The next UN Security Council meeting on the Sahara issue will take place at a regional context in which Morocco has strengthened its foothold on the ground and internationally while Algeria and its creation the Polisario have reaped but military and diplomatic defeat.
Head of the UN mission in the Sahara, the MINURSO, will brief the council members on the situation in the Sahara and the council is expected to urge the Polisario to comply with the 1991 ceasefire agreement and put forward a nominee to fill in the job of UN Secretary General’s Envoy to the region.
However, since the MINURSO extended its mission for another year in October 2020, many ground shattering events took place to Morocco’s advantage and to the dismay of the Polisario and its mentor Algeria.
Morocco has ended the Polisario blackmail in the border crossing which the Algerian-armed militia has blocked for weeks. The Royal Armed Forces, after multiple international calls urging respect of free flow of commercial traffic fell on deaf Polisario ears, intervened without leaving any casualty and managed to open the road back to transborder traffic and bar the road for the Polisario from ever blocking the same road again.
The Polisario and its sponsor Algeria found it hard to swallow their defeat and declared a ceasefire violation and declared an imaginary war that is more aimed at a domestic and disenchanted population held against their will in the Tindouf camps.
As Polisario entertains itself in an imaginary war which Algerian media is the only in the world to be interested in, both have been surprised by another painful diplomatic smack from the US which recognized Morocco’s sovereignty over the territory, backed the autonomy plan and promised to open a consulate in Dakhla.
The US move came on the back of a global momentum in support of Morocco’s territorial integrity as 22 countries opened consulates in Dakhla and Laayoune.
With the US being the penholder of all resolutions concerning the Sahara, the Polisario and Algeria are watching impotently their separatist thesis fades internationally amid a wave of recognition withdrawal of the imaginary SADR entity in the last decade. Over 88% of all UN member states do not recognize the self-proclaimed Polisario entity and those who do have no weight and are usually failed states like Venezuela.
At the African level, the African Union made it clear that the Sahara issue is none of its business and that its job is to back UN efforts to settle the conflict.
The UN Security Council is therefore in front of a situation in which Morocco maintains its attachment to the ceasefire agreement and to the political process provided that Algeria, the real party to the conflict, be involved to find a solution on the basis of the autonomy initiative.
The Security Council also has to make it clear and put pressure on Algeria to lift its veto on a UN envoy and pull the strings of the Polisario to accept a realistic solution based on compromise which Morocco said can only be through the autonomy initiative.
Meanwhile, the Moroccan Sahara and its cities remain the most secure in the vast Sahel and Sahara region and the Kingdom continues to roll out infrastructure projects part of a €7 billion package as it continues to win the trust of foreign investors.