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Monday, October 21, 2019
Written Press

The chairman of the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs, said in an interview with the Swedish newspaper "Arab News", published last Tuesday that behind the ongoing conflict about the Sahara region, there is Algeria which "does not allow Polisario to sign autonomy agreement."


Algeria has the desire to be hegemonic in "North Africa through the Sahara."


Corcas chairman speaking to the Swedish journalist

The charwoman interview with the Swedish journalist of Palestinian origin, also focused on the historical aspects of the artificial dispute over the Moroccan Sahara, and the ideological polarization between the western and eastern sides during the Cold war. It also focused on autonomy initiative.

Full text of the interview:

"Algeria does not allow Polisario to sign autonomy agreement "


Following the recommendation by the Swedish Parliament to separate the Western Sahara from Morocco, which divided the country, the (Swedish newspaper) Arab News has addressed this issue from the concerned region of Morocco. We met with officials of that country and Sahrawis who returned to from Western Sahara refugee camps in Algeria. We will gradually publish their interviews starting from next month in an attempt to shed light on this question.

Our first meeting was with the chairman of the Royal Council for Saharan Affairs Khalihenna, who from Laayoune. It (the Council) also includes Saharawis from Laayoune, Tarfaya, Dakhla as well as nomadic Bedouins from Western Sahara in general.

Mousa Almllahi: Arab News is pleased to announce that we are visiting Morocco in an attempt to clarify what is happening in Western Sahara. Can you give us a brief description of the context of the Moroccan royal family and the French and Spanish colonial period. 

Khalihenna Ould Errachid: In 1630, Moroccans took an oath of allegiance to the Alawite royal family to lead the country, replacing the former “Saadian” royal family, which disintegrated due to internal power struggles. In 1912, colonial powers, France toppled the king and expelled him. They divided the country into several regions and Moroccans became prisoners in their own land between the Atlantic Ocean and the French colonial rule in Algeria.

Moroccan resistance against French colonialism in the center of the country and the Spanish colonization in the north and south, intensified after the sharing power agreement in North Africa between Britain and France.

Due to the British involvement in the Balfour Declaration on Palestine, there was an exchange with Morocco and Egypt. The strategic position of the Strait of Gibraltar created a situation of competition around Morocco between the colonial powers, which led to a secret agreement with reversed roles. Britain chose Egypt and France chose Morocco. The control of the Strait of Gibraltar fell under the colonial powers involved, Britain, France and Spain.

Mousa Almllahi: What was the content of these agreements, more exactly?


Khalihenna Ould Errachid: As part of these secret agreements, Britain signed a secret treaty with Spain, through which it occupied the northern part of the Kingdom of Morocco to complete control of the Strait of Gibraltar. This policy was pursued because Britain wanted to weaken France in North Africa and prevented its access to the Strait of Gibraltar, by throwing "some crumbs," except that Tangier became an international zone with the continuation of the Spanish occupation of Ceuta and Melilla and the Moroccan Mediterranean islands.

Mousa Almllahi: How resistance was organized during that time?

Khalihenna Ould Errachid: Moroccans made it difficult for colonizers from 1912 until 1934. A terrible war broke out during this dark period of history in the purest sense of word. 

The French sent military reinforcements composed of 600,000 soldiers to take control of central Morocco. Spain also had to send more than 350,000 troops to take control of the north and south. King Mohammed V was exiled first in Corsica and then Madagascar, until the liberation of Morocco through many sacrifices of all the population.

The Moroccan people in the south of the Sahara to the northern regions gave French and Spanish colonizers a lesson of resistance, which eventually led to a reconstruction of Morocco.

Mousa Almllahi: Let me ask you this, how did the Sahara issue and Polisario emerge?

Khalihenna Ould Errachid: This question is (relatively) recent in 1973. It was one of the thorniest issues in the Arab world caused by tension and quirky ideological struggle. 

As Morocco is part of the Arab nation, the Moroccan people were open to Nasserism, Baathism, the Gaddafi regime and some Arab organizations from the extreme left with internationalist ambitions, which naturally led to an intellectual conflict between so-called progressive and reactionary currents. The result was political wrangling between the ruling power in Morocco and the left wing with its broad alliances.

Morocco was linked to the West because of economic ties. These operations resulted in two unsuccessful attacks against King Hassan II. The first took place in 1971. Nearly 250 Moroccans died, some members of the army attacked a party where many politicians and intellectuals were invited. The second was in 1972, the king was almost killed by Mohammed Oufkir who was then Minister of the Interior.

During those days, I was a student in the Morocco Sahara. After the assassination attempts against the king, the Saharawi students believed that the monarchy in Morocco would collapse sooner or later. This is also what the enemies of the monarchy thought about Morocco. Meanwhile, Sahrawi students sympathized with a Leftist Front called "Ila Al Amam" (Let’s move forward) which tried to overthrow the Moroccan monarchy.

Mousa Almllahi: You granted Sahrawis autonomy. What did it allow?

Khalihenna Ould Errachid: This conflict is linked to the ambition of Algeria to control North Africa through the Sahara where government institutions are not available; the Moroccan initiative is to provide Sahrawis autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty. 

Morocco is a country of institutions, history, it is a multicultural society with democratic experience, dozens organizations of human rights and a political system that links the people and geography. 

Unfortunately, Algeria does not allow Polisario Front to sign an agreement on autonomy, despite the fact this is what many people in the refugee camps in Tindouf in Algeria want. This is the main reason why this artificial conflict continues.

Mousa Almllahi: Thank you very much for this interview.

Khalihenna Ould Errachid: Thank you.

News and events on Western Sahara issue/ Corcas 


 

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