The crisis in Western Sahara is no longer confined to North Africa. And it is no longer just the dispute over the authority of the region - which is increasingly leaning towards the Moroccan side. The European Parliament denounces the links between the Polisario Front and terrorist organisations that are generating a significant increase in instability throughout the Maghreb. This problem is not helped by the tense situation between Morocco and Algeria, whose diplomatic ties have been severed for more than a year, precisely because of the disagreement over the Saharawi issue.
French MEP Brice Hortefeux denounced the Front's "possible connections" with terrorist organisations. He did so in a written question sent to the European Commission, where, he said, there could be "collusion between the Polisario and terrorist groups to the extent that the Polisario is supplying arms and logistical support, including fuel, to these groups". This dangerous association is nothing new, as Abu Walid Al Sahraoui and Abu Sahroui, the creators of Daesh in the Greater Sahara, were once members of the Polisario Front.
Of these two, the former was killed in a drone operation carried out by French forces last year. Al Sahraoui was involved in a series of attacks in the Sahel region, a location where the presence of terrorist groups is not new.
Hortefeux believes that "the situation in the Sahel region and the Sahara has deteriorated in recent years, presenting a threat to regional and international stability". In addition, there is a dispute over the real work of the Polisario as the MEP himself points out that "the lack of control in the areas under Polisario control is being exploited by many illicit groups". In this way, the Polisario Front has been singled out as one of those responsible for the increased danger in the region and the links it maintains with radical groups.
It should not be forgotten that the European Union provides substantial amounts of money to the Polisario Front in the form of humanitarian aid. The French MEP also points to a possible misuse of this financial aid and that, far from serving to improve the living conditions of the Saharawi people, it is being used to finance certain terrorist groups operating in the region. He called for an audit of the funds received by the Polisario to "ensure that they are being used only for humanitarian purposes" and for swift action to determine the links between the Polisario and radical groups.
The request comes as no surprise to the European Parliament, which in October saw the UN Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonisation Committee) express concern about threats to regional security from the Polisario Front. Abdoul Latif Aidara, a member of the African Centre for Strategic Intelligence, reaffirms Brice Hortefeux's position, saying that the Polisario is "well known for its criminal activities and links with terrorist groups". Hence, the European Parliament should not lose sight of its activity to ensure the security of the Saharawi population.