[West-Sahara] Paying for the Pandemic and a Just Transition

Sjors Beenker sbeenker op yahoo.com
Vr Nov 20 20:04:46 CET 2020

L.S.,  zojuist werd ik aangenaam verrast door 'The Moroccan wall in the Western Sahara' met kaartje over de muur door West Sahara op p. 27-28 in 'n gloednieuw rapport over alle muren op Aarde -met co-auteur Mark Akkerman van Stop Wapenhandel- https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/informe46_walledwolrd_centredelas_tni_stopwapenhandel_stopthewall_eng_def.pdf.  Voor geļnteresseerden kopieer ik betreffende paragraaf 2.3.5 geschreven door Benjamin Ladraa en Sidahmed Jouly van Solidarity Rising.  Vrede en alle goeds, ir Sjors/G.L.J. Beenker
After its invasion of Western Sahara in 1975, Moroccan forces faced fierce resistance from the Polisario Front and late 1970s were marked by intense fighting between them. Despite their superior numbers and military power, the Moroccan armed forces suffered many defeats at the hands of Saharawis, who were more familiar with the territory (Remove the wall, n.d.). After their defeat, with advice from French and Israeli military strategists, Morocco adopted a ‘clear-and-hold’ strategy based on building well-defended barriers, or berms, known colloquially as ‘the Berm’, ‘the Wall’, and to Saharawis as ‘the Wall of Shame’ (Jensen, 2013). They were put up in six phases, each of which expanded the territory occupied by the Moroccan army. Between August 1981 and April 1987, six walls of different lengths were built, fortifying about 2,720 km, extending from southern Morocco to the south-west tip of Western Sahara (see annexed map). It is considered to be ‘the greatest functional military barrier in the world’ (Zunes and Mundy, 2010: 21), and is manned by an estimated 100,000 to 150,000 Moroccan forces. The World Bank acknowledged that 60% of Morocco’s war costs were covered by loans and grants, with an annual contribution from Saudi Arabia of about US$ 500–1,000 million. This money funded Morocco’s war efforts and in 1991 the loans were written off. Morocco’s military equipment came mainly from France and the US, which provided ‘about two thirds of’ Morocco’s arms (Mundy, 2009: 223). The Moroccan wall in Western Sahara is also surrounded by 9 million land mines (Crowder, 2014), making it one of the world’s most heavily mined territories 28A WALLED WORLD: TOWARDS A GLOBAL APARTHEID (UNMAS, n.d.). This endangers the lives of the local population and their livestock and blocks safe access to arable land and water sources. According to the Landmine Monitor, more than 2,500 people in Western Sahara have been victims of anti-personnel mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) since 1975 (Geneva call, n.d.). In economic terms, the Moroccan wall also represents a giant barrier behind which Morocco persists in its systematic plundering of the natural resources of the territory (phosphate, fisheries, minerals, agriculture, etc). This provides employment for the vast majority of Moroccan settlers and deprives the Saharawis of their resources and employment opportunities. Saharawi citizens who live under occupation suffer marginalisation and deprivation of their basic socio-economic rights (Remove the wall, n.d.). The wall has also destroyed archaeological sites due to the excessive extraction of soil during its construction (Brooks, 2007). Neither the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) nor the Security Council have issued resolutions regarding the wall in Western Sahara. The ICJ, however, in its 2004 advisory opinion regarding Israel’s wall in occupied Palestine, provided an important precedent since both the Israeli and Moroccan walls are built on occupied territory (UN, n.d.). One of the arguments the court used in the case of Palestine was that the wall created a fait accompli on the grounds that it could become permanent and tantamount to a de facto annexation. Morocco has continuously made clear its intentions to annex all of Western Sahara and, like Israel, has moved considerable numbers of civilian settlers into the territories it occupies (Mundy, 2012). Furthermore, the ICJ also argued that the wall in Israel severely impedes the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination (ICJ, n.d.). It can equally be argued that the wall in Western Sahara is both a fait accompli that serves to entrench the occupation and to enable the future annexation of the territory. It is also a severe impediment to the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination as stipulated in the 1960 UNGA Resolution 1514, or Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial countries and Peoples.
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