The Saharawis and the Arabic world.

Sid Hamdi Yahdih


Some people ask sometimes, if there is a relation- whatsoever its kind, frienshidship or enmity- between the Saharawis (Polisario or RASD) and the Arabic world.?

Indeed, we could judge that there is no relation between both parties at all, and if it is so, it is almost limited and unclear.
When the Saharawis announced the begining of the armed struggle against Spain in 1973, they oriented their voice to the Arabic world to gain support; for example, in the first appeal of Polisario to the world to announce the armed clash against Spain, it said "that it is (Polisario) a part of the Arabic revolution(...) and it will lead the Saharawi-Arabic people to defeat the colonialism". Polisario had also chosen the colors of its flag (red, white, blake and green) like the colors of the flags of the majority of Arabic States , particularly that ones of Palestine, Jordania, Sudan and so on.
But every thing changed, suddenly, after Morocco began claiming the possession of the territory clearly in 1974.
The problem between the Saharawis and the Arabic world began when Morocco intended to annexe Western Sahara in 1974. To obtain Arabic help, Moroccan king, Hassan II called for an Arabic summit in Rabat on 27th,October 1974 to make an agreement between the Arabic leaders for obtaining recognition to the Palestine Movement of Liberation as the only political representative to Palestinian people. But in the same summit he convinced, secretly, the majority of the Arabic leaders to help him to "liberate" Western Sahara from Spanish colonialism. He asked them also to help him, logistically and militarly, to update his army to fight the last battle in Western Sahara. He said to them that "the period of the battle will not surpass one week. And he said, too, that he will drink the tea before one week in Aiun ( the capitale of the territory.) He told them about Polisario movement, which he had described " as a group of separatists wanting to proclaim a state on the territory in a period we need strong arabic unity."*

From then on, the conflict in Western Sahara appeared, in the eyes of the Arabic world, as an Arabic one since both parties (Morocco and Polisario) are Arabic. But, in fact, the majority of the Arabs have no sufficient idea about it, and if they have, they got influenced by the Moroccan propaganda. Since the begining, Moroccan information/ propaganda tried to show the Polisario movement as separatists in the eyes of the Arabics who dream, then, to "unify" the Arabic world in one great state.
Thus, the relation between the Saharawis and the Arabic world became cold and not clear.
When Polisario proclaimed the Saharawi state ( SADR) in 1976 in parallel with Spanish's withdrawl, it included the word" Arabic" in its name ( Saharawi Arabic Democratic Republic) , and, thus, it became the only state -with Lybia- in the region which carries on the name "Arabic".

The Saharawis found up theirselves struggling against an Arabic country and not Spain.
During the "Green March"( the Black March for the Saharawis), the majority of the Arabic states sent representatives to participate to the march with their national flags and pictures of their presidents. Those Arabic countries who had no active role in the march were numberless, and those who rejected it were less like Algeria, Libya, Syria and Yamen.

In 1976, when Polisario went to the Arabic League to explain its point of view , it found the door well closed. The Arabic League refused, under Morocco's pressure , to answer the Polisario letter in which the movement tried to convince the League about the reality of the conflict. Over the period of the conflict, the Arabic League refused to change its vision on it, and refused, too, to play any positive role to find an just and lasting Arabic solution to it, and the only point of view it has is the Moroccan one.
The UN' resolutionto submit the Sahara question to the International Court of Justice( ICJ) in 1974 was suggested by an arabic country, Iraq, who was dreaming to put its hand on Kuweit in the future like Morocco did with Western Sahara.
The UN' resolution 3858(B) which considered Madrid Accord - the accord of partititon-has been suggested by another Arabic country, Tunisia, who played an active role to convince Mauritania to participate to the Accord of Madrid with Morocco and Spain.
During UN' vote on Madrid Accord resolution( 3858)B in 1975, about seventeen Arabic countries voted for it.

Over the period of war, the Arabic states, especially the Monarchies and the Emirates, who have sympathy with their alike kinggdom of Morocco, played an active role to help Morocco to win the long battle. For instance, Saudi Arabia was paying 35% of the salary to Moroccan soldiers and it was supplying Morocco with oil freely. Egypt, Jordania, Quatar and Iraq were providing Morocco with arms and logistic to lead the bloody war against a the small Saharawi people.

Now, the Saharawis are frustrated by the oppression they suffered from their Arabic brothers, and, as I think, they repeat the poeme of El Mutanabbi:" The opression of the relatives is more bitterness than the strike of a soard."