Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sahrawis' fate in same hands as Palestinians....

December , 2010 -- Sahrawis' fate in same hands as Palestinians....

Another "West" territory, like the West Bank, comes under the control of the Israel Lobby in Washington....

The U.S. ambassadorship in Rabat, Morocco has long been in the hands of key members of the Israel Lobby in the United States. President Obama's ambassador, Sam Kaplan, a Democratic Party fundraising "bundler" from Minnesota, is no exception....

On September 2, 2009, WMR reported on the conflicts-of-interest involved with the US embassy in Rabat: "[a] former State Department official pointed to Morocco as one country that has entered into a strategic partnership with the Israeli Lobby in Washington to advance Moroccan interests. The post of U.S. ambassador to Morocco has been held by two American Jews with close ties to AIPAC since the Clinton administration. Clinton's ambassador to Rabat was Marc Ginsberg. He was followed by Arab-American Edward Gabriel who served until the end of the Clinton administration. President Obama's ambassador to Morocco is Samuel Kaplan, a Minneapolis lawyer and Democratic Party activist and fundraiser....

The former State Department official said that when a former Algerian ambassador to Washington discovered that he had to deal with AIPAC-affiliated lobbyists to advance Algeria's interests in Congress and the White House, he was appalled. The State Department official told him to take a page from the Moroccans on lobbying as an Arab envoy in Washington."

With the failure of the United States to recognize the independence of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), the independence government that claims sovereignty over the former Spanish Sahara, in what Morocco now claims as its province in Western Sahara, the Israel Lobby has managed to place the beleaguered people of Western Sahara under its boot, in the same manner "The Lobby" dictates U.S. policy toward the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza. Morocco invaded Spanish Sahara in 1975 with a nod from then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and has remained the territory's occupier ever since....

Rather than placing responsibility for Western Sahara with the US embassy in Algeria, where a number of Sahrawi refugee camps exist, the United States has given over responsibility for Western Sahara to the Israel Lobby-influenced embassy in Morocco. This is evident from a December 18, 2009, cable from Kaplan to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dealing with Sahrawi human rights leader Aminatou Haidar.

SADR is recognized by 58 nations, including Cuba, East Timor, Ethiopia, Iran, Libya, Mauritania, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, South Africa, Syria, Tanzania, Uganda, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, and the government-in-exile is a member of the African Union. Many nations that recognize SADR maintain contact with it and the governing POLISARIO front through their embassies in Algiers that liaison with the government-in-exile headquartered in Tindouf, Algeria.

The United States, under Clinton and GW Bush, supported Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara and Morocco has used the Israel Lobby to champion its goals in Washington. Several nations, including India, Colombia, Costa Rica, Kenya, and Peru have been pressured to cancel or freeze their relations with SADR. Under Obama, the same policy toward Western Sahara continues with the Israel Lobby continuing to maintain its hold over the US embassy in Rabat, while U.S. and Israeli-linked real estate and other companies eyeing "opportunities" in the illegally-occupied territory of Western Sahara....




DE RUEHRB #0990/01 3521540


O 181540Z DEC 09






C O N F I D E N T I A L RABAT 000990



E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/18/2019






Classified By: DCM Robert P. Jackson for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) Summary: Prominent Sahrawi pro-independence activist Aminatou Haidar returned safely to the Western Sahara on December 18 aboard a Spanish military aircraft. She recovered her passport at the airport, completed normal Moroccan immigration formalities, and proceeded from the airport to her home in the company of family members. Sahrawi activists report that she has terminated her hunger strike; that she is in very good spirits; but that she is still in precarious physical condition and under close medical supervision at her home. Western Sahara-based government officials confirm that her arrival took place without incident, and that a spontaneous gathering of well-wishers had taken place with no serious security incidents. After having handled the Haidar case in disastrous fashion, the GOM finally brought the ordeal to an end -- and not a moment too soon. However, the case has left the GOM angry and badly shaken, which will create real challenges as we look toward the next round of formal UN-led Manhasset talks. End Summary.


Home Safely


2. (SBU) Aminatou Haidar, President of the Collective ofSahrawi Human Rights Defenders (CODESA) and a prominent Sahrawi pro-independence activist, returned safely to her home in Laayoune, Western Sahara, in the early hours of December 18. Haidar arrived shortly after 2:00 AM local time (GMT) aboard a Spanish military plane specially equipped to handle medical emergencies, and in the company of her sister and a physician. By prior agreement among Haidar and the Governments of Morocco and Spain, there were no journalists or other passengers aboard, according to Laayoune-based Moroccan Ministry of Interior (MOI) officials. As Haidar arrived, immigration officers met her plane-side and handed her the passport they had confiscated on November 13 (Ref C), and she proceeded to complete normal customs and immigration formalities. There was a beefed-up police presence at the airport, but only Haidar's brother and an uncle came to meet her; by all accounts, she exited the airport without incident, and they drove her home.

