FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Duplicitous Diplomacy: Ambassador Reflects on American Respect for Real Democracy

by

Mohamed Yeslem Beisat, an ambassador for the Western Sahara, knew he faced a serious uphill struggle when began his position in Washington, D.C. years ago as the representative for his country that is located on the northwest coast of Africa.

Beisat knew that most Americans knew nothing about the volatile circumstance that engulfs the Western Sahara, the nation that holds the undesirable distinction of being the ‘Last Colony’ on the African continent.

The little known Western Sahara sits on the Atlantic Ocean coast of Africa located south of Morocco, north of Mauritania and east of Algeria.

Beisat also knew that Morocco, the monarchy-ruled African nation that has illegally occupied the Western Sahara for four decades, spends millions of dollars annually lobbying U.S. legislators, top policy makers and influential journalists to turn blind-eyes toward Morocco’s colonization — an occupation that is fraught with human rights violations and economic exploitation.

Morocco’s occupation of the Western Sahara features rampant brutality and discrimination directed against the indigenous population –- the Saharawi –- according to multiple reports from entities as diverse Amnesty International and the U.S. State Department.

Morocco, since its 1975 invasion of the Western Sahara, has been able to defy agreements it made with the United Nations and other bodies requiring Morocco to conduct a referendum where the Saharawi could vote for either independence or alignment with Morocco. The ability of Morocco to defy that long series of official agreements to hold the referendum and/or withdraw from the Western Sahara is is the result of strong support from France and tacit support from the United States.

The legal arguments and historical justifications advanced by Morocco for seizing and holding the Western Sahara have been repeatedly rejected by the U.N. and other international bodies.

Morocco, to strengthen its illegal domination of the Western Sahara, built a fortified wall sealing off about two-thirds of the country. The largest cities and all of the lucrative natural resources in the Western Sahara are located behind Morocco’s wall.

As Mohamed Beisat leaves his Washington, DC ambassador post for a new position within the Western Sahara’s government-in-exile he is able to count some successes, from Capitol Hill to community-based initiatives, in that uphill struggle he has confronted.

“A bi-partisan Congressional Caucus on the Western Sahara was established under the leadership of two prominent lawmakers: Democrat John Conyers and Republican Joe Pitts. Conyers is the only person on Capitol Hill who had Rosa Parks work in his office,” Beisat stated in a recent email to ThisCan’tBeHappening.net. That email also listed other House and Senate members who have been supportive of resolving the Western Sahara controversy under the terms of the long-defied United Nation’s peace plan.

“Committees of Western Sahara Friends have been established in California, Florida, New York, Washington State, Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin where concerned citizens are getting organized to voice their concern about peace and justice in the Western Sahara.”

Beisat characterized his tenure in Washington, D.C. as very enriching.

“DC is a clubby city dazzling with lobbies and pressure groups. It is a jungle of lobbies. But at the same time it is full of good people who are passionate about peace and justice and about Africa,” Beisat stated.

“When I hear American politicians speaking about international peace, the rule of law and universal human rights I get very happy because that is all the Saharawi people want,” he noted.

“But when I see their daily action and silence regarding Morocco’s abuses I get depressed. America is its best enemy!”

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, a former U.S. Secretary of State, is an example of a leading U.S. figure who makes statements supportive of democracy but who then supports Morocco’s undemocratic oppression of the Western Sahara.

An investigation of Hillary Clinton’s dealings with Morocco by the news site Politico posted in May 2015 stated, “It’s certainly true that the Clinton’s have had a long and lucrative relationships with Morocco.”

That Politico investigation noted Morocco’s substantial contributions to the foundation established by the Clintons along with supportive statements Clinton made about Morocco regarding the Western Sahara when she served as Secretary of State for President Obama. Clinton, for example, spoke favorably of a Moroccan proposal to grant autonomy to the Western Sahara, a calculated scheme that would void Morocco’s previous agreements to permit a democratic referendum offering a choice between independence and continued control by Morocco.

Hillary Clinton has denied that Moroccan contributions to the Clinton foundation influenced any of her decisions as Secretary of State. Clinton (just as she denies that $650,000 in “speaking fees” from Goldman Sachs have influenced her policy towards the nation’s largest banks) has also denied that her relationships with the King of Morocco would influence any policies on Morocco/Western Sahara if she were to become President of the United States.

