Algeria’s Sahara issue obsession leads to inquisition of bookshops
The Algerian military regime’s obsession with the Sahara issue often manifests itself in erratic acts with the recent inquisition launched in bookshops to withdraw desk earth globes showing Morocco’s full map with the southern provinces included.
Videos widely shared on social media showed authority agents withdrawing the maps because they were not compatible with Algeria’s official stance in support of the Polisario militias and their separatist chimera.
The videos drew mockery at the scale of Morocco phobia in Algeria and the interference of the army in the daily lives of citizens.
The recent recognitions of Morocco’s sovereignty over the Sahara by global powers such as the US and Israel as well as the growing support for the autonomy plan including by former colonial power Spain, not to mention the over 28 countries who opened consulates in the Sahara, are all factors that sent shockwaves in Algiers.
Unable to stop this pro-Moroccan momentum, Algeria has opted for acts that show the scale of hostility to Morocco as a nation-state going as far as censuring the Atlas Lions’s victories during the Qatar World Cup, to mention but a few examples of obsession.
As the Algeria-fueled separatist thesis fades globally, the military regime is intent on using the issue as a barometer for nationalism in the oil-rich but poor country. Patriotism, in the eyes of the military regime in Algiers, is thus measured through the lenses of the degree of hostility to Morocco and to its territorial integrity.
All critics of the Algerian regime’s stance on the Sahara issue had to leave Algeria and criticism of the Polisario is not allowed in the country.
Even critics in exile are not spared reprisals. Anouar Malek- who visited the development projects in Dakhla in the Sahara, and criticized Algeria for backing Polisario militias which have no echo in the southern provinces- said his family members were intimidated by Algerian authorities to prevent him from releasing a video contrasting between the progress in the Moroccan Sahara and the dire conditions in Algeria’s south.