Morocco recognized by U.S. as Western Sahara sovereign, establishes normal ties with Israel

"Western Sahara (Morocco)" by 300td.org is licensed under CC BY 2.0

By| Rachel Brooks

December 10, 2020 

Image credit: “Western Sahara (Morocco)” by 300td.org is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Enclosed image courtesy of Western Sahara Question press, fair use. 

On December 10, President Donald Trump signed a proclamation regarding Morocco’s sovereignty over the West Sahara. The president cited Morocco’s choice to recognize the United States of America as an independent nation in 1777. 

“Today, I signed a proclamation recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara. Morocco’s serious, credible, and realistic autonomy proposal is the ONLY basis for a just and lasting solution for enduring peace and prosperity!” tweeted Trump, regarding the proclamation. 

“Morocco recognized the United States in 1777. It is thus fitting we recognize their sovereignty over the Western Sahara,” tweeted Trump regarding the historic recognition of the United States by the Kingdom of Morocco.  

The decision to recognize Morocco as the Western Sahara sovereign came along with an official motion between Israel and the Kingdom to assume normal relations. 

“Another HISTORIC breakthrough today! Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Morocco have agreed to full diplomatic relations – a massive breakthrough for peace in the Middle East!,” also tweeted Mr. Trump. 

Despite these breakthroughs, concerns surmount in the Middle East over U.S. leadership in the Middle East and North Africa. The Trump leadership in the Middle East has been met with optimistic approval by the pro-Western factions. This new relationship strongly contrasts the relationship in the MENA region during the Obama administration, in which the United States was said to have “given the green light” for the Arab Spring and the revolt of the Muslim Brotherhood against the regime of the 2011 era, in Egypt, Libya, and various other Islamic-majority regions. 

This inconsistent rhetoric from administration to the next threatens to flip-flop should Democratic nominee and former Obama-era vice president Joe Biden be successful in his contested candidacy. Biden is considered by Islamic political entities to be the more malleable political figure of the United States, citing a recent interview with Dr. Parchizadeh. 

There is also the challenge of maintaining a long-established status quo. A genuine desire for a joint effort of normal relationships with Israel from Saudi, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates, are frequently challenged. While the desire is to unify, establish proactive relations with Israel, and develop a strong stance against the Iranian regime’s totalitarian influence, many of the regions feel this process goes against Islam. This is a challenge for those in power in the Kingdom of the Two Holy Places. Any risk to Islamic heritage is one that the region cannot afford to incur, for the risk of undermining the monarchy itself. Caught in between tradition, and the need to overpower Islamist radicals, the MENA region is torn. 

Strong leadership in the United States could perhaps serve to balance the scales in the struggle between tradition and security obligation. Under Trump, relations with Muslims had normalized. American hysteria over jihad had cooled down, as incidents of radical extremism on U.S. soil had relaxed their grip. Under Obama, multiple incidents occurred across the United States, especially Texas and Boston, with the Boston Marathon Bombing. These events came in the wake of the memory of the brutal September 11 World Trade Center attacks in New York City which traumatized the Bush administration. 

Trump’s presidency held a “zero tolerance” policy for extremism in the United States, and under this policy, jihadist incidents cooled. Trump’s cabinet then proceeded to normalize relationships in the Middle East, in moves that were historic and almost radically different than presidents that preceded him. 

This background was retrieved from the research of the work of journalist Samir A Zedan and Jihad Watch. 

Image obtained initially from an Iraqi journalist, submitted to Republic Underground by Western Sahara Question press. This image makes the comparison between Quds forces and Polisario uniforms. 

Trump now closes in on a home run, finishing the end of his four-year term with the proclamation that grants Morocco control of the Western Sahara, in the eyes of the United States. This is in contrast to the members of the United Nations that have recognized the Western Sahara as independently governed, and that have promoted the Polisario Front as a rebellion. The Polisario Front is considered a terror-organization by local sources. Local Western Sahara news outlets have likewise distinguished Polisario Front foot soldiers and the IRGC uniform of the Iranian Quds forces. The comparison indicates the possibility that the Polisario Front receives direct support from Iran. 

Western Sahara Question Press did not wish to be identified by name on the record. 

Western Sahara Question noted that Morocco has established a soft power in the Western Sahara, blocking Iran’s Islamists agendas. 

“Morocco is blocking Iran’s plans to spread chiisme in Africa,” said the editor of Western Sahara Question. He cited the French-language newspaper Le Monde along with his statement. Le Monde had reported on the Tidjaniya, Morocco’s “secret weapon” in establishing a soft power in the region. The article was written by Youssef Ait Akdim in 2016. 

