U.S. Incentivizes Morocco’s Normalization with Israel
Dec. 11, 2020 (EIRNS)—President Donald Trump announced the latest normalization agreement between an Arab country and Israel, this time involving Morocco, with much fanfare yesterday. Whatever else the agreement includes, it appears that the U.S. offered a couple of appetizers to sweeten the deal for Rabat. One of these was recognition of Morocco’s claim to the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara, a claim which has been contested for decades by groups within the Western Sahara. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James Inhofe, who is already on the opposite side of the fence with Trump on the defense authorization bill, went ballistic over the recognition. “The President has been poorly advised by his team; he could have made this deal without trading the rights of a voiceless people,” he said. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro, or Polisario Front, the armed insurgency which opposed Rabat’s claim on the Western Sahara since 1979 (after Spain withdrew in 1976), denounced Trump in a statement, for giving something to Morocco that wasn’t his to give.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov reminded the U.S. that in fact there are UN resolutions dealing with the Western Sahara and international efforts to resolve the conflict. “This is a violation of international law. There are relevant resolutions, there is a UN mission for holding a referendum in Western Sahara,” Bogdanov told reporters today, reported Sputnik. “Everything that Americans currently do is a unilateral decision that goes beyond international law and decisions of the United Nations Security Council’s resolution, which Americans themselves supported.”
The second appetizer, as with the United Arab Emirates and its normalization deal with Israel, appears to be an arms sale to Morocco. Three unnamed sources told Reuters that the Trump Administration is negotiating the sale of four Sea Guardian drones to Morocco, though it’s not clear if munitions for the drones are part of the deal. The sources, however, did not say whether or not the deal was related to the normalization agreement but many people will make that connection in any case.