Editorial | Republic Underground
April 12, 2021
On April 11, Timberwolf-Phoenix Media released the following statement regarding a Moroccan Autonomy for Western Sahara discussion which will take place April 13 at 12pm EDT.
On December 10, 2020, President Donald Trump announced the United States’ recognition of Western Sahara as an integral part of Morocco. This decision came in line with a long-standing US support, by both Democrat and Republican administrations, for the Moroccan Autonomy plan for Western Sahara as the only feasible solution for this protracted conflict inherited from the cold war era.
This proclamation stirred hopes of a renewed momentum in the political process launched under the auspices of the United Nations Security Council, intending to reach a “realistic, practicable and enduring political solution to the question of Western Sahara based on compromise”. In this regard, the United States also urged the parties “to engage in discussions without delay, using Morocco’s autonomy plan as the only framework to negotiate a mutually acceptable solution”.
In addition to its political dimension, the US proclamation also brought about hopes of economic prosperity for the region’s population, as well as investment opportunities for US companies, many of which are already present and operating in the territory.
Therefore, the presidential proclamation states that “to facilitate progress toward this aim, the United States will encourage economic and social development with Morocco, including in the Western Sahara territory, and to that end will open a consulate in the Western Sahara territory, in Dakhla, to promote economic and business opportunities for the region”. These economic opportunities span from Morocco, including Western Sahara, to West Africa, where Morocco is a major investor.
Objective assessments of this significant breakthrough in an otherwise frozen regional conflict have so far been hampered by some ideological postures which have already proven unrealistic, often foregoing genuine discussion of the merits of the US Proclamation and the reality of the situation on the ground. As the Biden administration shapes its MENA diplomacy, Republic Underground hosts a virtual conference on the theme “US recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara: opportunities for a political solution and economic engagement”.
When? April 13th, 2021, 12 PM
Who? The event features former United Nations officials, distinguished political analysts, legal experts along with an elected official from the Sahara region as well as NGO leaders.
Moderator: Irina Tsukerman, lawyer, political analyst
1. Erik Jensen, former SRSG and head of MINURSO
2. Ghalla Bahiya, vice-president, Dakhla-Oued Eddahab region
3. Nancy Huff, founder, and president of Teach the Children International (TCI)
4. Michael Patrick Flanagan, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives
5. Richard Weitz, director of the Center of politico-military analysis, Hudson Institute
6. Mohamed Abba, vice-president, Laayoune Sakia El Hamra region
7. Tamara Zeidan, entrepreneur, former development officer for the Malala Fund
8. Elisabeth Myers, lawyer, law professor, former founding Editor-in-Chief of online magazine Inside Arabia
About the guests
The Moroccan panel includes a list of powerful voices in the discussion on Morocco’s Western Sahara region sovereignty.
These include Erik Jensen, a former SRSG and head of the he United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). See more regarding his work on Morocco World News.
Likewise, Ghalla Bahiya, the vice president of the Dakhla-Oued Eddahab region and Mohamed Abba, the vice president of the Laayoune Sakia El Hamra region who has advocated agriculture in Morocco.
There is also Nancy Huff, a former and jaded Polisario friend who is the founder and president of Teach the Children TCI.
Tamara Zeidan is a businesswoman with over 15 years of business development experience. Most recently Tamara was the Vice President of Business Development for a Business Accelerator in Washington D.C.
Before that, she worked at the Malala Fund where she managed various campaigns to raise funds for girl’s education. She has traveled all over the world representing various brands and entities. Her educational background is in business with a focus on marketing and branding. She currently serves on several boards globally.
Elisabeth Myers is the editor of Inside Arabia and is a prominent commentator on the news and politics of al Maghreb. Some of her work is available here.
Richard Weitz is a senior fellow and director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at Hudson Institute. He is a prominent researcher in Europe, Eurasia, and East Asia, and lends his multiregional expertise to the conversation.
Michael Patrick Flanagan is a former U.S. Congressional representative for the Chicago, Illinois 5th District. He is the President of Flanagan Consulting, a business that has represented both small and large corporations. He likewise served as a captain in the United States army.