Why Israel Should Recognize Moroccan Claims to Western Sahara

Since Spain’s withdrawal from the territory in 1975, Western Sahara has been disputed by Morocco, Mauritania, and an indigenous revolutionary group called the Polisario Front, which has proclaimed a sovereign Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). Yechiel Leiter highlights some telling facts about this statelet:

In 2020, the Polisario broke the 29-year-old ceasefire with renewed terror attacks on Moroccan installations. In an effort led by Algeria, Cuba, Iran, Mauritania, and Syria, a total of 46 countries have to date recognized the SADR.

Meanwhile, Jerusalem and Rabat have been growing closer since the renewal of diplomatic relations in 2020. Leiter argues that Israel should now follow America’s example and recognize Moroccan sovereignty in Western Sahara:

Israel must work to solidify and expand, in particular, its existing Abraham Accords agreement with Morocco. The genius of the Abraham Accords was their formal expression of what was sensed by Arab states in the region but had been left unspoken. Mutual national interests far exceed the Palestinian issue in their importance. Partnership and collaboration in stopping the spread of radicalism through the long arm of Iran are top among them.

To its east, [Morocco] shares a long border with Algeria, an ally of Iran, which directly threatens it militarily and through its support for Polisario separatism. Polisario headquarters are located in Tindouf, Algeria, where 100,000 Sahrawis live. Were the Polisario to achieve its goal, it would be nothing more than an Algerian puppet state contributing to strengthening an Iranian proxy with growing influence in countries across the sub-Sahara. Algeria’s military strength and ideological influence need to be mitigated, not augmented, and certainly not at the expense of a Western ally. To the south, Morocco is bordered by Mauritania, presently governed by an Islamist-leaning regime that is hostile to Israel and the West and which similarly needs no strengthening.

The Polisario represents the lethal connection between separatism and terrorism, a legacy of Marxist-Leninist revolutionary movements now supported by Tehran. . . . Morocco has thwarted many terrorist attacks against European countries by home-grown Islamists. Morocco’s battle against the Polisario and terrorism is also Israel’s battle.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Abraham Accords, Iran, Israel diplomacy, Morocco

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security