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Peace on the Moroccan (Western) Sahara requires the consensus of all parties involved, particularly Algeria

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Recently Algeria is waging a mass and fierce media war against the Kingdom of Morocco, and it is a neighbor state that was unharmed by Morocco’s restoration of its Saharan provinces from the control of Spanish colonialism Rather, Morocco was a backer and prop of the symbols of the Algerian resistance during the period of French colonialism. The struggle against Morocco that Algeria quests to create anarchy through Moroccan territory by using a group of militia the so-called “ Polisario Front “ to harms Algeria first before others. Yet, Military spending costs Algeria, approximately, 25 percent of the state’s budget, or 5 percent of its gross domestic product. The sum of $ 13 billion that is spent annually on militarization was first directed to enhance the social and economic circumstances that are driving several areas to protest and plead.

However, it is irrational or a misguided view that the accumulation of arming that have lost their usefulness in years (in August 2020, Algerian government made a deal with Russia to purchase 18 “Sukhoi 35” warplanes to replace the expired MiG-25s). What is the point for Algeria to classify the fourth military force in Africa in terms of the number of armed forces, the second in Africa, and the twenty-third in the globe in terms of armament, number of warplanes, and naval power, according to the American defense website “Global Fire Power “if all this military arsenal it is unable to secure the movements and mobilities of terrorist organizations and cease up their plans ( for instance, in January 2013, the terrorist attack launched by al-Qaeda terrorists on the largest liquefied natural gas project in the country in Ain Amenas, which ended up in the killing of 32 militants and 23 hostages of different nationalities, and also the terrorist attack with a missile in Ain Amenas. Saleh, where there is the Kharchaba oil field, which is jointly invested by the Algerian groups Sonatrach, British Petroleum, and international firms Norway’s Statoil)?… In effect, The continuation of extremist strikes targeting the Algerian army throughout the year disapproves of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s claims that the borders must be secured  and supervised “with sophisticated equipment and devices, especially in the field of scientific and technological high-tech warfare, in a sense that ensures early detection of any threat of whatever its type and source.”  

As Henry Kissinger once mention that in foreign affairs doctrine, the acceptance of the framework of the international order by all states involved, at least to the extent that no one party feels so dissatisfied that it expresses its anger in a provocative manner. Though, All the calculations of Algeria fell at once in the face of the efficiency and sophistication of the Moroccan military due to in clearing the  Guerguerat crossing border without firing a single bullet or intimidating the Polisario Front members. Algeria did not stand it, as it planned to implicate the Kingdom of Morocco in “acts of violence” against the  Polisario bandits, to use it as an internationally strain card after it lost hope in the feasibility of the claim to expand the powers of the  United Nations MINURSO mission when the Moroccan authorities dealt wisely and calmly with the provocations of separatist Aminato Haidar. Calmness, wisdom, and consistency in the face of the Polisario Front mercenaries, elements that inflamed the Algerian authority and took it away from political and diplomatic precision by calling the Kingdom of Morocco a “Rival Enemy” and accusing it of targeting its security and territorial integrity. The rival enemy in the sense of an eternal enemy with whom there is no peace at all. It is an irrationality beyond that of silliness that does not even evoke the political logic that believes that interests exceeded hostility and ideologies.

Accordingly, here are the Guerguerat border case that reveals the true intention of Algeria and the determinations of its spiteful behavior to exploit the Moroccan (Western) Sahara issue of our territorial integrity to achieve several outcomes: the most prominent point of which is what was stated in the speech of the speaker of its parliament, “the National People’s Assembly”, Suleiman Shanin, on Tuesday, November 17, 2020, during the session devoted to voting on the Finance Bill project for the year 2021 and the bill on the prevention and combating of kidnapping crimes, that Algeria “sought to mislead  the deputies and behind them the Algerian people, that the Kingdom of Morocco poses a real peril to Algeria’s  homeland security and stability to the extent that it called on all Algerian parties to recognize the risks and work to upgraded and strengthen the country’s internal front.” The reason here is to quell opposition and put off social demands.

