The Ghali case risks to ruinrelations between Morocco and Spain
Relations between Morocco and Spain, stable until a few months ago, could soon witness a deterioration because of the hospitalization in one of the clinics in the Iberian country of Brahim Ghali, leader of the Polisario front. They did not take it well from Rabat, after all, the subject in question is the number one enemy of the Moroccan security authorities. Learning about his presence in Spain through mere informal channels sparked ire against Madrid. A wave of anger sharpened, among other things, by the lack of answers so far from the Spanish government.
A ceasefire has been in force since 1991 between Morocco and the Fonte del Polisario. The conflict between the two sides, which began in 1974, has never completely ended. Rabat has always claimed its sovereignty over Western Sahara, a Spanish possession until the mid-1970s, while the Polisario Front for its part still demands independence today. Hence a battle of a war that is difficult to tame. Also, because behind there are disputes of a regional nature: Gaddafi’s Libya for example supported the Polisario, Algeria is still close to the leaders of the Front today. Suffice it to say that most of the refugee camps where the citizens who fled from Western Sahara live are located in Algerian territory, in the province of Tindouf. Brahim Ghali, number one of the independence group in the region, fell ill with Covid and managed to travel to Spain to be treated. The entry into the Iberian Peninsula took place under a false name, with Algerian documents.
After the news of his presence in a clinic not far from Zaragoza broke out, the controversy exploded. Primarily within Spain itself. Ghali, as recalled by the Association of the Victims of Terrorism of the Canaries (Acavite), is wanted by the Iberian judiciary for murders, attacks, and kidnappings against Canarias citizens carried out mainly in the period between 1973 and 1986. Khadijatou Mahmoud, a girl now resident in Spain, in a video on social media, recalled her complaint against Ghali for the rape she suffered by the Polisario leader himself in 2010. Sit in aimed at soliciting the intervention of the Spanish government against the presence of the Polisario number one they were carried out in many cities of the country. A pressure that has already generated the obligation for Ghali to appear on May 5 at the court in Madrid, following the complaint filed by El Fabel Barika. The latter is a dissident from Western Sahara who for several years has accused Ghali of torture and murders perpetrated in the prisons of Tindouf.
In addition to the accusations made in Spain against the Polisario leader, in Rabat, it is the behavior of the Madrid government that has generated discontent. Welcoming enemy number one with a fake Algerian document was seen as an important weight in diplomatic relations between the two countries: “The speech relating to Ghali – Moroccan Foreign Minister Naser Bourita said at a press conference – is a test on the reliability of our relationships and their sincerity “. Spain and Morocco have been cultivating important common interests for years, but now everything could be called into question. Bourita, during his speech, lamented a difference in the behavior of the two countries is very similar contexts: “When Spain acted in the face of Catalan separatism – reads the declarations of the diplomatic representative of Rabat – Morocco was very clear in this regard: refuse all contact and interactions with them and immediately inform the Spanish partners. When the separatists asked to be received by the ministry, we demanded that an official from the Spanish embassy be present “.
In the case of Ghali, on the other hand, according to the Moroccan government, Madrid did not use the same sensitivity. Hence the possibility, feared by Bourita, of a suspension of the dialogue on the common dossiers followed by the two countries: “Does Spain want to sacrifice its relations with Morocco for this person?” While awaiting the judicial developments that could already take place in the next few hours, in the context of diplomatic relations between Rabat and Madrid, the spotlight is on a possible response from the Spanish capital. However, the impression is that regardless of the length of time Ghali stayed in the Iberian Peninsula, the political question will drag on for a long time.