- Hans Weber
- October 3, 2022
MOROCCO AND FORMER WESTERN SAHARA: MANY BENEFITS
The relationship and integration of Morocco and the former Western Sahara has taken the attention of the public interested in international affairs for a long time. Most recently, at least a part of the international community has started developing a more benevolent approach towards understanding the attitude and the behaviour of the Moroccan authority.
The former Western Sahara territory has been a disputed territory for a long time. Originally colonized by Spain, it became subject to a joint administration held by Morocco and Mauritania after the Spanish abandoned their former colony, following a Resolution of the United Nations’ Assembly. Nonetheless, a pro-independent movement was formed by the local Sahwawi population. This movement became known as the Polisario Front, a terrorist organisation, and started a war with the administrating countries. Mauritania withdrew its own claims, and the Polisario Front began being opposed to the claim of Morocco on the former Western Sahara and to the integration of the territory into Morocco. Incomprehensibly the United Nations have been supporting the political aspirations of the terrorist Polisario Front in view of the principle of self-determination although it never has been a legitimate representative of the people living there. The Sahrawi still controls a minor part of the former Western Sahara and are, in particular, supported by another Northern African country, Algeria. Moroccans have been (tacitly) supported, in particular, by the US and France and still integrated the hugest part of the former Western Sahara’ into its state territory. Irrespective of tacit support and ambiguities, no member of the UN had recognised the legitimacy of the Moroccan presence in Western Sahara until 2020. Indeed, a major turning point occurred when the US has formally recognised the sovereignty of Morocco over the area in 2020, in exchange of the availability of Morocco as for normalizing the relationships with Israel.
It must be said that Morocco has always manifested a reasonable and responsible attitude and has been ready to recognise the right of the territory to a certain level of autonomy. The Moroccan authority have often attempted at involving the Algerian authorities into the process of negotiation with the self-proclaimed Sahrawi authorities, without obtaining any positive reaction from the Algerian side.
Moreover, to be open and straight, Moroccan presence acts as an element of economic support and stabilization in Western Sahara. Otherwise, there would be the danger of another failed state without legal certainty, woman rights and civil war. There is a need of maintaining stability in the area and make sure that the population of the former Western Sahara has constant access to elementary and basic resources which are necessary for their survival and, eventually, prosperity, freedom and legal certainty that can be guaranteed by being part of Morocco that has also historically founded right to this territory. Contrary to some beliefs, the former Western Sahara is not rich in resources and would hardly be economically self-sufficient without subsidies and assistance, even drinkable water does not abound. Morocco appears as better equipped that its rival, the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Democratic Arab Republic, as for guaranteeing economic (basic) support and political stability in the area. A firm, experienced and organized governmental authority would certainly be able to counter possible terrorist’ threats in the area, with benefits extending far out of the local territory.
Also, Spain, the former colonial power in the former Western Sahara came now to the conclusion that it is for the best of the people and the Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez recently visited Morocco.
Finally a long conflict ends and things develop positively for the people and Morocco.