Earthquake Relief Hindered: Unraveling the Impact of Morocco’s Occupation of Western Sahara

In the recent devastating earthquake that shook Morocco, another issue is subtly rumbling, highlighting the consequences of the country’s ongoing occupation of Western Sahara. Amidst the chaos and the attempts at recovery, the Moroccan regime is standing firm on its refusal to redeploy forces from Western Sahara to aid in earthquake relief efforts.

In this unfolding tragedy, the nation’s historical ties to the United States and the West, its occupation of Western Sahara, and the displacement of its resources come to light, showcasing a stark impact on Morocco’s ability to provide crucial aid and rescue operations to its citizens. These are citizens reeling from the most massive seismic destruction the country has faced in over a century, with the bureaucratic delays only adding to the catastrophe.

But, what is the connection between the Moroccan regime’s reluctance to aid its citizens and its occupation of Western Sahara?

To shed light on the intertwined issues, it is critical to understand Morocco’s illegal occupation of the majority of Western Sahara since 1975. The country’s commitment to this occupation has resulted in tens of thousands of troops stationed in Western Sahara to suppress the local Sahrawis population. While these troops are only a short distance from the southern parts of Morocco, most impacted by the earthquake, the Moroccan regime remains steadfast in its refusal to shift these forces for relief efforts.

The situation echoes the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the United States. During that time, a significant percentage of the Louisiana National Guard, essential for hurricane relief efforts, was deployed to Iraq, highlighting how occupations can divert critical resources and personnel from addressing domestic crises.

The ongoing occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco and the substantial military presence in the region has drained critical resources. The attention and assets diverted to maintain this occupation have undermined the country’s ability to invest in its infrastructure and development. This has left the nation vulnerable, as evidenced by the recent earthquake, where inadequate housing easily succumbed to the seismic forces, contributing to the disaster’s scale.

Beyond the immediate crisis, this situation underscores the broader issue of international support for Morocco despite its occupation and human rights violations in Western Sahara. The support from Western countries, predominantly the United States, has bolstered Morocco’s military presence in Western Sahara, indirectly perpetuating the deprivation of resources necessary for domestic development and emergency response.

As the world’s eyes are on Morocco, it is a pivotal moment for global citizens and organizations to reassess their stance and actions concerning the Morocco-Western Sahara issue. Recognizing and addressing the indirect implications of international support for Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara is crucial.

Organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch stand at the forefront, highlighting Morocco’s human rights record. They offer essential insights and advocacy, shedding light on the real-time repercussions of the ongoing occupation, seen now in the hindered relief efforts post-earthquake.

Amid the recovery and aid operations, the world must confront the pressing question of Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara. It’s not just a geopolitical issue but a humanitarian one, whose impacts, as devastatingly shown, can reverberate far and wide, hindering the nation’s ability to respond to calamities, leaving its citizens bearing the brunt of combined human-made and natural disasters.

It is time for a global reevaluation and action, where relief efforts for the Moroccan earthquake victims do not overshadow the critical need for addressing the occupation of Western Sahara. Only by unearthing and addressing these intertwined issues can a holistic and effective approach to aid and recovery emerge, ensuring that resources are aptly allocated, and lives are not unnecessarily lost in the wake of disasters.