That is what, in bureaucratic purity, the old leader of the Polisario Front is for Defense, since the Spanish Army never erased the ranks of its Saharan troops, in which the current president of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) served 48 years ago. ) in exile.
For Foreign Affairs, Ghali has been a very sick person in need of humanitarian reception. And for Interior, the case that has been about to collapse a building of cooperation with Morocco raised throughout three years of intensification of relations.
But the collapse has not been total. The Spain-Morocco police bridge was maintained even in the worst hours of the human surge over Ceuta. On the same Monday of the arrival of thousands of migrants, the Moroccan and Spanish ministers spoke on the phone of the Interior, confirm consular sources.
Slightly more than a hundred police and civil guards make up the canal with Morocco. In addition to the bulk of Information and Immigration, commanders of the Central and Operational Unit (UCO) of the Civil Guard, of the Drug and Organized Crime Unit (UDYCO) of the National Police, or even of the TEDAX now follow their ordinary contacts. “The exchange of information has been maintained even in the worst of the crisis ”, confirm police sources. In fact, they add, “8,500 people could not have been returned for the Tarajal if they had not cooperated. ”
It was also supported by the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande Marlaska, on May 19 in Congress, and reiterated this Thursday before the media in Cádiz: “Collaboration with Morocco on security matters is absolutely important, relevant, and we keep working”.
In this sense, consular sources refer how the Spanish Government has detected a “significant increase” in Moroccan vessel interception with migrants on the way to the Spanish coasts. Perhaps a gesture of relaxation, certainly different from other details detected not long ago, such as the fact that 4×4 patrol cars donated by Spain to Morocco to reinforce its coastal surveillance have been used by Morocco to monitor, yes … but the border with Algeria.
Security cooperation goes through a dozen encounters between the Spanish minister and his Moroccan counterpart Abdelouafi Laftit, seven visiting Morocco, four in Spain and one in Lyon (France) during a meeting of the G6 Interior Ministers.
And it has been narrow to the point that Spain assumed, at Christmas 2018, Morocco’s notice of an imminent jihadist kidnapping of Spanish visitors to the Tindouf camps. Interior gave the alert. The kidnapping did not take place, and the Polisario Front described the warning as a Moroccan goal, part of the anti-Saharui propaganda strategy from Morocco.
Children in the game
This summer, for the second year, the children of the camps will not be able to cool off in Spain. Last Wednesday a weekly Barcelona-Algiers flight was recovered, but still with strong restrictions: PCR when leaving, five days of isolation and a new PCR, and only for those who do not require a visa. The pandemic continues to prevent Spanish families from receiving their small summer guests, in which, after dozens of summers fleeing the hell of July and August in Tindouf, has become the most sentimental link in the relationship of this country with its former colony.
In the absence of vacations in Spain, “numerous city councils and regional governments are making contributions for an alternative program of Holidays in Peace ”, says the delegate of the Polisario Front in Catalonia, Abidín Bucharaya.
Spain will only be able to leave its guardianship of Moroccan minors if they are claimed by their families, or by social services and the Moroccan minor’s prosecutor’s office
The children, on the board. The next opportunity to lower the temperature of the crisis in Morocco with Spain also passes through the minors. In its third note on the crisis with Spain, the Moroccan government said last day 1 that the king Mohamed VI has given orders to their Interior and Foreign Ministries “to definitively solve the problem of unaccompanied Moroccan minors in an illegal situation in certain European countries ”.
Spain can only leave its obligation of guardianship of an unaccompanied migrant minor if his family asks to recover it, or if it is claimed by the social services of the country of origin. And for this second route, the assistance of the Moroccan Juvenile Prosecutor’s Office is necessary.
This was at least outlined in a pilot program in both countries in February 2019, with 20 Moroccan minors residing in Madrid. A delegation from the Moroccan prosecutor’s office came, but the program was interrupted.
Memorial of grievances
The Spain-Morocco police bridge remains open while others will still take time to reconstitute. When, on the 1st, the Minister of Transport, Jose Luis Ábalos, said on TVE channel 24H that Spain’s position on the Sahara is “to support the United Nations resolution,” repeated the content of a tweet from Pablo Iglesias that irritated Rabat, according to sources close to his embassy.
On November 15, 2020, Iglesias recalled on Twitter the message of the UN Security Council of January 13, 1995: “It reiterates its commitment to to hold, without further delay, a free referendum, clean and impartial for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara ”.
At that time Iglesias was vice president of the Government. Two days ago hostilities between Sahrawis and Moroccans had broken out in the Guerguerat pass. And Morocco added a note to its particular memorial of grievances.
That memorial has been exposed by the main voice of Moroccan diplomacy outside its embassy, the former secretary of the legation Jamal Eddine Mechbal, that in the digital Atalar he complained, shortly after the rupture in the Sahara, not only about Pablo Iglesias’ tweet: “The number two of Podemos, Nacho Alvarez, in his capacity as Secretary of State for Social Rights, met with Sulima Hay Emhamed, the ‘minister’ of Social Affairs of the self-proclaimed SADR ”.
In contrast to this undisguised pro-Saharawi activity, in this diplomatic crisis the main figures of Podemos have maintained a very discreet profile. The platforms close to Podemos, and the purple formation itself, are the “political and governmental circles” referred to in the first note issued by Rabat in this crisis, accusing them of “trying to exploit the Moroccan Sahara.”
Rabat did not speak so bitterly in 2004, ruling Rodriguez Zapatero, when a secretary of state, Bernardino Leon, number two of Foreign Affairs, visited the Tindouf camps on two trips for which the also Secretary of State for Cooperation had enlisted Leire Pajín.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.