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Algeria army: 'We could have intervened in Morocco twice, but we did not'

Algerian military members in Oran, Algeria on 16 December 2020 [Mousaab Rouibi/Anadolu Agency]
Algerian military members in Oran, Algeria on 16 December 2020 [Mousaab Rouibi/Anadolu Agency]

The Algerian military accused Morocco of trying to destablise the country, considering the move as a continuation of an old Moroccan policy based on "grudge and hatred."

An editorial published by the Algerian magazine El Djeich this week stated that "a neighbouring country that moves and works against the interests of Algeria has not hidden its hatred and resentment for our country, not only today, but for centuries."

The magazine pointed out that the Algerian army has had the opportunity to intervene in Morocco twice or at least support the coup attempts in Skhirat in 1971 and the attack on the king's plane in 1972, "but the Algerian army was not indoctrinated with treachery and betrayal, and refused to interfere in the affairs of others."

The attack launched by El Djeich magazine against Morocco comes in the light of the persistent tension between the two neighbouring countries due to an ongoing dispute over the fate of the Western Sahara, at a time when Rabat offered the Saharawis the option of autonomous rule with broad powers under Morocco's sovereignty, while Algeria insists on allowing the disputed area's residents to exert their right to self-determination by holding a referendum.

Tensions increased recently after the US recognised Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara, which was followed by other Arab, African and international positions that considered the Moroccan proposal a realistic political solution.

READ: Algeria's population up to 45m, says official

Morocco has been in conflict with the Algeria-backed separatist Polisario group over the Western Sahara since 1975, after the Spanish occupation ended. It turned into an armed confrontation that lasted until 1991 and ended with the signing of a ceasefire agreement.

Rabat insists on its right to govern the region, but proposed autonomous rule in the Western Sahara under its sovereignty, but the Polisario Front wants a referendum to let the people determine the future of the region. Algeria has been supporting the Front's proposal and hosts refugees from the region.

The 1991 ceasefire came to an end last year after Morocco resumed military operations in the El Guergarat crossing, a buffer zone between the territory claimed by the state of Morocco and the self-declared Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, which the Polisario said was a provocation.

By launching the operation, Morocco "seriously undermined not only the ceasefire and related military agreements but also any chances of achieving a peaceful and lasting solution to the decolonization question of the Western Sahara," Brahim Ghali, leader of the Polisario Front, said in a letter to the UN.

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