On 10 December 2020, President Trump announced that he recognised Morocco’s right to annex its territory the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), its southern neighbour. It was an independent country since 27 February 1976, following the victory of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia al-Hamraa and Rio de Oro (Polisario Front) in the former Western Sahara, occupied by Spain as an overseas territory. SADR, recognised as a state by the African Union, is a country half the size of Spain, with phosphate mines, an essential ingredient for fertilisers, whose 1,100 km of Atlantic coastline represents a wealth of fisheries and is also a geostrategic asset. And before Trump, the United States had always followed UN guidance, since 1975, to deny Rabat sovereignty over this territory.

What is the reason for this defence of the colonial policy of a country that, on another occasion, in 1777, was the first to formally recognise the United States’ independence on the other side of the Atlantic?

 

By: Communist League of Workers (LCT), IWL-FI Belgian section – Feb 10, 2021

 

A tweet from Trump explains: “Another HISTORIC success today! Our two GREAT friends, Israel and the Kingdom of Morocco have agreed to establish full diplomatic relations, a major step toward peace in the Middle East! “1] This is a blow to the struggle of the Palestinian people, but also to that of the Saharawi people, who have become a bargaining chip in the criminal US policy of support for the Zionist state.

At the end of his term in office, Donald Trump presents this announcement as a success of his pro-Israeli diplomacy. This agreement is yet another link in a policy of so-called “pacification” in the Middle East; in reality, it is support for the Zionist state as a gendarme to break the struggles of the peoples in solidarity with the just demands of the Palestinian people against the colonisation of their country.

The normalisation of diplomatic relations with Israel had already occurred in Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994). And on 13 August 2020, Trump announced another “historic grand bargain”. The “Abraham Accords”[2] between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and between Israel and Bahrain were signed on 12 and 15 September 2020 in Washington to normalise relations between these Arab states and the Zionist state. And on 23 October, Trump announced a similar agreement between Israel and Sudan. In this case, Sudan’s price for its removal by Trump from the blacklist of “terrorist states” established in 1993[3].

The ultimate reason for all these agreements is to break the solidarity of the respective peoples with the Palestinian cause, who refuse to trivialise the Israeli colonisation of Palestine.

But it is not only Trump who is at stake in Morocco’s relations with Israel. In the Moroccan government, the Justice and Development Party (PJD – Islamist) has even had to face its young people’s rebellion, outraged by these agreements.

Ties between Morocco and Israel

On an informal basis the Morocco-Israel diplomatic rapprochement has already been taking place for several months, if not years in an informal way.

The Moroccan authorities present this agreement as necessary, arguing that there are many Jews of Moroccan origin: one million for an eight million Israeli population. Moreover, a third of the ministers are Jews of Moroccan origin. That is why it is said that this state of affairs must be acknowledged, and a humane solution to the conflict must be found in time.

The Moroccan authorities do not say that the Moroccan leadership has always had relations with the Zionist state and that it is trying to formalise close ties. The roots of this collaboration between the two states go back to the Moroccan regime’s complicity in the mass emigration of Moroccan Jews to Israel in the 1950s and 1960s. Between 1961 and 1964 alone, 97,000 people emigrated.

Hassan II’s secret diplomacy is now partially known, including his collaboration with the Mossad (which was able to establish a branch office in Morocco) to eliminate Mehdi Ben Barka, the great Moroccan opposition leader and convinced pan-Africanist, in September 1965; as well as his espionage at Arab League negotiations in the same month of September 1965 during preparations for war against Israel. This is not surprising since Hassan II advocated a ‘realistic’ attitude towards Israel in the Arab League in 1964 and set up a commission, which he chaired, on the conflict’s settlement. From then on, Morocco became the privileged interlocutor of Western countries with the Arab League.

In 2000, under pressure from the popular movement showing its profound solidarity with the Palestinian people’s Intifada and against Israel’s Zionist state, Morocco closed its liaison office with Israel in Rabat. Today, at the very moment when the Moroccan authorities announce the agreement, there is a hypocritical little word reiterating its support for the Palestinian people. Hypocritical because, unlike the Moroccan people and the Moroccan Jewish community in the Old City of Jerusalem, the Moroccan regime collaborates with Zionism’s crimes, which violates Palestinian territory and destroys their cultures and homes.

