- ADIL NAJI
The Sahara conflict has lasted for over 33 years. It is an issue of national identity and territorial integrity for Morocco. No one can deny that our neighbor Algeria, and its generals, is the main supporter of the Polisario. As a Moroccan-American living in northern Virginia, I am concerned for the security of Morocco, and I support the Autonomy plan proposed by the Moroccan government for the Sahraoui people, a plan that keeps Morocco's sovereignty over its southern provinces and its territorial integrity intact.
I am asking all Americans, and particularly, the Moroccan-Americans to consider the following:
* Historically the Moroccan Sahara was an integral part of the Moroccan landmass. Since recovering its independence in 1956, Morocco had claimed the return of the Western Sahara.
* The size of the disputed Sahara is 266,000 sq km, while the size of the Kingdom of Morocco is 446,500 km2. Clearly to preserve the national security of Morocco and its interest in the region, it would be unthinkable to have a new mini state in the area with a maximum of 100,000 people, and then expect stability, democracy, transparency and economic prosperity.
* A Weak and a failed mini state in the area would engender and foster instability and terrorism and would endanger the security Morocco, the rest of Northern Africa, Europe, and the United States of America.
* Unity has become a strong factor in boosting economical reforms, encouraging freedom of speech and binding partnerships around the world. We have seen how Europe merged into the EU and how Spain, for example, became a strong country with a healthy economy after it joined the EU. The Gulf region is negotiating a common currency for the region to unite the areas economies.
A united Maghreb with a larger internal market would go a long way to foster democracy and prosperity, the best bulwark against poverty, instability and terrorism.
In conclusion I see the autonomy plan as the only fair plan for the region and its people to move toward a new chapter with a brighter future.
Adil M. N.