A forum devoted to current political, economic trends, and news of the Maghreb region.

Monday, January 3, 2011

POLISARIO and AQIM: a Marriage of Convenience?

A recent article in Foreign Policy's Middle East Channel puts forth some bold allegations on a purported association between POLISARIO front and AQIM (al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb). The article bases the reports on accounts obtained from recent arrested members of the POLISARIO in Morocco, Mali, Algeria and Mauritania. According to the piece by Alison Lake:
Recent arrests of Polisario members by the governments of Morocco, Algeria, and Mauritania give credence to the unlikely link between an Islamist group and Marxist nationalists. Maj. Gen. Abdeljebbar Azzaoui, Morocco's director of intelligence and counterterrorism, alleged some 75 arrests by Morocco, Mauritania, and Mali of Polisario members involved in al Qaeda operations. He said the Moroccan government works closely with these two countries and shares a list of captives. On Oct. 30 Morocco's Interior Ministry announced its capture of a supposedly al Qaeda-linked terrorist cell, the "Saharawi Jihad Front," headed by a Polisario supporter.
If true, these allegations could be a devastating blow to the irrendentist rebel group, which has been touting claims of human rights and universal principles of freedom in their fight for the secession of the Western Sahara. One certainly should be suspicious of any claims made under duress and with so much at stake.


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