Spain-Polisario Collusion: Madrid’s ambiguous explanations, its double game will not work
Rabat has always been crystal-clear in its stand and refused to support Catalonian separatists who were seeking in 2017 to set up a breakaway state in the Northeastern region of Catalonia.
In principle, the Spanish government should have acted likewise and avoided engaging in secret deals with the enemies of Morocco’s territorial integrity. Madrid has a decision to make. Either standing with Morocco or against the North African Kingdom? There is no third option, halfway solution or a grey zone. One cannot act as a friend and as an enemy at the same time.
But it seems that the government of socialist Pedro Sanchez has opted for opacity as it carries on playing a double game rather than choosing clarity and honesty regarding its dealings with the polisario separatist group, which is sheltered, funded and armed by the Algerian regime.
On Tuesday, Spanish Foreign minister Arancha González Laya said that Polisario leader Brahim Ghali, who is prosecuted by Spanish justice for crimes against humanity, has been allowed in on “purely humanitarian grounds”. This dubious explanation is not what Morocco has been expecting from a friend and partner.
Speaking at a press conference following her talks with Serbian peer, Gonzalez Laya tried to defend her country’s questionable stand, by affirming that relations with Morocco remain unchanged and based on friendship, cooperation and close partnership.
“I have provided Morocco all explanations on the presence of Brahim Ghali in Spain. When the reasons of his stay are no longer relevant, he will leave the country,” she added.
Regarding the lawsuits lodged against the Polisario chief in Spain, Mrs. González Laya said if Ghali is summoned to a Spanish court, he will appear before a judge. The Spanish government will not interfere because the country’s judicial system is independent, underlined the top diplomat.
Brahim Ghali is currently receiving medical treatment for covid-19 in San Pedro hospital, in Logroño. A Spanish magistrate has ordered the police to confirm his presence in the hospital with a false Algerian identity (Mohamed Benbatouche) as the plaintiffs say in their complaints.
Several Spanish nationals of Sahrawi origin accuse Brahim Ghali and other polisario leaders of committing torture, terrorist acts, illegal detentions, kidnappings, rape and crimes against humanity.
The case is challenging the credibility of the Spanish legal system and rule of law, while the victims of Brahim Ghali say that they will not falter, tire or rest until the polisario leader and his lieutenants are brought to justice and until justice is done.