Morocco’s colonization of Western Sahara

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Dr Mustafa Bothwell Mheta

Rabi' al-Thani 12, 1442 2020-11-27

Daily News Analysis

by Dr Mustafa Bothwell Mheta

Morocco’s colonization of Western Sahara

The African Union (AU) has been left with egg on its collective face for welcoming Morocco back into its fold.

Soon after Mrs. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma left the African Union to return to politics in her native South Africa, the leadership of AU went to West Africa.

France which still controls its former colonies in Africa with an iron grip saw an opportunity to push through Morocco’s return to the AU.

Many people in Africa were shocked with the hasty decision to welcome Morocco back into the AU fold without wider consultations.

Last week, the Polisario Front, the liberation movement fighting Morocco’s occupation of Wstern Sahara, formerly announced its suspension of the ceasefire that had been in place since 1991.

This means that the situation now signals the return to full-fledged war between them.

At the beginning of 2020, Morocco bought armaments from Zionist Israel to the tune of $48 million.

It was reported that three Heron aircraft had arrived in Morocco on January 26. However, it is not clear what weapons were included in the military deal.

The recent violence in Western Sahara marks the collapse of a 29-year ceasefire between the pro-independence Polisario Front and the pro-autonomy Kingdom of Morocco, mirroring the repeated diplomatic failures of the two parties – and of the international community – to broker a sustainable peace agreement over who controls the territory.

It is, however, believed that drones will be deployed to counter the so-called extremist groups and fight rebel movements in Western Sahara, the reports added.

Israel is pushing for stronger ties with Morocco in exchange for US recognition of its rule over Western Sahara.

Morocco is one of the countries that pays lip service to the liberation of Palestine.

On the African continent, the Moroccan debacle has presented the already weakened AU with a huge dilemma.

Given current developments on the world stage, the AU will soon have to tell the people of Africa that they are now siding with Zionist Israel and USA.

They abandoning the mantra of “liberating every inch of African soil” from imperialist/colonialist powers.

It is painful to see African leadership compromising on such important issues like the total liberation of African soil from imperialist/colonialist forces.

What happened to the spirit of oneness and love that used to exist between African countries during the liberation struggle?

Do African leaders have such short memories?

If war breaks out between Morocco and the Western Sahara, it would not come as a surprise if some African countries support Morocco against the Polisario Front.

Africa is busy breaking its own values at the expense of pleasing the Zionist/Imperialist/Colonialist colossus.

MINURSO, the UN peacekeeping mission responsible for organising a referendum in Western Sahara, brokered a deal in 1997 with the help of the US, that called for a vote.

It would give Saharawi, the land’s Indigenous people, a choice between self-determination, or autonomy under Moroccan rule.

But Morocco refused the terms of the referendum, citing its dissatisfaction with who could vote.

Electoral lists have been a major bone of contention, especially since there have been attempts by Morocco to change the territory’s demography to influence the referendum result.

Since 1975 when Spain, the last European colonial power left Western Sahara, Morocco has settled hundreds of thousands of Moroccans there, making up at least two-thirds of its half a million inhabitants.

The plan was never formally presented to the Security Council and was rejected by the Polisario because it did not offer the option of independence ­– an imperative for the group.

Then followed the Baker II plan in 2003, which proposed a five-year autonomous rule that would see a subsequent vote in a referendum for independence.

The referendum would have given everyone living in Western Sahara the right to vote.

It even included Moroccans, who were settled there after 1975, something the Polisario did not agree to before.

The Security Council agreed and asked the parties to implement it but to no avail, as Morocco rejected the option of a referendum that would grant Saharawi independence.

Algeria has been the Polisario’s main backer and was present in most talks about the diplomatic struggle for sovereignty, which has triggered questions about whether Western Sahara is a proxy for a wider regional struggle for influence.

Unfortunately, Africa no longer has leaders that are able to solve such problems.

It is also true that many of the current crop of leaders on the continent are deeply compromised who care only about their own welfare and not that of the people.

The African Union should immediately expel Morocco from the continental body as well as demand that it gets out of Western Sahara.

Morocco must respect all UN resolutions that call for its immediate withdrawal from Western Sahara and allow it to become independent.

African countries should be at the forefront of leading this initiative but given their compromised position that has been brought about by Zionist Israel’s manoeuvres on the continent, it is doubtful whether this will materialize.

Dr. Mustafa Mheta is Senior Researcher/Head of Africa Desk, Media Review Network, Johannesburg, South Africa.

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