Western Sahara: Wikileaks Revelations Spark Comments

Reactions to the diplomatic cables released by the whistleblower website Wikileaks continue to flourish all over the blogosphere. Revelations concerning the conflict over Western Sahara have sparked a few comments.

Ali Amar is a Moroccan journalist. Writing on VoxMaroc [Fr], a blog hosted by the French daily Le Monde, he underlines the fact that although the leaked cables revealed American diplomats’ reservations about bad governance and corruption in Morocco, they showed unwavering American support for the kingdom's position on Western Sahara:

[A]ux yeux de Washington, le Maroc demeure une monarchie bananière, régentée par une clique proto mafieuse. La realpolitik reprend cependant le dessus lorsqu’il s’agit d’épauler le régime de Mohammed VI, sur la question du Sahara Occidental notamment : un rapport de l’ex ambassadeur Thomas Riley daté de 2009 soutient sans détour le plan d’autonomie préconisé par Rabat.

In the eyes of Washington, Morocco remains a banana monarchy, regimented by a proto mafia clique. Realpolitik, however, takes the upper hand when it comes to supporting the regime of Mohammed VI, on the question of Western Sahara in particular: a report by former Ambassador Thomas Riley dated 2009 clearly supports the autonomy plan advocated by Rabat.

Stephen Zunes writing on the Huffington Post, agrees. He dismisses views expressed by a diplomat on a cable dated August 2009, as flawed and distorted by an ideology, he says, is reminiscent of the Cold War (link added):

This cable is very reminiscent of the longstanding effort by State Department officials during the Cold War to delegitimize national liberation struggles by claiming they were simply the creation of Cuba, the Soviet Union, or some other nation-state challenging U.S. hegemony. Indeed, in a throwback to Cold War rhetoric, Jackson [the diplomat, author of the cable] insists that the Polisario Front, which has been recognized as the legitimate government of Western Sahara by over 80 governments, is “Cuba-like.” In the cable, Jackson calls for U.S. support for Moroccan calls for a census and audit of international programs in Polisario-led refugee camps, but not support for the international call for human rights monitors in the occupied territory.

A cable released earlier this month suggests that Algerian president is seeking a resolution of the conflict that would allow his country to “save face.” Fayçal, writing on the Algerian online news website Algerie Focus comments [Fr]:

L’Algérie aurait-elle tourné le dos au Front Polisario ? La question mérite d’être posée, surtout quand on lit un câble du site WikiLeaks assez intriguant qui montre un Président algérien voulant en finir avec un problème devenu trop embarrassant pour l’Algérie.

Has Algeria turned its back to the Polisario Front? The question is worth asking, especially when one reads an embarrassing cable released by the Wikileaks website, which intriguingly shows Algerian President wanting to end a problem that has become too embarrassing for Algeria.


  • Dear Lina,

    In fact, the Western Sahara issue is a thorn in the Algerian side. The initial reason of the Polisario Front establishment has no sens actually. The Soviet Union block is dead as well as revolution spirit except for the FARC in Colombia and the Polisario Front south Algeria. The only way to dismiss revenge and hate is to assist Algeria to get the head high from this political maneuver initiated in the 70′ to make down the moroccan monarchy. I hope the UN will succeed on that.

    Ahmed Salem Amr Khaddad
    Unionist Western Saharawi

  • Rachid

    The polisario is now implicated on drogue traffic … so he will be down very soon ;)

  • Sahraoui

    Le Sahara Occidental approche de la victoire inchallah. C’est le dernier pays qui est encore colonisé dans le pays et le Maroc sera obligé de sortir. Le Conseil de securité a deja pris plusieurs resolutions en ce sens. l’Union Africaine reconnait deja depuis plusieurs années la Republique sahraouie.

