Sahara Conflict History

The Polisario Front, created in 1973, was named "Polisario", or the liberation front of Essaquia al Hamra and Oued Eddahab.  The armed branch is called the Armée de Libération populaire sahraouie (ALPS) / Sahraoui Popular Liberation Army.   The group of people who founded the Polisario consisted of young Moroccans of Sahraoui origin continuing their studies at Mohammed V University in Rabat.
Nevertheless, the misfortunes imposed on the creators of the Polisario cannot be ignored by anyone, especially those who themselves went through the same experience.
It must always be recalled that they were a group of some thirty young university students all coming from Morocco's southern provinces, who decided to take destiny into their own hands.
At that time they took advantage of the Moussem being held in Tan-Tan to demonstrate in the tiny streets of this "city" which was not really one, and as they smashed the balance established over twelve years' time, the response wasted no time in coming. The Caïd of this district ordered the incarceration of these last minute trouble makers, and as there was no jail to speak of, a temporary facility was improvised and they were thrown into an attic of about 12 square meters in size, made of adobe and with only one low-lying narrow door and without windows in an atmosphere of intense heat. None could help recalling the tough life and the courage that led to this situation.
They lived like their mothers and fathers in incredible, degrading, debasing and inhuman conditions. In this tiny place there were no tarred roads, sidewalks, no running water, no sanitation, no electricity, no investment and, of course, no work.  In a nutshell, could anyone say that this region was a part of the mother country?
These noteworthy people, the sons of heroes and themselves members of the glorious national liberation army, who came to claim the fruits of their victory, from one day to the next were cooped up in attics without the slightest comfort, sleeping on the floor without rugs or even a mat, and under makeshift roofs. 
They were able to survive by national aid thanks to the distribution of bags of flour, distilled to the last drop, and the irony is that the more one squealed on one's neighbor, the better one was seen and considered and less exposed to hunger. So farewell to dignity!!!
It is in this state of abject misery that these brave warriors, their descendents and sometime their ascendants have been vegetating since the ECOUVILLON operation threw them into positions without hope of getting out.

 Thousands came seeking freedom, happiness and peace in dignity.  Alas, nothing of that was obtained, and it is in this world forgotten by all the local and regional authorities that these thirty university people tried to make themselves heard and make known the predicament of their social, economic, cultural and political situation!
One must not underestimate the contempt and hate that the administrative authorities felt towards these young folks who came out of goodness knows where and who would neither submit or be resigned like their parents. They were criticized for expressing their opinions and manifesting some disagreement with the dictates of the Caïd.
How could they dare defy the power of the invisible governor construed as an untouchable edifice?
How could they pretend that they had the audacity to say aloud what their families thought in secret?
How did they get the courage of those without hope lifting up their heads to the shins of the local Khalifa?
To cool off these "hot heads", nothing was better than to give them a good thrashing, and not by just anyone, especially not by a gendarme or policeman.  . No, they did not deserve this privilege, better to suspend them, shut them up, deprive them from food, let them suffocate and suffer martyrdom while awaiting the arrival of the mobile Makhzen, stationed at more than two hundred kilometers to the north (at Bouizakarne) coming to torture and humiliate them, making them suffer the sharp burning and the pain of being defenseless, thrashed by those considered as the most inhuman and mediocre of the police force.
The younger and even youngest did not understand what happened as their only misdemeanor or, better said, their only crime was that one day they became more aware than their parents and on the eve of that catastrophe walked through the narrow street of the little township of Tan-Tan.
They demonstrated so that Morocco could regain, or at least do something to regain its Sahara, the condition for improving this state of affairs considered to be unbearable and of the deepest despair.
It is confronted by this incomprehension, this citizenship experienced like one of third class, that their revolt became destructive and devastating, that the hate became greater in their hearts and minds.
The most extreme, due to their lack of patience and because they were the most affected by the tenants of progressiveness, in other words those who were the most excited and attached to the ideology then current in our country, that is to say, the one seeking the destruction, attempting accelerate the pace of sudden change.      
