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Message Subject Watch as it Develops - The Staged War Against Islamists in Northern Mali
Poster Handle Anonymous Coward
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The next conflict spot - Western Sahara? Here's a brief summary on the Sahrawi issue.

POLISARIO is a Sahrawi rebel group working for the independence of Western Sahara from Morocco. The Polisario Front was formed in 1973 to end to Spanish colonization of Western Sahara and create an independent state. However, when Spain withdrew in 1976, Western Sahara was divided between Morocco & Mauritania.

Polisario proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic in 1976, and waged a guerrilla war against both Morocco and Mauritania. As a result of Moroccan Air Force bombings, Polisario moved its headquarters to refugee camps in Tindouf (western Algeria). Throughout the rest of the 1970s, the movement grew as Sahrawi refugees flocked to camps and Algeria and Libya supplied arms and funding.

In 1979, Mauritania signed a peace treaty and formally recognized the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. King Hassan II of Morocco immediately claimed all of Western Sahara. The protracted guerrilla struggle against Morocco continued..

In the mid-1980s Morocco constructed a huge sand wall (the Moroccan Wall), staffed by an army roughly the same size as the entire Sahrawi population, which encloses the economically useful parts of Western Sahara. Today, Polisario controls the part of the Western Sahara on the east of the Moroccan Wall, comprising about a third of the territory, but this area is economically useless, heavily mined, and almost uninhabited.

A cease-fire between Polisario and Morocco, monitored by the UN, has been in effect since 1991, on the promise that an independence referendum would be held. However, the referendum was never held. The King of Morroco personally "owns" much of the occupied territory - on which he maintains large (and profitable) tomato farms.

[link to www.economist.com]

Article re: Moroccan King's latest UN statement - Morocco Renews Commitment to Western Sahara Autonomy Plan - [link to allafrica.com]
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