Sunday, October 9, 2011

What future for the polisario in light of the Arab Uprising?

Polisario : Victim of its own alliances

The future of the Front Polisario has been brought again on agenda after the Arab springs’ impact on the geopolitics and foreign policies of the North African and Middle Eastern states. The recent fall of the Colonel Muammar Kaddafi’s regime was the most significant turn-point which stirred suspicions as well as opportunities for the neighboring countries (Morocco and Algeria) and the Polisario front.

Worth reminding is the important role the Libyan regime played in the creation as well as the sustainability of the Polisario regime, since Kaddafi was renowned for his unconditional support to the Saharawi fighters and his long lasting animosity toward the Moroccan crown.

Be it through logistical, political or financial support, Kaddafi not only saw in supporting the Polisario an opportunity to seize in harassing the Moroccan regime, but also a duty to accomplish in the cadre of the philosophy he believed in, a mix of communism, liberating movements theory and anti-imperialistic views.
Now that Kaddafi is gone, a new approach imposes itself when dealing with the determination of the future of the Polisario and its political survival in a new diplomatically shaped area.

Since the beginning of the turmoil, the Polisario, still confused about what position to adopt toward the ongoing clashes in Libya, got hit with a major blow: Polisario mercenaries were captured fighting alongside Kaddafi’s forces!

The statement came out from NTC officials who seemed rather suspicious about any future relations with the Polisario front, a move which would deprive the group from a main ally and thus doom it to more political isolation in the Arab World and hence in the international stage.

More than it has to do with financial or military needs, the Polisario have more to fear from a deteriorating reputation which has so far monitored its foreign policy and world alliances.
This reminds me of an encounter I had in Spain with Mostapha Jarmouni, a Moroccan University professor exiled in Spain because of his political opinion on the Sahara dossier. We were discussing the future of the Western Sahara conflict in the light of the Arab uprisings, and the conclusions we draw were pretty doubtful: A future Polisario front which lacks the support of the Libyan regime will ultimately lead the Western Sahara dossier into a much more stagnating waters with no International political will to stir it up things, especially with a Front which lacks credibility and willingness to approve new democratic regimes, and which struggles alongside tyrants to shut down revolutionary waves.

Follows a good BBC Arabic show “Open Agenda” which discusses the future of the Polisario in light of the Arab Uprising:

 Mohamed Amine Belarbi

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Moroccan foreign policy: when political failure becomes a guideline

Foreign policy is a key feature in a state success or failure. The economic as well as the
military power of a nation not only shapes the foreign policy of the country, but makes use
of it in order to enhance furthermore its agenda and interests in World forums and Global

Gordon Brown World Leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Chinese President Hu Jintao, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva pose for a family photograph at the G20 summit on April 2, 2009 in London, United Kingdom. The leaders will endeavour to find measures to tackle the World’s financial crisis.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Inacio Lula Da Silva;Silvio Berlusconi;Angela Merkel;Hu Jintao;Nicolas Sarkozy;Kevin Rudd;Gordon Brown;Barack Obama

Some would argue that the foreign policy is not a result of the country’s importance and
power, but rather a choice to adopt when writing the guidelines for the nations’ political
orientation. Although relevant to some extent, nobody should omit to notice that in case you
are presented with one option, though you choose that forced choice, you are still having the
last word and making the decision, hence, the foreign policy orientation of some countries
is not a matter of choice but a clear case of fatality due to several factors: Geopolitics, social
mixture, economic interest and aspiration as well as diplomatic strategizing.

The foreign policy, in most cases, is seen by policy makers as the fertile lands where interests
are cultivated, politics are shaped and economies are being attributed fruitful markets. It is
a strong branch of the country’s’ mechanisms to expand and influence international affairs,
as well as a non-military weapon to enforce decisions and model satellite countries’ internal
policy making. Yet, few states resign in making use of the power of foreign policy, and opt
for a centralized political focus while neglecting their stance in world affairs. While it might
appear to be a neutral approach to world issues, it is in fact a state weakness and a lack of
prioritizing the nations’ vital interests in the fast growing free political interests market we
live in today.

Morocco, for example, is a case where foreign policy is not regarded as a tool to induce
change but as a compass to find out where are the directions the country has been asked to

The Moroccan presence in the international scene is almost unseen if not made fun of. The
political and geostrategic weight of the kingdom, though important to an extent of having
superpowers backing its political deviations in so many cases, be it in the Western Sahara
dossier or be it through the closed eyes policy regarding the many human rights violations
reports submitted by international organisms.

But if Morocco has so much importance in the West agenda, why doesn’t it play a major role
in international issues and in world policy shaping?
Why morocco has to play the role of the appealing market everyone have a share in while the
country can easily be the one asking for its stakes in the global scene?

Having so many options to deal with and negotiate over puts Morocco in a position where it
can influence and even interfere in other nations national affairs, but the fact that the western
world have already taken the initiative of pushing Morocco to kneel in front of its demands
through several means, be it educational, military or economic dependency they imposed over
the country in its early independence stage.

Empty chair policy and reliance on western committed support:

Morocco has long been known for its empty chair policy, a policy enhanced by the lack of
qualified personnel to support and defend Moroccan positions on the international scene.

Be it in Arab or Muslim summits, or middle-eastern crisis, let along world forums, the
Moroccan presence is conveyed through shy interventions and stances argued for through
incoherent and prescribes speeches by foreign administrations.

In the 21st century world politics, the importance of a nation is proportional to the amount of
influence it exerts outside its boundaries, and the complexity of its diplomatic planning which
allows it to extract its political strength and influence from other means than natural resources
and prescribed alliances.

Morocco, primary relying on financial as well as political support from France/EU and the
USA to some extent, usually overlooks the basis on which such a western support has been
drawn. Of a geostrategic importance to the US in its war on terrorism, and of an economic
significance to the EU through the fisheries agreements ad phosphate exports, Morocco tends
to forget that these trading cards it uses to maintain western support are limited resources
relying entirely on the global market orientation and the world pressing issues priorities,
hence making the versatile and speculative world affairs a standpoint on which the whole
Moroccan political integrity relies.

The only way sustain the current advantageous economic and political conditions for
Morocco is to make a paradigm shift in its approach toward foreign affairs, as the flows in
Global trends, if not monitored to serve Moroccan national interests, soon will turn into a
threat to the National security of the kingdom which will have no way to fight back since it
lacks the appropriate tools to induce an adjustment to the world politics and economics.

Next Post: The need for a new active foreign policy approach led by youth consulting agencies and students produced studies of world politics: