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Algeria And The Polisario Paralysed By The Opening Of The Emirati Consulate in Laâyoune
LAAYOUNE || In October, six six countries opened new consulates in Dakhla and Laâyoune, a diplomatic development that has unsettled and paralysed the Polisario, especially since among these states, the United Arab Emirates are the first non-continental country to open a consulate in the Moroccan Sahara.
It is therefore not surprising that the State of the United Arab Emirates is opening a consulate in the largest city of the Moroccan Sahara, Laâyoune. Indeed, this Gulf country was among the first countries to recognize and defend the Moroccan character of the Sahara. In fact, in November 1975, many Emirati officials participated in the Green March.
But it was a surprise that Mohamed Ben Zayed, crown prince of the Emirates, chose a time when everyone believed that Moroccan-Emirati relations were at the bottom of the wave, to announce to King Mohammed VI the decision to his country will soon open a consulate in Laâyoune.
In chorus, sites close to the Algerian regime and the Polisario, sounded by the heavy burden of this gesture in favor of the Moroccan character of the Sahara, saw fit to announce in their own way that the Emirates, which have just "normalized their relations with Israel, open a consulate in Laayoune ”.
However, relations between Abu Dhabi and Algiers have been, until the last few months at least, very dense, since since 2016, the Emirates have injected some 10 billion dollars of investments into the Algerian economy: ports, real estate, mechanical industry… but also military.
Indeed, Abu Dhabi is a military market of choice for Algeria, as evidenced by the many visits of Algerian generals, headed by the successive chiefs of staff of the Algerian army, including the late Ahmed Gaïd Salah and the current strongman of the country, General Saïd Chengriha.
Certain Emirati companies, obviously not producing weapons, have specialized above all in the subcontracting and sale to the Algerian army of Western military equipment, which is relatively sophisticated but second-hand.
This material aims to improve the quality of Russian armaments that Algiers buys in large quantities through an opaque system of contracts and other commissions which annually devour more than 10 billion dollars of the Algerian budget.
It is therefore this important partner of the Algerian military nomenklatura who has just dealt a blow to the Polisario, through the opening of an Emirati consulate in Laâyoune. Opening of consulates in Laâyoune and Dakhla: resigned, Algeria and the Polisario accept the reality on the ground
The representative of the Polisario in Europe, an agent in fact reporting to the Algerian embassy in Brussels, had no other reaction than to recognize, as reported by the official Algerian press agency, APS , that Morocco has succeeded in opening several consulates, adding, ignoring diplomatic law, that at the multilateral level no international organization has opened a consulate in the Sahara. Now, international organizations do not have consulates anywhere in the world.
According to him, "faced with its dismal failure at the multilateral level where no gains have been achieved, Morocco has fallen back on the bilateral level, far from international organizations, by luring a few small states to open consulates".
Sixteen states, including an influential member of the Arab League, and fifteen members of the African Union are thus treated as "small states" by the Algeria-Polisario tandem, for having sovereignly opened consulates in Morocco, a right recognized by them by the Security Council last April. A headlong rush that says a lot about the disarray in which Algeria and its Polisarian militia find themselves.