Imagine that the Sahara conflict is in Europe!

Imagine that France had been the victim of a double occupation and that the two colonizers had left it before leaving, as a poisoned farewell gift, the “Popular Front for the Liberation of the Peoples of the South”…

Imagine that Portugal, at the height of its power, occupies Aquitaine while Spain, no less victorious, seizes Occitania, Provence and, for longer, all of Italy.

France, a victim of this double occupation, is fighting in this configuration on all fronts to prove its sovereignty over these territories, while Italy, finally independent of the tutelage, not content with seeing itself inherit unduly from Provence, finds the way to arm an independence movement in Occitania and Aquitaine – let’s call it the “Popular Front for the Liberation of the Peoples of the South”! – in order to have a strategic corridor towards the Atlantic and to seek, by small interposed group, endless miseries to its neighbor.

In this upside-down world, Italy, swollen with land that does not belong to it, denounces against all logic the hegemony of France – which is only claiming its due! – and supports the independence of the “people of the South” whose leaders it “dispatched” to the four corners for the marketing needs of the cause, by taking vulnerable populations hostage in camps at Mont Ventoux.

Portugal, after decades of shenanigans and dithering, finally came around to the autonomy proposal as a serious basis for resolving the conflict.

Finally, Spain, anxious to satisfy its interests wherever permitted, stirs up the illusion of neutrality by playing an ambiguous double game to spare the goat and the cabbage.

The comparison is not fair but, with the Sahara, it’s pretty much the same story!

What applies to France in this crazy story applies to Morocco in fact. Unless you want to maintain again and everywhere in Africa the Euro-centrist myth of a territory without a master where the property would have been totally unknown, where the populations would all be reduced to an assembly of clans and tribes without the ounce of a organization, where the territories would do well to be massacred in pencil in cozy offices according to the goodwill of the “Whites”!

Modalities of the partition of Africa. The tone was set in 1884 with this theme on the agenda of the Berlin Conference.

Morocco, a thousand-year-old nation-state, linked to the Sahara – the cradle of several dynasties – by all forms of ties, was then the object of expansionist vocations after the Saharan expedition of the Arabizing geographer Emilio Bonneli, of the “ Spanish Society of Africanists and Colonialists“.

The Spanish government then notified the signatory powers of its decision to place under its protection the coastal part extending from Cape Boujdour to Cape Blanc, with the peninsula of Dakhla as its capital.

These claims were not made without the reactions of the tribes who attacked the factory in 1885 and continued the attacks, leading the Spaniards to officially challenge the Sultan in an overt recognition of sovereignty.

Without forgetting the reaction of Moulay Hassan 1uhwho had sent emissaries to the Saharan tribes, a protest to the government in Madrid as well as a circular note to all the representatives of foreign states in Tangier.

It was not until 1916 that Spain actually took Tarfaya, while Sidi Ifni was occupied in 1934 after numerous negotiations with France aimed at “harmonizing their interests in Morocco” (according to the official terms of the Convention of Madrid of 1912).

It is generally the Moroccan Sahara in its western fringe, occupied by Spain and enclosed to the north and south by France since it had occupied present-day Mauritania, then administered from Saint-Louis in Senegal. .

In the East, France, absolute mistress in Algeria, had taken advantage of the Treaty of Lalla Maghnia, following the defeat of Morocco at the Battle of Isly where the Kingdom had undertaken to defend the dignity and freedom of its neighbor. , to amputate it de facto part of his territory for his direct benefit and then for that of his heir.

The vagueness maintained in the south, both sowed the seeds of later border conflicts and opened the way to the occupation of the oases of Tidikelt, Gourara and Touat, reinforced by the sharing of spheres of influence with the English in the loop of Le Niger and pushed ardently, in a logic as much land as security, by the colonial party.

About its leader, Etienne Eugène, born in Oran, we can read from the pen of the historian Julie d’Andurain in her contribution to ” The weight of the Moroccan committee and the colonial party in the French Colonial History Society“, that “it is as an “Algerian” that he conceives the conquest of Morocco”, (…) because he considers that “France has in Morocco rights and duties superior to those of any other power, even to those from Spain (… ). The primary cause of our rights, their present and future raison d’être is still there, solid and alive, it is Algeria. Algeria led us to Tunisia, it must more precisely, although undoubtedly more difficult, lead us to Morocco”.

There, “the divisions of Oran and Algiers of the 19e The army corps, recalls for his part Professor Claude Lefébure, were only able to conquer Touat and Gourara at the cost of hard fighting against the semi-nomads of Moroccan obedience who, for more than a century, have imposed their protection on the inhabitants of the oases. “.

Because to speak only of Touat and take up this time Charles-André Julien in his book ” Morocco facing imperialism“: “Never had the Turks, masters of Algeria, even exercised control there. On the other hand, the acts of allegiance to the sultan abounded and left no doubt about the recognition of his sovereignty by the oases, even if they showed themselves to be unsubmissive to tax. The steps taken by the Quai d’Orsay with the Makhzen to authorize the explorer Duveyrier to stay at Touat; the request of the chambers of commerce of Algeria to send a consul there; the use by the Minister of France in Tangier, Tissot, of the formula “the Moroccan oasis of Touat”; the cartography and the judgment of 1885 of the greatest French geographer Élisée Reclus were authentic, so Moulay Hassan did not stop asserting his rights…”.

Today as yesterday, these rights can only be affirmed loud and clear in the face of the denial of so many spoliations – which will continue until the capture of Tindouf in 1934 – in the face of so much nuisance and hypocrisy.

When we know that the borders have been arbitrarily drawn in pencil, in defiance of the populations, to speak of the right of the “Sahrawi people” to the south of Morocco, when the Sahara extends over the territory of ten countries, is as absurd as the theory of a “people of the South”.

The revelation of the archives would be enough in itself to set the record straight.

The historical responsibility nevertheless remains intact, and any current diplomatic procrastination can be interpreted as duplicity harming a lasting partnership, and as a sneaky obstacle to the peaceful settlement of conflicts in a neocolonialist logic, which no longer deceives anyone.