CNI alerted that Morocco used Ceuta crisis to force a change on Sahara

Spain, CNI, secrets services, Morocco, Ceuta, migration, Frente Polisario, Western Sahara, Brahim Ghali, Algeria

The intelligence services concluded that the massive arrival of immigrants in May was a « pressure » tool of Morocco against the Spanish government to push a change in the stance of the former colony.

New information from the CNI (National Intelligence Center). State security forces were overwhelmed on May 18, 2021, when more than 8,000 people irregularly crossed the Ceuta border. The images of young people running around the fence to get around it and swimming with plastic bottles to reach Spanish territory went around the world and called into question diplomatic relations between the two neighboring countries. As El Pais advances, after more than a year of this migratory crisis, it is known that the CNI sent several reports in which it delved into relations with Rabat after the arrival in Spain of the leader of POLISARIO Brahim Gali, and the position of Morocco.

The document reflects that Spanish Intelligence warned the PM that the arrival of the thousands of Moroccans was part of a strategy of « pressure » by Morocco and that it was in line with his « aggressive » speech so that Government turn in its strategy of reconnaissance of Western Sahara. It was precisely in March of this year that the Government relaxed its shielding of the former colony and considered the autonomy of Western Sahara as a « realistic » resolution.

The Ceuta crisis left Government’s foreign strategy untouched, with the departure of Arancha González Laya and the cooling of the borders with Ceuta and Melilla (already hermetic after the pandemic). Just when relations began a thaw phase, with the announcement of the autonomy plan for the former colony, it was learned that the devices of the PM Pedro Sánchez, the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, the Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, and the former FM, Arancha González Laya had been infected with the Pegasus spy program. The controversy exploded in the air after the accusations of the independentists parties against the Government when finding remains of the same software on their mobiles, but the NGO Amnesty International had already set precedents on Morocco by reporting that in the summer of 2021 it used the program to monitor 50,000 phones.

Morocco’s interest in Western Sahara is historical and just at the time of Ghali’s arrival, he was immersed in an international strategy to achieve recognition. As the CNI detailed to the Government, Morocco had worked to attract the US President, Joe Biden, to recognize Rabat’s sovereignty over the former colony, as Donald Trump did. This target remained, however, relaxed with Spain for enjoying mutual understanding at that time. However, the good harmony was broken with the arrival of Ghali, and he gave the starting signal to open a stage of pressure to later agree concessions.

The CNI and Mohamed VI

The CNI reports conclude that Mohamed VI was fully aware of this strategy, in which he was personally involved precisely because he considered that the arrival of the leader of POLISARIO had also been monitored from the highest Spanish institutions. Who was behind this plan was a close adviser to the king, Fouad Ali el-Himma, with whom the government sat down in April to settle the crisis together with the Moroccan foreign delegation.

Robles takes refuge in the law

The Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, has relied this Monday on the Law that regulates the National Intelligence Center (CNI) not to reveal whether the espionage services warned of movements by Morocco to force a change in Spain’s position regarding the Sahara Western. « Everything that the CNI does is secret and no demonstration can be made about it, » he said in an interview on Telecinco, regarding the information published this Monday by El País about the migratory crisis at the Ceuta de May of last year. In any case, the Minister of Defense has alluded to the « rigor » of all the actions of the CNI and has praised the « serious and rigorous » work of its more than 3,000 members, both inside and outside of Spain, and « always subjected to the legality ».

Although she did not want to delve into this matter, she did point out that relations between Spain and Morocco « have taken a significant turn » and has maintained the need for Spain to have a good relationship with its neighboring countries, such as Morocco, Algeria, France, or Portugal.

In addition, she has avoided pointing the finger at Morocco in the case of spying on mobile phones of members of the Government with the ‘Pegasus’ program -including her own- and has explained that in these cases it is very difficult to verify the authorship of the intrusions and they must make « unproven » accusations. « I don’t know who was, » she assured, recalling that there is an open investigation at the National High Court and « prudence » advises not to make statements « lacking any evidence. »

Voz populi, 06/06/2022

#Spain #Morocco #Ceuta #CNI #WesternSahara #Algeria