Today, the Algerian newspaper, Bladi News, published an interview with the Sahrawi Ambassador in Botswana and the SADC organization, Mr. Malainin Lakhal, in which he addressed a number of issues related to the continuation of the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara, and the blackmail campaigns waged by the Makhzen against various countries, including Spain, to force Madrid to accept the illegal occupation of Western Sahara.
The Sahrawi Ambassador affirmed that the international community had tolerated Morocco so much, and encouraged it to continue its expansionist policies, which pushed Rabat to use immigration, drugs and other cards to put pressure on its neighbors, adding that the Spanish and European position is still weak and should be reviewed to put the Makhzen in its right place as a criminal system and as a failed state that is collapsing.
The following is the full text of the interview, as published by the newspaper:
The Makhzen practices terrorism against everyone, and its leaders are outlaws
The European position is weak and must be revised to put the Makhzen in its right place
Interviewed by: Fouad. H
What are the latest developments in the Saharawi issue?
Lakhal: It can be said that the Saharan issue has witnessed successive developments during the past few months, especially since the Polisario Front returned to the armed struggle, and announced the end of its commitment to the OAU-UN ceasefire after the Moroccan army’s flagrant violation of it on November 13, 2020, by targeting civilians in the Guerguerat region.
Since that date, we have seen how the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, and many countries have moved, whether through attempts to intervene to stop the war, or after the former US President, Trump, announced his recognition of the illegal Moroccan occupation of parts of our homeland, here too, many countries and organizations have had to express their rejection of this proclamation, simply because it contradicts international law, and is also dangerous to international relations and represents a dangerous precedent that could destroy decades of attempts to build international relations on the basis of law, and respect for peoples’ right to freedom, independence and sovereignty over their homelands and wealth.
On the African level, we noticed that the recent African Union summits strongly dealt with the Saharan issue, contrary to what the Moroccan occupation regime had hoped for, and despite the Makhzen continuing its policy of volte-face and rejection of reason and respect for the law. Morocco seems to increasingly be isolated because of this policy, and we have all seen how it is managing its diplomatic relations with many countries of the world with the logic of threat and intimidation, and the use of dangerous blackmailing cards threatening international stability and security, such as immigration, terrorism, drugs, and smear media campaigns against countries such as Spain, Algeria, Germany, Iran, and any country that neutrally expresses support for international legality in the Western Sahara issue. These are in a way the most important feature of recent developments.
What is the role that the major countries play in the file?
Lakhal: It can be said frankly that some major countries bear the greater part of the responsibility for the continued illegal and military occupation of parts of Western Sahara by Morocco, and it is possible here frankly to point at certain countries by finger without any reservation, such as France, for example, which protected, and continues to protect Morocco from within the Security Council, and in the European Union, and continues to influence many French-speaking African countries in particular, to prevent them from any kind of support or even neutrality in the Western Sahara issue, which is a resounding outrage not only for Paris’ public claims of respecting law, democracy and human rights, but worse betrays its support to the violation of all these slogans by its North African protectorate, and it is also shameful from these countries that are subject to the French-Moroccan dictates in this case of clear decolonization from which the African Union adopts a clear position.
The United States of America also bears a large part of the responsibility for the continued occupation by Morocco of western Sahara, why? Because the United States of America is supposed to be the penholder within the UN Security Council regarding the drafting of decisions related to the Saharawi conflict since Washington became a Guarantor of the OAU-African settlement plan in 1991, along with the rest of the Security Council members and other influential international powers, which asked the Sahrawis to cease fire thirty years ago and promised them to organize a referendum for self-determination. The United States of America has not yet fulfilled this promise, nor honoured its commitment to the Sahrawi people and to the Polisario Front, and we have even witnessed how Trump overturned during the last month of his term the American position despite its shortcomings, an illegal move that was however criticized by all American politicians familiar with the question, such as James Baker, John Bolton, and Christopher Ross, having worked on the issue directly, but also members of Congress, the Senate, and many others.
We cannot forget, of course, Spain and its historical, moral and political responsibility for this situation that we are living as Sahrawis, since the Spanish state failed to fulfill its responsibility to eliminate colonialism from our country, leaving it to Moroccan ambitions.
On this basis, we can also talk about other international bodies that bear responsibility for the continuation of the situation, either for their silence, or for ignoring and evading their international responsibilities, such as the European Union, for example, etc.
On the other hand, we should not forget to praise many countries, governments and organizations that have had enough courage to express at least honorable positions such as the African Union, the countries of the SADC, Russia, China, Algeria, Kenya, Ethiopia and other African countries, Germany, Scandinavian countries, and New Zealand, Ireland, Italy, Mexico and many others. Countries and organizations that refuse to accept Moroccan attempts and insist on the necessity of respecting international legality in decolonizing Western Sahara. Many of, those explicitly condemn any attempt to legitimize the Moroccan occupation and consider it a violation of international law and threat to international relations and multilateralism.