Thus, the government of Algeria apply the fabricated (Western) Sahara conflict around our southern provinces to export internal issues abroad and turn up the people’s attention from their socio-economic rights somewhat they remain preoccupied with the “Rival Enemy” though the government does not question the fate of their national wealth, which the government deludes Algerian people that the endowments have been spent to secure the country and protect its national unity. And from the absurdity of the President of the Algerian People’s National Assembly, his stating, “The state has become a target because of the great coherence between the constitutional institutions and the adherence of all Algerians to the constitutional track and their president, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, in addition to the presence of a strong military whose mission is to defend border security and counter everything that can jeopardize the country’s unity.” Not surprisingly, he forgot that his country (Algeria) is the one that threatens the Moroccan security and supports the Polisario Front mercenaries after it created them and militarized them. Furthermore, this speaker of Parliament did not end at this point. Rather, it went beyond him to link between the refinement of the Guerguerat crossing border from the bandits and targeting Algeria’s ambition to be the major power in the region. We are well aware of what is conceiving for our country. We have an ambitious program for Algeria to be the most powerful rivalry state in the  Northern African region that derives its strength from God Almighty Then its  Algerian people. ” Sure, Algeria aims to be the “dominant country” in the  Maghreb region, but by working to tear apart neighboring countries and undermining them particularly the Kingdom of Morocco.

In light of this, The Kingdom of Morocco considers that Algeria has tried to drive a war between Morocco and the Polisario Front as it did during the previous years. Yet, Algeria always pushing through inflaming the situation in the Guerguerat borders zone, because the Algerian regime today needs an outlet to divert attention from what is happening inside the country, especially to pass the referendum phase on the constitution and disregard the ongoing arrests and the widespread condemnation campaign regarding the deteriorating human rights condition and rule of law.

That is why we find that the Polisario front  (SADR) backed by Algeria’s money, weapons, and the media due to disrupting Morocco’s building and developing its national economy. Meanwhile, when Algeria is working to fuel conflicts between political parties within the neighboring countries such as (Libya, Mali). Perhaps, this is what Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita pointed out when he called on the Libyans to “not waste their time in finding other mediators to seek the negotiation dialogue, and concentrating on finding political resolutions to the current issues at hand,” restating that “foreign interference has blocked political settlements, because Libya today has become, unfortunately, a diplomatic bet with the respect to other states. Indeed, the Libyans are close to settling down to their political differences, but intervening external parties, including Algeria, prevent them.

Then, all Algeria’s strategies have fallen, and its aims are clear in prolonging the conflict of Moroccan (Western ) Sahara and the formed war against Morocco. Therefore, and given the repulsive hostility of the Algerian authorities towards Morocco, we have no choice but to strengthen our internal front and prepare for war as well as peace. What was once Algeria was an inferiority complex for us.

In summary, Morocco has a strategic consensus in terms of regional issues. Therefore, stable and secure Northern Africa and the Maghreb region will benefit Morocco’s long-term national goal. Both Algeria and Polisario must accept Morocco’s autonomy Initiative” in the Moroccan (Western) Sahara which is increasingly integrated into the framework of the  North African region. It is also true that Algeria has long been subsidizing the Polisario Front militarily and providing diplomatic and financial support in the African Union. On the other hand, any closer integrations with Polisario (SADR) mean more or less the end of the insubordination policy of Moroccan (Western) Sahara, which was the pillar of the kingdom’s rule since 1975. Changes will undoubtedly come to  Moroccan (Western) Sahara, with or without Polisario Front. 

Dr. Jamal Ait Laadam, Specialist in North African and Western Sahara Issue, at Jilin University School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).

