Sahara/Sahel: Algeria is playing with fire

valeurs-actuelsAlgeria is “knowingly playing with fire” when it fuels tension in Western Sahara and the Sahel strip, with the support of powerful lobbies at the UN and the support of Western NGOs, ignorant about the realities on the ground.

In a story on the Sahara conflict that has been poisoning relations between Morocco and Algeria for almost forty years, French weekly “Valeurs Actuelles” points out in its latest release that “every fever rush corresponds to the Algerian regime’s cracks”.

This was the case whenever the UN mediator, Christopher Ross, toured the region and this is the case today, since “the succession of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is as unclear as it is difficult,” says the magazine. In Algiers, “the daggers are drawn and in the South, tension has suddenly mounted.”

This recrudescence of tension “concerns Western Sahara, and this suggests that Algiers is deliberately playing with fire,” notes the author of the article, adding that in its game, Algeria is supported by powerful lobbies at the UN and by Western NGOs, poorly informed about local realities.

The magazine warns that “this rivalry is propitious to all kinds of outbidding and might increase instability in the vast Sahara-Sahel region, where nearly 3,500 French soldiers are hunting down jihadist networks.”

Algeria “has made of the Polisario a puppet that it uses to serve its anti-Moroccan strategy, even if the +Sahrawi fighters+ have often shifted their activities to lucrative trafficking in connivance with Algerian mafia networks,” the weekly says.
The Polisario, sponsored, armed and supported at arm’s length by the Algerian regime, threatens to resort to arms again (in its struggle for the independence of Western Sahara), says the magazine, recalling that in view of the deterioration of the situation, King Mohammed VI of Morocco has warned Algeria, in a very firm speech he delivered on November 6.

In his speech, Mohammed VI also reaffirmed Morocco’s sovereignty over all its territory “from Tangier to the Mauritanian border,” and said that Morocco can offer no more than the autonomy plan to end the Sahara conflict. He likewise pledged that autonomy will be implemented in the southern provinces of the Kingdom as of 2015.

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