The Polisario to move its «Defense Ministry» to Bir Lahlou

The Polisario recently announced that it is moving its «Defense Ministry» to the Bir Lahlou buffer zone, near the Mauritanian borders. The decision is part of a project to which Algeria would contribute to.

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The Polisario is intending to make of Bir Lahlou its «capital». Indeed, under the control of Brahim Ghali, the meetings of the Front’s leadership will no longer be held at the Rabouni camp. The Secretary General is no longer hiding his intentions of making the buffer zone the new center of his power.

For this reason, the Front’s «Ministry of Defense» announced the construction of its new headquarters in Bir Lahlou. Other political services will be transferred to the same area. 

For the record, Bir Lahlou is the resting place for Mohamed Abdelaziz, the area became more popular in March 2016, when the Polisario decided to host the former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Is it the begining of a new crisis ?

Brahim Ghali’s plan is not limited to Bir Lahlou, located 230 kilometers away from Es-Smara. It also targets other buffer zones.

In general, the decision requires a substantial budget. Algeria is expected to back this decision, unless it expresses a different position. For the record, Algeria’s police, army and intelligence services are deployed in the Tindouf camps.

On the other hand, in Bir Lahlou or in Tifarity, Algeria is more reluctant to mark its presence, for fear of being assimilated to an occupying force and to get into an open conflict with the United Nations and Morocco. The «neutrality» that Algiers claims would then receive a major blow.

Brahim Ghali's project is also part of a different and important factor, namely water. «Water availability in Rabouni is different from that in Bir Lahlou. Certainly, there is a well, but it is not enough to guarantee the distribution of water destined to thousands of inhabitants», said a source contacted by Yabiladi.

Morocco has not commented yet on the Polisario’s decision, moving its «Defense Ministry» to the Bir Lahlou buffer zone. It is the United Nations that is expected to react to this decision. In 2017, during the Guerguerate crisis, the international organization forced the Front to withdraw its armed elements from the buffer zone.

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