Several Spanish public figures recently sounded the alarm about Polisario’s role in rising instability in the Sahel region.
Rabat – Terrorist groups are increasingly targeting Sahrawis living in the Tindouf refugee camps as recruits, according to the director of the Spanish magazine Atalayar.
Javier Fernandez Arribas recently authored an article warning that terrorist groups active in the Sahel region are recruiting young people from the Polisario-run Tindouf camps in western Algeria.
“Every day, more and more Sahrawis are recruited by terrorist groups operating in the Sahel, which increases the risk for the security and stability of the region,” Arribas stressed.
He also condemned the poor conditions some 170,000 Sahrawis face in the Tindouf camps in contrast to the lavish lifestyle Polisario leaders enjoy with the backing of Algeria.
Arribas is not the only Spanish public figure to sound the alarm on rising extremism in the Tindouf camps.
The Director-General for Foreign Policy and Security at the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fidel Sendagorta, also recently warned that many Sahrawis living in the camps are joining the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) at an alarming rate.
Speaking at the eighth Elcano Forum on Global Terrorism in Madrid earlier this month, Sendagorta said the phenomenon “should worry us because it is already very close to our strategic cultural world.”
He added that the rise of extremist tendencies among the camps’ population is recent, urging participants in the forum to analyze the rise of extremist ideologies in the region.
Morocco’s gains and Polisario’s waning support
In his article for Atalayr, Arribas emphasized that Morocco has won “the diplomatic battle on the ground” against Polisario.
The Spanish journalist said this is evident in the decision of several countries to open consulates general in Morocco’s southern provinces, territory to which Polisario separatists lay claim.
Between December 2019 and December 2020, 16 countries opened diplomatic representations in Morocco’s southern provinces, with Jordan, Haiti, and Bahrain set to bring the total to 19.
The opening of these diplomatic representations constitutes “a real and tangible support” for Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, Arribas continued. “Moroccan diplomacy is working hard to find a definitive political solution” to the Sahara question.
Polisario, meanwhile, carries out destabilizing acts in the region.
The group’s militant tactics, particularly its breaching of the 1991 ceasefire after Morocco’s November 13 operation to secure Guerguerat, add to growing fears that the separatist front is evolving into a terrorist group that will further destabilize the Sahel. The Atalayar director described Polisario’s attacks on Moroccan forces as the rumblings of “a war that nobody wants.”
Former French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said earlier this month that Polisario threatens the Sahel region, given its involvement in the trafficking of arms, drugs, and humans.
The dual French-Spanish politician urged Spain’s government to “be responsible and [rise] up to the challenges facing the country and Europe.”