Morocco-Algeria: No means No

It has been many long years since Morocco began asking Algeria to open its borders. These requests have fallen on deaf ears. The Algerian response has been firm and consistent. NO. The Algerians could not be clearer: they do not want to have anything to do with Morocco.

As a matter of fact, Algeria set three impossible conditions to even start negotiating with Morocco.

These conditions are that Morocco must:

1. Put a stop to what they call a “smear campaign” in the Moroccan media against Algeria

2. Show true intentions to come up with a formula to fight the alleged flow of drugs into Algeria

3. Recognize Algeria’s non-negotiable and unwavering position on the Western Sahara.

Of course the goal of these conditions is to humiliate Morocco. And what do Moroccan diplomats do in response to Algeria’s unshakable position about opening the borders? They keep asking anytime an opportunity presents itself, as if Algeria will drops these conditions out of the blue and have a change of heart and dismantle the borders.

Algeria is convinced that Morocco has nothing to offer it economically, and opening the borders will only serve Morocco. This could be true in the short term: for instance, I can already see Algerian tourists flocking to eastern Morocco for what it has to offer in terms of tourism, but that’s where Algeria got it all wrong. Algeria is not looking at the potential bilateral relationship from a long-term standpoint, and they refuse to understand that going forward, Morocco and Algeria are better off united.

Morocco has been asking Algeria to stop supporting Polisario and let the UN handle the situation in Western Sahara. Algeria made it clear that it is not interested and will never give up on its dream to create a microstate in southern Morocco.

The question is: how much longer will Morocco continue with this useless diplomatic strategy of continuing to ask the Algerians to come to the table when they already know that their nemesis will not cooperate and the conditions stated above are Algeria’s true goals?

Let’s face it, if the Algerians have not changed their views in the last 50 years. It’s more likely than not that the next 50 years will not be any different. Why can’t Morocco abandon this failing plan of action? What does Algeria need to say or do to cause our decision-makers to start thinking about another way to defend our sacred cause?

We know that the conflict cannot be resolved unilaterally and Algerian consent will be needed. We also know that it is not Morocco who will force Algeria to consent. Morocco will have to get help from other world powers that are serious about taking on Algeria, and there are no other powers but Russia and China.

The Moroccan king will soon pay a visit to these two countries. Let’s hope that something positive comes from these visits. Morocco cannot buy the Russians and the Chinese with oil, but its strategic location could be extremely valuable, and that’s most likely what the Moroccan diplomats will try to convey.

For as long as oil and gas are still flowing in the Algerian desert, I am afraid that there is no end to this long-running conflict if Morocco continues to accept the status quo. We all know that people in this part of the world have no power. The will of the people cannot and will not change the mind of the Algerian regime.

The saddest part of all this is that many of the leaders who are holding the Maghreb hostage to their outdated and vindictive way of thinking would not mind going to the grave without ever seeing peace in North Africa. Bouteflika is confined to his wheel chair and his days are numbered, to the joy of those in Algeria who understand that eventually we will unite, as did the Europeans and others before us. Still, Bouteflika would rather die than see Morocco’s Autonomy proposal accepted.

14/08/2014