Halfway across the world, a small armed separatist group has been holding various national (international) interests hostage, in order to comfort its claims to taking over a strip of land in Africa.
The latest threat this separatist group has made is to New Zealand. Its message to NZ farmers is to comply with their demands or face the consequences.
The Polisario has been claiming sovereignty over Western Sahara for decades.
For all that, the Polisario, over the past few years, has come to the conclusion that violent methods were politically unprofitable, and therefore opted not to stop them.
But to make them more discreet, fronting the scene with political machinery, instead of machine guns and tanks.
Jean-Yves Le Cara, a European-recognized public law Professor denounces what he considers a new form of “judicial propaganda”, while his French colleague Philippe Delebecque describes their tactic as an attempt of “political piracy”. How did we get here?
The main political and media assets is the WSRW, for Western Sahara Resource Watch. Its role is to promote Polisario interests, hammer the scene with online propaganda, send out threats to anyone who isn’t complying with Polisario demands and set up judicial harassment operations.
In other words, make as much noise as possible in public: not only may it succeed in cowing countries and institutions, but it will distract attention from less palatable and more lucrative operations going on in the back scene.
Last year, the WSRW issued threat letters to all shipowners stating they would be harassed if they did any business with companies operating in Western Sahara.
In May, they partnered up with political allies in South Africa to set up a trap for a cargo ship, which was legally transporting phosphate from Western Sahara to New Zealand. The ship was seized, as was the cargo, by the Port Elizabeth court, despite international experts denouncing the move as illegal and a blatant violation of United Nation conflict-resolution process.
The Polisario Front elected to continue their onslaught and start intimidating New Zealand farmers, threatening them with more political and judicial harassment, and defaming campaigns, if they continued to use Western Saharan phosphate.
Well, New Zealand farmers shouldn’t be the easiest to intimidate as the director of WSRW Erik Hagen admits himself.