Washington / Morocco Board News- The latest United Nations sponsored talk between Morocco and the Algeria backed Polisario separatist movement over the future of the Western Sahara comes at critical moments for both major players in this long simmering border conflict between Algiers and Rabat.
The Algerian Moroccan spat over the Western Sahara is being fought on several fronts. The theatre of confrontation keeps changing by the week if not the day. However, the United Nations is one major battlefield where both parties will continue their efforts to convince the world community of the legitimacy of their positions. Given the great importance of the UN as the venue to finalize the status of the Western Sahara, some Moroccan observers are wondering about the lack of diplomatic actions taken the Moroccan Mission to the UN in support of the Moroccan positions in this sensitive dossier.
The lack of Moroccan initiatives in the UN is becoming a source of concerns to Moroccan nationalist who have been voicing their displeasure with the conduct of the Moroccan diplomacy. While the Algerian UN mission by way of the Polisario Observer at the UN continues to introduce one resolution after another to advance their agenda, the Moroccan diplomats has been squandering their efforts fending off Algerian action items.
The thorny issue of Human Rights has been the pseudo engine of Algeria’s UN efforts to discredit the Moroccan “Local Autonomy Plan for the Western Sahara”. Moroccan human rights activists of all political colors are perplexed by the “insolence” of the Algerian position and vexed with the Moroccan defensive posture on this specific issue. Moroccan militants view the Algerian Human Right campaign as a sign of a deficient Moroccan diplomatic policy in the UN.
For a while now, Moroccan activists have been asking the Moroccan diplomats to launch a UN diplomatic offensive to ask the Algerians to answer the international community on a laundry list of alleged abuses by the Algerian Military and the Polisario. Mistreatments such as: human rights abuses in Algeria to include the Sahrawi refugee camps in Tindouf; The denial of the rights of Sahrawis to move freely around Algeria, Mauritania and Morocco as stated in International Refugee Law; the legal right of the United Nations to census the refugee populations of the Tindouf camps; and the rights of the UN personnel to move freely about the refugee camps and talk to the populations at will.
The Moroccan delegation to the UN should take the human right initiative away from the Algerians in time for the next round of the discussion between the two parties scheduled for early next year. In an effort to uncover the reality of life in the Tindouf camps, the “dormant” Moroccan Mission should exploit the Algerian illegal refusal to census the refugee population in Tindouf and Polisario’s close door policy to outsiders to expose Algeria’s flagrant violations of the United Nations chart.
Some Moroccan activists are apprehensive of the hesitant nature of the Moroccan UN diplomatic approach. With the arrival of the pro-Algeria South African delegation to the next UN Security Council, Morocco UN mission must take an aggressively posture and adopt a pro-active agenda that would make the enemy react rather than formulate a new strategy attack.
In fact, a letter sent by a dissident Sahrawi group (Khat Ashahid) challenging the legitimacy of the Polisario as a representative of the people of the Weston Sahara should be a starting point for the Moroccan diplomats. The simple question of the legitimacy of the Polisario as so-called liberation movement should be revisited at the UN level.
Rabat has a great arsenal of diplomatic tools that can used, legally and morally, to challenge the wicked ways of the Algerian diplomacy, stated a leading Moroccan editorialist. The question remains: Are the Moroccan diplomats able and ready to take up the challenge?
The Moroccan UN delegation is entering a decisive chapter in the history of the Western Sahara conflict at the UN. Morocco has what it takes to fight off the adversaries, all it takes is a comprehensive, global and forward reaching diplomatic strategy led by the best and the brightest that the Moroccan diplomacy has to offer. Many observers trust that Morocco can reverse some of the latest stumbles and advance its Local Autonomy Plan if the right group of people is put in the right places with the freedom to take actions without the anxiety of making mistakes or stumbling along the way.
Author: Hassan Masiky is a native of Morocco. He graduated from the University of the District of Columbia with a degree in political science. Upon graduation,Hassan joined the Washington DC based non government organization the Parliamentary Human Rights Foundation (PHRF) where he worked as a consultant for USAID democracy projects in Mexico, Haiti, Republic of Georgia and the European Parliament. After leaving PHRF, Hassan dedicated his time advising Amnesty International USA on African and Middle Eastern affairs and representing the organization in press conferences. Mr. Masiky was a host on several television shows discussing human rights and democracy. He is currently working for a Federal Agency in the Washington area.