourita said that the Iranian embassy in Algiers served as a liaison between Hezbollah, Algeria, and Polisario, through its “cultural advisor” Amir Moussawi.
Recently, Algerian activists and officials have urged Algeria to expel the Iranian cultural attaché for his alleged suspicious activities in the country.
The animosity against the Iranian official escalated after Morocco’s decision to cut ties with Iran.
Denouncing the collusion between Hezbollah and Polisario and Algeria and Hezbollah’s support for this action, Morocco said that the government “understands Algeria’s embarrassment,” especially regarding the documented proof that demonstrates the connection between the parties.