Yesterday, Algeria launched a new notice of its discomfort with Spain with another migratory gap with which it confirms the threat of not controlling the clandestine maritime route. The arrival of several boats to the coast of Almería evidenced the permissiveness of Algiers, as predicted by the State Security Forces and Bodies when the Government set fire to relations after mending diplomatic ties with Morocco last March and changing its position on the Sahara .
The cayucos of the Almeria coast join the avalanche that the Balearic Islands registered three weeks ago, when six boats with more than 100 people on board arrived at different beaches in less than 24 hours. Algeria’s challenge, which for the first time uses migration as a measure of pressure, is very similar to the one staged by Rabat at the height of its anger with the government over the reception in a hospital in Logroño, for humanitarian reasons, of the leader of the Front Polisario Brahim Ghali in April 2021.
Yesterday’s migratory episode in Almería – “which will not be the last”, according to Civil Guard sources consulted by this newspaper – occurred in parallel to the closing of the NATO summit, on whose agenda protection has been very present. of the borders of Ceuta and Melilla, on whose fence a tragic day was lived six days ago with the death of thirty sub-Saharan migrants who were trying to reach Spanish territory. The boats began to arrive first thing in the morning and they did not arrive in the same way as usual. That is, all at once.
Their arrival at the coast did not take place simultaneously, as happens with each batch of boats. The same sources indicate that it was a single semi-rigid boat with a powerful engine that approached the coast to leave its crew near the shore. Then she would turn around and speed off towards Algeria. That same boat, they specify, returned after a few hours with more people on board. As if it were a “patera taxi” that came and went “completely normally.”
In the course of the next few hours, the same sources venture the arrival of more boats in the same circumstances.
This modus operandi reinforces the thesis that on the Algerian coast, the police do not plan to contain the departure of migrants across the sea in canoes, as was the case when the cooperation treaty between the two countries was in force. In fact, until relations fractured, Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska had always applauded Algeria’s migration management.
On the other hand, the rapprochement with Rabat regarding the Sahara has strengthened security and control by the Moroccan police. Proof of this is the forcefulness with which the agents repelled the last and tragic attempt to assault the Melilla fence.
The agents of the State Security Forces and Bodies have been aware for months that the Algerian route -which connects Alicante, Almería, Murcia and the Balearic Islands- was going to be activated forcefully after Algeria suspended the cooperation treaty with Spain due to the lurch of Sanchez. They also assume the crack in the cooperation agreements that Spain and Algeria have nurtured in the last two years to contain immigration and thus prevent the area from becoming the great escape route from the African continent. Border agents of the Civil Guard assigned to the fences of Ceuta and Melilla have already warned that with the complete normalization of connections with Morocco, the focus of migration would shift from the two autonomous cities to the Mediterranean arc, as is beginning to happen.
The coast of Alicante, Murcia, Almería and the Balearic Islands is a red zone but, as the same sources insist, there are not enough police officers to deal with the cascade of canoes that are supposed to arrive in these areas in the coming weeks. In addition, it is a difficult time given the proximity of the summer holidays, when the population of these areas increases significantly.
The new stage in the relations of the Spanish Government with Morocco and its direct consequences on Algerian migration in Spain is a matter that worries the agents working on the border and also in the affected coastal areas.
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