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The Moroccan magic formula for Western Sahara

By Kamal Fadel - posted Thursday, 22 March 2007

In April the UN Security Council will discuss the issue of Western Sahara and assess the first report of the new UN Secretary General on this issue.

Western Sahara is the last colony in Africa. In violation of UN resolutions and a verdict of the International Court of Justice, Morocco invaded and occupied the territory in 1975 following Spain’s withdrawal after almost 100 years of colonial domination.

The UN has been trying to resolve the issue through the organisation of a referendum of self-determination but Morocco has managed to hamper and frustrate all UN peace efforts. UN presence in the Territory has lasted 16 years and cost so far over US$600 million.


In recent months Morocco has increased its diplomatic campaign to “sell” its unilateral “autonomy” proposal to the members of the UN Security Council and the world at large.

Morocco has dispatched delegations to all the four corners of the world and engaged lobbyists and commentators to join its “epic” battle to win the hearts and minds of the influential members of the UN.

This “autonomy” proposal is not a new idea. It is what Morocco has been seeking to achieve since its invasion of Western Sahara in 1975. The aim is to keep Western Sahara under Moroccan sovereignty. It is a pseudo solution, undemocratic and aims to hijack the Saharawis’ right to self-determination.

The proposal is doomed to fail because it flagrantly denies the Saharawis their inalienable right to self-determination which is guaranteed under the UN Charter and provided for in many UN resolutions.

Morocco cannot decide the future of the Saharawis for them because that will be contrary to the UN doctrine of decolonisation. The Moroccan proposal is a dangerous attempt to derail the peace process in Western Sahara. It is an adventure towards the unknown and the UN Security must not support it.

Morocco wants to legitimise its grab of Western Sahara because it is rich in natural resources and large in size. Morocco has used lucrative trade agreements with Western countries, involving Saharawi resources, in order to garner support for its colonial ambitions.


The response to the Moroccan “new” proposal has been lukewarm that is why Morocco is now trying to link, Polisario, the independence movement, to terrorism and play on the fear card. Recently the Moroccan Justice Minister alleged that there is some co-operation between al-Qaida and Polisario.

During the Cold War in order to support its illegal invasion of Western Sahara, Morocco claimed that Polisario was part of a Communist plot to topple the monarchy in Morocco. Now the alleged Communists of yesteryear have been rebadged as Islamic extremists!

The new Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, and the Security Council, have a real chance to resolve this straight-forward but long lasting issue by insisting that Morocco allow the UN sponsored referendum to take place.

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About the Author

Kamal Fadel is the Polisario Representative to Australia. He has been in the Polisario Front foreign relations corps since 1986 and has served in India, Iran and the UK, as a Saharawi diplomat.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Kamal Fadel
Related Links
Australia Western Sahara Association
Western Sahara online

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