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Africa

Pragmatic Proposals to Optimize Russia’s Pledged Rehabilitation of Ethiopia

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A girl stands outside her home in the Tigray Region, Ethiopia. © UNICEF/Tanya Bindra

Russian Ambassador to Ethiopia Evgeny Terekhin pledged that his homeland will help rehabilitate his hosts after getting a clearer understanding of the full extent of the damage that the terrorist-designated Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) inflicted on the northern part of the country throughout the course of its approximately half-year-long occupation of the Afar and Amhara Regions. China’s Xinhua recently cited official Ethiopian government statistics about this which claim that the Amhara Region suffered damages upwards of approximately $5.7 billion.

According to their data, the TPLF partially or fully damaged 1,466 health facilities and vandalized water, electricity, and transport infrastructure. 1.9 million children are out of school in that region after more than 4,000 schools were damaged by the group. Over 1.8 million people were displaced from the Afar and Amhara Regions while 8.3 million there are suffering from food insecurity. The scale of this humanitarian crisis is massive and the direct result of the US-led West’s Hybrid War on Ethiopia that was waged to punish the country for its balanced foreign policy between the US and China.

It’s here where Russia can rely on its recent experiences in helping to rehabilitate Syria and the Central African Republic (CAR) in order to optimize its pledged rehabilitation of Ethiopian. Those two countries are much more war-torn than Ethiopia is, the latter of which only saw fighting in its northern regions instead of the entirety of its territory like the prior two did. The most urgent task is to ensure security in the liberated areas, which can be advanced by summer 2021’s military cooperation agreement between Russia and Ethiopia.

This pact could potentially see Russia sharing more details of its earlier mentioned experiences in order to enhance the Ethiopian National Defense Force’s (ENDF) security and stabilization operations in the northern part of the country. Syria and the CAR survived very intense Hybrid Wars that utilized cutting-edge military tactics and strategies against them similar to those that were subsequently directed against Ethiopia by the TPLF. It would help the ENDF to learn more about the challenges connected to ensuring security in areas that have been liberated from such contemporary Hybrid War forces.

The next order of business is to help the many victims of that country’s humanitarian crisis. Russia’s experience with assisting Syria in this respect, which suffered one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises in decades, can be of use to Ethiopia. This is especially the case when it comes to aiding its internally displaced people. Their immediate needs must be met and maintained, which might require urgent support from that country’s trusted partners such as Russia. Provisioning such in an effective and timely manner can also improve Russia’s international reputation too, especially among Africans.

Northern Ethiopia’s post-war rehabilitation must be comprehensive and sustainable. The country’s Medemer philosophy — which has been translated as “coming together” – will form the basis of these efforts. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed touched upon this in his 2019 Nobel Peace Prize speech and his book of the same name that was released earlier that year. Its English translation hasn’t yet been published but Medemer was explained at length by high-level Ethiopian officials during an early 2020 US Institute of Peace panel talk and in Ethiopian writer Linda Yohannes’ insightful book review.

An oversimplification of it in the economic context is that Medemer preaches the need for comprehensive, inclusive, and sustainable growth through public-private and other partnerships that bring prosperity to all of its people, which in turn strengthens socio-political relations between them. It seeks to apply positive aspects of foreign models while avoiding the bad ones. The Medemer mentality aspires to balance cooperation with competition, constantly improving itself as needed, in order to synchronize and synergize Ethiopia’s natural economic advantages in people, location, and resources.

In practice, this could see Russian public and private companies partnering with Ethiopia’s primarily public ones to rehabilitate the northern regions’ damaged infrastructure. Since sustainable growth is one of Medemer’s key concepts, the country’s Russian partners could also train more laborers, social workers, teachers, and doctors throughout the course of these projects while offering scholarships to some internally displaced youth for example. In that way, Russia and Ethiopia could truly embody the Medemer spirit by literally bringing their people closer together as a result of these noble efforts.