In a word, they were those who were incapable of distinguishing the chaff from the grain in the turmoil of the 1970s in Morocco. Those who didn't have the time with hindsight to discern what is tantamount in the exercise of power, to little local authorities, of what is the responsibility of the central government.
Those who were convinced that they were going to remain eternally misunderstood and decided to make themselves heard by the use of force. In short, the most idealistic who believed in world revolution by Che Guevara or Fidel Castro, decided to break with their past and the negation of their origins as well as those of their ancestors.
The order was given to the most vulnerable among them to disperse or disappear so as to escape from evening roundups, to meet with certain officials under different skies, to take revenge on their lost honor and to return to the hangman the blows that he had no qualms about inflicting, and that with good reason!!
The person in charge of this cataclysm was quickly searched out, and at what level of the hierarchy was he?
The response left room for no doubt, the Khalifa is a nobody, as is the Caïd, the gendarme and policeman are not decision-makers nor are the poor Mokhaznis. As for the governor, he is "untouchable" and anyway the person no one wants to admit having seen or heard one day to bear witness to his actual existence, none of this staff can be held responsible for the misfortunes of this «human muddle ».
No, the responsible person is the one who allowed this vermin of local officials, act like lions in this desert, left to fend for himself.
This responsibility can fall upon no other entity than Moroccan administration itself and must be accounted for by the entire system, by all those officials, all those representatives and generally by those who had the right and possibility of saying something about it!
So vengeance has to be taken against this State that was unable or worse, unwilling, to protect its most deprived citizens, while they can claim having been among the most faithful, and the decision became an ideal and even a myth, that unfortunately over time became an illusion giving rise to a full fledged nightmare.
In the early 70s these young university people from the Sahara had legitimate political, economic and social demands.  But they were domestic in nature and occurred in a strictly Moroccan framework.
These demands came to the fore at a difficult time in Moroccan history when the Government was facing tough external and internal pressure.  It can be said without doubt, that at that time, i.e. during the 70s, there was no power or political forces in Morocco that could positively respond to a demand of a regional nature, as legitimate as it might be.
At that time, Morocco was facing enormous internal and external challenges. Priorities were elsewhere, given the circumstances in that era.  They were marked by the antagonistic context of cold war, as well as continuous and interminable inter Arab conflicts.
For this reason, a part of this group of Moroccan university people from the Sahara studying in Rabat, was moved by a spirit of vengeance, following the repression of the demonstration in Tan-Tan, the incarcerations, and ensuing ill treatment.
The ill treatment led these young university people to enter into alliances with other countries, in a context of the cold war and inter Arab and inter African conflicts. At that time such alliances were allowable.
These university students expressed their vengeance against their country of origin, in other words Morocco, from whence all their ancestors come.
Their parents struggled tirelessly in the liberation army to free the country from the nation where these young people from the Sahara did their studies.
Their fathers defended with force Sultan Mohammed V and swore allegiance to his son, the late King Hassan II.
A bit more discernment would have been necessary.  Never to be forgotten was that the Moroccan authorities who during the demonstration in Tan-Tan in 1972, were the origin of the ill treatment, torture and persecution of these young university people; and also behind two attempted government overthrows.
That is the picture of the great contradictions of Morocco in the 1970s.  
Nevertheless, all these riots had no effect on the normal course of history, simply because the Sahara affair has to do with de-colonization between Morocco and Spain.
Prior to coming under the protectorate of two colonial powers, France and Spain, Morocco had to gradually and in successive steps, recuperate the part of the territory under Spanish administration, beginning with the North and Tangier in 1956, Tarfaya and Tan Tan in 1958, Sidi Ifni in 1969 and the Sahara in 1975. This is written in course of history.
That was always the case with our neighbor and friend, Spain.  All our conflicts with this country concerning the end of the protectorate were solved by negotiation and pacific arrangements.
