Moroccan Sahara: The great French hesitation!

To see the artistic vagueness which reigns on the reasons which prevent France from recognizing the Moroccanity of the Sahara, the diplomatic convolutions to justify such a hesitation, it is clear that the Paris Rabat axis is not about to leave this zone. of cold turbulence which has characterized it for many months. On the contrary, without a French turn on this issue, the gap risks widening further between the two countries.

There is a diplomatic truth that is hard to hide today. Paris is torn between its strategic relationship with Morocco and its limited links with Algeria. French diplomacy cannot envisage an acceleration in its relationship with the Kingdom without taking into consideration the possible impacts on its ties with Algeria.

This reality was deaf, implicit during the terms of other French presidents. She came to light during the two terms of Emmanuel Macron. Several reasons explain this, including the assumed tropism of the French presidency with regard to Algeria.

Since his arrival at the Elysée, Emmanuel Macron has taken it into his head to leave his mark on French history as the president who was able to achieve a memorial reconciliation with his former colony, Algeria, whose separation was bloody and painful. .

This posture certainly has a political price. Algiers, whose regime is extremely fragile, devoid of any political legitimacy, faced with unprecedented internal protest, appears on the contrary to be very popular in the eyes of Paris.

And despite all the criticisms formulated by Emmanuel Macron himself on “these rentiers of memory” who run Algeria, Algiers finds favor in the eyes of French diplomacy, which passes on to it all the excesses and all the violations, provided that the memorial reconciliation achieves the progress that secures Macron a place in history.

This very special relationship between Algeria and France will soon be staged with the visit of the head of the Algerian army, Saïd Chengriha to Paris. A visit as rare as it is unprecedented but which has caused a lot of ink to flow in the Franco-Algerian seraglio.

For many observers and foreign partners of Algeria, including Paris, perceive Saïd Chengriha as the true holder of power in Algeria. Abdelmadjid Tebboune is simply a false civilian facade of a military power heavily contested by the Algerians themselves.

When the American administration wanted to send a message to the Algerian regime, it was through a meeting as strange as it was unprecedented between Ambassador Elisabeth Moore Aubin and Saïd Chengriha that the affair of the military maneuvers with the Russians and the trip of Tebboune in Moscow have been settled.

And when Paris wants to prepare the political framework for the next visit of the Algerian president to France scheduled for next May, it is with Saïd Chengriha, a strong man and essential interlocutor, that the consultation is carried out.

With Paris, Saïd Chengriha will work out the outlines of the new political and security deal that the
Algerian regime proposes to the French following the recent visits of Emmanuel Macron and Elisabeth Borne to Algiers.

The importance of these Algerian trips to France is that they occur in a particular political context where Moroccan diplomacy seeks to convince France to take the big step of recognizing Morocco’s sovereignty over its Sahara, as the administration under Republican Donald Trump and confirmed by Democrat Joe Biden.

This scenario of France officially recognizing Morocco’s full sovereignty over its Sahara is nightmarish for the Algerian regime. Because the Algerian soldiers know that Paris holds the last nail in the coffin of the separatist dream. If French diplomacy clearly adopts the American posture, it will bring the whole of European architecture behind it.

And because France still has this weight and this European training capacity that the Algerian regime is in the process of playing its all out with Paris by giving all possible and imaginable political, economic and strategic concessions. The ultimate goal is to prevent France from siding with Morocco in its struggle to recover its territorial unity.

The whole question is to know today until when this tugging of Paris between Algiers and Rabat is still politically sustainable. Sign of the persistence of this difficulty: At the very moment when France is preparing to welcome the Algerian president, it finds enormous difficulty in setting the date for a visit by Emmanuel Macron to Morocco.

This state of affairs reflects enormous French hesitation in the Sahara issue. Holding the stick in the middle, publicly supporting the option of autonomy to please Moroccans without openly declaring the Moroccanness of the Sahara so as not to provoke the ire of Algerians, such is the current French approach with regard to a region where chiaroscuro, the gray zone, double talk are no longer appropriate.

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