A new Italian book explores how the Polisario Front’s presence in the Sahel has led to instability in the region and with the strengthening of terrorism and organized crime.
“From the expansion of Daech to the role of mafia groups, from the Polisario Front’s activities to the return of the Tuaregs to arms, the Sahara Desert has become a crossroads of arms, drugs and human trafficking,” state the authors of “Sahara: Desert Mafia Groups and Jihad,” published by Castevecchi.
The authors Massimiliano Boccolini, journalist and academic, and Alessio Postiglione, a journalist, academic and Italian leftist militant, previously a great sympathizer with the Polisario, explain that the book aims at “lifting the veil on ignorance” and “shedding light on a part of the world” that is close to Italy, and that is shrouded by information that does not lend itself to simplification.
The book compares the southern part of Algeria and northern part of Mali to Afghanistan due to the presence of the Polisario-controlled Tindouf Camps.
It points to the recurring kidnapping of Western and Italian nationals in recent years in the Tindouf camps and the trafficking of all kinds, both directly involving the Polisario as well as the terrorist organizations that have been allowed to thrive.
“The area south of the Tindouf camp in Algeria, under the control of the Polisario Front, has become a new Afghanistan, where the safety of foreigners is threatened. [This area] extends from southern Algeria to northern Mali is […] controlled by al-Qaeda and smugglers.”
The book also examines the geostrategic context leading to the creation of the Polisario. It explains that the Polisario continues to be a puppet in the hands of Algerian leaders, and states through the testimony of the anti-fascist prosecutor, Franco Roberti, that there are strong links between the thriving international mafias, the terrorist groups and the Polisario.
On another note, the authors spotlight Morocco’s contributions to the stability of the region and its strategic alliances with the countries of the Sahel.
“Morocco is the last bulwark of stability in the region,” they write. “It is fighting separatists in its Sahara and parties seek to undermine its economic development and stability.”