The adversaries of Morocco, who aided and abetted the conflict in the Sahara and opposed Morocco's territorial integrity, by funding and helping the Polisario, prepared in advance this opposition to Morocco.   
This led to Algeria's acceptance of this movement on its territory in Tindouf, due to the differences existing at that time between Morocco and Algeria with regard to common borders and when Morocco signed an agreement with Spain in compliance with the historical relations that had always existed between the two countries.
Moreover, Morocco recovered its Sahara through negotiations and consensus, in accordance usual process followed with Spain.
With Morocco having recovered is southern provinces, the Polisario found nothing better to do than to park the Sahraoui population in camps set up on Algerian territory, called refugee camps or sometimes referred to under fictitious names such and the camps of Laayoune, Smara, ’Aouserd, or Dakhla.
The Polisario lied and manipulated the segment of the population placed in  Tindouf, Algeria. All Sahraouis know that in November and December 1975, the Polisario asked many people to attend the meetings in Gueltat Zemmour and when they came, they were asked them to organize another meeting in Bir Lahlou. After they were incited to come to Tindouf in view of trapping them and never letting them out.
Unfortunately, mostly due to the lack of means of transport, they remained trapped in Tindouf and there they remain. Many realized that they were trapped and did everything they could to return home to Samara, Laayoune, Dakhla and Aouserd.
All Sahraouis know about that, at least those who were over 15 years of age at that time.  The Polisario planned and carried out the setting up of camps on Algerian territory.
Why did the Polisario create these camps and keep them adrift in territory that is not their own by taking hostage of people with no identity cards, restricted from freedom of movement?
These populations are under surveillance night and day by the Polisario which recruits their children in schools where they are taught nothing but hate and despair. 
One asks oneself what the humanly acceptable reasons are that let the heads of the Polisario hold people against their will in these camps for over thirty years now? What is the real objective? Are these people being used as bargaining chips? 
It is easy to conclude that without the existence of these camps, there never would have been a politico-military movement called "Polisario".
The existence of the Polisario is connected to the very existence of these camps.  But this policy can lead nowhere other than to simply drifting away.
The very existence of these camps on a hostile territory and in subhuman conditions over such a long period is a flagrant infringement of human rights.
By what right is it possible to keep people living under tents for more than thirty years?  By what right can people be kept from moving freely? By what right can children be recruited and inculcated with hate and despair? By what right can people be impeded from living just like everyone else? By what right can a part of the Sahraoui population be forced to live in camps?
By what right can human misery be sold to international charitable organizations?
These are outright infringements on the most important human rights as they affect the very essence of humans and the right to choose and to seek fulfillment for one's self and for one's family.
The Polisario has constantly and deliberately violated the most elementary human rights for over 30 years.
For more than 25 years it has held Moroccan prisoners separated from their families and relatives in conditions of unbearable suffering.
Why does so much suffering have to be inflicted on these prisoners, who are human beings too? Why to have held them for more than 25 years in unlivable conditions and under the physical, psychological and moral torture that to the say the least, that implies?
Just so many questions and not even one justifiable reply.
This movement was obliged to free them without any political counterpart.
The Polisario then set up its Headquarters in Hassi Rabouni, in Tindouf and since 1976 has taken over the names of certain people without any legal, historical or legitimate foundations and without the slightest consultation of the Sahraouis themselves.
The Polisario is a political and military movement that has instituted a system similar to that which exited in ex-totalitarian countries with single party systems, sole institutions and structures, and sole bureaucracies with everything wrapped up in one-track thinking.
It began armed control over the population using food aid as a tool for permanent blackmail and control of people in the camps by strict physical, psychological and moral domination akin to political commissaries for each activity and service.
The front instituted methods of denunciation as a method of control and permanent enlistment, or more particularly, brainwashing of both the young and adults, as well as the falsification of history and the manipulation of events and as a general rule teaching hate.
