Thursday, April 12, 2007

What's a Polisario? (Part 2)

The month following the release of the 404 POWs by the Polisario Front, Oscar Corral writes his piece for the Miami Herald when former refugees of the Polisario Front-controlled camps visit Miami. Oscar mentions that this visit is "part of an effort by the Moroccan government to discredit the Polisario Front." Oscar also attempts to summarize the conflict between Morocco and the Polisario, but concedes that "the story of the the Sahawari [sic] plight is complex." All historical conflicts are complex, so we must look at the facts.

In 1975, Spain was prepared to hand over the Western Sahara to the Sahrawi people after the International Court of Justice decided that the territory belonged to no one, and a UN mission had found that the majority of the Sahrawis wanted independence and self-determination. Those two decisions were ignored as the Moroccan government (with full support of the US and France) invaded Western Sahara with a "peaceful" Green March of about 350,000 unarmed Moroccan citizens. But, this "peaceful" invasion was secretly arranged with the Spanish government as they had a hand in the administrative authority for the new Western territory. UN Security Council resolutions were passed in order to call for the withdrawal of the Moroccan government, but these calls were ignored.

According to the Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies (ICCAS) and the Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP), the Moroccan government was merely "reclaiming" their sovereignty over the Western Sahara (which they really had no legal claim to), of which they felt was based on "loyalty" to the Moroccan sultan as spiritual leader and ruler. And thus the Polisario Front was a "challenge" to that "loyalty" that had to be crushed. Well, a long war ensued throughout the eighties.

By 1982, the Polisario Front was near the brink of victory and independence until the US stepped in with military aid to the Kingdom of Morocco. The Reagan administration slapped the Polisario Front with the communist name-tag, and increased military funding from $30 million to $100 million for 1983. The US would be in total support of the Moroccan government and its King who was considered "one of Washington's best friends in the Arab world."

[Part 3]

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