“To err is human, to persist in one’s error is diabolical”, professed, more than a thousand years ago, Saint Augustine [354-430, père de l’Église et évêque de l’antique Hippone, devenue Annaba]the child of Tagaste [ancienne ville numide]the current Souk Ahras, a wilaya [région administrative] located in eastern Algeria.
The Sahrawi bone of contention
The president of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez, does worse by adding a dose of ostentation to his demonism. Questioned by parliamentarians from his country on the subject of relations with Algeria and on the reversal of the Spanish position in the Sahrawi dossier [le 18 mars, Madrid a radicalement changé sa position sur ce dossier en soutenant le projet d’autonomie marocain]Pedro Sánchez gloried in having sold Western Sahara [territoire situé au sud du Maroc et revendiqué par Rabat et par la République arabe sahraouie démocratique (RASD) proclamée par le Front Polisario en 1976. Ce dernier, soutenu par l’Algérie, revendique l’indépendance totale du Sahara occidental. Cette ancienne colonie espagnole est considérée comme un “territoire non autonome” par l’ONU] to the Moroccan occupier [selon la terminologie algérienne. Le Maroc considère le Sahara occidental comme faisant partie de ses provinces du Sud et propose un plan d’autonomie dans le cadre de sa souveraineté.].
And it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Pedro Sánchez’s Spain is no longer a credible partner for Algeria, which has just taken a series of firm decisions commensurate with the Spanish drift. “Algeria has decided to proceed with the ‘immediate’ suspension of the treaty of friendship, good neighborliness and cooperation that it concluded on October 8, 2002 with the Kingdom of Spain, indicated yesterday [le 8 juin]a statement by the Presidency of the Republic.”
The Spanish authorities have embarked on a campaign to “justify the position they have adopted on Western Sahara in violation of their legal, moral and political obligations as the administering power of the territory, which weigh on the Kingdom of Spain until the decolonization of Western Sahara is declared accomplished by the United Nations”, specified the same source.
“Sánchez broke everything”
There is no question for Algeria of accepting the policy of fait accompli which the Spanish government is promoting by using fallacious arguments. During his last meeting with the Algerian media in April, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune denounced the actions of the Sánchez government and its support for a Moroccan autonomy plan that broke with the traditional position of neutrality of the former colonial power.
“We have very strong ties with the Spanish state, but the head of government [Pedro Sanchez] broke everything”, regretted President Tebboune, considering that this reversal is “morally and historically unacceptable”.
Yesterday’s episode in the Spanish Parliament confirms that these authorities take full responsibility for an unjustifiable reversal of their position. A dangerous departure from the track started since the announcements of March 18, 2022, by which the current Spanish government gave its full support to the illegal and illegitimate formula of internal autonomy advocated by the occupying power.
All the jurists of international law say it: the attitude of the Sanchez government is in violation of the international legality imposed on it by its status as the administering power and the efforts of the United Nations and the new personal envoy of the Secretary General, and contributes directly to the deterioration of the situation in Western Sahara and in the region.
“Consequently, Algeria has decided to proceed with the immediate suspension of the treaty of friendship, good neighborliness and cooperation that it concluded on October 8, 2002 with the Kingdom of Spain and which until now framed the development relations between the two countries”, concluded the Presidency of the Republic.
Stability in the Sahel
Algerian diplomatic sources do not exclude other measures after this first salvo. Because Algeria has the right to worry about this Spanish reversal. Its national security is at stake, knowing the serious repercussions on regional stability, while heavy conflicts are already raging in Mali, Libya and Niger, not to mention Moroccan actions.
The Spanish case is just another threat to stability in the Sahel and North Africa. In reality, these measures are not unexpected but planned for a long time. On March 29, due to the unexpected reversal of Madrid on the question of Western Sahara, Algiers activated the first measures [rappel de son ambassadeur et suspension des rapatriements des migrants irréguliers arrivant en Espagne depuis ses côtes]. The Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chakib Rachid Kaïd, told an Italian newspaper that Algeria “will review all agreements with Spain”.