This time is different: Spain, Morocco, and weaponised migration
By weaponising migration in Ceuta to advance its Western Sahara claim, Morocco has made several major mistakes. Spain is part of an EU that is not in a joking mood on irregular migration blackmail.
26 May 2021
Only the most abject regimes traffic in their own citizens to achieve foreign policy objectives. This has just happened at the border of the Spanish city of Ceuta, where the Moroccan authorities have attempted to punish Spain to force a change in its policy on Western Sahara. It has also occurred in Turkey, where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan routinely throws thousands of asylum seekers and refugees at the European Union’s borders whenever he wants to put pressure on the bloc. The practice fits the pattern of the “connectivity wars” – in which states use the interdependence created by globalisation not to prosper but as a weapon of war.
However, this approach is not new. The Moroccan Green March on Western Sahara in November 1975, in which King Hassan II mobilised some 350,000 people, was a milestone in such behaviour. So was the Castro regime’s opening of ports in the 1980 Mariel crisis, when around 125,000 Cubans fled to the United States.