Morocco Weaponizes Migration Amid Tensions With Spain

MIN READJun 2, 2021 | 20:33 GMT

Spanish policemen stand next to migrants waiting to cross the border back to Morocco at the Spanish enclave of Ceuta on May 20, 2021.

(ANTONIO SEMPERE/AFP via Getty Images)

Morocco’s willingness to use migrants as leverage to gain recognition of its Western Saharan claims will become a recurrent source of security and economic risk for Spain and other EU member states this summer. But this strategy will ultimately be limited by Rabat’s financial reliance on its European neighbors. Over the past two weeks, Rabat and Madrid have been wrapped up in a diplomatic dispute over the latter’s move to allow the leader of Western Sahara’s pro-independence movement to be treated for COVID-19 in the northern Spanish city of Logrono. Brahim Ghali, the head of the Polisario Front and president of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, was admitted to a Logrono hospital in mid-April. Then on May 17, Moroccan authorities -- seemingly in retaliation -- allowed between 8,000 and 10,000 people to cross the border at the Spanish-governed enclave of Ceuta for roughly two days. During his stay in Spain,...

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