Moroccan-Tunisian relations continue to develop at an accelerated pace, after they entered a declared “diplomatic crisis phase” after calling the ambassadors of the two countries in Rabat and Tunis for consultations, as well as the issuance of a response from the Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. that the spokesman for the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs considered “a statement that did not eliminate the ambiguity surrounding the Tunisian situation, but contributed to its deepening”.
The Moroccan Foreign Ministry added, surprisingly, “the attempt of the Tunisian declaration to justify the hostile and antipathetic behavior of the Tunisian authorities towards the first national question and the higher interests of the Kingdom of Morocco”, which “involves many interpretations and fallacies “. In particular, the TICAD Forum is not a meeting of the African Union, but a framework for partnership between Japan and the African countries with which it maintains diplomatic relations.
By insisting on the personal welcome that the leader of the separatist front gave him on more than one occasion, at the airport and at the opening of the eighth “TICAD” summit that his country is hosting, the Tunisian president, Kais Saied, chose to stir up the storm of this crisis at a “sensitive” moment, raising questions about its effects on the country, the unity of the Maghreb and the future of the map of relations in the North African region; Especially after the last royal speech (the anniversary of August 20), in which it was clearly stated that “the Sahara file is the lens through which Morocco looks at the world, and it is the clear and simple criterion with which measure the sincerity of friendships and the effectiveness of alliances”.
“Algeria’s Back Garden”
Khaled Chiat, professor of international relations at Mohamed I University in Oujda, observed that “there are two trends in North Africa; The first is expressed by Morocco as based on integration, openness, free trade and economic integration, while the second refers to the hegemonic model expressed by the military authority in Algeria, which never believes in the possibilities of integration or integration in the Maghreb.
Chiat recorded, in an interview with Hespress, that “this crisis with Tunisia, which has lost the independence of its strategic decision by adopting the Algerian thesis, will make it subservient and dependent; It will also lead it to become a very secondary actor in the Maghreb”, noting that “it can go further by establishing cooperation or diplomatic relations with the Polisario, after it has become a back garden for Algeria and its military system. and political, and lost the independence of its strategic decisions abroad, and no longer has any control over it “something today”.
The same professor affirmed, in his statement, that “the Tunisian president did more damage to his country, Tunisia, than to Morocco, an offense that continues to be completely ineffective; Reducing it from the independence of its decision for decades from a balanced and impartial position on the question of the Moroccan Sahara”, stressing that it is “a short-term, narrow-minded vision, which exchanges economic and financial advantages for political positions, which is what what Algeria has been doing with the totalitarian regimes, which Kais Saied applied during the last year”.
The same speaker returned to the excavation historically in the context of the Maghreb region, which, after the signing of the Marrakesh Agreement (February 1989), was going “in the direction of building an integrated and economically integrated region that transcends conflicts and rivalries that characterized it”. the Cold War contexts of the time; However, the Algerian regime, which no longer enjoys political legitimacy and guarantees its continuity after the civil war, cut this trend and, through the “Atlas Asni” pass, sought to antagonize Morocco.
“To the failure that Kais Saied expressed at the internal level was added the strategic failure and the regional perception,” concludes Chiat, who considered that the North African region can only be “subject to the logic of this duality in which Algeria dominates a country neighbour”. country and attracts it to dictatorship, to close down and kill the idea of the Maghreb.
Problems for the Maghreb
For his part, Abdel-Fattah Al-Fatihi, director of the Center for Strategic Studies on the Sahara and Africa, followed the same pattern and said that “what Kais Saied has done should not be seen as a position of the Tunisian state, which is not considered at present, because the Tunisian president lacks political charisma, in view of the problems that beset him at the regional and international levels”.
Al-Fatihi pointed out that what Said had done was “wrong behavior in the wrong context that pushes to sabotage the history of the Maghreb Union, since it is a source of destruction for all the efforts that Tunisia has always made through calls that were made previously to unite the efforts of the brothers and the countries of the North African region that share the same history and destiny.” “.
And the same spokesman continued, in statements to the Hespress newspaper, that the act is still “a decision made by a president who is experiencing a confused internal and local situation, the product of major and structural differences, as well as in light of isolation, given that the debate on the democratic path in Tunisia remains at the center of the question and international attention”. He pointed out that “it is a stunted political behavior and does not reflect the reality of the position of the Tunisian state, which was subject to a historical political assessment that was difficult to change.”
The director of the aforementioned center has also pointed out that “the context of Saeed’s decision to receive the separatist leader occurred immediately after the decision to open the common border between Tunisia and Algeria, and after months of Tunisia’s refusal to support Morocco. in a decision on the renewal of the MINURSO mission by the UN Security Council”. This led the Moroccan Foreign Ministry to “doubt, question and seek the truth of the Tunisian position”.
Al-Fatihi concluded his speech by saying that “Tunisia will not bear the consequences of entering into a diplomatic crisis with a sister Arab and North African country, as long as it reaches out a hand in light of its suffering from the flames of terrorism, security challenges and immigration”.
In his interaction with the topic, former Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki said, in a “Facebook” blog, that “Kais Saied’s reception of the Polisario president as if he were the head of a world-recognized state put Tunisia on the side of one brother against another brother”, and added: “We are facing an act that is condemned under all standards because it is irresponsible and detrimental to the interests of Tunisia, since it harms the weak possibilities of removing the Maghreb Union from the room. of recovery”.
And the former Tunisian president continued: “We have an urgent need to put an end to the animosity, not to add fuel to the fire… The proof is the cries from all sides and the withdrawal of all the elements of a serene and constructive dialogue between members from the same family”, blaming Qais Saeed for this crisis.