3. (SBU) Haidar's return marked the end of a 35-day exile and of a hunger strike that had reportedly taken a terrible physical toll on her. On December 16, her health had deteriorated to the point that she had to be hospitalized in Lanzarote, and she remains in precarious but stable condition now at her home in Laayoune. Djimi Elghalya, a CODESA member and the Vice Chair of the Association of Victims of Grave Human Rights Violations (ASVDH), confirmed by phone that Haider has ended her hunger strike and is beginning to take food under close medical supervision; she is extremely weak, but "her spirit is extremely strong."


Supporters Jubilant, Laayoune Calm


¶4. (SBU) At Haidar's home, a large, jubilant and peaceful crowd turned out in the middle of the night to greet her, according to both press reports and participants. CODESA members told the Embassy that several hundred Sahrawis -- ranging from independence activists to apolitical well-wishers -- gathered to celebrate "a great victory for international law and human rights." Celebrations near her home continued into the late morning, and there were reportedly other gatherings throughout Laayoune. Elghalya said that supporters had intentionally stayed away from the airport, recognizing that the police presence there would be heavy and in a specific effort to avoid any kind of incident. However, she added, no one could keep away the "hundreds" who spontaneously gathered at Haidar's home. Elghalya noted that there were also police around Haidar's home, but they limited themselves to keeping order and did not try to interfere with the celebrations. Separately, Mohammed Jelmous, the Wali of Laayoune (i.e., the Governor and senior MOI official), said that a small group of "youths" who oppose Western Saharan independence did attempt to gain access to the crowds in front of Haidar's home, but police quickly ushered them away after one threw a rock that hit -- but did not seriously injure -- a Spanish journalist. Otherwise, the Wali reported, as of noon Laayoune time, the city was calm.


Comment: An Ordeal Ended


5. (C) Haidar's return comes not a moment too soon, especially in light of the serious down-turn her health had taken in recent days. It also brings to a close a disastrous episode for the GOM, which drew dangerously close not only to perpetrating a case of forced exile, but also to badly jeopardizing its relationships with Spain and other allies through its belligerent handling of the case and some stunningly maladroit diplomacy. Local press and our Laayoune-based Sahrawi contacts have given enormous credit to the U.S., France and to a lesser extent Spain for pressing the GOM to find a solution to the problem. GOM officials have grudgingly acknowledged that the tough -- and consistent -- messages that Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Taieb Fassi Fihri heard on his recent travels to Europe and the U.S. (Ref A) were crucial to the GOM's rather sudden change of heart. Even the provincial Wali in Laayoune told PolCouns, "You see, we listen to our friends." This said, we will need to be mindful that the whole Haidar case has left the GOM badly shaken; indeed, Moroccan officials' (and, we suspect, the other parties') anger and distrust, especially toward Algeria, has reached its highest level in recent years. As we look to a fifth round of formal UN-led Manhasset talks, Ambassador Ross, and we, have our work cut out for us. End Comment.


Visit Embassy Rabat's Classified Website;



Big Oil and James Baker Target the Western Sahara


In the midst of America's international campaign against terrorism, the Bush administration is permitting Big Oil to legitimize the illegal occupation of an invaded country--Western Sahara. Formerly known as Spanish Sahara and invaded by Morocco in 1975 (the same year Henry Kissinger acquiesced to Indonesia's invasion and annexation of East Timor and India's annexation of the Himalayan Kingdom of Sikkim)), Western Sahara's occupation by Morocco has neither been recognized by the United Nations nor the Organization of African Unity. The latter actually recognizes the independence of Western Sahara's exiled Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, which is headquartered in remote and squalid desert refugee camps on the Algerian side of the Western Sahara-Algeria border.

In the New World Order of the Bush family, the Western Saharans have little future. That is because the lifeblood of what it means to be a Bush--oil--has been discovered off the coast of Western Sahara. Although Morocco is the illegal occupier of Western Sahara, that did not stop the Oklahoma City-based Kerr McGee Corporation (the company infamously portrayed in the movie "Silkwood") from signing an off-shore exploration deal with Morocco on September 25, 2001, just days after the terrorist attacks on the United States. The timing for Kerr McGee could not have been better.

The group fighting for Western Sahara independence, POLISARIO, once waged a bitter guerrilla war against Morocco. In 1991, POLISARIO signed a cease fire with Morocco but Moroccan troops remained in the disputed territory.

