[picture: polisario's emblem says "liberty, democracy, unity", but so far there's only rifles and flags.]More Polisario dissident news. Will tipped me off to this:
After wide consultation between [male and female] activists of Khat Achahid [or Khat al-Shahid] about the most recent events relating to the Western Sahara conflict, the Coordination Committee has held a meeting to study the ideas and suggestions which it has received.
Concerning the process of direct negotiations, the Committee has - despite Khat Achahid's absolute conviction that direct negotiations constitute the only road to a solution of the conflict - considered the results of the two rounds at Manhasset disappointing for the Sahrawis, because Polisario has explicitly accepted the autonomy as a possible option for the self-determination of the Sahrawi People.
Confirming the pertinence of our recommendations and our warning, Morocco managed to include Sahrawi elements favoring the occupier's views in its delegation, thus distorting the nature of the negotiations by transforming them to negotiations between Sahrawis.
In this context, Khat Achahid reminds [the reader] that the essence of the Western Sahara conflict is Sovereignty, and that only the Sahrawi People has the right to decide on this matter, and that the leadership of Polisario has an obligation to defend it [i.e, Sovereignty], and that it does not - under any pretext - have neither the legitimacy or the authority to put it at stake. As far as the referendum that the present leadership demands, it cannot be considered an objective by and in itself, but only a means of realizing the objectives of the Sahrawi People, and if it takes place, it must conform to the critera established by the UN, and accepted by the two parties.
Concerning the 12th congress of the Polisario Front and the internal situation, Khat Achahid, in total conformity with the dissatisfaction reigning in the camps and in the diaspora, considers the first decisions of the Preparatory Commission is nothing but another version of the preparatory methods of previous congresses, which consisted in decreeing a state of alert and martial law during the preparatory period of each congress. Methods, of which the first signs have been the decision to stop the issuing and renovation of passports, as well as the freezing of visa demands, something which has caused dire consequences, and considerable damages in the Sahrawi diaspora.
Khat Achahid denounces this flagrant violation of the rights of liberty of movement of Sahrawi refugees, and, in the same context, condemns the arbitrary measures consisting in the retention of of passports of all Sahrawis returning from travelling abroad, and exhorts the suppression of this injust and unjustified measure. Regarding this, Khat Achahid has adressed a letter to the Algerian state, in its quality of issuing authority for the passports.
Khat Achahid considers that the creation of the Preparatory Commission for the 12th Congress is formalization of the recreation of the established power through the old scenarios based on the presentation and choice of the same person at the top of the pyramid of power, as the center of the taking of all decisions.
Khat Achahid reminds the members of the Preparatory Commission of their great responsibility before the Sahrawi People, and invite them to seize this historic moment to reform that which can be reformed and change that which must change, in conformity with the noble aspirations of the Sahrawi People.
For Khat Achahid the Congress will either constitute an honest evaluation, capable of constructing a total and definitive rupture with the reigning corruption, the irresponsible practices and the improvised decisions, by means of a complete program to traverse the coming stage with firmness, or it will be a simple paus for perpetuating Mohamed Abdelaziz's succession of himself at the summit of corruption and of improvisation. And all of this depends on the sincerity and responsibility of the Preparatory Commission.
Based on the above, Khat Achahid has decided to grant a grace period to the Polisario Front which ends at the closure of the Congress, and if the results of the latter haven't taken in consideration the detailed demands for reform in its [i.e, Khat Achahid's] political program, Khat Achahid will announce its definitive political break with the Polisario Front and continue its efforts to find a just solution of the Western Sahara conflict which guarantees the self-determination of the Sahrawi People.The Coordination Committee
Wilaya El Ayoune: September 12, 2007
The Sahrawi refugee camps
[picture: second-longest serving president in the arab world]
 Now, unless Khat Achahid knows something we don't, this isn't quite true. Polisario has long agreed to include autonomy as an option on a referendum ballot (with independence and full integration into Morocco as the other two), but as far as is known, it made no further concessions on this at the Manhasset talks.
 A reference to Khellihenna Ould Errachid and other pro-Rabat Sahrawis who were included as "advisory" members of the delegation. See here.
 This would seem to be an attack on Polisario's reluctant acceptance "in principle" of the UN-endorsed Baker Plan in 2003 (Morocco refused). It allowed Moroccan settlers to vote in the Western Sahara's independence referendum, even when outnumbering indigenous voters. Khat Achahid's reference to the UN criteria is in support of the Settlement Plan of 1991, further detailed in the Houston Accords of 1997, where Morocco and Polisario agreed that only people with a historical presence in the territory should vote -- a definition matching the reference in international law to "the people of the territory", as opposed to Sahrawis in general or people who moved in after the annexation. The voter rolls that this produced, with some 85,000 UN-approved voters presented after a lengthy identification process in 1999-2000, were refused by Morocco. Realizing it would probably lose, the kingdom backed away from the referendum altogether in the years to come. Polisario's cautious acceptance of the Baker Plan was formalized by the XI General Popular Congress in Tifariti, in 2003, but at that point it was already a fait accompli, and the leadership earned much scorn for taking such a momentous decision with no popular consultation.
 An appointed body tasked with preparing October's XII General Popular Congress, which notably included an important longtime dissident. It would seem that this is a controlled way of broadening popular support for the Congress, or some sort of inclusiveness if not exactly democratization. One shouldn't be very optimistic considering the undemocratic nature of the system, but the fact that Khat Achahid bothers to appeal to the members of the Commission indicate that they, at least, have some hope that it could, ideally, bring about actual change.
 Rumour has it that Khat Achahid is essentially diaspora-based, although far from totally. I wouldn't know.
 The program can be found in Arabic here (pdf), but the French and Spanish versions no longer seem available via Khat Achahid's website following an ill-conceived redesign.
[unofficial translation from the french original by WSI]