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Sahara: When Polisario Front threatens by an armed conflict

A few days before the Security Council adopts the annual resolution on the MINURSO mandate in the Sahara, the Polisario is not as upbeat as it was last week when the United States announced their intention to pressure for the inclusion of human rights in the monitoring system in the Sahara, a request made by the Polisario in Algeria and his supporters during the past five years. A resolution that in the opinion of many observers is a distortion to oversee MIUNRSO’s missions, that is, without more, the cease-fire. The United States took the initiative unilaterally without informing Morocco, which is a violation of the principle of negotiations and a violation of this agreement.

As board members are moving towards a consensual resolution, the Polisario representative to the UN, said that given that the United Nations rejects the monitoring of human rights in the Sahara dispute could push the region to an armed conflict.  

"If the UN does not take it seriously in order to ensure self-determination and respect for human rights, we are moving towards a war with regional implications," quoted Omar Mansour, a member of the governing body of National Secretariat of the Polisario Front in Reuters.  

Some familiar with the Sahara informed diplomatic sources in New York, "there are positive signs that the draft resolution proposed by the United States will not be adopted as it was his first release," adding the members of the Security Council are keen to keep the same consensus that marked the resolutions adopted in recent years on the issue.

Russia opposes the extension of the MINURSO mandate During his presentation to Parliament Monday, Saad Eddine El Othmani, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, said that the proposal by the U.S. government on expanding the powers of MINURSO to include human rights monitoring proposal in the southern provinces "will not be", adding that Russia has announced its opposition to such a move.  

The minister added that among the indications showing that the draft resolution was not adopted, is that from a legal point of view "any resolution of the Security Council should be adopted by agreement between the parties," stressing that any resolution that is not based on compromise can not reach the stage of adoption.  

Othmani stressed that "separatists were defeated politically" and therefore, they try to create "political cover" for their failure because they "were unable to provide a proposal to resolve the conflict in the Sahara”.

Morocco has proposed his autonomy initiative for the Sahara region, which was welcomed by the executive and the entire international community as a serious and credible initiative for the final settlement of the regional dispute over the Sahara.   It should be noted that, contrary to what was said by the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there is no legal basis in the Security Council saying that resolution must be adopted by consensus. However, it is more accurate to say that the practice of the United Nations in particular regarding the Sahara issue pushes the 15-member Council to adopt a resolution on the conflict by consensus, especially as was adopted under Chapter VI of the UN Charter as well as the resolutions adopted by the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization, which adopts a resolution in October whenever the Sahara by consensus.  

According to the UN Charter, the provisions of a resolution of the Security Council adopted under Chapter VI of the Treaty can not enter into force unless the country concerned agrees to comply. Samuel Kaplan: the U.S. position regarding the Sahara issue remains unchanged.  

The position of the United States regarding the Sahara issue remained unchanged, despite the proposal made by Washington to extend the mandate of MINURSO to monitor human rights, said Sunday night U.S. Ambassador States to Morocco, Samuel Kaplan.   In his speech at the opening of the 12th seminar of April of the Institute of the American Legation in Tangier Moroccan studies, Samuel Kaplan, who is about to leave Morocco after a four-year mission in the kingdom, said that the United States continues to support "peaceful and consensual solution to the conflict."  

Kaplan also noted that Washington considers the Moroccan initiative to grant enlarged southern provinces under the sovereignty of the kingdom as "serious, credible and realistic" autonomy, noting that any solution must be the result of negotiations between different parties to the conflict.  

The U.S. diplomat acknowledged that the proposal to extend the powers of the MINURSO has caused consternation and anger in Morocco.

This created tension between the two countries, but he said he was confident about the quality of bilateral relations between Morocco and the United States and their ability to overcome these differences. He went on to say that this kind of disagreement between allies sometimes, but do not affect the strength of their relationships. Morocco has no leverage to use against the U.S. Moroccans were perplexed and bewildered by the unprecedented decision by the U.S. administration to present a draft resolution to the Security Council of the UN to press for the inclusion of a system of human rights monitoring in the Sahara.

Following this announcement, the laity, experts and analysts Morocco have begun to ask what are the weapons that Morocco can be used to counter this proposal outweigh the lobbies of Algeria from a number of members the U.S. Congress. Many felt that the United States showed the world that their alliance with the different countries of the world is protesting. What matters most to the United States are its interests, especially when the issue is oil and gas.  

Based on this analysis, we concluded that Morocco has no leverage to use against the United States and the only means available to him to abort the U.S. draft resolution is to convince the France, its main donor to the Security Council and strategic ally, to pressure to sweeten the wording of the draft resolution that keeps the spirit of consensus that has marked the issue in the Council over the last 15 years.

