Recent changes amongst Western Sahara Separatists Polisario representatives around the world is another sign of the deepening political and military crises that have crippled the separatist guerrilla and perturbed Algeria’s geopolitical ambitions in the Maghreb region.
After sacking Mohamed Lamine Ould Bouhali, his long time “Minister of Defense” and Algeria’s main man in Tindouf, Polisario chief Mohamed Abdelaziz turned against another long time adviser and a key figure in Algeria’s effort to advance its independence of the Western Sahara plan in Washington.
The appointment of former Polisario representative in Washington, Moulud Said, to a post in Asia is a slap on the face, of a “loyal figure” who executed Algeria’s agenda diligently. Mohamed Abdelaziz unappreciative shove will not go unnoticed among his long time supporters.
Moulud Said worked Washington in backing not only of the Polisario leadership but also the Algerian embassy . After 30 years in the nation’s capital, Moulud had more Washington Access than the Algerian Ambassador. Abdelaziz move to send him to Asia is an opportunity for Polisario representatives around the world to rethink their allegiance and ponder their future under an aging Polisario and Algerian leaderships.
Abdelaziz and the DRS (Algerian Military Intelligence Agency) ungrateful move to demote Moulud , after thirty years of work selling Algeria’s plans in the halls of the United States Congress and to the dozens of NGO in the American capital, is a message to the rest of the leadership of the Polisario. It is clear from the relocation that loyalty does not pay. Furthermore, Abdelaziz and the Algerian Foreign Ministry lack an exist plan for the thousands of Sahrawi refugees lingering in the Tindouf Camps in the Algerian Sahara.
The “nomination” of several deputy “ministers for foreign affairs” is recognition by Algeria and the Polisario of the failure of their attempts to stop Morocco’s recent success in rallying World Capitals around Rabat’s position in the Western Sahara conflict. Abdelaziz and the DRS decision to split up the function of international relations between several individuals is a vote of no confidence on Mohamed Salem Ould Salek, Polisario chief foreign affairs official.
Washington pronouncement to further support the Moroccan Autonomy Plan for the Western Sahara and Madrid’s decision to reduce Spain’s presence in Tindouf are the results of Algeria’s misguided foreign policy and fallout of world events that are outside of Morocco and Algeria control. As world politics keep changing and Morocco adapts, albeit slowly and gradually, Algeria and the Polisario refuse to adjust.
While key Polisario figures keep falling, the Sahrawi population in Tindouf remains exasperated with the lack of progress in the United Nations efforts to finalize the status of the Western Sahara territory and frustrated with the absence of hope and prospect for a near solution to their plight. Abdelaziz recent nominations of “the same old faces” in different positions were received with disdain in the Camps. Sahrawi youths eager to break away from Algeria dictate are hoping to take charge of their fate soon and put an end to the reign of an aging Polisario leadership ruling by arbitrary and subjective decisions and without a clear plan that would benefit the Sahrawi population in Tindouf and The Moroccan Sahara.