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Algerian President Escalates Hostility Against Morocco, Attacks Monarchy

Over the years Algeria has turned a deaf ear to Morocco’s consistent calls for dialogue and regional peace. Instead, Algerian officials continue to escalate diplomatic maneuvers against Rabat.

Algeria’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has made another series of hostile remarks against Morocco and its sovereignty over Western Sahara.

In a recent interview with French newspaper Le Point, Tebboune said that, given the choice between independence and integration within Morocco, Moroccans living in Western Sahara will vote for "independence because they will no longer want to be the subjects of Morocco’s King."

“It is paradoxical to have a Moroccan majority and to refuse the self-determination vote,” he said. Tebboune also spoke about “a break” between Algeria and “the monarch.”

When asked about Western Sahara, the Algerian president took a direct swipe at King Mohammed VI and the US' decision to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.

“How can you think of offering a monarch an entire territory, with all its population?” Tebboune said, appearing to suggest, falsely, that the region and its inhabitants have no connection - historical, legal, or sociological - to Morocco. 

Tebboune added that the US recognition “does not mean anything.”

“We cannot go back, verbally, on everything that was done by Washington to please a king.”
 Since December 2020, when former President Donald Trump signed a presidential proclamation recognizing Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, Algerian officials have been overtly and secretly maneuvering against the move.

After Trump’s departure from the White House, Algeria activated its US lobby to urge President Joe Biden to reverse the proclamation.

The Algerian president’s remarks against Morocco are neither surprising nor the first instance of overt Morocco-bashing by Algeria in the past few months.  

Algeria’s politico-military establishment has long shared hostile sentiment against Morocco, constantly interfering in Moroccan domestic affairs and smearing the country despite successive Moroccan governments’ history of good faith and support towards Algeria. 

As many historians and watchers of Maghrebi politics have attested over the years, Morocco offered tangible and crucial support to Algeria during its independence war against the French colonists.

But Algeria soon forgot Morocco’s efforts and, in its quest for unrivaled dominance over the Maghreb, has consistently pulled the trigger against Morocco’s commitment to brotherly bonds and solidarity.

Amid the withdrawal of colonial powers from North Africa, which took place gradually in the 1950s, France used the mineral rich lands between Tindouf and Bechar as a bargaining chip in Algeria’s independence war.

France ruled that the resource-rich region would be part of French Algeria in  1952. The French protectorate struggled to retain control of Algeria in 1956, and offered the return of the Tindouf-Bechar region to newly independent Morocco -- on condition that Rabat ended its support for the Algerian struggle.

However, Morocco’s late King Mohammed V declined France’s deal in the belief that the matter of Tindouf-Bechar stretch would be settled between Morocco and its “Algerian brothers” once they gained their independence.

The exiled Algerian government agreed to Morocco’s terms. But after Algeria finally gained its independence, a new power emerged in the form of President Ahmed Ben Bella. The new government declared all previous agreements with Morocco null and void.

Despite Algeria’s ill intentions and despite its reluctance to continue to promote separatism against Morocco, Rabat has continued to extend an amicable hand to Algiers, urging for a much-needed political consultation to end decades of political stalemate between the two countries.

In his 2018 Green March speech, for instance, King Mohammeed VI said Morocco remains committed to the post-independence dream of a unified and strong Maghreb. The King urged Algeria to engage in an “open and frank dialogue.” He argued that the prolonged political rivalry between Rabat and Algiers does not benefit North Africa and only precludes the region from becoming the economic powerhouse it could be.

Not only would such a dialogue result in the restoration of full diplomatic ties and the reopening of the borders between the two neighboring countries, he stressed, it would allow two leading Maghrebi countries to transcend their divergences and focus on making the region a better place for its peoples.

Algeria, however, has turned a deaf ear to Morocco’s call and continued to escalate diplomatic maneuvers against the country. 

One such move came earlier this week, when, after arranging for Polisario’s Brahim medical stay in Spain, President Tebboune visited the Polisario leader upon his return from Spain. During the visit, Tebboune said of Algeria's continued support for Polisario’s separatism: “Truth causes are Algeria’s priority.”

 

Source: Morocco World News.

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