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Morocco: Model of Volatility, Not Stability

The article ``US Boosts Morocco Ties in Bid to Stabilize Region,'' April 14, reports that Polisario is a Moroccan separatist organization. That is false.

The Polisario Front was established in 1973 to end nearly one century of Spanish colonial rule over Western Sahara. The people of Western Sahara, the Saharawis, were promised independence by Spanish authorities. But as Spanish troops left, neighboring Moroccan and Mauritanian forces invaded, illegally claiming the territory.

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In an attempt to settle the dispute over the territory, the United Nations requested that the International Court of Justice give an advisory opinion on Morocco's claims to Western Sahara. In 1975, the ICJ decreed that ``the Court does not support Morocco's claim to have exercised territorial sovereignty over Western Sahara.''

Today, the Clinton administration is rewarding Morocco for its efforts in the Middle East peace process and for resisting extremist Islamic movements that are taking control in neighboring North African nations. It is ironic that Morocco, which the United States holds as a model of stability, is on the verge of renewing hostilities against the neighboring Saharawis. Now that an independence referendum, to be conducted by the UN, is two years overdue and the US and the UN are continuing to give in to Morocco's intransigence, the Front is preparing for battle once again.

Like Bosnia and Rwanda, the situation in Western Sahara is volatile. The US and the UN Security Council could prevent re-ignition of this unacknowledged war by pressuring Morocco to adhere to the UN peace plan to which Polisario and Morocco agreed in 1991, which allows for a free and fair referendum. Shelley Wagner, Fallston, Md.

First comes reform, then respect

I am pleased to see the front-page article ``Capitol Lawmakers Slouch Reluctantly Toward Campaign Finance Reform,'' April 14.

It strikes me that James Brady, chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Party, is just coming to realize a common belief: After recalling that during a movie he recently saw, the statement ``all politicians are crooks'' sparked enthusiastic applause, he says ``It's sad that we've come to that point.''

What is sad is the failure of our elected officials to pass comprehensive campaign finance reform. When the House and Senate come out of conference, the bill should end money from political-action committees, soft money, and bundling, and include spending limits, public financing, strong enforcement, and full lobby and gift disclosure. Larry G. Kelly, Niantic, Conn.

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Senators must be the only ones

In the article ``Parking perk preserved for Senate,'' April 22, Sen. John Danforth (R) of Missouri succeeds, despite his best efforts to the contrary, in confirming that members of Congress are ``out of touch with ordinary Americans.''

His suggestion that senators are the only people in the country who work more than 40 hours a week is naive at best. Many of us consistently put in the number of hours he's talking about, without additional compensation or ``perks.'' Is he so far removed from reality that he doesn't know this? Wendy Landry, Orlando, Fla.

Risking success

I find your Cover Story ``Remembering D-Day 50 Years Later,'' April 11, worthy of some reflection. How difficult it was for the Allies to take the political gamble of conducting such a large-scale operation, realizing the high cost even if the invasion was a success. And to think that success was not guaranteed. I am reminded of the great impact the D-Day invasion had on Europe and am moved by the healthy pride felt by those who participated in freeing an oppressed people.

It seems axiomatic that the higher the principle, the more difficult the task and the greater the risk - and the greater is the satisfaction in pursuing that principle.

It is regrettable that in our recent reawakening to the realities of the Holocaust-past and the holocaust-present, ``high principles'' do not account for much when weighed against the pragmatism of political considerations: the ``what ifs'' of taking a chance and risking success. David F. Schmidt, Arlington, Va.

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