All the while, Russia’s international media flagships of RT and Sputnik should be active on the ground documenting the entire experience. The immense influence that Moscow has in shaping global perceptions can be put to positive use in exposing the foreign-backed TPLF’s countless crimes against humanity in northern Ethiopia. This can powerfully counteract the US-led West’s information warfare campaign against its government, which misportrays the TPLF as innocent victims of the “genocidal” ENDF, exactly as similar Russian media efforts have done in debunking Western lies against Syria.

The world wouldn’t only benefit by learning more about the US-led West’s lies against Ethiopia, but also in seeing how effectively Russia is working to reverse the damage that their TPLF proxies inflicted in the northern part of that country. Russia is also a victim of their information warfare campaign, which misportrays the Kremlin as a dangerous and irresponsible international actor. The truth, however, is that Russia is a peaceful and responsible international actor that has a documented track record of cleaning up the West’s Hybrid War messes in Syria, the CAR, and prospectively soon even Ethiopia too.

Upon taking the lead in rehabilitating northern Ethiopia, Russia should diversify the stakeholders in that country’s prosperity in coordination with its hosts. It’s in Ethiopia’s interests as well to receive assistance from as many responsible and trusted partners as possible. Russia can help by requesting that relevant aid and multilateral rehabilitation efforts be placed on the agenda of the proposed heads of state meeting between the Russian, Indian, and Chinese (RIC) leaders that presidential aide Yury Ushakov said was discussed for early 2022 during President Putin’s latest video call with President Xi in December.

The RIC countries stood with in solidarity with Ethiopia at the United Nations in the face of the US-led West’s subversive attempts to weaponize international law against it. They’re strong economies in their own right, not to mention through their cooperation via BRICS and the SCO, the latter organization of which also has anti-terrorist and other security dimensions. These two multipolar platforms could potentially be used to extend economic, financial, humanitarian, and security cooperation to their Ethiopian partner to complement bilateral and trilateral efforts in this respect.

Russia’s increasingly strategic ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) could also lead to Moscow working more closely with Abu Dhabi on related rehabilitation matters with their shared partners in Addis Ababa. Observers shouldn’t forget that Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed (MBZ) played a crucial role in brokering peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea in 2018. He even awarded their leaders his country’s highest civil honor when they both visited the UAE that summer. Furthermore, Al Jazeera alleges that the UAE has maintained a humanitarian (and possibly even military) air bridge to Ethiopia.

Regardless of whether or not the military aspect of this reported bridge is true or not, there’s no denying that the UAE has emerged as a major stakeholder in Ethiopia’s success. It deposited $1 billion in Ethiopia’s central bank in summer 2018 as part of its $3 billion aid and investment pledge at the time. The UAE also plans to build an Eritrean-Ethiopian oil pipeline in order to help the latter export its newly tapped reserves in the southeast. Additionally, DP World signed a memorandum with Ethiopia in May 2021 to build a $1 billion trade and logistics corridor to separatist Somaliland’s Berbera port.

Considering the closeness of Emirati-Ethiopian relations, it would therefore be fitting for RIC to incorporate the UAE as an equal partner into any potential multilateral plan that those countries might come up with during their proposed heads of state summit sometime in early 2022. It enjoys excellent relations with all three of them so it’s a perfect fit for complementing their shared efforts. Plus, the UAE has the available capital needed to invest in high-quality, long-term, but sometimes very expensive infrastructure projects, which can ensure northern Ethiopia’s sustainable rehabilitation.

It’s pivotal for Russia to prioritize its pledged rehabilitation of Ethiopia ahead of the second triennial Russia-Africa Summit that’s expected to take place in October or November after fall 2019’s first-ever summit saw Russia return to Africa following a nearly three-decade-long hiatus. Coincidentally, Ethiopia requested last April to hold the next event in Addis Ababa. That would be a sensible choice since its capital city hosts the African Union headquarters, has sufficient infrastructure, and can serve most of the continent through its Ethiopian Airlines, which regularly wins awards as Africa’s best airline.

