Today is President’s Day…..where we Americans celebrate all those men that served as leader over the years….
After I graduated from university I went to Tunisia and applied for a job with the UN as an analyst…..did not get the gig some dude with lots more letters after his name got the call.
Not the end of the story I was then approached by a Spanish newspaper to be a researcher/analyst and so began my 4 years of work in the Middle East and North Africa.
I was assigned to Rabat Morocco and was researching a story on the annexation of Western Sahara…I was granted an interview with one of the leaders of the opposition, the Polarsio and spent 2 weeks among the people of Western Sahara….great people.
Since those days I have been watching and writing about the struggles of Western Sahara…..
Just a little background for Morocco is making news these days…..they have rejoined the African Union (AU) after a 33 year absence….and some are asking….why now?
Morocco is ready to raise its global stature, flexing its muscle before the world by joining the African Union (AU) and making clear what it can offer — or withhold — in the areas of finance and security.
The country’s investments, security and migration control will remain its power points with which to bargain for political support from the West, which in turn wants a greater presence in Africa.
Morocco wants to put to bed international friction over its decadeslong battle with the Polisario Front independence movement over disputed Western Sahara territory recognized by some countries as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). In fact, Morocco left the AU’s predecessor, the Organization of African Unity, in 1984 to protest the group’s admission of SADR.
But now Morocco is back.
King Mohammed VI’s new African policy reflects the Moroccan monarch’s pragmatism and realism. While in the past, Morocco had adopted a disastrous “empty chair” policy, the new policy is proactive and positive for the outlook of Morocco’s territorial integrity and the controversy it is facing over the Western Sahara.
Owing to Morocco’s absence from the African Union (AU) over the past 33 years, Morocco’s rivals, mainly Algeria and South Africa, have been using the pan-African body to push their self-serving political and ideological agendas.
The two countries have seemingly dominated the organisation and attempted to use it as a tool to weaken Morocco’s position with regard to the Western Sahara.
This situation will be an interesting one for us IR geeks….what will be the future of Western Sahara? Who holds the keys?