Sahara: Senator Inhofe’s Approach Criticized by Prominent US Expert

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American political scientist, Robert Satloff, a reference in Arab-Muslim world policy and United States policy in the Middle East, expressed his strong disagreement with the approach by Republican senator and fervent defender of the Polisario Jim Inhofe, who urged President Joe Biden to reconsider the recognition of the Moroccanness of the Sahara.

“I think this is the wrong approach to the Sahara issue,” the former director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy said on Twitter.

He also urged the Biden administration to back the UN mediation and peace-keeping operation in the Sahara, affirming that “there is no contradiction between recognizing Morocco’s sovereignty over the Sahara and backing the mission of a new UN mediator and the continued deployment of UN forces in the area.”

In a report titled: “Seizing Opportunities and Strengthening Alliances in North West Africa: Ideas for Policy Toward Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia”, Robert Satloff and Sarah Feuer, an expert on policy in North Africa, had called on the Biden administration to support American recognition of Morocco’s full sovereign over its entire Sahara territory, affirming that such recognition serves US geostrategic interests in the region.

The US think-thank had said that building on the stand adopted by the Trump administration on the Sahara will enhance the region’s stability, prevent the spread of terrorism, counter the influence of Russia & China, and ensure security across the Mediterranean Sea.

At the regional level, the think tank stressed that HM King Mohammed VI has devoted enormous energy over the past twenty years to bolstering Morocco’s diplomatic, financial and security presence throughout West and Sub-Saharan Africa. Morocco has also invested heavily in key sectors across the continent such as telecommunications, banking and phosphates, it recalled.

The authors of the report deemed that the Biden administration should “encourage and take advantage of the Moroccan presence in Africa”, underlining that the Kingdom’s ability to serve as a regional stabilizer will become more important to US interests in the coming years.

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