The solidarity of the Gulf One factor that many analysts have missed, and that could play for Morocco, it is the solidarity of the Gulf countries, which are major oil exporters. While Algeria is exporter of oil and gas, its importance on the world map of oil is not even that of the State of Qatar, seen as minor oil producing country, not to mention from other Gulf countries.  

A quick review of the importance of these countries in the world map of oil and their importance for the stability of oil prices can give us an idea of their importance to the United States and why they might be a factor in favor of Morocco, if it uses its excellent brotherly relations with them in order to influence the U.S. administration.  

It is a secret that one of the principles of the U.S. administration was to secure the place of production and transportation routes of oil and gas. This is the reason why the United States has a strong presence in the main channels of transfer: the Strait of Hormuz, the Strait of Bab el Mandeb, the Strait of Malacca and others. Since the end of World War II, the main concern of the United States has been to maintain a smooth and safe flow of oil in a manner that does not disrupt the global economy. In this regard, the Gulf States, especially Saudi Arabia have always played a key role in American foreign policy.  

Some may say that since 9/11 the United States have lowered their dependence on Saudi oil and are looking for reliable suppliers. If this is true, what is most important for policy makers in the United States is that Saudi Arabia is a key and essential to the stability of oil prices role. U.S. officials are well aware that the world oil market can not work without oil in the region.  

Any reduction in oil production in this country or in other countries of the Gulf may have destabilizing effects on the global economy, as we see a rise in prices. For many years the United States has been using pressure on Saudi leaders to increase their oil production every time there was a sharp rise in prices.  

The prominent place occupied by this country on the world map of oil comes from the fact that it is the only producer in the world that has a large production capacity in reserve, allowing it to increase its exports in crisis. It is thanks to this reserve capacity during the Gulf War of 1991, Saudi Arabia was able to compensate for the absence of the Iraqi and Kuwaiti oil on the world market and thus avoid comparable to oil shocks 1973 - 1974 and 1979-1980.  

While Saudi Arabia plays a vital role in the equation of oil, Algeria is considered a minor supplier. In this regard, it should be noted that while the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia amounted to 265 billion barrels, reserves of Algeria does not exceed 12.2 billion, according to the Administration Information Energies of States.  

Based on the foregoing, and considering the role that oil plays in the policies of the United States, Morocco could well benefit from the influence of Saudi Arabia to deter the U.S. administration to move the forward with a draft resolution that will not only against the interests of Morocco in this conflict, but could also jeopardize its stability and that of the whole of the Sahel and the Maghreb.  

The possibility of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar interfere in favour of Morocco, is more likely, especially if we take into account the indivisible relationship of brotherhood and friendship between the family Moroccan ruling and heads of states of the Gulf countries.  

In international relations, human relations are of paramount importance and can play an important role in influencing policy choices. It is this factor that pushed Doha, Al Jazeera to start using a map where Morocco appears in all its territory, including the Sahara.  

Bearing in mind the excellent relations that King Mohammed VI of Morocco has with the King of Saudi Arabia, the Emir of the State of Qatar, the Emir of Kuwait, the Emir of the United Arab Emirates, there are a great chance that they would be willing to play an important role in convincing the United States to dilute their draft resolution in a way that would not nuisance the interests of Morocco in safeguarding its sovereignty over the Sahara.   In addition, it is not only in the interests of Morocco and its allies in the Gulf interfere favour. Washington showed the Gulf countries that may at any moment to sacrifice one of his allies.

An American administration that turns its back to Morocco, could also withdraw its support for one of the Gulf tomorrow.   In this case, Bahrain may be the victims of a new political movement in the light of allegations of violations of human rights allegedly committed against the Shi'ite majority. Therefore, the Gulf countries should combine their efforts to take advantage of their weight on the world oil market report that Washington must meet the strategic interests of its allies and to turn away from any politicization of human rights no matter how much pressure is put on it by human rights monitors.  

The importance of Saudi Arabia and the neighbours in the global oil market countries allows them to have more weight with China, another country of the Council with the right to veto, the second largest oil consumer. Because of its growing demand for oil and its dependence on imports, China may also be under pressure from these countries to use its influence in the Security Council and to oppose the tabling of the current resolution.  

This latest twist regarding the Sahara should be a warning to the Moroccan authorities that the time for rhetoric and dreams of a united Maghreb are no longer valid with the existence of an Algerian government that is bent on promoting instability in the region and his dream of being a major player.

Conclusion Morocco will benefit from the excellent relations with the Gulf countries to create an axis that is likely to counterbalance that of Algeria and South Africa, Nigeria, Venezuela and Cuba, which has long lobbied on behalf Polisario and has done much harm to Morocco's position on the Western Sahara conflict. 

The Sahara Conflict : The Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship