Observers from the MINURSO, the UN Mission entrusted with monitoring the cease-fire in Western Sahara, have seemingly forgotten their initial role and evolved into Cuban-like military instructors.
While the Security Council is expected to vote on Thursday on the renewal of the MINURSO mandate which expires at the end of April, a video has been circulating since last Monday in social networks as a wildfire.
The video shows two MINURSO officers in military attire stirring up some thirty young Polisario activists against Morocco. The scene is taking place in a tent in the Tindouf camps.
If authenticated, the video would constitute a serious precedent and an irrefutable evidence of the violation of the MINURSO neutrality by some of its officers who would have thus infringed the mission entrusted to them.
The 2-mn video shows the two observers, identified as Julio Eduardo Estibar from Argentina and Hany Mustapha from Egypt, giving instructions to the Polisario young separatists and explaining to them how to organize a revolt against Morocco.
The Egyptian observer who seems monopolizing the discussion while taking notes on a pad, at some point tells one of his Sahrawi interlocutors that “this land (the Western Sahara) is the land of your forefathers and no one can take it from you (…) and this is your opportunity to become visible to the world and to obtain your rights.”
He even asks the Polisario militants, who seemed very attentive to his speech, to seize the existing opportunity “to organize an uprising based on the Egyptian model.”
In response to a question on the MINURSO budget, Hany Mustapha said that “the MINURSO acts in the interest of the Polisario, because without the MINURSO, the Polisario would not have been able to survive.”
The Egyptian observer, whose speech sounded very passionate, looked like a Castro’s instructor coaching guerrillas and stirring up their fervour and dedication to their cause.
How can international observers violate the sacrosanct principle of neutrality of the UN agency that employs them? The answer to this big question can only be given by the MINURSO which needs to investigate the scandal and take the appropriate coercive measures, since its own credibility is at stake, especially that the mission is seeking to expand its prerogatives to human rights monitoring.