Western Sahara: an Incident Incriminating Algeria

aeroportAlgerian officials have once again given the proof that peace and calm in Western Sahara disturb their agenda. The illustration to this was made by fifty pro- Polisario Sahrawis who tried upon return from a trip to Algeria to provoke Moroccan security forces at the airports of Casablanca and Laayoune.
When they landed In Casablanca, the Sahrawis, coming directly from Algeria where they participated in a summer university organized in Boumerdes by the Polisario under the strict supervision of the Algerian military intelligence services, refused to comply with customs formalities.
At the airport of Laayoune, the scenario was even worse. Customs agents seized in the Sahrawis’ luggage Algerian and Polisario flags as well as megaphones and leaflets revealing the pro-Polisario activists’ intentions and plans.
Sensing the trap, Moroccan security officers did not respond to the provocations. The incident thus did not unfold as planned in Algiers, but showed on the contrary Morocco’s insight in dealing with the case. Rabat allows pro-Polisario activists to travel to Algeria whenever they want, to participate in events openly hostile to Morocco and to return home without being bothered.
In fact, the attempt by the group of Sahrawis was programmed while Christopher Ross, the UN Envoy for Western Sahara, is about to conduct a new tour in the region. The purpose behind the timing was obvious: take pictures of an alleged heavy-handed response of the Moroccan security forces and find a pretext to put on the table the expansion of the MINURSO mandate.
As expected, the Algerian pro-Polisario media, on the alert as usual, created an out of proportion buzz about the incident in an attempt to describe a state of quasi insurrection in Western Sahara. But it was to no avail as people are no longer interested in such tales.
The Algerian diplomatic strategy is currently focused on the enlargement of the MINURSO mandate to human rights monitoring in Western Sahara in an attempt to torpedo the Morocco proposed autonomy plan. But the latest incident, despite the denials of Algerian officials and generals, does show that the Western Sahara conflict is not opposing Morocco and the Polisario but rather Morocco and Algeria.


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