Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Occupation damaging Western Sahara's environment

Painting by Fadel Jalifa. More like it in the paper!

That's the judgment of a paper about Western Sahara's environment (PDF) under Spanish and Moroccan rule. Written by Axel Goldau (not to be confused with commenter Ax) and translated by Nele Saworski, it faults Spaniards with overhunting Saharan animals and hurting biodiversity.

Morocco gets off no better, from allowing Saudis to hunt gazelles in the territory to producing environmental data that displays an embarrassing lack of knowledge about area wildlife. The only good news in the paper, really, are the great paintings by Fadel Jalifa like the one above.


  1. i get used to see all that's new in your blog you made a good job WILL,the occupation all over the world has allways affected badly the occupied teritory because it is the human nature or the bad side of man the dark side in the human as psychologists called it.

  2. New York Times joins the MACP lobby caravan. In three weeks, these four Moroccan-sponsored Sahrawis (and their handler, Mr. Holley) have now been given more interviews in major American newspapers than the rest of their people put together in 10 years -- not that there's much resistance, but the MACP & Co are doing a hell of a good job.


  3. I just got that NYT article emailed to me, but haven't read it. It's an MACP front? You've got to be kidding me. Between that and the Fred Vreeland piece, with friends like the NYT, who needs Washington Times?

  4. Anonymous2:28 PM

    The Moroccan-American Comittee for Policy (MACP), a lobbying group funded by the King of Morocco, has scored two media coups recently against the Polisario Front, leaders of the Western Saharan independence movements. The first was a highly uncritical post from the Associated Press that would have failed any Journalism 101 student. The second is a more recent article in the New York Times that places more doubt upon the subject.

    Brining a half dozen alleged victims of abuses in the Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria to the US and the UN headquarters, MACP has revved up its campaign to discredit Polisario morally. These defectors -- who have essentially become paid lobbyists for Morocco and whose word is to be trusted at that level -- are claiming a whole range of misdeeds at the hands of Polisario.

    This new media campaign suggests that Morocco is increasingly frustrated with the peace process and is launching a new offensive to build support for unilateral autonomy.

    What is more interesting, though, is that these smear tactics reek of Carl Rove, the largely discredited (if highly successful) former political advisor to President George W. Bush. How so?

    Attack your opponent where he is strongest and you are weakest.

    In 2004, Rove used this tactic against Sen. John Kerry's war record in Vietnam, which was clearly a lot more stellar than Bush's cushy time in the National Guard. Indeed, there was clear evidence that Bush had been derelict in his duties. But after being 'swift boat-ed', there was an air of doubt clouding Kerry's claims to being a morally superior Commander and Chief by virtue of his war service. Now we all know that these attacks against Kerry were false, libelous and distracting. But they worked. Their effect was to strip the Democratic Nominee of his one claim to moral superiority over Bush: he had actually fought in war and thus could responsibly manage the war in Iraq.

    Now the same is being played out in Western Sahara. In this case, for Polisario, their strongest suit is, and always has been, international law and human rights. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights and High Committee for Refugees, International Red Cross/Red Crescent and dozens of other NGOs (including a permanent presence of English teachers from the US and a Moroccan journalist) have all stayed in the Polisario controlled camps and never found any evidence supporting the claims now being launched by Morocco's surrogates. But that doesn't matter. Rove's tactics -- whether insinuating Sen John McCain had an African-American love child in 2000 or Kerry was a French-speaking effete with a trumped up war record in 2004 -- are based on alleging. It is the allegation that matters: placing doubt in the back of the mind.

    The flip-side of this tactic is to distract people from the reality. For a self proclaimed 'war president', Bush's war record was non-existent. That's why Rove went after Kerry's military service: to distract.

    The parallel with Morocco is quite telling. The world knows that Morocco's human rights record in Western Sahara is among, as Freedom House puts it, the 'Worst of the Worst'. At home and in Western Sahara, Morocco has a long history of brutally repressing opposition, whether by 'disappearing' dissidents (in the days of King Hassan II) or imprisoning them en mass as the new king does with Islamists and Western Saharan nationalists.

