Friday, April 27, 2007

Western Sahara is hot subject at the U.S Congress

After weeks of intense lobbying from Morocco, Polisario, and their respective allies, Representatives have sent two different letters to the President. The first one calls for a referendum and considers the Autonomy plan as a violation of International law. 45 congressmen signed it. The second letter calls for the support of the Autonomy plan considering it a historic opportunity to solve the conflict. According to will (I don't have the will to count), 180 congressmen signed that one.
I am not sure if the letters are still being signed, but it seems that pretty much it with signatures. I think these two letters show that the Western Sahara conflict is not a forgotten case in the American Congress and that there are people who care about the issue. However, the second (or maybe the real) significance of the letters is the demonstration of force. Unfortunately, an important point wen't missing in both documents : a call to bring the involved parties to negotiate.


At 10:31 AM, Blogger Will said...

Regarding those signature numbers, more like according to Morocco Board. I didn't have the will to count, either.

Glad to have you back blogging!

At 6:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder what is the price morocco is offering in return for The jewish lobby in the US congress. Recognizing the Stete of Isreal and the permission to open an embassy in Rabat?
Mohamed Brahim

At 9:56 PM, Blogger Chasli said...

I really don't understand why people keep calling for negotiations. Plenty of negotiations took place in the 90's between the parties. The Polisario compromised and compromised and compromised until they were strong-armed into signing on to Baker II which, in allowing most of the illegal settlers to vote, is horribly stacked against the Polisario. And what does Morocco do? They reject Baker II and pull the referendum on independence off the table. As long as independence is off the table, it seems to me that there is absolutely nothing left to negotiate. There is something totally surreal about everyone screaming negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. Again, as things stand for the Polisario THERE IS NOTHING LEFT TO NEGOTIATE -- not to mention that even if there were, Morocco has proven itself to be a totally untrustworthy negotiating partner, so why bother. The US and France, in particular, by refusing to pressure Morocco to honor its agreements and obligations is telling the Polisario in no uncertain terms that their right to self-determination can only be achieved through violence. Autonomy is a non-starter and the Polisario has treated it as such. Negotiations without preconditions. This is just posturing by rapacious Moroccan officials and agents, compromised US State department people, ignorant Congressman, and weak-kneed UN officials to cover up the fact that the Western Saharans are being thrown to the sharks. Negotiations? Screw negotiations.

At 10:32 PM, Blogger StudentintheUS said...

Chasli, I would still call for negotiations, at least to avoid to return to war. I think that bringing both parties to talk to each other may ease the tensions and, who knows, get them to agree on something, whatever little it is.
I was glad to hear today, Sunday 29th that Polisario has officially announced that it accepts negotiations with Morocco under UN supervision. Why don't we give it a chance and see ?

At 10:53 PM, Anonymous WSO said...

Why don't we give it a chance and see ?

Because of thew same reasons outlined earlier by chasli.
Negociations will take nowhere as long as Morocco violates every siungle agreement it had signed.
That's why !

At 11:07 PM, Blogger StudentintheUS said...

Chasli and WSO, if you don't agree on negotiations, something that both parties have now accepted to do, what realistic suggestions do you have ?

At 10:28 AM, Anonymous WSO said...


One realistic -legal, just and fair - suggestion?
How about a RE-FE-REN-DUM !!!!

At 12:23 PM, Blogger StudentintheUS said...

It's a great idea. Practically, who has, in 2007, the right to vote on the future of the Western Sahara ?

At 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoever is the UN list from the Spanish census of 1974 and their relatives, descendants, etc.

The list is available and could be used for that purpose.

At 12:43 PM, Blogger Chasli said...

For over a decade after the cease fire agreement in 1991, Rabat tried to convince the world that their refusal to allow the referendum was based on the inability of the 2 parties to come to an agreement on who would vote in a referendum.

The Polisario's signing on to Baker II forced Rabat to reveal their true colors, which they promptly did by rejecting Baker II. Remember that in Baker II, the Polisario pretty much gave in to all Rabat's demands regarding the voter list by allowing the list to be expanded to include most of the settlers, who outnumbered the WS inhabitants (based on the Spanish census) by some 2 to 1.

In other words, Baker II forced Rabat to admit that no matter what the voter list was, no matter how stacked in their favor it was, no matter how much the Polisario gave in to their demands, they were just not going to allow a referendum on independence to take place.

So to the question of studentintheus about "Practically, who has, in 2007, the right to vote on the future of the Western Sahara ?", according to Morocco no one has the right to vote. And according to the Polisario: while clearly they would prefer (as anonymous says) "Whoever is [on]the UN list from the Spanish census of 1974 and their relatives, descendants, etc.," they have clearly indicated that they are willing to accept a far broader list.

As long as Rabat sticks to their stance that NO voting on independence is acceptable, the question of voter lists is I would say irrelevant.

And while we're on the question of voter lists, it is truly revolting how the UN, and the US for that matter, instead of rewarding the Polisario for their flexibility on the voter list question, chooses instead to play along with Morocco's autonomy silliness.

Sure, a referendum is the right answer to all of this, but realistically for the Polisario they're getting close to the either/or decision to give up the struggle or return to war. And I've seen no indication that giving up the struggle is in the cards.

At 6:35 PM, Blogger StudentintheUS said...

Good points Chasli, I am not too familiar with the vote details...Anyway, hope that the expected negotiations will bring some common grounds.

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