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Politics

One year after the Guerguerate crisis : Brahim Ghali loses the bet

One year ago, Brahim Ghali triggered the Guerguarate crisis by establishing his troops and shutting down his enemies. However, a year later, his endeavors were put down and he lost the bet.

Guerguerate buffer zone./Ph. DR

It has been one year since the Polisario alerted in a letter the United Nations about an «incursion» led by the Moroccan Army in Guerguarate. Since then, the buffer zone became one of the core topics of the international community. Even now when the attention is slightly diverted as the Security Council has to deal with other issues in North Korean, Libya and Syria, Guerguerate remains one of the matters that made headlines.

What had been perceived by the Moroccan authorities as an operation for the «fight against smuggling and illegal trade» in Guerguerate subsequently resulted in the first major confrontation between Rabat and the Polisario Front, and most precisely Brahim Ghali. The latter had promised to establish his authorities in the Tindouf camp amid the crisis.

A bet that seemed to have been won during the first months of the crisis, especially before Antonio Guterres was named head of the Security Council. Ghali was proudly posting photos of his trips to Lagouira, a strip of land controlled by the Mauritanian army.

Trying to isolate Morocco from Africa

However, once Antonio Guteress was officially named Secretary-Genral of the UN, the situation has completely changed. On the 26th of February 2016, King Mohammed VI ordered the withdrawal of the Moroccan authorities deployed in Guertguerate. A decision taken only two days after the sovereign had spoken to Guterres on the phone regarding the crisis.  

The withdrawal has enabled the Kingdom to stay away from international community’s critics. On the other hand, the Polisario fell for it. Ghali who was desperately in the need of «success», interpreted the Moroccan withdrawal as a «victory» for his policy. But as the April deadline drew nearer, the diplomatic grip tightened around the separatist movement. His intransigence would quickly falter and turn into a series of concessions. On April 28th, only a few hours before the launch of the new resolution adopted by the Security Council on Western Sahara, the Polisario left Guerguerate.

The Minurso is currently in Guerguerate where it set up a team-site. In addition, road trade with Mauritania and other West African countries is now carried out without incidents. The objective of isolating Morocco from its African living space has failed. That was the other issue of the Guerguerate crisis.

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