Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Western Sahara at the House of Commons

Yesterday, the British House of Commons (equivalent to the U.S House of Representatives) held a debate on the Western Sahara conflict where Representatives strongly defended their points of vue. The discussion deals mainly with the referendum, the fisherie agreement between Morocco and the European Union, and human rights. It's worth reading if you have time. In fact, this debate is a typical model of the discussions that you find about the Western Sahara. The traditionnal issues of the sahrawis allegiance, the referendum, and the refugee camps in Algeria are raised and two different parties strongly defend their position. I saw that before. Isn't it time to think about the issue in a new and creative way ?
Picture link courtesy of

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The voice of wisdom

According to this newswire, U.N Secretary Genaral Kofi Annan has called, on Tuesday, for direct talks between Morocco and the Polisario Front in order to overcome the current deadlock of the Western Sahara conflict. Annan insisted that there should be no preconditions for such negotiations.
From a general point of vue, a call for negotiations or for any form of discussion is a positive step towards the resolution of conflicts. I know that previous discussions have been held between the two parties on the US soil in the 1990's, so I hope that any eventual negotiation will have a better outcome. Morocco and Polisario Front should do concessions and review their ideological positions in order to solve this conflict. Leaders can stop the suffering of the Sahrawis in the camps. So, stop dogmatizing and open your hearts and minds to the voice of wisdom.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The U.N 4th committee says: see you next year.

During the 61st U.N General Assembly, the 4th committee has adopted on Friday the 13th, a new resolution on the Western Sahara issue. The resolution ends with an invitation to the U.N Secretary General to submit a report about the implementation of this new/old year.
Thanks Abdallah Baali (Algeria representative to the U.N, 1st picture) thanks El Mostafa Sahel (Morocco representative to the U.N, 2nd picture) for that wonderful debate that solved the Sahara problem and gave the international community an appointement... for next year.
I said in a previous posting that the Sahrawis will wait a long time if they think the U.N will solve their problem. The analysis of the vote debate reveals the Algerian and Moroccan "behind the scenes" work. For Sahrawis who aren't living in the refugee camps, this resolution doesn't change many things, but for those still in the camps, that's tough. A "next year" invitation means another year of living under harsh conditions, another freezing nights, another blindness from lack of medical treatment, another waiting for humanitarian aid, another waste of time. Not all Sahrawis though are living under the same conditions. Those living in Morocco, Mauritania, Spain or elsewhere enjoy the benefits and comfort of modern cities. They should not forget their brothers and sisters. I think it's time for them to SPEAK. Say what you want, Express yourself, Solve the problem. This conflict has to end.
Pictures links courtesy of and

Friday, October 13, 2006

No offense !

My last comment was a little tough on the parties involved in the Sahara issue. This conflict is consuming so much time and efforts from the region. If these resources have been used in a wise way, it would have helped all the region to prosper.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Is the U.N useful ?

The 4th committee meeting regarding the Western Sahara gave Morocco and the Polisario the ability to express, again, their position through their allies. In a diplomatic show seriously prepared behind the scene between Algeria and Morocco, different countries will, more or less, define their position regarding the Western Sahara issue. Some will call for a referendum, some for independence, some for the protection of the Moroccan integrity. At the end, Algerian, Moroccan and Front Polisario medias will strongly praise their allies' position. That's it !
The parties have saved their face and the usual passionate news wires have been sent to their population to calm it down and let it know that the necessary (show) has been perfectly done.
Again, who is suffering the most ? PEOPLE. Normal people. Women, men and children in the camps and elsewhere.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The silent suffering

Washington has lately hosted a series of lobbying events from Morocco and the Polisario Front. It started with Aminatou Haidar, presented as a sahrawi activist. Defense Forum Foundation organized a reception at the Hill where Haidar detailed the violation of her human rights by the Moroccan authorities. Later, some twenty congressmen sent a letter to Condoleeza Rice asking her to put pressure on Morocco regarding the situation of human rights in the Sahara. Morocco's answer was quick, a delegation from several Sahrawis tribes visited the Capitol and met with congressmen to present the autonomy project.
Leaving the political arena aside, I am thinking about the Sahrawi women, men, and children still living in refugee camps in Algeria. Is Polisario or Morocco thinking about them ? Does Polisario or Morocco count the refugees in Tindouf as a crisis that should be solved ASAP or as a card to play with in Washington and Geneva ?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Young Sahrawis want to leave the camps in Algeria

I just read this article about the Sahrawis in Algeria. It's rare to hear anything directly from or about them. The article basically says that 87% of young sahrawis want to leave the camps for a better life.
I wonder if it is possible to find a similar survey about the Sahrawis living in Morocco. Do they have the same wish ?