Morocco plays the “terror card” to keep Western Sahara/ La Maroc joue “la carte de la terreur” pour garder le Sahara Occidental

Le Maroc joue la carte de la menace terroriste pour maintenir son influence au Sahara Occidental (lien en anglais). Les autorités marocaines font la tournées des chancelleries occidentales en vue d’avoir leur soutien dans la proposition d’un plan qui sera soumis à l’ONU. Ce plan donnerait une autonomie à un gouvernement sahraoui mais la souveraineté et le contrôle de la sécurité du Sahara Occidental relèveraient du Maroc. En décrivant le Sahara Occidental comme une région vide, désertique propice à tout genre de trafics et hébergeant des groupe islamiste qui peuvent provenir de n’importe où dans le désert du Sahara, le Maroc espère convaincre l’Occident qu’il demeure un acteur incontournable dans la sécurité de la région. Il donne pour preuve les attentats récents qui ont eu lieu à Casablanca (autre lien ici) et qui seraient liés à des groupes affiliés à Al-Qaida.

According to the London Guardian, Morocco plays on terror fears in Sahara peace bid:

Playing on European and US fears of expanding terrorist networks in North Africa, Morocco is seeking international backing for a new peace plan for the Western Sahara. But ownership of the vast mineral-rich territory bordering the Atlantic, controlled in theory by Rabat since the 1970s, is disputed by Algerian-backed Polisario Front separatists. They want full-blown independence, not limited autonomy.

Senior Moroccan officials have visited Washington and other western capitals in recent weeks to promote the plan, to be presented to the UN next month. In return for creating a Western Sahara regional government and parliament, Moroccan sovereignty and control of security, borders and finances would be formally acknowledged.

“We are extremely concerned about increased terrorist operations in the Sahel region,” said interior minister Chakib Benmoussa after meeting home secretary, John Reid, and foreign secretary, Margaret Beckett, in London last month.

“It’s an enormous area, scarcely populated, with a low level of controls. A whole range of illicit operations – drug trafficking, human trafficking, terrorist groups – is taking place there.” Morocco was a “rampart” defending Europe, he said.

Taib Fassi-Fihri, minister-delegate for foreign affairs, said British officials and other European governments were becoming “more sensitive” to the link between the Western Sahara and terrorist and other security threats emanating from the Maghreb. “Given the challenges of radicalisation and al-Qaida that we all face, it would be extremely useful for everybody to have this problem resolved,” he said.

Recent events in Morocco, a bomb blast in Casablanca, helps the government to push with the terrorism argument (more in the french and algerian newspapers).