Author`s name Lyuba Lulko

USA OKs Morocco's reunification with Western Sahara. What about Crimea?

US President Donald Trump announced the USA's recognition of Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara. This is a precedent for the recognition of the Russian Crimea in the world.

International status of Western Sahara

According to international law, the territories of Western Sahara were annexed by Morocco in 1975 after Spain renounced its colonial claims. They are disputed by the Polisario Front, a movement for independence, whose leaders live in exile in Algeria. The militia of the movement blocks roads on the border with Mauritania every now and then.

The organization proclaimed the Sahara Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). The UN does not recognize anyone's sovereignty over Western Sahara. In this status, it is recognized by 117 out of 194 recognized states of the world. Russia does not believe that after Spain's renunciation of the Spanish Sahara, Morocco has acquired any rights to the territory. Morocco offers Western Sahara broad autonomy within the kingdom.

In 1991, through the mediation of the UN, the parties concluded an armistice. According to the terms of the agreement, a referendum on the independence of the territory was to be held. However,  the parties have not yet agreed who has the right to participate in it.

Why Trump recognized the annexation of Morocco and Western Sahara

Judging by the fact that Trump further announced the establishment of diplomatic relations between Morocco and Israel, the deal is based on Washington's desire to normalize relations between the Israelis and Arab states. This is the fourth such agreement this year. Earlier, it was the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan that established diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Trump for his support in this "historic agreement."

Naturally, that the leadership of the Palestinian Authority condemned it (just like the previous four), because the Palestinians see this as a betrayal by the Arab League countries, which promised not to establish ties with Israel until the creation of the Palestinian state.

"Any deviation from the Arab Peace Initiative (2002), which provides for normalization only after Israel ends its occupation of Palestinian and Arab lands, is unacceptable as it increases Israeli militancy and denial of the rights of the Palestinian people," Bassam as-Salhi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee said in an interview with Reuters.

The rights of the residents of Western Sahara were violated

Jim Inhofe, Chairman of the US Senate Armed Services Committee, criticized the Trump administration for recognizing Morocco's claims to Western Sahara.

In a written statement, the senator described the decision as "shocking and deeply disappointing." Inhofe was "saddened that the rights of the Western Sahara people have been traded away," Politico wrote.

In his speech, Inhofe praised President Donald Trump for his efforts to encourage the recognition of Israel, but set out a hope that the United States would change its stance on Western Sahara. He also  called for a referendum on self-determination of the Saharan people.

"There is not a country out there that recognizes the right of Morocco over Western Sahara," Inhofe said. "I will make every effort to make sure that we will go back to the policy that we had."

The Crimean people deserve self-determination too

The above precedent is positive in light of the issue of international recognition of Russia's reunification with the Crimea, which the West regards as annexation. Never say never, but one needs to work in this direction, and a result will follow.

Secondly, Russian diplomats, when discussing the double standards of their Western counterparts, will be able to resort not only to the recognition of the independence of the Province of Kosovo and Metohija, held without a referendum and the consent of Serbia. One will be able to refer to the USA's recognition of the annexation of Western Sahara too, as it took place contrary to resolutions of international organizations, and without a referendum as well. There was a referendum in Crimea there was a referendum, which was fully consistent with UN guidelines for the implementation of the right of nations to self-determination.

Russia should not hesitate to promote ideas even if they do not correspond to Western views about international law. This refers to the recognition of the independence of those unrecognized republics wishing to become part of the Russian Federation.

Vladimir Lepekhin, the Director General of the EAEU Institute told Pravda.Ru that a US military base was built in Morocco before the start of World War II, so the Americans view Morocco as a stronghold of their influence on the countries of North Africa.

"The United States reminds the whole world that the Americans have interests everywhere. The whole world is the sphere of their vital interests," the expert said.

According to Vladimir Lepekhin, the West always plays the game of double standards and will always interpret everything to its own benefit, no matter what happens.

"If it happens in Crimea and concerns Russia, then they will interpret it as negative. If it happens in Western Sahara or somewhere else, they will interpret it to their own benefit as legitimate actions," the political scientist told Pravda.Ru.