If a Movement of National Liberation can be defined as an organization emanating from peoples dominated by foreign States(colonialism or foreign occupation), a separatist organization action falls within the prospect of a secession from an already existing national (or federal) State. In other words, a secession movement cannot necessarily emanate from a "people", let alone an "oppressed people".
Also, some organizations, like Polizario, ambitioned, by manipulative artifice, to be identified with National Liberation Movements. Indeed the latter works towards the liberation of peoples from the yoke of colonialism or foreign occupation.
Needless to say, Morocco is not a colonizing country as the Sahara belonged to it before its colonisation by Spain in 1884 which unilaterally proclaimed a “protectorate on the African coast extending from Bojador Cape to White Cape". In 1912, the date when a part of Morocco was put under French protectorate, the Kingdom found itself under both French and Spanish rule. If the colonization of Morocco has been implemented gradually, likewise its decolonisation.Thus, in 1956, French brought back to Morocco the land it had occupied and Spain withrew from part of the northern zone. In 1958, Spain retroceded Tarfaya and Tan-Tan. In 1967, it gave back Sidi Ifni, with no regulation of the Sahara issue. While Morocco was working towards the recovery of its territorial integrity, it was created, in 1973, at the initiave of the Algiers, the Polizario Front, an indepedence organization of extreme left, whose purpose was the pure and simple independence of Moroccan Sahara.
Following the referral by Morocco, to the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1974, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) was asked to rule on some legal points related to Sahara before its colonization by Spain. It rendered it consultative opinion on 16 October 1975 concluding that Western Sahara was not a “territory without a ruler" at the moment of its colonization by Spain and recognized “the existence, at the moment of its Spanish colonization, of legal allegiance bonds between the Sultan of Morocco and some tribes living on the territory of Western Sahara". Following this opinion, Morocco conducted on 6 November 1975, thanks to the Late Majesty Hassan II, a “Green March" for the restoration of its Sahara, which has been translated concretely into the restoration of Saguia EL Hamra in February 1976 and Oued Eddahab in 1979.In parallel, «SADR" was created in 1976.
Thus, in this period of cold war and confrontations between the two blocs, it was a matter of preventing Morocco from finalizing its colonization: the Kingdom belonged to the western bloc and the Polizario Front, created by Algerian authorities, emanated from Soviet bloc.The Polizario, therephore, is an offshoot of foreign powers focusing on the weakening of the Kingdom. This organization does not enjoy any historical, territorial or popular legitimity.
As a result, if according to the International Law, the fight against foreign occupation and colonialism is considred legitimate and legal, separatist movements, as far as they are concerned, do not enjoy, always at the level of international legality, any of this legitimity, neither at the level of their"cause", nor that of their actions. In brief, the International Law condemns separatist movements insofar as they are a threat on international peace and security undermining the unity and territorial integrity of States. As separatist movements deploy their" fight" within formed States;that is to say, subjects of International Law, whose existence, sovreignty and territorial integrity are not put into question by the International Law.And where the ineptitude and illegality, at the both national and international level, of Polizario discourse which assimilates systematically self-determination to indepedence.
In addition, the international community has to be careful regarding the illigetimate appropriation by the Polizario of the quality of “National Liberation Movement".
Indeed, the International Law considers as legitimate, the fight of a Movement of National Liberation seeking liberation from the yoke of colonialism. In achieving that, it is feared that Polizario resorts to terrorism under the cover of fight of a “national liberation movement". In this way, it is appropriate to evoke again that this separatist organization is imbued with the seeds of a menace on international peace and security. Amid the lapse of objectives following the cold war, along with a strategic defeciency, it is no surprise to restore that by “Al Qaida" via its local franchise " Al Qaida in the Maghreb countries". Especially that we witness an upsurge of terrorist operations of Al Qaida in Maghreb region. The deadly acts against Algiers and those, of Casablanca foiled in April 2007, were designed to be established as «founding acts'', in Maghreb, of the organization" Al Qaida in Maghreb countries". The Polisario, therephore, could become the bridgehead in the region and serve as a rear base in logistics and training.
Written by Nabil Lamrani and translated by Madani Abdelmajid