One of the things we try to do at WORLDMEETS.US is bring to the attention of the American people stories and news sources rarely touched on by U.S. media – but that involve our nation.
The situation in the Western Sahara is one such story, demonstrating once again that in all kinds of situations, what an American president says and does results in major repercussions.
This article from Algeria’s Le Quotidien d’Oran highlights a conflict that has been going on for decades over what was until 1975, the last vestige of the Spanish Empire.
After Spain withdrew, the region was claimed by Morocco and Mauritania. But the people of the Western Sahara in the form of the Polisario Front demanded the right to self-determination.
Mauritania has withdrawn any claim, but the Polisario Front’s battle against Morocco continues. Now enter President Barack Obama – who is signaling that he opposes the Bush Administration policy of backing a plan put forward by King Mohammed VI of Morocco for ‘broad autonomy’ for the Western Sahara within Morocco .
The King is not amused.
For Le Quotidien d’Oran, columnist Mahrez Ilias quotes Spain’s newspaper El Pais, writing in part:
“In his letter to the king of Morocco, Obama forgot to sing the praises of Morocco’s proposal of autonomy for the Western Sahara – a proposal that over recent years, his predecessor George W. Bush supported in his messages to the Moroccan monarch. … The stance of the new U.S. administration is nourishing Rabat ‘s worst fears, after the U.N. secretary general’s personal envoy didn’t even manage to see the Moroccan king during his tour of the region.”
By Mahrez Ilias
Translated By Sandrine Ageorges and Elise Nussbaum
July 19, 2009
Algeria – Le Quotidien d’Oran – Home Page (French)
A new version of the Baker Plan, which addresses the problem of the decolonization of the Western Sahara, is in the realm of possibility with the new American administration. [The Baker Plan would grant self-determination to the people in the Western Sahara]. Or so international relations analyst Carlos Luis Miguel believes. Interviewed by the Algerian Press Service, Miguel draws his reasoning from the attitude shown by President Barack Obama after last spring’s tour of the region by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s new personal envoy, U.S. diplomat Christopher Ross.
[Editor's Note: The Western Sahara is a contested territory that from 1884 to 1975, was a Spanish possession called the Spanish Sahara. After helping to drive out Spain, the Polisario Front, also known as the Saharawi Liberation Movement, undertook to drive out Morocco and Mauritania, who both laid claim to the region after Spain withdrew. Mauritania has since relinquished any claim.]
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