The Polisario Caught off Guard by New Political Party

salah-khatriThe Polisario leadership was expecting everything and anything except the creation of a political party by a group of young Sahrawi opponents.

It is a première in the annals of the Polisario and a challenge to the long-time leader of the Front, Mohammed Abdelaziz, who has just been re-elected for another four year term.

Dubbed Sahraoui Democratic Rally (RSD,) the new political party includes not only Sahrawis from the Tindouf camps, but also Sahrawis settled in Algeria, Mauritania, Spain and in the southern provinces of Morocco.

The RSD describes itself as an opposition party that offers “a democratic alternative” to the Polisario. It aims to “end the stagnation in which the Polisario has frozen the Sahara issue” through paving the way for “a consensual political solution serving the interest of the Maghreb.”

“Today, we have come to the conclusion that the Polisario does not represent us anymore. The fact that it continues to pretend it is representing the Sahrawis is a sham. The RSD was created to put an end to this blatant deception,” said one of the founding members of the RSD, Salah Khatri, who left the Tindouf camps and settled in France.

“After 35 years of an absolute and arbitrary power exercised with the benevolent support of Algeria, the Polisario has become a problem for the Sahrawis”, said Khatri. He added that his party “upholds peace, freedom of thought and speech in the camps as well as the right to demonstrate and to form associations and political parties.”

According to this founding member, the RSD also militates for the respect of human rights, the participation of all the components of the Tindouf camps populations in decision-making and for establishing mechanisms to monitor the distribution of foreign humanitarian aid.

The Polisario leaders who run the Tindouf camps with an iron fist, with the support and blessing of the Algerian authorities and army, have always stifled any movement or association opposed to their separatist thesis.


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