The Spanish journalist and writer, Tomas Barbulo, indicated in an interview to the Saharawi website, SH24H, that Morocco with its attitudes is not a friendly country to Spain, and considers that the Makhzen has lost the battle of public opinion after using immigration as a blackmail weapon against Spain and Europe.
Here is the full text of the interview published by SH24H this past May 30.
– In recent days, the causes and history of the Saharawi people have positioned themselves at the forefront of debates at the national level (Spain). From his experience as a journalist and researcher on Western Sahara, how do you assess the knowledge of Spanish public opinion about such a close conflict?
Until a few months ago it was a superficial knowledge. However, the recent Moroccan aggression in Ceuta, using hundreds of minors as cannon fodder under the excuse that the General Secretary of the Polisario Front was in a Spanish hospital, has contributed to increasing public interest in the conflict .
– Morocco has tried to focus the spotlight on the figure of the President of the SADR, Brahim Ghali, as a justification for the aggression against the territorial sovereignty of Spain. How do you assess the approach of the media and what are the intentions of Morocco?
The attacks on the government for hosting Brahim Ghali are a diversionary maneuver. The reality is that Mohamed VI is very concerned that the European Union does not follow the path of Donald Trump and is reluctant to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara. That is why he created a diplomatic conflict with Germany, which did not work for him, and that is why he has also created a conflict with Spain. All these maneuvers seek the same thing: that the EU violates international law and recognizes Moroccos sovereignty over Western Sahara. There are media that have understood this and have denounced it, and others that have decided to defend Rabat’s strategy. They will know why they do it.
– It is possible to consider the current media treatment of the Western Sahara issue, dictated by professionalism and the periodic and objective monitoring of the events of the Western Sahara conflict, or simply a circumstance in which the Sahara issue is exploited to pressure or Blackmailing and all this at the expense of the truth and the nobility of the struggle of the Saharawi people?
All above. There are media and professionals who objectively report the facts and others who misrepresent them and use them to attack the Government. But, beyond the miseries of some, Spanish public opinion mostly supports the Saharawi people and rejects Moroccan aggressions.
– How do you define the government’s position on the facts? And the position of the different political forces?
As in almost everything that concerns Morocco, there is a lack of information to interpret the facts with precision. At first glance, the government has responded quickly and forcefully to the Moroccan aggression. The position of the PP and its leader, Pablo Casado, seems incomprehensible to me. He says that with him in La Moncloa the attack would not have occurred. Why? Because he would have recognized the sovereignty of Morocco over Western Sahara?
– Analyzing in detail the statements of the Moroccan ambassador from Rabat, a clear interference is perceived, Is Morocco in a position to force the pulse?
The ambassador’s statements are inadmissible in any country. Can you imagine what would have happened if the Spanish ambassador in Rabat had said something similar? He would have been expelled from Morocco immediately. That lady has been disabled to represent her country in Spain. I hope that the Government understands it that way and that it rejects her return to Madrid.
– From Rabat they try to mark the lines of work of the Judicial Power of Spain, what is the intention and to what extent can it be harmed?
In this and other matters, like the ones we mentioned before, Mohamed VI acts like a schoolyard bully, trying to intimidate others with bravado. I think that these types of actions are to make his subjects see that he is a tough guy, but seen from Spain, his threats to justice are ridiculous.
– Morocco has been sponsored by important Spanish political and media lobbies to distort the Saharawi struggle and whiten the Rabat regime. How has the recent aggression against Spain influenced the supposed image of “Morocco’s friendly country”?
I think that it has become clear to public opinion that Morocco is not a friendly country. It is true that Mohamed VI has a good number of gangsters in the Spanish media. In many cases it exerts its influence through shareholders who have commitments to French companies or investment funds related to Israel. Now, after the aggression in Ceuta, those “friends of Morocco” have a very difficult time defending it, because that means siding with those who have proven to be an enemy. That is why, instead of defending it, they attack the Polisario and its secretary general.
– They are talking about “a before and after” in the relations or image of Morocco. How can it influence the Sahrawi struggle and the position of Morocco in Spain?
Relations between Spain and Morocco are very complex. Spain has yielded too many times to the rudeness and whims of Mohamed VI in exchange for its cooperation on immigration and terrorism. Although I think that should stop, I see it difficult. The attitude of the opposition leader, Pablo Casado, in this matter, siding with Rabat, is a shame for his voters. If you publicly support Morocco when Mohamed VI does a monstrosity like the one he did in Ceuta, what can you expect from him? For the rest, I believe that Morocco has lost the battle of public opinion and that the Sahrawi people can take advantage of this opportunity to give a new impulse to the knowledge by the Spanish of their struggle.
– What can Morocco gain nationally and internationally from the images that demonstrate the use of the population as a political instrument?
Condemnation and contempt. Using the most vulnerable people, including hundreds of children, as ammunition, Mohamed VI has proven himself to be a monster.
– The portion of the EU as a bloc is a key element in the defense of the interests of Spain and the defense of Ceuta and Melilla as European political borders. , why does Morocco trie to disassociate the EU and Spain applauds the statements of support received from Brussels?
Morocco has realized that its aggression in Ceuta has caused serious damage to its image in Europe, to the point of endangering the billions of aid it receives from Brussels, and that is why it tries to make people believe that it only has one problem with Spain. But this time the EU’s support for the borders of Ceuta and Melilla as European borders has been clear. In other words, it has backfired against Morocco.
– Since 1975, Spain has tried to detach itself from its responsibility in the process of decolonization of the territory of the SADR under Moroccan occupation, until when will we see a low profile of Madrid in a matter that concerns it at a legal and geostrategic level?
Spain has been draining the bulk of this issue for almost half a century. That is why it must be said that it was an accessory to the massacres that Morocco has perpetrated in the past and to the repression that it is now exercising against the Sahrawis. In the face of the death of the elderly, women and children, and in the face of torture, there are no excuses: either you are with the torturer or you are with the victim. There is no silence. But I am very afraid that Spain’s position will not change.
– How can intellectuals and public opinion influence the political actions of Spain regarding Western Sahara?
Explaining again and again the facts that demonstrate the responsibility of Spain in the Sahara. Through essays, novels, films, articles, plays, poems … The more aware public opinion is, the more careful governments will be not to offend it so as not to lose its votes.