The late king Hassan II dealt with the Sahara issue in very charismatic way, this attitude helped and tainted the dossier, the diplomacy of isolating the Polisario by ignoring it isolated Morocco further, resulting in the 1984 fiasco at Addis Abbaba and the exit of Morocco from the AU. Lessons have been learned, new paths have been exploited, new ideas have been entertained but I am afraid that other than King Mohammed VI and a few new faces in the dossier, the rest are old school diplomats with egoistic resistance to change, this change embodied in the autonomy proposal, this new idea has to be sold, explained, promoted and finally implemented by a team of individuals with new spirit and no ties to the past.
If I understand the autonomy well or well enough to explain it, I believe that it consists of 4 major points:
14. The State shall keep exclusive jurisdiction over the following in particular;.
the attributes of sovereignty, especially the flag, the national anthem and the currency;
the attributes stemming from the constitutional and religious prerogatives of the King, as Commander of the Faithful and Guarantor of freedom of worship and of individual and collective freedoms;
national security, external defense and defense of territorial integrity;
the Kingdom’s juridical order
The role of the Polisario / Algeria
15. State responsibilities with respect to external relations shall be exercised in consultation with the Sahara Autonomous Region for those matters which have a direct bearing on the prerogatives of the Region. The Sahara Autonomous Region may, in consultation with the Government, establish cooperation relations with foreign Regions to foster inter-regional dialogue and cooperation.
The management of the daily life in the Sahara
A head of the government
A Court system
Police and taxes
13. The Sahara Autonomous Region will have the financial resources required for its development in all areas. Resources will come, in particular, from:
taxes, duties and regional levies enacted by the Region’s competent authorities;
proceeds from the exploitation of natural resources allocated to Region;
the share of proceeds collected by the State from the exploitation of natural resources located in the Region;
the necessary funds allocated in keeping with the principle of national solidarity.
proceeds from the Region’s assets.
I was against this idea at first but after reading about it, and after careful look at the region and all threats sighting it, I truly belied in it now, I think that it represents a real opportunity for all parties to start working on folding this dossier once for all. I believe that those who live in Tindouf, I hope they have access to the internet to read about these debates, understand that the Moroccan solution presented to the UN, Algeria and the Polisario is the only workable solution anything less or more will create a winner and a loser, something to avoid at all cost because we could have a Punic grudge which could last for decades if not centuries. For Algeria to think that Morocco will be muscled out of the Sahara is either strange imagination or wishful thinking; Morocco did not occupy a sovereign nation, Morocco did not annex a land belonging to another nation, a Sahara nation was never a reality and not even an idea. For Morocco to accept the injection of a proxy state in the 21st century is pure hallucination from the Algerian generals.
Now, the Sequestered Sahrawis in Tindouf are either people with adversary opinions about Morocco and or are just forced to live there and used as a bargaining chip, Morocco needs to reach out to all in order to explain the reality which is: a referendum is not realistic and most Moroccans are against it; they do not want to let future of their land get decided without their input, just like a Sahrawi will not accept for the northern region to enter some kind of referendum. War is not an answer to anything, the war drums that the Polisario is beating these days will bring more despair to the Tindouf population, the creation of a mini state in that region will be the greatest farce ever. A nation of 150 thousand inhabitants in land almost equal to France in the 21st century is a childish dream what is left is the better of the two worlds (Autonomy)
On one hand being part of nation 13 centuries-old under a flag recognized and respected throughout the world
On the other hand being autonomous in your decisions in managing your resources etc..
Among many world entities supporting this initiative the USA, a country considered as a close ally to Morocco but it never puts its giant weight behind any cause until it is well understood; consider the following:
Washington, 22 Dec. 2008 (MAP) - The resigning US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, David Welch, said the autonomy initiative proposed by Morocco for its southern provinces is the "most likely solution" to settle the "Western" Sahara dispute, describing the proposal as "serious".
Spain, France, UK and many others said exactly the same thing, this proposal is by far the best solution available and the best way to reach an agreement without losers and winners.
We should never think about our victory only we should also think about the other party’s loss once we start doing this we can meet half way and to me this half way point starts with the autonomy, I hope that the Algerian generals care enough for the Sahrawis to let them be, let them free and let them live autonomous but in Morocco.
The thing I like about this proposal is the following article:
This is by no means a unilateral decision, nor is it a rigid offer. It is rather an initiative which is open to all the other parties. The aim being to reach a realistic and practical compromise solution
Author: Zak Ettamymy, born in Casablanca Morocco, graduated from American University, Columbia and NYU. writes articles pertaining to Morocco in terms of politics, economy and sports; with a specialty in the Sahara issue.
Zak Ettamymy is a member of the Transatlantic Institute for Policy and Progress a non profit organization that promotes Moroccan interests in the US. Zak Ettamymy has published a book called: Morocco Beyond the Legend.