The interest that Ethiopian Ambassador to Russia Alemayehu Tegunu recently expressed in courting more Russian investment ahead of the next summit goes perfectly well with Russian Ambassador to Ethiopia Terekhin’s vow to heighten cooperation between those countries’ ruling parties. This in turn raises the chances that the present piece’s proposals could hopefully serve as the blueprint for beginning relevant discussions as soon as possible on Russia’s pledged rehabilitation of Ethiopia with a view towards achieving tangible successes ahead of the next Russia-Africa Summit.

That timing is so important since Russia mustn’t miss the opportunity to showcase its bespoke “Democratic Security” model in Ethiopia. This emerging concept refers to the comprehensive thwarting of Hybrid War threats through economic, informational, military, and other tactics and strategies such as the action plan that was proposed in the present piece. “Democratic Security” approaches vary by country as evidenced from the differing ones that Russia’s practicing in Syria and the CAR, but the concept could attract many more African partners if it’s successful in Ethiopia by next fall’s summit.

Russia must therefore do everything in its power to bring this best-case scenario about. Rehabilitating Ethiopia won’t just improve millions of lives, expose the war crimes committed by the US-led West’s TPLF proxies, and enable Russia to showcase its “Democratic Security” model to other African countries, but ensure that the continent’s historical fountainhead of anti-imperialism and pan-Africanism survives its existential struggle. Upon that happening, Ethiopia can then serve to inspire a revival of these ideas all across Africa through its complementary Medemer concept and thus strengthen multipolarity.

From our partner RIAC

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Decade of Sahel conflict leaves 2.5 million people displaced

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Two displaced women sit at a camp in Awaradi, Niger. © UNOCHA/Eve Sabbagh

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) called on Friday for concerted international action to end armed conflict in Africa’s central Sahel region, which has forced more than 2.5 million people to flee their homes in the last decade.

Speaking to journalists in Geneva, the agency’s spokesperson, Boris Cheshirkov, informed that internal displacement has increased tenfold since 2013, going from 217,000 to a staggering 2.1 million by late last year.

The number of refugees in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger now stands at 410,000, and the majority comes from Mali, where major civil conflict erupted in 2012, leading to a failed coup and an on-going extremist insurgency.

Increase in one year

Just last year, a surge in violent attacks across the region displaced nearly 500,000 people (figures for December still pending).

According to estimates from UN partners, armed groups carried out more than 800 deadly attacks in 2021. 

This violence uprooted some 450,000 people within their countries and forced a further 36,000 to flee into a neighbouring country.

In Burkina Faso alone, the total number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) rose to more than 1.5 million by the end of the year. Six in ten of the Sahel’s displaced are now from this country.

In Niger, the number of IDPs in the regions of Tillabéri and Tahoua has increased by 53 per cent in the last 12 months. In Mali, more than 400,000 people are displaced internally, representing a 30 per cent increase from the previous year.

Climate, humanitarian crisis

Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation is rapidly deteriorating with crises on multiple fronts.

Insecurity is the main driver, made worse by extreme poverty, and the COVID-19 pandemic. The effects of the climate crisis are also felt more strongly in the region, with temperatures rising 1.5 times faster than the global average.

Women and children are often the worst affected and disproportionately exposed to extreme vulnerability and the threat of gender-based violence.

According to the UNHCR spokesperson, “host communities have continued to show resilience and solidarity in welcoming displaced families, despite their own scant resources.”

He also said that Government authorities have demonstrated “unwavering commitment” to assisting the displaced, but they are now “buckling under increasing pressure.”

Bold response

UNHCR and humanitarian partners face mounting challenges to deliver assistance, and continue to be the target of road attacks, ambushes, and carjacking.

In this context, the agency is calling on the international community to take “bold action and spare no effort” in supporting these countries.

