Guerguerate : Armed harassment of the Polisario to put pressure on Joe Biden ?

While sporadic military harassment in the Sahara will not be a game-changer on the ground, the goal is to get the attention of the Biden administration.

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A new stunning blow for the Sahrawi separatist movement. The Polisario front shelled the buffer zone of Guerguerate, a crossing point between Morocco and Mauritania on Saturday evening.

«The Saharawi army launched launched four missiles targeting the illegal breach in Guerguerate and its surroundings», the Front press agency said, citing a militia leader. The Polisario press release also reports attacks along the security wall.

According to a senior Moroccan official contacted by AFP in Rabat, «there were harassment shots near the area of Guerguerate, but it did not affect the road axis, the traffic was not disrupted». «It has been part of a cycle of harassment for more than three months» and «it has been going on for some time, there is a desire to create a propaganda war, a media war, on the existence of a war in the Sahara», but «the situation is normal», he assured.

The Polisario says it is «in a state of war of self-defense» since the intervention of the Royal Armed Forces on November 13, 2020 to dislodge a group of Sahrawi separatists who blocked the only road to Mauritania and harassed goods transport trucks and other vehicles.

Trying to capture the attention of the United States

This latest operation, more serious than the staging of armed assault and the broadcast of fake videos, aims to maintain the pressure on the Biden administration which has just started operating in the White House. The new US administration has also given no hint that it would reconsider the recognition of the Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara by President Trump, to the dismay of the Polisario.

High hopes were expressed by Algerian and Front officials on a change of course by Joe Biden as soon as he took office. Despite rumors and falsehoods spread about the removal of Donald Trump's proclamation from the White House’s website (while it was simply archived like all other proclamations under the former US president’s tenure), the United States did not express any change in their policy on this subject so far.

While the sporadic military harassment along the Sand Wall is unlikely to be a game-changer on the ground, it is aimed at attracting the attention of President Biden and his Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The insistence on wanting to resume the armed struggle against Morocco, despite the cease-fire signed in 1991, is however exposing the Polisario and its Algerian godfather to the ire of the members of the UN Security Council.