A new step has been taken today by clearly stating the partnership with the colonial enclave. For, if one aspect of the agreements facilitates air connections, it is primarily for goods and not for Israeli citizens of Moroccan origin. It is the section on economic relations and freedom of investment that will benefit Morocco first and foremost. As for the benefit to Israel, the main one is, of course, the weakening of support for the Palestinian cause among governments in the region.

The Moroccan regime, US and European imperialism against the Sahrawi people

The agreement provides for US recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), until 1975, the Western Sahara, an Overseas Territory of Spain, effectively a colony. Today, the territory is still claimed by Morocco and is occupied mainly by its troops. To this end, numerous propaganda campaigns and operations have attempted to artificially create a Moroccan nationalism that lays claim to the territory. This chauvinist propaganda is very clever and transforms all those who dare to criticise Israel’s agreement into enemies of the Moroccan national cause, as it is tantamount to questioning the recognition of “Western Sahara” as an integral part of the national territory.

The exploitation of this territory is open to Morocco and the US and European imperialism through commercial investment treaties. Thus, Morocco is a platform for capital investment to exploit the southern Sahara. In the foreground is French imperialism, which applies its neo-colonial policy there.

The struggle of the Saharawi people is, therefore, a real problem for Morocco and world imperialism. That is why the Moroccan army has built-in SADR, with Israel and Saudi Arabia’s collaboration, the Sand Wall, a wall 2,700 km long, equipped with seven million mines and defended by more than a hundred thousand soldiers. A wall that is a tragedy for the local population, separating families and destroying the local economy [4].

As part of these agreements, the United States incidentally concluded a contract to sell four surveillance and combat drones for one million dollars. This complements the amount of more than 10 billion in 2019. France, for its part, has sold Morocco more than 2 billion euros worth of military equipment (arms, ammunition, spy satellites) since 2008, including the purchase in 2019 of Ceasar-type truck-mounted artillery systems. This should consolidate a Moroccan army whose expected task is to regain control over its ‘Western Sahara’.

Fight for the sovereignty of the people!

In the face of this umpteenth betrayal by the King and the Moroccan bourgeoisie, we reaffirm our full support for the Palestinian people by rejecting this agreement which constitutes a real crime against their legitimate rights. We also reject all the Moroccan regime’s claims on its former Overseas Territory, and we fully support the Saharawi people of SADR in their legitimate demands for independence.

Moroccan workers must not succumb to the chauvinist propaganda of the Moroccan regime that pits them against their brothers in the Sahara. On the contrary, it is only through a united struggle for a federation of socialist republics in the Maghreb, respecting each’s specific characteristics, that they will prosper in a Morocco that develops its potential in collaboration with its neighbours.

But for this to happen, we must start by rejecting these shameful agreements. Belgium must recognise SADR as an independent state. In Belgium, but also in France and worldwide, we call on organisations, movements, parties and trade unions that support the Palestinian cause to express their rejection of this shameful agreement.

Notes:

(1) https://elpais.com/internacional/2020-12-10/marruecos-logra-que-ee-uu-reconozca-su-soberania-sobre-el-sahara-occidental-a-cambio-de-iniciar-relaciones-diplomaticas-con-israel.html

(2) The name attempts to camouflage Zionist aggression under a multicultural cloak: “The Arab and Jewish peoples are descended from a common ancestor, Abraham, and aspire to foster a realistic vision of a Middle East in which Muslims, Jews, Christians and peoples of all faiths, denominations and nationalities live in a spirit of coexistence, mutual understanding and respect.” https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accords_d’Abraham#Traité_de_paix_entre_les_Émirats_arabes_unis_et_Israël

(3) https://elpais.com/internacional/2020-10-23/israel-y-sudan-normalizaran-sus-relaciones-con-la-mediacion-de-ee-uu.html

(4) https://www.spsrasd.info/news/fr/articles/2016/10/16/4803.html