UNHCR is also leading the joint efforts of UN agencies and NGOs to provide emergency shelter, manage displacement sites and deliver vital protection services, including combating gender-based violence and improving access to civil documentation.

In 2021, more than a third of the agency’s Central Sahel funding needs were unmet.

This year, to mount an effective response in Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali, the agency needs $307 million.

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SADC extends its joint military mission in Mozambique

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The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has collectively decided to extend its force mission mandate in Mozambique for three months to provide military support in fighting terrorism in Cabo Delgado, the northern seaside provincial district that suffered frequent militant attacks displacing thousands out of their homes.

The South African Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), according to the final communiqué released after the leaders of the southern African countries gathered to review significant issues, among them the operations of the joint military force dispatched last year as attacks reached its greater heights to Mozambique.

Chairperson of the SADC’s Organ on Politics, Defense and Security and South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa told the gathering in Lilongwe, capital of Malawi, where the regional bloc held its extraordinary summit and reviewed progress in Mozambique, described SAMIM as highly successful in defeating the militant groups particularly in Cabo Delgado.

“I would like to express my appreciation and commend SAMIM for its work on the ground, as well as recognize the member states that have supported this work financially and in the deployment of military personnel and equipment,” the final report quoted Ramaphosa.

SADC cannot allow terrorism to spread to other provinces in Mozambique and to the region, and it is imperative to promote a spirit of unity among member countries as terrorism and violent extremism threaten the stability and development that the region has achieved over the past four decades, says the report.

The communiqué also approved the framework for support to Mozambique in addressing terrorism outlines, among others, comprehensive strategic actions for consolidating peace, security, and the socio-economic recovery of Cabo Delgado.

The Maputo daily Noticias wrote after the SADC summit that a budgetary allocation of US$29.5 million has been set aside for the three-month extension, after several years of high-level consultations and this would mean until at least mid-April. The SAMIM extension set from mid-January.

Addressing the opening session of the summit, the current SADC Chairperson, Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera, urged regional bloc member states to stick together and ensure that SAMIM remains multidimensional and comprehensive. He entreated SADC member countries not to relent, regress or even retreat on their commitments.

“What remains now is for us to stay the course and stick together. We cannot relent. We cannot regress. We cannot retreat. Our approach to this mission must continue to be multidimensional and comprehensive. It must not only focus on neutralizing the threat, but also have post-conflict plans to rebuild,” said Chakwera, added that the collective mission is paramount and the stakes for all the Member States are high because what they are fighting for is regional stability, and the sustainability of the quest for the bloc’s integration and socio-economic development.

Chakwera welcomed the comprehensive Cabo Delgado Reconstruction Plan launched by his Mozambican counterpart, Filipe Nyusi, and his government, which, among other issues, seeks to provide humanitarian support to the affected population, including internally displaced persons, and uplift their living standards.

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi however expressed high optimism about the current military situation in Cabo Delgado. He said that all the bases from which the terrorists used to plan their actions are now in the hands of the Mozambican forces, and 2022 would be a decisive year to support the regional standby force in the final fight against terrorism in Mozambique.

For the Mozambican President Nyusi the extension of the SAMIM mission demonstrates the spirit of unity and solidarity that the Southern African Development Community members have readily and warmheartedly shown with the people of Mozambique.

Mozambique has grappled with an insurgency in its northernmost province of Cabo Delgado since 2017, but currently fast improving after the deployment of joint military force with the primary responsibility of ensuring peace and stability, and for restoring normalcy in Mozambique.

Mozambique has consistently maintained that all problems especially relating to conflicts and crises should be resolved largely based on the approaches of Africans, and of course with moral, political and material support from regional blocs such as SADC and the continental organization – African Union, and the involvement of United Nations with its UN Security Council.

With an approximate population of 30 million, Mozambique is endowed with rich and extensive natural resources but remains one of the poorest and most underdeveloped countries in the world. Mozambique is a member of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).

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