Moroccan Prime Minister Saad-Eddine El-Othmani accused the national media in Algeria of conducting a poisoning campaign about the conflict in Western Sahara.
He told Parliament that “no country, except Algeria, has supported the Polisario Front. The Moroccan media and diplomatic apparatuses are opposed to the affront of this movement,” according to the news site Hespress.
After 30 years of immobility, the cease-fire has been broken in Western Sahara. At the end of the colonization of this territory by Spain, the conflict opposes since 1975 Morocco to the Polisario Front, a Sahrawi independence movement supported by Algeria. A dramatic situation marked by the failure of the United Nations to bring about a peace process on which the fate of tens of thousands of refugees depends.
Today, Western Sahara is a territory divided by a 2,700-kilometer wall built by Rabat in the 1980s, 80% controlled by Morocco on the Atlantic coast and a part controlled by the Sahrawi independentists with a buffer zone under the surveillance of Minurso, the UN peacekeeping operation, which was supposed to organize a referendum on self-determination as early as 1992, a mission that was never carried out.
Since Friday, November 13, the ceasefire that had been generally respected for 30 years has been broken. The Moroccan army conducted an operation in the buffer zone of the Guerguerat border post, in the far south, to restore road traffic cut off by the Sahrawi independence fighters. In reaction, the Polisario Front declared a state of war. The targeted road is the only one that leads to Mauritania, particularly for trade.
“More than 75 countries have supported the peace operations of the Moroccan peace forces and the reopening of the Guerguerat border post,” said Saad-Eddine El-Othmani.
The statements by the Moroccan Prime Minister comes at a time when a heated controversy has just been triggered in the country’s media around the map presented by Benjamin Netanyahu where the Sahara is not part of Moroccan territory. According to a dispatch from the Israeli electronic newspaper Arutz Sheva, a video of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on social networks over the weekend caused an outcry in the Arab and Moroccan media.
Kan 11 News reported that in the video, Netanyahu was in front of a map on which the Western Sahara region was separated from Morocco, which claims sovereignty over the territory.
On Thursday, December 10, Donald Trump announced that Morocco had committed to normalizing relations with Israel and that the United States recognized Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara. This U.S. announcement also led to mixed reactions.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman for Arab media, Hassan Kaabia, said in an interview with a local network in Morocco that the card in Netanyahu’s video was a mistake that was not made intentionally.
“It is an old card that was used in the video. Let’s not forget that next to Netanyahu was the Moroccan flag that we are proud of. This will be corrected in the new cards that will appear,” the spokesman said.
Meanwhile, a Moroccan delegation was in Israel on Monday to lay the groundwork for the opening of a liaison office.
For all intents and purposes, the kingdom seems to have been fooled by the promise of a U.S. president who did not look like someone who is used to keeping his word, Israel’s main mission being to infiltrate the Moroccan army and ensure that an all-out war breaks out between the two neighbors, a war that could end in Western Sahara’s independence.
by Basit Abbasi – MN