Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Towards the end

The recent weeks have witnessed intense diplomatic efforts from Morocco to lobby for its autonomy plan. Moroccan cabinet members have toured the world capitals (Washington, Paris, Moscow, Beijing, Ryad, Cairo, Tripoli, and others) to gather support for their plan. Polisario leader also came to New york and Washington while sending his foreign minister to Cuba. Regardless of what practical solution each party is suggesting, it seems that the Western Sahara is heading towards something.
A major pressure is being put by Morocco to adopt the autonomy and close the subject forever. If it happens, the Polisario may be in a difficult position. I suppose that Algeria will be too as it will be stuck with thousands of armed Polisario soldiers within its territory. Polisario may count on an uprising of its supporters withing the Moroccan controlled part of the Western Sahara, but there is no strong indication of their number and strength.
I personally think that the current population of the Western Sahara will be the decisive card in this issue. Who ever wins the heart of the sahrawis will win Western Sahara, so let's see who is smarter.

Friday, March 02, 2007

One month and few days left

Here we are again, approaching the 6 months deadline that was set by the U.N Security Council to find a solution to the Western Sahara issue. Morocco has announced the autonomy plan and some details started to show up in the press. We learn that the Sahara will have a chief of state, a cabinet, and a parliament. Moroccan officials have also toured a number of capitals including Washington to introduce their plan. The Polisario kept its usual position, refusing anything but a referendum. Algeria is also on the same tone: we are not a part of the conflict and we support the self-determination of people. Based on the latest news, it seems that the Kingdom is very enthusiastic about its autonomy plan and is determined to go ahead with it.
I personally think that, at least recently, Algeria didn't do much to help solve that conflict. Its position as a host and main supporter of the Polisario enables it to have a strong mediation role between the two parties. A role that it didn't fulfill and the refugees have been sitting, LITERALLY, in the camps for decades now. The humanitarian aspect of the Western Sahara conflict has not been given its right value; however, I am not surprised. Third world countries, i.e under-developed, i.e in development (choose one as you wish) have in common, to certain degree, a disregard for their population and for Time.
I fear that the refugees' camps in Tindouf have become a card that everybody try to play with and get the most of it. Instead of solutions that help refugees to get a stable life and a prosper future, you see pictures, disputed numbers, and powerless humans waiting for international help to survive.