Thursday, April 12, 2007

What's a Polisario? (Part 4)

Just this week both Morocco and the Polisario Front presented their new peace plans to the United Nations. These are plans that have been revised and debated since the 1991 ceasefire. The US has given "praise" to the Moroccan plan. The Polisario Front believes the Moroccan plan is "inadequate." It was known since the start of April that both presentations would clash at the UN.

And coincidentally, last week Oscar Corral thought it was a "good time to revisit the story of some of the victims" of the Polisario Front, in conjunction with the release of a new report by the ICCAS at the University of Miami. Unfortunately for us, both Corral and ICCAS unknowingly seem to be doing the PR work for the Moroccan government. A lucky strike for Morocco and their peace plan at the UN.

Oscar Corral's 2005 article makes a brave attempt to accurately describe the history of the Polisario/Moroccan conflict, but his real story is the plight of the former Polisario refugees and their "firsthand accusations of human-rights abuses and corruption" as victims in the camps controlled by the Polisario Front. But, this is only one side of the story. Corral acknowledges this by writing that the visit by the former refugees was "sponsored by the Moroccan government" through a group called the Moroccan American Center for Policy. And, to top it all off, our favorite Cuban-American US Representatives, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart were present at the news conference of the former Polisario refugee victims.

Corral quotes Lincoln Diaz-Balart saying: "The fact that there is an armed group such as the Polisario Front seeking power as an independent nation state in the Western Sahara, supported by terrorist regimes such as the Cuban regime is a concern."

Well, the new ICCAS report just adds more hot air. Actually, ICCAS brings no new evidence at all, just new allegations made by the Moroccan government against the Polisario Front. Since a 2001 report by ICCAS titled "Castro and Terrorism: A Chronology," the Polisario Front has already been labeled a terrorist organization along with Cuba. Now, ICCAS is basically repeating allegations by the Moroccan government saying that the Polisario Front conducts "coordination and cooperation" with an Al-Qaeda related group in North Africa. The ICCAS report sources the allegation from an AFP article from March 2007. The very same day those allegation were reported by the AFP, the Polisario Front issued a press statement calling them "grotesque lies."

[Part 5]

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