As new momentum builds around settlement negotiations, the war call may come across as a surprise. But this has always been the front’s agenda.
Rabat – The Polisario leadership is calling for war with Morocco, delivering a shattering blow to the new momentum surrounding the ongoing UN-assisted dialogue.
In a brief, but fiery video message relayed by pro-Polisario outlet Futuro Sahara, Brahim Ghali, the leader of the Polisario Front, the separatist movement seeking independence in Western Sahara, announced his plan to impose compulsory military service in the Tindouf camps to “prepare for the inevitable war against a relentless enemy.”
Sounding determined, Ghali suggested that he has had enough of the lengthy and apparently Morocco-friendly UN-led peace negotiations.
The only way for the front to get what it has long fought for is to go at war, he emphasized in the video. “It is now clear that those peace negotiations are not getting us anywhere,” the separatist-in-chief said, adding that the front and its supporters are left with war as the sole alternative.
From the arguments repeatedly hammered throughout the four-minute video, one recurring reason for Ghali’s blunt call for war is the front’s apparent realization that the ongoing negotiations for a lasting political settlement are actually moving in Morocco’s favor.
“Morocco is unyielding because they know they have the support of great powers,” he said, as he went on to dismiss the ongoing political process as a game planned in advance to fit Morocco’s agenda.
“It is clear by now that war is both compulsory and inevitable. Everyone is concerned,” he said. By Ghali’s own admission, however, the only lingering question, the unsettled uncertainty in his certain determination to go to war against Morocco is, “How and when will the war be fought?” But that, he blustered, “is a question for another time.”
In his message, the Polisario leader consistently spoke of the “necessity” for the front to impose compulsory military service in the Tindouf camps.
In patriotism-flavored evocations, he called on the youth in the camps to join the front’s troops to prepare for the coming, inevitable war.
“Voluntary military service is no longer relevant, as we are in national liberation fight against a relentless enemy. That is why we have to take radical measures. Compulsory military service will allow us to drive the enemy out of our lands and establish our state in our fatherland.”
Meanwhile, there are suggestions that Algeria knows about, and is encouraging the separatist front in its determination to ditch the UN-led process and resort to taking arms.
While Ghali was making his war pronouncements, Algiers is funding and organizing a “summer school” in Tindouf. The event is part of Algeria’s known sponsoring of the separatist front’s military maneuverings, Le 360 reported yesterday.
The message may elicit surprise in UN circles. The last couple of months came with messages of hope, of high expectations that the international community was finally on track to broker an agreement that would end the decades-long stalemate in Western Sahara.
In the pro-Polisario camp, however, while momentum built around the encouraging prospects of the ongoing UN-led negotiations, the pervading sentiment has been that the most powerful nations of the international community, especially France and the US, were merely engaged in a rigged game with the sole aim of “selling to Sahrawis” a Morocco-friendly deal.
“The West, Europe and the US, do not want another state geographically separating Morocco and Mauritania,” Mauritania’s Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz said in April. “Everything you hear outside of this frame is not correct.”
The suggestion, as an anonymous pro-Polisario source said in the same period amid preparations for the second UN-moderated Geneva meeting between Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, and the Polisario Front, is that there is a “behind-the-scenes intervention from the Americans to put an end to hopes of Sahrawi independence.”