Algeria-Western Sahara: Former Minister Throws a Stone into Algeria’s Pond

boukrouFormer Algerian Minister of Commerce Noureddine Boukrouh threw a stone in Algeria’s pond when he revealed the billions of dollars spent by the government to support the Polisario’s independence claims in Western Sahara.

“How much do this cause and this longstanding problem cost us?” Noureddine Boukrouh wondered ironically in a rare moment of candor about the Western Sahara issue on the part of an Algerian official.

The statement made by Boukrouh, also former president of the Algerian Renewal Party (PRD), triggered the immediate response of senior officers of the Algerian military intelligence services (DRS), the department that handles exclusively all what concerns the Polisario and the Tindouf camps, run by the separatists.

Newspapers close to the DRS relayed the officers’ responses pulverizing the former minister and talking so badly of him. The truth is that the former Algerian official dared to bring up a sensitive, almost taboo topic in Algeria.

When Boukrouh asked Algerians “can we afford to continue supporting this issue?” he had clearly stung the DRS, which ordered its subordinate media to circulate that the former minister was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

“What’s going on in the country is not normal. It is mere madness,” added the former official, incriminating the Algerian government and the powerful military institution that made of the Western Sahara issue Algeria’s primary cause.

This inexplicable obstinacy cost Algeria over the past 40 years billions of dollars in military, diplomatic and financial aid to the Polisario. For Algeria, the ultimate goal is to hamper the settlement of this regional conflict and to obstruct the implementation of the autonomy plan proposed by Morocco to put an end to the artificial conflict and avoid the destabilization of the Maghreb.

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