The Polisario is the product of another era prior the collapse of the totalitarian system when the world began to see change starting 1991.  But it has remained apart from such changes: no free elections, no democracy, no plurality, no freedom of expression, no free opinions and no civil society. It totally clamped down on everything and partitioned off structures to make them seemingly last forever. All the political or politico-military type movements similar to the Polisario have disappeared from the world since the fall of the Berlin wall. Either they have chanted name or disintegrated by themselves, or they have created new structures corresponding to the new globalized, free and democratic world.
The Polisario, which considers itself independent, a so-called Democratic Sahraoui Arab Republic (RASD), while referring to the land liberated by Morocco in the Western Sahara as occupied territories.
The so-called « RASD » is in flagrant contradiction with the request by the Polisaro for a referendum on self-determination.
How can a referendum on self-determination by all Sahraouis be called and in advance to their desire and determination by creating an entity without the slightest moral, historical or democratic basis?
This refers to the processes followed by totalitarian and anti-democratic movements. The old and very well known rule answering in the name of the people, questions they were never asked. The unilateral proclamation by the Polisario of the « RASD » is in flagrant violation to international law. This tantamount to failure to respect the will of the people and the rules of democracy, as well as the deliberate and premeditated attempt to procure political gain by cheating and underhanded methods.
This is why the Polisario discredited the request for free self-determination of the Sahraoui people. It engaged in manipulation by replying in advance of the people themselves.
It could never be said that it will respect what the Sahraouis will decide and respond in their place in advance. No one could say they are honest and respond in the place of others.  One cannot claim weakness, and then cheat on the principles.
One cannot say that the right to self determination of people and to decide on their future freely without any pressure from any party whatsoever and discredit one's self by replying in advance that this is an issue that has not yet been dealt with.
One cannot say that one is honest if one has cheated in advance.
The « RASD » has no territorial existence, it is set up in Tindouf, Algeria and has no people, as the only one it disposes of are among the sequestered people in the camps, held and controlled to their great dismay; it is not the result of an election.
It has not attribute of sovereignty, exists only on Internet and in fictitious institutions on the territory of a foreign country.
The Polisario, which has set up in Tindouf, fictitious institutions such as the Sahraoui government, the red crescent (CRS), the union of Sahraoui women, the Union of Sahraoui youth, and spare no effort in organizing on Algerian soil festivities commemorated under the names of: 27 February, 10 May, 20 May or the 12th of October.
Upon its creation, the Polisario appointed its first secretary general, Chahid el Ouali, who took over in the place of Mohamed Abdelaziz, thereafter called president, secretary general or chief of the Polisario. The front also managed to create propaganda media in support of these separatist ideas, i.e. the  "Sahraoui press agency », (SPS), « Radio Sahara » and « Radio Polisario » dedicated body and soul to the absolute chimera of the Sahara.
Indeed, after it lost the war and following failure of the referendum project, which incidentally is impossible to hold as all the borders have to be changed, the Polisario began to a say, to anyone willing to listen, that the Sahara is a territory occupied by Morocco and that this region is subjected to all the forms of political repression and violation of human rights.
The Polisario is absolutely in no position to preach to anyone else on human rights.
Everyone knows that the borders in the northwest region of Africa, in particular with regard to the confines of Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and Mali were drawn with a ruler in conjunction with the sharing of these African territories between France and Spain.
The current borders are based on no logical or valid geographical, human or other criteria.  It can be said without fault, that they are borders drawn arbitrarily at the time of the split up. This is the real reason behind the failure of the referendum project.
Sahraouis are found not only in Morocco.  The entire southwestern part of Algeria, from Bechar to the borders of Mauritania and Mali is a region peopled by Sahraoui tribes. The entire northwestern part of the territory of Mauritania is also, as is the far north of Mali between Timbuktu and the border with Algeria at Taoudenni.
For this reason, to hold a free, democratic, fair and honest referendum on self-determination allowing all Sahraouis to express an opinion on their future as promoted by the United Nations in its plan for an initial settlement indispensable for changing the borders of the four relevant countries, i.e. Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria and Mali, in such a way as the Sahraoui populations and their old and current historical geographical sphere could be determined.
