Western Sahara: the Sheikhs’ initiative that destabilizes the Polisario

aziz-polisarioSeveral Sahrawi notables and Sheikhs have expressed their support to the Morocco-proposed autonomy plan for Western Sahara and asked King Mohammed VI to entrust to Omar Hadrami, one of the founder members of the Polisario, the task of coordination between Morocco and the Tindouf-settled Sahrawis on the matter.

The decisions were made by the Sahrawi notables at a recent meeting they held in the Tindouf at the place of one of the most respected sheikhs in the camps. Saleh Ould Mohamed Cheikh is actually known for his opposition to Algeria’s influence and control on the Sahrawis’ cause. He had repeatedly expressed his opposition to the Polisario leader on this particular point, as did many Sahrawis.

The Polisario leader, Mohamed Abdelaziz, who is close to the Algerian military intelligence services (DRS), has always been submissive to the Algerian military and has always accepted that they use the Western Sahara issue to serve Algeria’s own interests. This unconditional alignment on Algiers earned the separatist front leader the enmity of many Sahrawis. This enmity is growing as translated by the recurrent, countless protest movements waged against Mohamed Abdelaziz in the camps.

The Tindouf Sahrawis, gathered in the dissident khat Achahid movement or in the Youth Movement for Change (MJC), are no longer afraid to be defiant and to express their opposition to the Polisario leadership and to the DRS’ officers.

It is in this context of exacerbated discontent against the Polisario leadership that the notables and Sheikhs held their meeting in the Aousserd camp, a meeting that adds to the disarray of the Polisario and Algeria which were dealt a blow when the Security Council adopted last April Resolution 2218 that they deemed very disappointing.

This being said, the alternative proposed by the Sahrawi notables is extremely timely as an attempt to overcome the stalemate and get out the Sahara dossier out of the deadlock fabricated by the Polisario and Algeria.

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