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Aristocratic heir to the journ...,
"the terrorists are seeing the advance of freedom and reform":
Indeed, and judging from their press conferences they're terrified. The Christian Science Monitor offers some reporting on the folks we helped Morocco cleanse from the Western Sahara:
The Saharawi women are among the most liberated of the Muslim world, and their status is characteristic of the well- organized, egalitarian society that has developed in the refugee camps over the past three decades. For all their bleakness, the Saharawi camps boast a representative government, a 95 percent literacy rate, and a constitution that enshrines religious tolerance and gender equality.
Like its predecessors the Bush administration, for whom the advance of freedom and reform is most frightening, has been happily assisting the maintenance of Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara, effectively attempting to destroy a democratic government and place it under the rule of a corrupt fuedal monarch. The diplomatic record entails the special envoy, our old pal James Baker, presenting the "Framework Plan" in 2001 that would grant Western Sahara limited autonomy, allowing Morocco to continue expropriating local resources and suppress the democratic participation, rights and liberties of a Muslim population. After much restance from all parties but the monarch, Baker came back two years later with a plan to hold a referendum between this "autonomy", independence, or integration into Morocco.
This proposal required that the election be open to anyone living in the Western Sahara prior to 2000. Meaning, more or less, that 140,000 Saharawis would be voting against equal or greater numbers of Moroccan colonists (during the 1975 Green March alone over 300,000 Moroccans moved in to occupy the territory). As far as I can tell this would garuntee that Western Sahara remain under Moroccan rule: 150,000 people have been identified as eligible to vote in the referendum by the identification commission - which restricts the vote to descendents of the tribes living there prior to the occupation - by the Identification Commission of
MINURSO. To whom the 250,000 residents of the country are loyal - to a corrupt post-fuedal state, or themselves - as compared to the 200,000 refugees, I don't know, but Baker appears to think he does.
Update 4/20: Baker has been the envoy on this conflict for much longer than I thought (since at least '97), but my general impression seems correct:
"The most shocking aspect of [Baker's Framework Agreement] is that Moroccan settlers who had remained in Western Sahara for more than a year would be eligible to vote in the referendum. In other words, Morocco would allow a referendum on self-determination on the condition that Western Sahara becomes Moroccan. If it were implemented, the Framework Agreement would ignore the basic principles that have informed UN action in the area of decolonization, allowing a question of self-determination to be settled under the guidance of the colonial power, with the UN seal of approval."
More on the 2003 plan here, and for the record John Kerry has protested the Baker plan, not that we expect him to stick to that position now that he's been assimilated into the "New Democrat" bubbly headed neo-con-lite foreign policy wing for the election season.
:: posted by buermann @ 2004-04-14 16:38:09 CST |