In light of the recent diplomatic crisis between Rabat and Madrid, many observers of the conflict see that Morocco is using immigrants in its political conflicts, how do you explain that?
Lakhal: Unfortunately, everyone knows precisely that the Moroccan Makhzen is a bullying system, a system run by drug dealers and money laundering dealers, an outlaw system and a very dangerous one to everyone, not only dangerous to the Maghreb region, but a real threat to the security and stability of the African continent, and the security and stability of Europe And thus the security and stability of the entire world, and threatens international law.
Everyone knows that this system trades in drugs and exploits its incomes, which were estimated by the centers specialized in drugs and organized crime at the United Nations and in the United States of America, for example, in 2017, to more than 23 billion dollars. Do you know where and how this huge amount of money is used? Do you know how and where it is laundered through Moroccan banks, among which is the King’s Personal Bank which has thousands of branches in many African countries? Everyone knows this, for this I was personally not at all surprised by the use of migration by Morocco against Spain and Europe, and I was not surprised at the sacrifice by the Makhzen of the lives of thousands Moroccans including thousands children, youth and women who were thrown into one of the worst pictures of international blackmail in front of medias, which unfortunately did not read the event as it should, and is still searching for its “causes” and “backgrounds” in the wrong directions, while the only real cause that should be stressed is to expose this bullying mafia system to the world, and press it to put an end first to exploiting the miseries of the Moroccan people who are starved, impoverished, and oppressed, and also put an end to the criminal military occupation of Western Sahara. The real thing is here. We have a mafia system that must be eliminated in order to liberate the Moroccans from it and empower them to rule and control their land and their wealth.
How will this diplomatic crisis affect the Western Sahara conflict?
Lakhal: I do not think that this is a diplomatic crisis, and it has nothing to do with any kind of diplomacy or politics. This is a cheap blackmail process practiced by the Makhzen against everyone, and not only against Spain, and we should stand against it, even if we as peoples and governments are forced to strike at the hands of the Makhzen with all the power we have. We should never submit to or accept this blackmail, nor the continuation of the illegal occupation of Western Sahara.
On the other hand, I believe that this blackmail, and this Moroccan thuggery now targeting Spain is in the end a healthy phenomenon because it reveals this system for what it is to the peoples and governments of the region and the world, and highlights the truth and essence of the Makhzen as a rogue state that practices state terrorism not only against its own people and against the Sahrawi people, but against everyone. From this point of view, I personally believe that the Makhzen is now struggling like any wounded animal, and is hammering the last nails into its coffin with its own hands and with its arrogance and usual childishness. This system will soon disappear, because it is no longer sustainable, and it should be eliminated in all possible ways before it destroys Morocco itself as a country, and destroys the region.
In the midst of the crisis between Rabat and Madrid, with the aim of putting pressure on the European Union to change its stance on the Saharawi issue, Vice President of the European Commission Margaretis Chenas sent a strong message to the Moroccan authorities saying that no one can blackmail us, from the diplomatic side, how can this message be read?
Lakhal: By God, personally, I still did not see any strong position from the European Union. I consider that the European Union bears a great responsibility in encouraging Morocco to adopt its dangerous policies. We all remember how the European Union was until recently describing Morocco as a strategic partner and praising Moroccan democratic achievements, praising Morocco as a model of stability, and moderation and so on. Even on Western Sahara issue, we have seen how the European Union has conspired in signing trade agreements with Morocco at the expense of Western Sahara and in violation of the law and the provisions of the European Court itself. We have seen how the Europeans poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of the corrupt regime in Morocco so that the king would buy new palaces and yachts and scatter bribes on corrupt people around the world to buy off their silence and support, instead of being used to relieve the suffering of Moroccans.
So, in my opinion, the current European position is still weak, and still not enough, and it should be reviewed, and Morocco should be dealt with clearly and directly to put it in its right place, as a corrupt and failed system that should be eliminated. As for contenting itself with modest reactions and threats, while continuing to cover up Moroccan violations of international law, and abuses of human rights in Morocco proper and in Western Sahara, this is shameful and unacceptable.
What is the future scenario for the Western Sahara conflict?
Lakhal: There is only one scenario, which is the end of the Moroccan occupation and its total evacuation from the Western Sahara because the Moroccan presence in our homeland is rejected by the Sahrawi people, but also by international legality, morality, history, geography and logic.
Now, what raises the real concern is the search for possible scenarios after the fall and end of the monarchy in Morocco? What will happen in Morocco? And how will the Moroccan people be able to save their country from the disaster that the Alawite regime and its associates, the drug dealers and manipulators of terrorism are pushing Morocco to? In any case, we wish all the best for the Moroccan brothers, but I personally urge them to pay attention to the coming disaster, and to unite against this system to save their homeland from being lost because of a bunch of amateurs who shoot in all directions and against everyone, and for the most trivial reasons.