The Moroccan media report recordings that reveal the tension in the leadership of the insurgent group

El número dos del Polisario se levanta contra Ghali

AP/PAUL WHITE - Bachir Mustafa Sayed, senior member of the Polisario Front, during a press conference in Madrid, Spain

New case of tension between the leaders of the Polisario Front. Bachir Mustafa Sayed is the protagonist of this new chapter after recordings were leaked on social networks, according to Moroccan media.

The Minister Counsellor of the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) is said to have publicly attacked the leader of the Polisario and President of SADR, Brahim Ghali, according to audios quoted by media such as Le 360, Morocco World News and North Africa Post. According to the audios, Mustafa Sayed accused Ghali of being the main culprit for the ills and failure of the independence cause. 

According to the media quoted, Mustafa Sayed reproaches Ghali more specifically for the violent actions carried out by Polisario operatives at the Guerguerat border post in 2020. According to Sayed, the operation to block the border crossing in 2020 had no serious preparation and no realistic calculation of the consequences for the Polisario.  

"This bad advice and miscalculation by the Algerian generals proved fatal for the Polisario and revealed both the short-sightedness of the separatist leaders and that of Algerian intelligence and diplomacy, which failed to foresee Morocco's reaction", paraphrases the online newspaper Le 360, attributing these claims to Bachir Mustapha Sayed. 

PHOTO AP/ BERNAT ARMANGUE - Desfile de las fuerzas armadas de la RASD en el campamento de Tinduf

Sayed also accused Ghali of taking the unilateral decision to break the UN ceasefire. A decision which, according to the recordings attributed to the Saharawi minister, would have further cornered a Polisario which has no military option whatsoever and for which the avenues of dialogue are gradually running out. 

Analysts agree with Sayed's conclusion that the Polisario no longer has the capacity to wage war in the same way as before. The insurgent group's new strategy is to wait and take advantage of any social and political crisis in Morocco to exploit it to its advantage. 

Mustafa Sayed is none other than the younger brother of the first martyr of the Sahrawi independence cause: El Uali Mustafa Sayed, a symbol for the followers of the insurgent group. For most of his political career he served as SADR's Foreign Minister, meeting with numerous leaders in the 1980s and 1990s. During this period, he was known for his capacity for dialogue and bridge-building, which may explain his opposition to Brahim Ghali's incendiary decisions. 

This is not the first sign of rebellion in the Polisario ranks. In May 2022, rumours spread that a political opposition movement was gaining strength in the Tindouf camps. 

The long exile and hardship are reportedly cracking the Polisario structure, which until now had managed to maintain a quasi-state form in exile thanks to a tight control and strong hierarchy applied to the inhabitants of the towns and camps controlled by the insurgent group.