Moroco News Board. Catalonia’s Sovereignty and Spain’s Shifting Diplomacy in North Africa. 04.06.2013

HASSAN MASIKY
06/04/13
Written by Hassan Masiky
Washington / Morocco News Board–Spain’s pro-Morocco stand during last month’s United Nations deliberations on the Western Sahara has taken observers by surprise. Moroccan and Algerian officials were left wondering about the reasons behind Madrid change of heart. However, recent events suggest that the rise of Catalan nationalism could be the reason behind Spain’s reversal of course on the issue of “independence for the Western Sahara”. The ruling Partido Popular (PP) “paranoia and fear” of the specter of an independent Catalonia, puts Madrid and Rabat on the same side of the “self-determination” issue.

As Catalans’ national aspirations grow, so does Madrid’s distrust of international separatist movements including the Algeria based Polisario. The PP concluded that a flagging Polisario would thwart Catalonia’s efforts to gain international recognition for its drive for independence.

Spain’s central government believes that a referendum in Catalonia and the eventual independence of this economically vital region will be devastating to the nation. As such, Madrid chose to distance itself from Algeria’s push for a referendum on  self-determination for  the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony.

After years of disregarding the political ramifications from of the cozy relationships between the Algeria backed Polisario Front and the indigenous Catalan and Basque organizations, Spain’s central government finally recognized that such activities are dangerous to the “unity of Spain.” In their efforts to internationalize the Catalan drive for self-determination, Catalan nationalists began to adopt political and diplomatic practices used by the Polisario and Algeria against Morocco in the Sahara conflict, pushing Madrid to identify with Rabat’s positions.

In a sign of alarm among the Centralists, former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar (from PP) announced his intention to seek office again. Aznar, who likes to portray the image of a tough politician, promised to crush “the rising movement for independence in Catalonia”. He accused the Catalans of ‘violating constitutional agreements and refusing to abide by legality in making a secession bid.”

 

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Posted on June 5, 2013, in BY COUNTRY, BY DATE, BY LANGUAGE, BY SOURCE, English, June 2013, Moroco, Moroco News Board. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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