The Le Monde article records briefly the history of the Moroccan tariqa or “brotherhood” which was named for its founder Ahmed Tidjani (1737-1815.) The Tidjaniya, and the relics of its founder, are held with a near-reverence to Mecca, recognized as an example of Morocco’s open and tolerant Sufi Islam. It stands in contrast to the harsher traits of Iranian Islam, which is a radicalized form of Shia. Shia and Sunni sects have been the original sects of radicalized ISIS and Al Qaeda forces, both of which have tramped across Africa in recent years, creating civil wars and chaos. The Sufi are seen as peacemakers who can balance the scales between their sectarian counterparts. 

Likewise, he noted the Iranian motivation for infiltrating the region. 

“Iran wants to make a foothold in North Morocco and to control the strait of Gibraltar.” 

Irina Tsukerman, a geopolitical analyst and human rights lawyer based in New York, added: 

“Aside from long term ambitions for a naval base near the strategically vital port city of Dakhla, Iran has used an Algeria-backed separatist group Polisario, which has gained ill repute for engaging in terrorism against Moroccan civilians, as a tool of destabilization and has worked to turn it into another proxy group modeled after and directly trained by Hizbullah. 

Polisario uses the same methods as Hamas, Hezbollah, and other Iran-backed terrorist organizations, including the use of tunnels to undercuts its adversary, grotesque indoctrination of young people born and raised in Tindouf camps, sexual slavery, and abusive treatment of prisoners. Polisario is a danger to the entire region due to its collaboration with locally organized crime rings, ISIS, and Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM), among others.

In 2018, Morocco terminated its relationship with Iran after Iranian “diplomats” had used the Algiers embassy for illegal subterfuge, operations involving Hezbullah’s training and delivery of weapons to Polisario, and other forms of collaboration. The same year Iranian IRGC operatives under diplomatic cover stationed in Europe had conspired to attack several opposition groups and events, including a MEK rally in Paris, for which some of these diplomat terrorists are now standing trial in Antwerp.”

By establishing a pro-Moroccan foothold in this region, the Trump foreign policy is essentially supporting the Moroccan soft power in North Africa and undermining the Iranian regime’s motions to control the Strait of Gibraltar. 

Domestic political stakes in the United States are at an all-time high. Donald Trump’s position as a foreign mediator now stands in question, as his reelection bid will now be decided by the American courts. The western media, which is controlled primarily by Trump’s opposition, detracts from this process by publishing a narrative that officiates Joe Biden as the president-elect. However, this cannot be determined until all legal challenges are absolved, even if lower legislators choose to certify the election results or motion to vote in his favor. Biden’s election campaign allegedly committed fraud to reach an unprecedented number of votes. The statistics of his election are in question because they do not reflect the status of the polls.  

Under American law, an election that stands in the question of fraudulent voting patterns may be disqualified by the Congress and the courts. The Congress will meet to discuss the election results on January 6.

In the meantime, the state of Texas has sued fellow states in the Supreme Court that are considered “battlegrounds” of the election. On December 10, the states of Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Utah, asked to join Texas’ lawsuit. See the official Supreme Court motion. 

 The states are suing based on the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment, and the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, an act that was formed to prevent the Ku Klux Klan from defrauding African American voters of their voting rights, through conspiracy. The act details the circumstances of electoral conspiracy. In addition to the states, the Trump campaign has petitioned to join the lawsuit as a plaintiff. Likewise, independent lawsuits have been filed by the Trump campaign and by federal attorney Sidney Powell. All of these legal challenges must reach a verdict before the election will be legally binding. 

Because of these lawsuits in the American courts, the forward-looking projections of foreign policy are uncertain. Should Trump win his election by the power of the courts, and the invalidation of the allegedly fraudulent election of Joe Biden, then he will serve four more years in the position of a Middle East diplomat. Yet, if Biden is elected, after all, election challenges, then he will approach the scene with a Middle East policy that is radically different from the Trump position.

 Biden’s policies are not difficult to anticipate, because he served as the vice president for Obama. For that reason, one may review the Obama administration’s policies, and compare them to Biden campaign rhetoric, to have an idea of what the policies will be.

One can see from the comparison of these two eras a polar difference in the two administrations. This could be problematic because the Biden administration would be a dramatic shift from the established policies of the Trump administration, which have been in place for four years. With the Middle East’s condition to a more pro-progressive, Israel-tolerant policy, they may be loath to jump into a renewed pro-Iranian, Israel-aggressive policy. 

By the same token, Morocco’s status as a soft-power opposed to Iran may be challenged should Biden assume the presidency, because his policies are anticipated to be pro-Western Saharan sovereignty, pro-Iranian interest. Likewise, the Biden administration would be projected to reverse many of the motions that the Trump administration put in place.

While it is unclear if Moroccan sovereignty would be on that list of reversals, the relationship may be difficult. It is, however, too early to analyze beyond this, due to challenges in the court. Further analysis can be completed once it is determined absolutely who will be in the position of the presidency, and from there, who will serve in that assumed administration’s foreign ministry.