Trump and Another Disaster in the Sands

If there was any doubt that President Trump has continually and
doggedly pursued his interest ahead of the national interest, that truism is
dramatically proven by the crisis over Western Sahara. To be sure,
Americans know basically nothing about the confrontation between
Morocco and the Sahrawi people, who have long invoking the
principle of self determination over their slice of that sandy territory. Western
Sahara was a Spanish territory until Morocco invaded it in 1975. The
local population of Sahrawis resisted the annexation and formed the
Polisario Front to fight the Moroccan occupiers. Now that struggle is
bound to intensify because President Trump has struck a deal with
Morocco by recognizing its sovereignty over the territory in exchange
for Morocco signing on the so called Abraham Accords that the
president has engineered between Israel and some Arab countries.
Trump considers those accords a major foreign policy achievement. In fact,
they are nothing more than another gift to Israel. Trump has made
America into the creator and guarantor of a new relationship between
a few Arab states and Israel that has long tried to break out of
its isolation from the Arab world. Thanks to Trump and his Abraham Accords,
the Israeli government is making progress. Unfortunately, the Sahrawis, an
Arab population who is fighting for its freedom, risk being thrown into the
dustbin of history.
One of the most authoritative voices to condemn the betrayal of
the Sahrawi people is that of a republican legend, James Baker, former
secretary of state from 1989 to 1992 and U.N. Envoy for Western Sahara.
Baker called what in effect is a double gift, the main one going to Morocco,
“an outstanding retreat from the principles of international law and
diplomacy”. Negotiations over the future of the territory had been going on
aimlessly since a truce in 1991. Now, following Trump’s bull-in-the-China shop
pseudo diplomacy, the rights to self determination for the Sawari people have
been traded away. Former secretary Baker expounded on the damage
that Trump wrecked by stressing that “recognition of Moroccan sovereignty
over Western Sahara is a major and unfortunate change in long standing
U.S. policy under both Democrat and Republican administrations”. Baker
and many others, including former National Security Adviser John Bolton,
have urged President Elect Biden to reverse Trump’s decision.
The American president has not only retraced his reckless conduct of
American foreign policy – by which he broke away from international
treaties and traditional alliances – but has blatantly ignored the existence
of the Arab Democratic Republic of Sawari that is recognized by fifty
countries including Algeria, its neighbor to the north. The patient search

for a political solution in the Western Sahara comes to an end and the
Moroccan bombs will come raining down again on the Sawari villages.
The Sawari leaders have reasons to complain not just about Trump’s
callousness but also the inaction of the international community that
has encouraged the Rabat government. The representative of Polisario
at the United Nations, Sidi Omar, has denounced the betrayal of his
people by announcing that “it is open warfare now with Morocco”. The
truce of 1991 is over and the referendum that had been proposed is
no longer feasible. The specter of more bloodshed in the sands of Sahara
and of another Syria can be added to the huge mission of president elect Biden
in reestablishing a modicum of balance and reliability to the foreign policy of
the United States, starting with honest efforts to honor the aspirations of people,
like the Sawari, who yearn to be free.

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