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Iberdrola

Opinion

What does the Algerian regime want?

tebboune-argelia

The generals' regime in Algeria is showing an unprecedented aggressiveness towards Morocco since they put Abdelmadjid Tebboune in the presidency of the Republic. They are unceasingly and without proof launching serious accusations and threats against their neighbour. Behaviour and situations have been created that could spill over to Spain.

Spain, despite its remoteness and being oblivious to the problems facing the two countries, was implicated last year in the case of Brahim Ghali, a Polisario Front leader who entered Spain with an Algerian diplomatic passport under the false identity of Benbettouch, even though he had a Spanish ID card. This case caused one of the most serious crises between Spain and Morocco, and its consequences are still lingering.

This year, 2022, Spain is still present in this tense situation created by Algeria against Morocco. It is present despite all odds in an article published by the official organ of the Algerian Axis "Djeich" (Army) in its first issue of January. The article, entitled "The bitter historical truth", refers to Ceuta, Melilla and the adjacent islands in the Mediterranean and accuses the Moroccan monarchy of abandoning them to Spain. It also adds as a novel and unusual case the Canary Islands, which Morocco never claimed and never claims.
The article claims that "bitter historical facts" confirm the contradiction in which "the Moroccan Makhzen regime" lives, which, being expansionist on the one hand, accepts at the same time that its territories and cities continue to be occupied by Spain.
  
The King of Morocco, continues the official military media, "the Emir of the Believers" follows the same policy as that of his ancestors who betrayed their people and allied themselves with colonialism. They gave islands and cities as gifts to Spain and Portugal". He cites Ceuta and Melilla - noting that the former was occupied by Portugal in 1415 and the latter by the Spanish in 1497 - some islands in the Mediterranean a few kilometres off the Moroccan coast near Cabo de Agua.

But what is most surprising is that it goes so far as to blame Morocco for not recovering the Canary Islands, which, according to the magazine: "is an archipelago composed of seven islands inhabited by a million inhabitants located 100 kilometres from Morocco on its Atlantic coast while being more than a thousand kilometres away from its occupier, Spain".

The official organ of the Algerian army states, among other things: "the regime of the 'Emir of the Believers', instead of working for the recovery of its territories and its rights, finds (nothing else) but the occupation of other people's territories and falsifying historical truths in its favour".

Algerians themselves, especially exiled opponents, such as the former diplomat Mohamed Zitout of the opposition movement Rachad and Anwar Malek, as well as the young Oualid Kebir, criticised and mocked the form and content of this insulting article, which shows the high level of ignorance and reflects the true stature of the article's editors. Oualid Kebir highlighted in a video the flagrant error of the military magazine in blaming the ancestors of the current Moroccan monarch, who belongs to the Alaouite dynasty, which was founded in the 17th century on the alleged surrender of Ceuta, Melilla and the adjacent islands that took place two centuries earlier, in the 15th century.

In fact, the occupation of these possessions took place in the case of Ceuta during the Benimerin dynasty (1244-1465) and Melilla during the Wattasid dynasty (1472-1554). Between the latter dynasty and the Alaouite dynasty, another dynasty ruled, the Saadid dynasty (1554-1659). It is therefore very clear that the attempt to brand the current dynasty with the 'sambenito' is not only misplaced, but a matter of obvious mediocrity of level and stature.  

But what is unusual is the Canary Islands, which the official organ of the Algerian army lists as being 100 kilometres from Morocco. In doing so, it unconsciously recognises the Sahara as Moroccan territory, as it is the closest point between the islands and the coast. It also omits the fact that Morocco has never claimed these islands in order to blame its monarchy for neglect. 

The military organ forgets that the Algerian military regime's greed during the 1970s was not only limited to its aim of creating an unviable fictitious state in what is now the Moroccan Sahara in order to gain access to the Atlantic Ocean, but also had its sights set on the Canary Islands. Contrary to what he claims today, in those years he never referred to these islands as Moroccan - although it is true that the Guanche population is of Berber origin - but he supported and financed the separation of the Canary Islands from Spain by sheltering the "movement for self-determination and independence of the Canary Islands" (MPAIAC) and its leader Antonio Cubillo in the same way and with the same intention as the support offered to the Polisario. This is the stark reality of a megalomaniacal geopolitical greed of a "revolutionary anti-imperialist" populism that led the Third World and sought to become the Japan of the Mediterranean to the detriment of its neighbours.

In those years the pseudo-revolutionaries in Algiers offered Cubillo not only money, but a radio station to broadcast their propaganda, and at the same time mobilised their petrodollars and diplomacy to get the Canaries into the OAU as an independent member like SADR. Morocco played a very important role in defeating the Algerian attempt thanks to the support of several friendly OAU member countries, but it could not have the same luck with SADR, whose entry was fatal for the OAU's credibility.

The Algiers regime came to the conclusion that having the Sahara and the Canary Islands at the same time was an arduous, even impossible task because it meant confronting Morocco and Spain at the same time. He therefore had to abandon his Canary Islands project and settle for the Saharan issue. To this end, it negotiated with the UCD government to withdraw all support offered to the MPAIAC and to close its radio station, with the Moroccan Sahara being the counterpart. In this context, the Suarez government accepted that its UCD party would recognise the Polisario and tolerate representation in Spain as an armed movement. For its part, the Polisario agreed to free Canarian fishermen who had been held hostage in Tindouf after their comrades had been murdered and the fishing boat they were fishing on sunk in a terrorist attack.  

It is surprising, then, that the Algerian military regime's memory is so short and that it so soon forgets the close relationship it maintained between the "Canary Islands cause" and the "Sahrawi cause", between the independence movement MPAIAC and the separatist movement of the Polisario Front.

That the regime of the generals in power in Algeria today suffers from amnesia, whether real or fictitious and self-interested, is not a problem. But playing in other people's backyards in bad faith and with the intention of creating problems in order to confront friendly countries and peoples is miserable and petty. It is unacceptable, both morally and in international law. Behaviour that today, in the 21st century, can give the impression and project a bad image that we are probably dealing with a pariah state that is moving towards a rogue state. In this case, we are indeed facing a serious problem and it legitimises us to ask the pertinent question: what does the Algerian regime intend to do?