The Renewed Conflict in Western Sahara: Risks and Implications

Davide Contini, Researcher for Adverse Media Entities Unit,
Dow Jones Risk & Compliance, January 2021

“Today, this diplomatic crisis over Western Sahara—an offspring of the Cold War and the African decolonization—reemerges, jeopardizing companies’ involvement in the region’s businesses. Legal and economic consequences of the dispute have amplified in recent years, especially following two verdicts of the Court of Justice of the European Union (EU), which stated that Western Sahara has a separate and distinct status from Morocco and that, therefore, Morocco does not have the legal personality to conclude trade agreements concerning the resources of Western Sahara. (cont.)

Article by Davide Contini

War Resumes in Occupied Western Sahara: An Interview With Polisario’s Kamal Fadel

by Paul Gregoire
Sydney Criminal Lawyers, 30 December 2020

Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) president and Polisario Front leader Brahim Ghali ended the 1991 ceasefire agreement between his Sahrawi independence forces and the Moroccan army, which has occupied most of Western Sahara since 1975.

Ghali brought the 29-year-long truce to an end on 13 November, following Moroccan troops launching an attack into a demilitarised buffer zone to disburse Sahrawi demonstrators who were protesting an illegal road the occupying force had been constructing near Guerguerat. (cont. )

Interview with Kamal Fadel

Western Sahara dumped by Trump for peace deal between Israel and Morocco

by Kamal Fadel
Australia’s National Forum: On Line Opinion  posted Tuesday, 22 December 2020

On December 10, President Trump announced that the United States in return for Morocco’s establishing diplomatic relations with Israel, would recognise its claim to Western Sahara, a Territory considered by the UN as Africa’s last colony whose people are entitled to the right to self-determination.
Trump’s decision is entirely contrary to what the International Court of Justice concluded in 1975, that Morocco did not have any claim to territorial rights in Western Sahara. Much of U.S. diplomacy in Africa and standing in the world has been damaged by the announcement on December 10 as Trump upended a longstanding bipartisan US policy on Western Sahara that has stood the test of time. (cont.)

On line opinion by Kamal Fadel

Ardern Urged To Play A Positive Role In The Decolonisation Of Western Sahara

Scoop Independent News – Politics, Wednesday, 23 December 2020, 10:31 am

Press Release 23 Dec 2020:  Kamal Fadel, Polisario (Western Sahara) Representative to Australia and New Zealand

As New Zealanders prepare for Christmas and enjoy food grown using fertilisers from Western Sahara, we hope they spare a thought for the Sahara people who continue to face serious challenges in occupied areas and refugee camps.
On December 10, President Trump announced that the United States in return for Morocco’s establishing diplomatic relations with Israel, would recognise its claim to Western Sahara, a Territory considered by the UN as Africa’s last colony whose people are entitled to the right to self-determination. (cont.)

Kamal Fadel: Press Release

Podcast: Scholars’ Circle – Western Sahara conflict towards peaceful resolution

December 20, 2020
Last month a nearly three decade cease fire in Western Sahara broke and the war raged once again. The United Nations is taking up the Western Sahara issue despite opposition from powerful countries. Meanwhile, the Trump Administration proposed a change the long standing US position on Western Sahara. What does this mean for the conflict? What is the likelihood of peaceful resolution?
Speakers:
R. Joey Huddleston is Assistant Professor at the School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University.
Randi Irwin is a casual lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at The University of Newcastle.
Stephen Zunes is a Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco.
Jacob Mundy is Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at Colgate University, New York.

Link to the podcast

Trump’s recognition of Western Sahara is a serious blow to diplomacy and international law

The Washington Post; Opinion
by James A. Baker III, Dec. 18, 2020

James A. Baker III served as the 61st U.S. secretary of state from 1989 to 1992 and as the U.N. secretary-general’s personal envoy for Western Sahara from 1997 to 2004.

“President Trump’s recent proclamation recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara was an astounding retreat from the principles of international law and diplomacy that the United States has espoused and respected for many years.
This rash move disguised as diplomacy will contribute to the existing deadlock in resolving the long-standing conflict between Morocco and the people of Western Sahara over the status of that territory. Further, it threatens to complicate our relations with Algeria, an important strategic partner, and has negative consequences on the overall situation in North Africa. (cont.)”

Washington Post report

Donald Trump is helping dramatically change Israel’s stance in the Middle East as his power runs out

By Middle East correspondent Eric Tlozek in Jerusalem
ABC News, Analysis, 18 December 2020

For decades, Israel has been a regional pariah with few friends in its neighbourhood. But in the space of just a few months, it has been brought in from the cold.
First the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain signed an historic agreement, known as the Abraham Accords, to recognise the Jewish state.  (cont.)

ABC News report

Statement from Christopher Ross, former UN Secretary General Personal Envoy for Western Sahara

Statement from Christopher Ross, 14 December 2020

“I served as Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Western Sahara from 2009 to 2017.  Given that background, I’ve been asked repeatedly what I think of President Trump’s recent proclamation recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara.

This foolish and ill-considered decision flies in the face of the US commitment to the principles of the non-acquisition of territory by force and the right of peoples to self-determination, both enshrined in the UN Charter. It’s true that we have ignored these principles when it comes to Israel and others, but this does not excuse ignoring them in Western Sahara and incurring significant costs to ourselves in terms of regional stability and security and our relations with Algeria.
Continue reading

AWSA releases statement condemning President Trump’s decision to support Moroccan sovereignty claim

AWSA is deeply concerned that the rights of the people of Western Sahara have been traded away by Washington as part of its deal to normalize relations between Israel and Morocco and has released the following statement:

Download AWSA statement:

For immediate release, 14 December 2020
The Australia Western Sahara Association (AWSA) strongly condemns the announcement by President Trump on 10 December that the United States would recognise Morocco’s claim of sovereignty over Western Sahara.
The United Nations categorises Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony and occupied by Morocco since 1975, as a Non-Self-Governing Territory. Continue reading

YouTube : U.S. recognizes Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara in latest betrayal of Sahrawi people

Democracy Now! examines the U.S.-brokered deal between Morocco and Israel to normalize relations, 11 December 2020

As part of the deal, the U.S. will become the first country in the world to recognize Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, which Morocco has occupied since 1975 in defiance of the international community.

American broadcaster Amy Goodman discusses these developments with:

Mouloud Said, a representative of the Polisario Front in Washington
Stephen Zunes, professor of politics and international studies at the University of San Francisco
Nazha El-Khalidi, Sahrawi journalist and activist

Watch on YouTube