A February 2014 article in Foreign Policy magazine stated that since 2007 Morocco had “spent roughly $20-million lobbying policy makers and soliciting sympathetic coverage from journalists” on all issues related to Morocco “including the Western Sahara.”

In 2013, for example, Morocco spent $4-million on direct lobbying of U.S. lawmakers according to the U.S. Justice Department. That sum placed Morocco sixth on the list of countries spending money to influence U.S. lawmakers.

Ambassador Beisat characterized himself as a “big fan of America” especially its values of democracy and liberty.

“I believe that America dominated the world not because of nukes and missiles. They did that because of their great universal values of democracy, human rights, self-determination and an anti-colonial stand.”

In leaving Washington, DC Beisat hopes the President Obama will end the illegal Moroccan occupation of the Western Sahara by pushing the King of Morocco to end his refusal to comply with the repeated agreements his monarchy made with the United Nations and other international entities.

“Obama is a real hope for us. We do hope that before he leaves office he can do a historic contribution to end this sad chapter of colonialism in Africa.”

Linn Washington, Jr. is a founder of This Can’t Be Happening and a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, (AK Press). He lives in Philadelphia.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
December 02, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
The Coming War on China
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The CIA’s Plots to Kill Castro
Paul Street
The Iron Heel at Home: Force Matters
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Timberg’s Tale: Washington Post Reporter Spreads Blacklist of Independent Journalist Sites
Andrew Levine
Must We Now Rethink the Hillary Question? Absolutely, Not
Joshua Frank
CounterPunch as Russian Propagandists: the Washington Post’s Shallow Smear
David Rosen
The Return of HUAC?
Rob Urie
Race and Class in Trump’s America
Patrick Cockburn
Why Everything You’ve Read About Syria and Iraq Could be Wrong
Caroline Hurley
Anatomy of a Nationalist
Michael Hudson – Steve Keen
Rebel Economists on the Historical Path to a Global Recovery
Ayesha Khan
A Muslim Woman’s Reflections on Trump’s Misogyny
Russell Mokhiber
Sanders Single Payer and Death by Democrat
Roger Harris
The Triumph of Trump and the Specter of Fascism
Steve Horn
Donald Trump’s Swamp: Meet Ten Potential Energy and Climate Cabinet Picks and the Pickers
Louis Proyect
Deepening Contradictions: Identity Politics and Steelworkers
Ralph Nader
Trump and His Betraying Makeover
Stephen Kimber
The Media’s Abysmal Coverage of Castro’s Death
Dan Bacher
WSPA: The West’s Most Powerful Corporate Lobbying Group
Nile Bowie
Will Trump backpedal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
Ron Ridenour
Fidel’s Death Brings Forth Great and Sad Memories
Missy Comley Beattie
By Invitation Only
Fred Gardner
Sword of Damocles: Pot Partisans Fear Trump’s DOJ
Renee Parsons
Obama and Propornot
Dean Baker
Cash and Carrier: Trump and Pence Put on a Show
Jack Rasmus
Taming Trump: From Faux Left to Faux Right Populism
Ron Jacobs
Selling Racism—A Lesson From Pretoria
Julian Vigo
The Hijos of Buenos Aires:  When Identity is Political
Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano
By Way of Prologue: On How We Arrived at the Watchtower and What We Saw from There
Dave Lindorff
Is Trump’s Idea To Fix the ‘Rigged System’ by Appointing Crooks Who’ve Played It?
Aidan O'Brien
Fidel and Spain: A Tale of Right and Wrong
Carol Dansereau
Stop Groveling! How to Thwart Trump and Save the World
Kim Nicolini
Moonlight, The Movie
Evan Jones
Behind GE’s Takeover of Alstom Energy
James A Haught
White Evangelicals are Fading, Powerful, Baffling
Barbara Moroncini
Protests and Their Others
Joseph Natoli
The Winds at Their Backs
Cesar Chelala
Poverty is Not Only an Ignored Word
David Swanson
75 Years of Pearl Harbor Lies
Alex Jensen
The Great Deceleration
Nyla Ali Khan
When Faith is the Legacy of One’s Upbringing
Gilbert Mercier
Trump Win: Paradigm Shift or Status Quo?
Stephen Martin
From ‘Too Big to Fail’ to ‘Too Big to Lie’: the End Game of Corporatist Globalization.
Charles R. Larson
Review: Emma Jane Kirby’s “The Optician of Lampedusa”
David Yearsley
Haydn Seek With Hsu
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail