Chronicle of a guerrilla in the Desert
Following the green march, Morocco installs its administration in the Sahara and starts making the cities safe. Meanwhile, the Polisario, perked up by the 3000 men discharged from the Spanish army and by the setting of its declaration of independence, starts to set up a technique of typical guerrilla in the desert, with fast incursions on light vehicles.
Morocco, whose army is not accustomed to move under these conditions, knows all the difficulties to which the regular armies are confronted and finds itself obliged to reconsider the whole strategy of counter-offensive.
The Polisario, faithful to the doctrines of the “Guévariste” Guerrilla, do not lose time: the captured sahraouis are systematically executed.
At this time, the divergences between El Ouali Mustapha Sayed and the advisers of Kasdi Merbah start to be felt. El Ouali find weighing to have to defer to the executives of the Algerian military security and starts to feel uncomfortable with the Cuban military advisers, who ask him to push his advantage in Mauritania, even if it means to lose more men.
The romantic idea that El Ouali had of the revolution and Communism starts little by little to grow blurred, and he understands that he was in a difficult situation. Concerned by the life of his comrades in arms and more and more fearful, El Ouali alternates moments of euphoria and depression. To one of the advisers of Merbah, he said one day that Tindouf belonged to the perimeter of the Sahraoui state which he considers instituting.
The information, which signs almost his death sentence, is immediately transmitted to Algiers.
A few days later, a Tupolev Tu-154 lands in Algiers at night. The passenger of this airliner is Youri Andropov who came to Algeria to give a report on the situation in the Sahara, before going to Cyprus. In substance, Andropov advises Merbah to organize the liquidation of El Ouali who became a burden. He asks then the Algerian who would be likely to replace him. Merbah, who expected this question, has a native sahraoui of Marrakech in mind: Mohammed El Khalili alias Mohammed Abdelaziz.
According to the Algerians’, Abdelaziz has all the chances to make a «correct” future revolutionary leader. He gets along with the military security executives, and appeared particularly attentive at the interminable meetings of indoctrination held by the Cuban military advisers.
In the meantime El Ouali, finally decides to fold with the requirements of the Algerian military security advisers and plans an attack on Nouakchott. He will die in not elucidated circumstances on June 9, 1976, during this same attack.
In order not to show premeditation, Andropov advises Merbah to name a temporary leader in the person of Mahfoud Ali Beiba who will occupy this post for one month before to be replaced by Mohammed Abdelaziz.
At this time, the Moroccan tacticians who observed with attention the techniques used by the Polisario, asked the “French Permanent Group of Evaluation of Situations” to assist them in their development of a new response to the war of sands.
Exceptional men will emerge then within the Moroccan army, chiefs of war for whom the defense of the Fatherland runs in the veins. Among them, Lieutenant-Colonel Mohammed Ghoujdami will even know an international dedication thanks to the most daring attack and the stinging defeat of the Polisario Front in Bir Anzarane.
Two full pages will be devoted to Ghoujdami by “Paris Match” of September 21, 1979…