US assistance program : Pro-Polisario lobbyists start a war in the Senate

After the US House of Representatives passed a bill that treats Western Sahara as a «sovereign entity», pro-Polisario lobbyists in the Senate took the lead, stressing that they would endorse MPs’ will to exclude the Saharan provinces from economic assistance granted to the Kingdom.

Estimated read time: 2'

In the United States, Democrats, who won control of the House of Representatives following mid-term election, passed a spending bill last week which treated Western Sahara as a «sovereign entity from Morocco».

The Kingdom is betting on the Senate, currently composed of 53 Republicans, to deal with the situation. Indeed, in the Upper House a war has already been declared to convince Senators into blocking the bill in question.

In the US Senate, the Polisario has mobilized its trusted lobbyist Tim Rieser, a senior foreign policy aid to Senator Patrick Leahy and one «of the most powerful staffers in Congress presiding over U.S. foreign policy and U.S. foreign assistance».

«It makes clear that the Senate Appropriations Committee does not regard the Western Sahara to be part of Morocco, as its political status remains to be resolved», Tim Rieser told Al-Monitor on Monday.

John McCain, Morocco’s strongest lobbyist in the Senate

Rieser’s comments go hand in hand with the policy adopted by Patrick Leahy regarding the Western Sahara dispute. In 2017, Leahy, alongside the senior United States Senator from South Carolina Lindsey Graham, suggested to grant the funds allocated to the Sahara to MINURSO.

«Our intention is to support humanitarian and development programs in the Western Sahara in a manner that is consistent with MINURSO’s mandate», Leahy told Al-Monitor in 2017. Nevertheless, their suggestion has been rejected.

In addition to Lindsey Graham and Patrick Leahy, the Polisario also relies on American politician serving as the senior United States Senator from Oklahoma James Inhofe. For the record, the latter played a crucial role in sidelining John Peter Pham, known for being close to Morocco.

It must be said that the death of Senator John McCain on August the 25th, 2018, after months of illness, deprived Morocco of a very strong voice in the Senate. Prior to his death, McCain served as Chair of the US Senate Committee on Armed Services. The committee is now headed by of the Armed Inhofe.

Be the first one to comment on our articles...