Such changes in borders are obviously impossible, illogical and irresponsible.  Therefore, a referendum on identification is also impossible to conduct. Any attempt at organizing one is a deliberate bid to lengthen the conflict and the unneeded suffering of the populations.
Along the same lines, the Polisario did not hesitate to create more completely fabricated institutions with the complicity of certain anti Moroccan individuals for diverse reasons, such as associations for friendship with the Sahraoui people, human rights associations, associations for solidarity with the Sahraoui people, associations for solidarity with the RASD, humanitarian aid associations, the Chahid el Ouali Association, the Oum Driga Association, the association of friends of the Western Sahara, or the friends of the Sahraoui people.
Although the United Nation Organization (UNO) has decided on the impossibility of organizing a referendum in the Sahara without changing borders, the Polisario resorted to inventing the issues of self-determination arguing that thereby, through the referendum, this could only lead to separatism.
However, the UN Charter, the ultimate international jurisprudence, stipulates that self-determination must take account of the territorial integrity and unity, so autonomy remains one of the best solutions for self-determination.         
This type of autonomy exists in the most highly developed Western countries across the world.
For this reason, the international community pounded the Organization of African Unity (OAU)), accused of having deliberately violated international law by recognizing the so-called « RASD », like the institution that filled in for it, the African Union (UA) which also deviated from international law by recognizing an entity that was declared by a politico-military movement and not on the basis of a consultation by referendum.
On the other hand, the remainder of international organizations like the UN, non aligned countries, the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the European Union (EU), and the Asian Union categorically refused to reject international law and complied with the resolutions of the UN security council, in other words, the attempt to look for a political and consensual solution to the sterile conflict in the Sahara, through negotiation and dialogue.
Indeed, this conflict impeded the construction of the Arab Maghreb Union, (UMA), hindering any form of agreement between the neighboring sister countries, Morocco and Algeria, while keeping Sahraoui families from returning home to live among their own.
It also created a center of tension in the northwest of Africa encouraged by the proliferation of human traffic, in particular in the form of clandestine immigration, weapons trafficking, drugs, the deviation of goods in the camps as well as the appearance of terrorism.
The UN often sends to these camps delegations fro the World Food Program (WFP) and the High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to inquire on the poor management and deviation of humanitarian aid coming from these institutions and the European Humanitarian Aid Organization (ECHO), in principle, intended for the camp detainees.
Deviation of humanitarian aid has been confirmed by several international non-governmental organizations, in particular the « US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) », the Fondation France-Libertés and the European Strategic Intelligence And Security Center (ESISC).
These organizations several times have attracted the attention of the International Community on the phenomenon of deviation and its impact on the humanitarian situation of the populations held in the camps of Tindouf, in Algeria.
In spite of this unfortunate affair, the Polisario could still come to a settlement and return to reason.  It is of no use to be stubborn and remain in error.  Extremists have never won out anywhere.
Today, history enables the Polisario to come to an agreement both honorable and to the advantage of our people and families.
Today, history enables the Polisario to open the road to hope, to make people forget the suffering, the errors and moral failures of the past. 
Today, history offers a golden opportunity for the Polisario to accept the only solution possible, indeed the best one, i.e. political autonomy under the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Morocco.
If it has the slightest bit of feeling or respect for the Sahraouis, it should readily seize this historic opportunity.
The Polisario has to get out of the trap it finds itself in and must not serve the interests of anyone else or be used as a thorn in the sides of the Kingdom of Morocco to obtain political hegemony.



1. What do you think about Autonomy Plan for Western Sahara proposed by Morocco ?

Submit Survey  View Results
Home   |  Sahara History   |  Geography   |  Hassani Heritage  |  Social Affairs  |  Economy  |  Infrastructure Institutions  |  Contact
  Copyright © CORCAS 2024 - All Rights Reserved