Mohamed Abdelaziz’s Death to Have no Impact on Western Sahara Conflict

deces-abdelazizIn Morocco, Western Sahara pundits are pretty sure that the death Tuesday, May 31, of the head of the Polisario, Mohamed Abdelaziz, will have no genuine impact on the course of the territorial conflict between the Kingdom and neighboring Algeria.

For a Moroccan official who spoke on Wednesday in Rabat, under the cover of anonymity, the disappearance of the Polisario leader is “a non-event” from the political standpoint and will have no impact on the Moroccan Sahara issue.

Mohamed Abdelaziz was, as his successor will be, an “extra and not the real actor in the Sahara issue, which was and which remains managed elsewhere,” said the Moroccan official, alluding to Algiers that retains overall control of this conflict inherited from the cold war era.

Another specialist of Maghreb Affairs explains that the settlement of this dispute goes inexorably through Algiers, as long as the survival of the separatist Front continues to depend, politically and financially, on the Algerian state.

The civilian and military rulers of Algiers have never ever authorized the Polisario leadership to freely decide which ways and means to adopt to reach a consensual political settlement of the conflict created out of nothing in the 70s by the late Algerian President Houari Boumediene, in connivance with Libya’s Moammar Khaddafi, to harm the interests of the kingdom of Morocco.

Former founding members of the Polisario, who quitted the Front and returned to Morocco years ago, uphold the same rationale.

One of these dissidents, Mohamed Ali El Admi, aka Omar Hadrami, said Wednesday in an interview with the Moroccan e-journal that the Algerian military have never allowed the Polisario leader (Mohamed Abdelaziz) to get in touch with Morocco.

Hadrami argued that it is imperative to put an end to this Algerian overall tutelage so that direct negotiations can be held between Morocco and the future Polisario leadership.

Echoing him, another Polisario founding member, Bachir Dkhil from the powerful Rguibate tribe told the website “Yabiladi that the late Mohamed Abdelaziz, who is from the same tribe as Dkhil and whose family lives in Kasba Tadla in central Morocco, was kept in power for 40 years by Algerian leaders for two main reasons.

Firstly, his closeness to Algeria. He is even registered in the Tindouf birth records. Secondly, he was always ready to blindly follow the policies and directives of Algerian leaders.

Bachir Dkhil underlined that Abdelaziz’s course was peppered with mistakes and that under his leadership, the issue has not made the slightest progress.

Algeria “does not care about the Tindouf camps populations that have been living in dreadful conditions for 40 years. Finding a solution to the conflict is not included in Algeria’s agenda,” he said.

Bachir Dkhil recalled that on May 1, 1976, former President Houari Boumediene said during a political rally that the Sahara issue “is a thorn in Morocco’s side,” which means that the main objective of Boumediene’s clan, which is still running Algeria, “is to perpetuate the conflict, not solve it.”


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