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Aminatou update

December 17, 2009

[UPDATE: yeah. Haidar back in El Aaiun & passed customs w/o passport, on Spanish papers]

Short update on the Aminatou Haidar stalemate, which may be about to finally resolve itself one way or the other:

  1. AFP reports that she was taken to intensive care earlier today, reportedly after vomiting blood.
  2. Whether related or not, Morocco just caved, according to multiple sources, incl. Reuters, which has POLISARIO jumping on cue into the spotlight:

“Effectively everything has been resolved, according to our information,” said Ibrahim Ghali, the POLISARIO ambassador to Algeria, where the movement has its HQ. “A plane is at Lanzarote airport awaiting instructions,” he told Reuters.

Guess we’ll have to wait and see if this turns out to be true: recall that an earlier attempt to fly her back ended when Morocco changed its mind and refused landing permission. Fassi Fihri recently met with Ban Ki-moon, so they might want to put a UN stamp on her return, to help Rabat save face internally. Not that it will look good for the government anyway, but they really got themselves into that dead end. M6 should consider expelling some of his media advisors instead.

Also, pour les French speakers, Ibn Kafka has a series of interesting posts (1, 2, 3) discussing the legality of the expulsion and nationality issue, from an anti-independence but pro-rule-of-law Moroccan standpoint.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. ibnkafka permalink
    December 17, 2009 22:40

    The Inner City Press link contains no recent info on a return to Morocco, and El Pais only cites Spanish sources.I suppose we’ll know more tomorrow.Whatever the outcome, another disastrous move by the Palace. The downside is so negative from a PR point of view that you wonder whether the Moroccan government isn’t contemplating letting her starve to death – Morocco’s negative cycle in foreign media can’t get much worse, Western public opinion, Spain excepted, has other fish to fry right now one week before Christmas plus you don’t get the Nobel Peace Prize posthumously. Letting her back, as she is fully entitled to, would be quite a blow to the makhzen’s sliding prestige, especially now that Moroccan public opinion is incensed at her. I just can’t see the makhzen wanting to be seen as bowing to foreign pressure. I always thought that a compromise would be presented as Sahrawi dignitaries or her family pleading with the King the usual way. But it appears that the gang who couldn’t shoot straight couldn’ run over a kitten and make it look like an accident…

  2. December 17, 2009 23:49

    Oh, my bad. This is the one I was trying to link to:

    I’ll fix the post.

    Agreed that confirmation is lacking, but something is definitely cooking. Here’s another dispatch from DPA which claims she’s presently in-air headed for el-Aaiun. If so, I’m sure the government will set the sheikh-machine in motion as soon as the plane touches the ground, but this will take serious effort to spin as a victory.

    The Nobel angle is worth watching, btw; it would be a nuclear-level disaster for Moroccan diplomacy, but I don’t think it’s at all outside the realm of the possible. (But then again, I thought this year’s candidate was…)

    • ibnkafka permalink
      December 18, 2009 10:36

      You were right, as always alle. It’ll be thrilling to see what kind of spin the makhzen will try to have on this débâcle which reminds me of the Leïla/Perejil affair. A case-book example on the limits of autocratic foreign policy…

      As for the Nobel Prize angle, I was joking, but again not only is Norway one of the Western governments, together with Sweden, with positions closest to Algeria/Polisario, but if the Nobel Peace Prize committee and the clown Torbjörn Jagland (did you read his reaction to the Afghanistan troop surge?) didn’t know who Aminatou Haïdar was, they definitely know now.

  3. Elcid permalink
    December 18, 2009 17:29

    Hello All,

    The prince had to wait for orders from Paris.Here what the AP said”

    L’Elysée a annoncé que Nicolas Sarkozy avait demandé mardi à Paris au ministre marocain des Affaires étrangères Taïb Fassi Fihri de lui rendre son passeport marocain à son arrivée au Maroc. “Sa Majesté Mohamed VI a informé le président Sarkozy, par message, le 17 décembre 2009, de l’accord de l’Etat marocain. Dans ces conditions, Madame Aminatou Haidar peut regagner le Maroc”, précise l’Elysée. AP

    Maybe France should enter into negociations with the Polisario ..The deal will be done in a week.

  4. December 18, 2009 20:15

    Acoording to a dutch newspaper she answered a delicate question on immigration papers with the line “arrived in Morocco”. Well. She is home and everybody is glad she is, I suppose. I am for sure.

  5. casazone permalink
    December 18, 2009 21:43

    Ms. Haidar is now returned to Morocco as a Moroccan and agreed to obey to all Moroccan laws on all the Moroccan territory included the sahara. The next time it is the turn of Mohamed Abdelaaziz to do the same thing as Aminatou Haidar unless Algeria replace him with another mercenary before it is too late.

  6. December 19, 2009 00:01

    IK — It seems they made a deal with France (and Spain?) for Sarkozy to state publicly, in return for Haidar being let back, that Moroccan law must rule the territory until the autonomy proposal is applied or another solution is found. I’m not sure what to make of that — would love to hear your input as a lawyer — but it doesn’t sound unimportant. POLISARIO appears to be unhappy enough with it to draw attention to it:

    Par ailleurs, le Président sahraoui a rappelé à Paris que les lois marocaines ne peuvent pas être appliquées au Sahara Occidental contrairement à ce que défend l’Elysée dans son communiqué rendu public jeudi.

    “Quant à prétendre que la législation marocaine, doit prévaloir dans le territoire du Sahara Occidental en attendant que soit réglé le statut définitif du territoire, c’est se situer en porte à faux du droit et de la légalité internationale”, a-t-il averti, en référence à la déclaration de Paris qui reconnait que “la législation marocaine s’applique”.

    Pour M. Abdelaziz, Il s’agit là d’un positionnement “inacceptable, voire dangereux”, puisque le Maroc “est une puissance occupante” au Sahara Occidental, et “ne dispose ni de pouvoir d’administration, ni celui de souveraineté, au regard du droit international”, comme les stipulent les textes de l’ONU, de la Cour International de Justice l’attestent et l’Opinion juridique de Hans Corell (2002).

    Le Président de la République sahraouie en enfin exprimer le souhait de voir la France “reconsidérer des propos, qui confondent l’opinion Internationale, et contrarient l’œuvre de paix engagée au Sahara Occidental”.

    That’s from SPS, whose website is back up after being hacked immediately before the announcement of Haidar’s return — nice timing. Also, on timing, two words: Copenhagen Summit.

  7. ElCid permalink
    December 19, 2009 02:14

    The sad part is that Marocco is definitely ruled from Paris (Moh V is not feeling well in his grave ) ..It is an enslavement of mind a sad but true fact that France will never give up it’s maroccan territory ,.

    France may not rule marocco but from the newspaper it sounded to me that was more like an order . The king Mo VI can show his toughness against a little lady and spoil the land of the saharawi but he is only delaying the inevitable .

    Maybe a future call up of the colonial foreign minister to Paris is in the offing .

  8. December 19, 2009 18:58

    Algerian Ambassador to the US Baali said that Haidar “was not required to fill out the landing card upon arrival.” So much for the zero-tolerance policy announced on Novermber 6…

    more on that here:


  9. December 20, 2009 05:21

    I think the sadder part is that all parties involved are pawns in the hands of either the French, Spanish or the Americans. The silver lining for Morocco, despite the all the pressure, is that Aminatou is returned under some of their conditions as a Moroccan citizen. So I am not sure they are losing in the situation.


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