Recent years have seen the separation of neighboring countries within the Maghreb region and unity with certain very distant nations.
Morocco consolidated its link with the USA and Israel as its conflict with Algeria worsened. This new alliance allowed Morocco to officialize its supremacy over the Western Sahara in many countries such as Saudi Arabia, Germany, Spain, etc.
Meanwhile, over the past few decades, Tunisia had acknowledged the independence of the Western Sahara alongside Algeria without offering any real support for the movement.
This circumstance had helped Morocco and Tunisia maintain a cordial relationship until now, but a recent incident may in fact lead to a complete change for these two countries.
Le Monde reports:
The tension does not fall between Tunisia and Morocco. After recalling its ambassador from Tunis and canceling its participation in the eighth Tokyo International Conference for Development in Africa (Ticad 8) which was being held in the Tunisian capital on August 27 and 28, Rabat made it known, through its sports federations, that the Moroccan team will not participate in the North African karate championship organized in Tunis in September. In Tunisia, where the authorities recalled their ambassador from Rabat, the journalists’ union denounced “a smear campaign” after intense criticism from the Moroccan press.
This development is unfortunate. Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco are three Muslim countries that have far more in common with each other than they do with Israel and USA. To unite the three countries is therefore vastly more preferable than allying with untrustworthy disbelievers such as America.
Likewise, supporting a tiny powerless movement like Polisario is unnecessary and it should not be privileged over relationships with crucial historical powers such as the kingdom of Morocco.
Contrary to some popular claims, saying that defending the independence of the Sahara is to side with the oppressed is starkly erroneous. Unfortunately some brothers and sisters use this line of thinking to portray this as an Islamic cause, when really it is outrageously far-fetched to offer any legitimacy to this narrative.
Polisario is an armed group that is currently waging war with Morocco and it would be better off if it gives up the idea of ruling over the Western Sahara. We cannot describe Morocco as either an invader or a settler, as historically there was no nation-state to be conquered in that area to begin with.
These are areas that have always been ruled over by an external power, and a portion of its population rose up to ask for independence.
Claiming that Morocco’s politics over Sahrawi is oppression is as fallacious as claiming that France oppresses Corsica, Türkiye oppresses Kurds, and Spain oppresses Catalans.
Notice how the only ones who seriously make such claims are all liberal modernists.
This clearly demonstrates that this is actually a democratic view and one that deems every nation as having a natural right to autonomy. The fact is, this is a Western reading of the situation and not an Islamic one.
Once it becomes clear that Islam says nothing regarding who deserves to reign over the Western Sahara, we can accept that this is merely a pragmatic—not a religious—issue, and thus the general interest is the only factor that is of any relevance here.
The general interest for Muslims of course, is to recognize the most serious Muslim candidate to be the ruling power in the area. And that is undoubtedly Morocco.
We should also add that this solution is very sensible for Moroccans. Accordingly, it becomes hard to understand why it is that countries which have no real interests within this conflict are siding with such an insignificant candidate.
Wouldn’t it be preferable to simply offer the Moroccans the acknowledgment that they long for and to foster peace within the region?
For the time being at least, de-escalation between Rabat and Tunis seems like a difficult feat, and this only brings joy to the enemies of Islam.