  • Dear Lina,
    You state in your bio that “I am mainly blogging about freedom of speech..” yet there is no blogs about Mustapha ould Salma, the Inspector General of the Polisario Front’s police who was in Morocco on a trip sponsored by the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). After seeing the progress in W. Sahara, which he was visiting for the first time in 31 years, Sidi Mouloud vowed to return to the refugee camps and voice his support for Morocco’s compromise autonomy plan to end the 35-year dispute. Upon his return he was arrested and disappeared.
    This is just an example of the tyranny and repression that is allowed in the refugee camps in Algeria. Your silence on the authoritarian regime and repression in the Tindouf camp shows a great deal of double standards.
    Here are some links I hope you find useful on the subject:
    SAvage attack on Moroccan servicemen who try to dismantle the Gdeim Izik camp peacefully

    Supporter of autonomy plan should not face retaliation in the Tindouf camps in Algeria
    In a letter sent yesterday, Amnesty International called on the Polisario Front to reveal the legal status and whereabouts of Mostafa Salma Sidi Mouloud, who was arrested on the evening of 21 September following his visit to Western Sahara, a territory annexed by Morocco in 1975. The organization fears that he might be held solely on account of his publicly expressed views in favour of the autonomy of Western Sahara under Moroccan administration.

    Western Sahara: Polisario Arrests Rare Dissenter
    The Polisario Front, the Western Sahara independence movement, should release a dissident detained on September 21, 2010, if the real reason for his arrest is his vocal support for Morocco’s autonomy plan, Human Rights Watch said today.
    Polisario security forces arrested Mostapha Selma Sidi Mouloud, a police officer, as he travelled toward the Polisario-run Sahrawi refugee camps near Tindouf, Algeria. His arrest followed a visit to Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara, during which he publicly declared his support for Morocco’s proposal to resolve the conflict over the disputed territory’s future by granting it autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty.
    Leadership Council for Human Rights calls for release of Western Sahara Official :
    The Leadership Council for Human Rights this morning called on the International Committee of the Red Cross to seek the release of Mustapha Salma Ould Sidi Mouloud, the 42 year old police inspector of the Polisario.

    Sidi Mouloud was arrested yesterday by Algerian and Polisario authorities after speaking out in favor of the Moroccan Autonomy Plan for the Western Sahara.
    UNHCR deeply concerned about arrest of Ould Sidi Mouloud by polisario
    The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) expressed, on Thursday, “deep concern” over the arrest in Tindouf camps
    Rabat – The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) expressed, on Thursday, “deep concern” over the arrest in Tindouf camps (south western Algeria) of Mustapha Salma Ould Sidi Mouloud, chief inspector of polisario’s police
    Speaking to the press in Rabat at an information day on the situation of refugees in Morocco, the UNHCR representative, Johnnes Van Der Klaauw, said the UN refugee agency “closely” follows with “concern” the arrest in the Tindouf camps of Ould Sidi Mouloud.

  • Just a comment on the algerian “Sahraoui” post (in English as GV is international) :

    Polisario Front is the Africa’ Last Calumny. It’s one of the broadest political trickery of the last 40 years. Polisario Front and the Western Sahara issue were fabricated by Algeria in the 70′ based on lies. Actually, the UN is asking Algeria to be more realistic in Manhasset talks as Polisario Front is the voice of Algeria in these talks. The auto-proclamed republic of Polisario Front SADR (1976) was admitted in the African Union in 1984 thanks to the pressure of Algeria and the Soviet Union block in Africa. SADR was admitted against the African Union charter which states that only sovereign states with sovereign symbols should pretend to a seat at the AU. Why didn’t (many) other separatist movements in Africa have access to the AU in the 70 and 80′?
    Thus far, many african countries withdraw the recognition of SADR in order to permit to the UN to achieve an acceptable political solution by the two parties Morocco and Algeria/Polisario Front. Actually, countries and territories recognizing SADR are about 33 while they were 79 in the 80′. Most of them are from the old soviet union block (Cuba, Venezuela…). Many others are in trouble.


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