    Year after year, report after report, it becomes clear and clearer that Morocco's occupation of Western Sahara is one of the world's most neglected human rights situations in the world. And this is exactly why MACP is attacking Polisario on its human rights record. In reality, everyone knows that Polisario is very careful about its international image and has gone to great lengths to be transparent, even opening themselves up to attacks like the 2003 France Libert├ęs incident.

    Meanwhile Morocco continues to prohibit free expression, movement and organization in Western Sahara, and repeatedly ejecting journalists from the territory who attempt to uncover these facts without supervision from the interior ministry.

    If Morocco is to sell the world on the idea that it should keep Western Sahara through autonomy, then it has to distract the world from its human rights record there. And the best way to achieve unilateral autonomy solution is to discredit Polisario in the eyes of Washington through Rove's masterful 'guilt by doubt' association.

    But will the AP and NYT send reporters to the occupied Western Sahara and the camps to see for themselves? Probably not.

    source: Sahara Watch

  5. Sahara-Watch did a great job with that post. His comparison of the MACP to Karl Rove is accurate, with one difference: Rove ended up winning.

  6. Jim Bean5:32 PM

    Polisario is very careful about its international image and has gone to great lengths to be transparent, even opening themselves up to attacks like the 2003 France Libert├ęs incident.

    What was that incident about? Any links?

    But will the AP and NYT send reporters to the occupied Western Sahara and the camps to see for themselves? Probably not.

    AP alread has had reporters in the occupied territory.

  7. Hi Jim. I'm sure AP has sent reporters to the occupied territories before, but I think the latest coverage has ignored human rights abuses committed by Morocco. As the latest Amnesty report shows, the Moroccan abuses are far greater than even what the MACP's employees allege Polisario committed.

    France Liberte refers to the report by French NGO on the abysmal conditions of Moroccan POWs held by Polisario. FL, which used its position providing humanitarian services to Sahrawis to document the POW abuse, stopped working in the camps over the POWs. The POWs have since been released. Personally, I'm glad, and I'm angr Polisario treated them so terribly (stuff like beating them with electric wire, and murder).

  8. Speaking of news about Western Sahara, I just read the NYT article based on MACP claims and I liked it more than I thought I would.

  9. Anonymous6:18 PM

    stop this big joke guys, the desert is moroccan, i invite you to write one million blogs, it make no differnce, because every one knows that polisario, or morocco enemies write them, so i'am quiet confident, as a moroccan from the moroccan sahara, i tell you that laayoune as a city is better that the capital of mauritania, morocco in investing billions to rise a trourisme business, so you write and i surf. the polisario algeri alobbying game is over, and we are already celbrating this in the moroccan sahara.

  10. Anonymous6:21 PM

    the desert is moroccan, and will remain moroccan, you can see that you are always the same sexual frustrated who visit and write those blogs

  11. Oh, if only I weren't so sexually frustrated--I could get away from this accursed blog.

    Seriously though, folks: is it Real Sahara Watch or a cruder cousin? I go for the latter.

  12. neither the MACP nor any other pre-paid organisations or individuals such as the anonymous who seem to insult mr.WILL but i can assure you WILL that it is so normal Moroccan way of thinking is so strange may be you have never came across a Moroccan but am living within the thousands of them here in Aaiun and i know how they think.it is just a certain political tactics that morocco is playing on the international community and today the crowd of the sahraoui actors were in geneva to perform one of their plays headed by the great crying superstar in prending mrs.SAADANI MAALAINAIN who could not stop crying when speaking of her bad experiences away from her family in Cuba oh poor SAADANI how much did they paid for every single tear?i think it cost much.one day we came across her in the street and suddenly some sahraoui guys asked her HI THE CRYING GIRL HOW MUCH DOES YOUR TEARS COST?and she reply that she will call the moroccan police so they fleed through the crowds.

  13. That's a funny story. I think I met the woman you're talking about when she visited Houston with the MACP and the National Clergy Council.

  14. did you talk to her if you did she will never stop crying so please stay away from her.hahahahaha

  15. If it's the person we're talking about, and I think it is, she sat at my table and spouted the most outrageous lies to Houstonian pastors. I told the ones next to me what UNHCR had said opposing her, but it's hard to speak much louder when someone is moaning about their suffering. I'd just look like a jerk, you know?