Friday, September 17, 2004

South Africa Recognizes Western Sahara

Something I noted earlier, but did not get to because of the El Pais scandal developing, was that earlier this week, South Africa unexpectedly decided to recognize Western Sahara as an independent state. I've written before on the importance of Morocco in the War on Islamic Terror, and South Africa's actions go contrary to my beliefs of bringing Western Sahara under Moroccan control, to ensure no new prospective failed states are created, at least for the time being, where GSPC or other Al Qaeda terrorist cells can find refuge and threaten both Algeria and Morocco from just across their borders. Rabat's denouncement was inmediate:

But Rabat condemned the decision as "partial, surprising and inopportune", and voiced its "disappointment with the new foreign policy of the South African government," in a statement issued by the Moroccan foreign ministry.

Morocco annexed the Western Sahara region in 1975, triggering a dispute with Algeria which backed the Polisario Front movement seeking independence for the territory bordering the Atlantic between Mauritania and Morocco.

South Africa has been a traditional backer of the Polisario Front, the armed wing of the Sahrawi republic, which has been recognized by the Organisation of African Unity -- now the African Union -- but not the United Nations.

The African National Congress (news - web sites) that swept to power in South Africa in 1994 has repeatedly pointed to the Western Sahara as the only region in Africa that had yet to be "liberated".

South African officials, speaking on condition of anonymity in Pretoria, said the decision to announce the formal recognition was prompted by the Western Sahara sending members to the opening of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) on Thursday.
With the renewed attention of the United Nations to find a solution to the Western Sahara issue, supported by Spain (which favors a five year 'trial independence' and a referendum on its future afterwards, along the lines of the Plan Baker-II, rejected by Morocco) South Africa, a long-time Polisario supporter, is trying to force a fait accompli by imposing its view of Western Sahara on the rest of the world.