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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

The Transitioning Democracy of Sudan

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Sudan has been the focus of conflict for much of its six decades as an independent nation. Despite being an anomaly in a region crippled with totalitarian populism and escalating violence, the country hasn’t witnessed much economic or political stability in years. While the civic-military coalition, leading a democratic transition towards elections, has managed to subside the fragments of civil war, growing hostility in the peripheries has begun threatening the modest reforms made in the past two years. The recent coup attempt is a befitting example of the plans that are budding within the echelons of the Sudanese military to drag the country back into the closet. And while the attempt got thwarted, it is not a success to boast. But it is a warning that the transition would not be as smooth a ride as one might have hoped.

The problems today are only a reflection of Sudan’s issues in the past: especially which led to the revolution. The civil unrest began in Sudan back in December 2018. Sudan’s long-serving ruler, Omer al-Bashir, had turned Sudan into an international outcast during his 30-year rule of tyranny and economic isolation. Naturally, Sudan perished as an economic pariah: especially after the independence of South Sudan. With the loss of oil revenues and almost 95% of its exports, Sudan inched on the brink of collapse. In response, Bashir’s regime resorted to impose draconian austerity measures instead of reforming the economy and inviting investment. The cuts in domestic subsidies over fuel and food items led to steep price hikes: eventually sparking protests across the east and spreading like wildfire to the capital, Khartoum.

In April 2019, after months of persistent protests, the army ousted Bashir’s government; established a council of generals, also known as the ‘Transitional Military Council.’ The power-sharing agreement between the civilian and military forces established an interim government for a period of 39 months. Subsequently, the pro-democracy movement nominated Mr. Abdalla Hamdok as the Prime Minister: responsible for orchestrating the general elections at the end of the transitional period. The agreement coalesced the civilian and military powers to expunge rebellious factions from society and establish a stable economy for the successive government. However, the aspirations overlooked ground realities.

Sudan currently stands in the third year of the transitional arrangement that hailed as a victory. However, the regime is now most vulnerable when the defiance is stronger than ever. Despite achieving respite through peace agreements with the rebels in Sudan, the proliferation of arms and artillery never abated. In reality, the armed attacks have spiraled over the past two years after a brief hiatus achieved by the peace accords. The conflict stems from the share of resources between different societal fractions around Darfur, Kordofan, and the Blue Nile. According to UN estimates, the surging violence has displaced more than 410,000 people across Sub-Saharan Africa in 2021. The expulsion is six times the rate of displacement recorded last year. According to the retreating UN peacekeeping mission, the authorities have all but failed to calm the rampant banditry and violence: partially manifested by the coup attempt that managed to breach the government’s order.

The regional instability is only half the story. Since the displacement of Bashir’s regime, Sudan has rarely witnessed stability, let alone surplus dividends to celebrate. Despite thawing relations with Israel and joining the IMF program, Sudan has felt little relief in return. The sharp price hikes and gripping unemployment which triggered the coup back in 2019 never receded: galloped instead. Currently, inflation runs rampant above 400%, while the Sudanese Pound has massively devalued under conditions dictated by the IMF. And despite bagging some success in negotiating International debt relief, the Hamdok regime has struggled to invite foreign investment and create jobs: majorly due to endemic conflicts that still run skin-deep in the fabric of the Sudanese society.

While the coup attempt failed, it is still not a sigh of relief for the fragile government. The deep-rooted analysis of the coup attempt reveals a stark reality: the military factions – at least some – are no longer sated in being equal-footed with a civilian regime. Moreover, the perpetrators tried to leverage the widening disquiet within the country by blocking roads and attempting to sabotage state-run media: hoping to gain public support. The population is indeed frustrated by the economic desperation; the failure of the coup attempt means that people have still not given up hope in a democratic government and a free-and-fair election. Nonetheless, it is not the first tranche of the army to rebel, and it certainly won’t be the last. The only way to salvage democracy is to stabilize Sudan’s economy and resolve inter-communal violence before leading the county towards elections. Otherwise, it is apparent that Bashir’s political apparatus is so deeply entrenched in Sudan’s ruling network that even if the transitional government survives multiple coups, an elected government would ultimately wither.

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Money seized from Equatorial Guinea VP Goes into Vaccine

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As a classic precedence, the Justice Department of the United States has decided that $26.6m (£20m) seized from Equatorial Guinea’s Vice-President Teodorin Nguema Obiang Mangue be used on purchasing COVID-19 vaccines and other essential medical programmes in Equitorial Guinea, located on the west coast of central Africa.

“Wherever possible, kleptocrats will not be allowed to retain the benefits of corruption,” an official said in a statement, and reported by British Broadcasting Corporation.

Obiang was forced to sell a mansion in Malibu, California, a Ferrari and various Michael Jackson memorabilia as part of a settlement he reached with the US authorities in 2014 after being accused of corruption and money-laundering. He denied the charges.

The agreement stated that $10.3m of the money from the sale would be forfeited to the US and the rest would be distributed to a charity or other organisation for the benefit of the people of Equatorial Guinea, the Justice Department said.

The UN is to receive $19.25m to purchase and administer COVID-19 vaccines to at least 600,000 people in Equatorial Guinea, while a US-based charity is to get $6.35m for other medical programmes in Equatorial Guinea.

Teodorin Nguema has been working in position as Vice-President since 2012, before that he held numerous government positions, including Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. Known for his unquestionable lavish lifestyle, he has been the subject of a number of international criminal charges and sanctions for alleged embezzlement and corruption. He has a fleet of branded cars and a number of houses, and two houses alone in South Africa,

Teodorin Nguema has often drawn criticisms in the international media for lavish spending, while majority of the estimated 1.5 million population wallows in abject poverty. Subsistence farming predominates, with shabby infrastructure in the country. Equatorial Guinea consists of two parts, an insular and a mainland region. Equatorial Guinea is the third-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa.

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African Union’s Inaction on Ethiopia Deplorable – Open Letter

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The crisis in northern Ethiopia has resulted in millions of people in need of emergency assistance and protection. © UNICEF/Christine Nesbitt

A group of African intellectuals says in an open letter that it is appalled and dismayed by the steadily deteriorating situation in Ethiopia. The letter, signed by 58 people, says the African Union’s lack of effective engagement in the crisis is deplorable. The letter calls on regional bloc IGAD and the AU to “proactively take up their mandates with respect to providing mediation for the protagonists to this conflict”.

The letter also asks for “all possible political support” for the AU’s Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo, whose appointment was announced on August 26, 2021. A United Nations Security Council meeting on the same day welcomed the former Nigerian president’s appointment.

Earlier in August 2021, UN  chief Antonio Guterres appealed for a ceasefire, unrestricted aid access and an Ethiopian-led political dialogue. He told the council these steps were essential to preserve Ethiopia’s unity and the stability of the region and to ease the humanitarian crisis. He said that he had been in close contact with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and had received a letter from the leader of the Tigray region in response to his appeal. “The UN is ready to work together with the African Union and other key partners to support such a dialogue,” he said.

August 26, 2021 was only the second time during the conflict that the council held a public meeting to discuss the situation. Britain, Estonia, France, Ireland, Norway and the United States requested the session.

Fighting between the national government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front broke out in November 2020, leaving millions facing emergency or crisis levels of food insecurity, according to the United Nations. Both sides have been accused of atrocities.

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