Guergarate: lessons from a crisis

The Guerguerate crisis, named after this unique land crossing between the Kingdom of Morocco and Mauritania, gave a sudden boost to a conflict between Morocco and Algeria, a few decades old and whose resolution made people insomniac. more seasoned UN diplomats.

For several months now, the Polisario separatists have been practicing provocation as a daily art of living. Armed mercenaries were engaged in a show of force by blocking this vital passage for economic and land relations between Rabat and Nouakchott.

In their calculations, the Moroccan authorities could not take the risk of intervening to free this passage from the grip of these mercenaries without running the risk of being cataloged by the international community as the power having violated the ceasefire, signed under the UN umbrella in 1991.

However, Morocco has yielded neither to blackmail nor to fear. On the contrary, he adopted an approach of diplomatic clarification by evoking information alerts to all the decision-making centers which are closely monitoring this crisis. He accompanied it with a responsible military approach which freed the passage in question without causing any casualties. In the space of a few hours, the royal armed forces thus restored civil and commercial traffic to neighboring Mauritania.

And yet in the face of this situation, the clicking of weapons and the sound of boots were heard in the great Sahara Desert. From this crisis, as sudden in its manifestation as it is chronic in its reasons for being, there are many lessons to be learned.

First observation of this episode, the predominant role played by the Algerian military institution. It is common knowledge that the Polisario separatists, fed, financed, armed and sheltered by Algeria for years, do not have any freedom of action and decision. They are in reality only an arrow in the Algerian military arsenal obsessed for a long time and in a pathological way by the Kingdom of Morocco.

Should we link the actions of these mercenaries in the pay of Algiers to the political impasse this country is experiencing and its inability to extinguish the flames of popular protest? The hatred of Morocco today and the warlike provocations towards it serve as an outlet for Algerian antagonisms that have become sufficiently powerful to be difficult to contain without the risk of gaping and deadly internal fractures.

The second observation is that faced with this Moroccan approach, a surge of solidarity and support, especially Arab and African, has come to consolidate the indisputable Moroccanness of its Sahara. This situation is so impressive that it has succeeded in bringing together countries whose political and diplomatic agenda is in total confrontation. The example of Qatar on one side and the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia on the other has come to demonstrate that these countries, usually so opposed in their alliances, have achieved the feat of agreeing in their unfailing support for the Kingdom of Morocco in its long struggle to regain its territorial unity.

This unanimity resulted in underlining the extreme loneliness of Algeria and its military and political choices. This support and this Algerian loneliness will weigh heavily on the political and psychological levels when the time comes for the United Nations to relaunch negotiations to find a solution to this conflict between Morocco and Algeria.

The third observation that this crisis has highlighted and which risks influencing the choices of one and the other is the highlighting in this gray region of the presence of armed groups and mercenaries who move freely. In this region where terrorist groups of all tendencies make their law and constitute a security nightmare for all the countries of the region, the Polisario separatists and the mercenaries who support their mafia approaches act according to the same terrorist logic.

The Algerian territory which gives them shelter and logistics is transformed into territory for terrorist groups which threaten regional security both for the already explosive Sahel region and for the countries of North Africa and the European Union.

This fact is likely to precipitate an awareness that a solution must be found before terrorism and regional instability take over.

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