Meanwhile, Morocco continued to pour thousands of native Moroccans into the territory. The 1991 cease fire agreement with Morocco was to have resulted in a referendum on the territory's future. However, Morocco kept delaying the vote until it could salt the territory with enough of its own emigres until they constituted a majority, thus ensuring a final vote would result in voter approval for merger with Morocco.

In 1997, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, who, ironically, was awarded the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize, named former Secretary of State James Baker as his personal envoy to settle the Western Sahara problem. Baker, who would later serve as George W. Bush's fix-it man in Florida's disputed presidential election, began considering rather novel ideas to settle the Western Sahara problem.

Unfortunately, for the Sahrawis, Baker's ideas were all stamped with the imprimatur of Morocco.

Baker, who is as connected to the Houston oil big wigs as J.R. Ewing was to the oil czars in the TV show "Dallas," has his own close ties to Kerr McGee.

His James Baker Institute at Rice University funded a study Called "Strategic Energy Policy: Challenges for the 21st Century." The author of that report is Matt Simmons, President of Simmons and Company Investment Bankers and member of the Board of Directors of Kerr McGee.

It also helps the cause of Kerr McGee that Baker's former spokesperson at the Departments of State and Treasury and close personal friend, Margaret Tutwiler, serves as the U.S. ambassador to Morocco. One former associate of Tutwiler confided that it was no coincidence that landed Tutwiler in Morocco, "She was obviously placed there by Baker and his oil buddies to help cut oil deals." Tutwiler is not only in a commanding position to influence U.S. policy on Western Sahara but she can count upon one of her best friends, former White House Communications Director and close Bush confidant Karen Hughes, to ensure that Morocco's case receives the personal attention of President Bush.

The plan that Baker drew up for Western Sahara (while he was ensconced with his friends at his Jackson Hole, Wyoming ranch) will undoubtedly result in the territory's eventual merger with Morocco. Approved by the UN Security Council, with the strong support of France, whose TotalFinaElf conglomerate also just signed an offshore oil exploration, the plan calls for a five-year delay for a final referendum. In the meantime, Western Sahara will have a weak territorial assembly that will be packed with loyalists of Morocco's

King Mohammed, a close U.S. ally. When the referendum is finally held, sometime around 2006 or 2007, all the Moroccan squatters and occupying troops will be allowed to vote.

On January 7, 2003, the UN announced that Baker would be visiting Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, and Western Sahara to revive his peace plan. But it now seems that with impending war with Iraq and the paralyzing Venezuelan oil strike, Baker is under pressure from his friends in the Bush administration to bring about the commencement of oil drilling off of Western Sahara. Thus the sudden new interest by Baker in a Western Sahara "peace" deal.

U.S. oil companies are chomping at the bit. In its Securities and Exchange Commission filings, Kerr McGee continues to list Western Sahara's Boujdour block (where it has been given permission to drill by Morocco) as being within Moroccan territory, a claim neither supported by the United Nations nor officially recognized by the United States.

Although Baker was to have been an honest broker, even he had to admit to the U.N. Security Council in 2001 that the plan had been heavily influenced by Morocco. Since Bush has enlisted the support of Algeria's President Abdelaziz Boutefllika in the worldwide war against terrorism, it is clear that he was pressured to limit Algeria's historic support for POLISARIO and the Sahrawis. Bouteflika even endorsed Baker's plan. French President Jacques Chirac has referred to Western Sahara as Morocco's "southern provinces," a clear indication of where the West sees the future of the territory.

For its part, the Western Saharans are claiming the deals between Morocco and TotalFinaElf and Kerr McGee are in violation of international law and previous UN resolutions. The Sahrawi President, Mohammed Abdelaziz, condemned the oil deals as an illegal "provocation." The Sahrawi cause is supported by a number of NGOs, former French First Lady Danielle Mitterand, and East Timor's leadership, which knows all too well about being held hostage by oil interests and brutal occupying dictatorships allied with the West. But the oil companies and the Baker-Bush team still holds the trump card. If the Sahrawis, out of desperation, break the cease fire and go to war with Morocco, the anti-terrorism measures undertaken by the United States may seal their fate.

All the State Department has to do is simply declare POLISARIO and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic terrorist organizations. Their international assets would be frozen, their leaders would be arrested and could be tried by secret U.S. military tribunals and executed, and Big Oil and Morocco would rule the day in Western Sahara. Even groups that support their cause could be targeted and their assets seized. Furthermore, the American public, conditioned to be suspicious of all things Arab, would have little sympathy for nomadic Arabs fighting against a U.S. "ally." It is a scenario that could be replayed in every part of the world where local secessionist groups are pitted against brutal regimes and greedy multinational corporations--the Aceh region of northern Sumatra, West Papua, and Nigeria's Delta Region, to name but a few.