Western Sahara: The Forgotten Conflict at Risk of Re-escalation

A Sahrawi woman holds a Polisario Front flag during a ceremony to mark 40 years since it proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Photo by Getty Images.

A Sahrawi woman holds a Polisario Front flag during a ceremony to mark 40 years since it proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Photo by Getty Images.

Dr Claire Spencer, Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, 16 May 2016

The Western Sahara conflict has eluded resolution for so long that the principles underlying United Nations-led efforts to seek an enduring outcome have become muddied almost to the point of cancelling each other out. Forty-one years since its inception, diplomatic language rather than arms has become the medium for the continuation of the dispute. The annual highlight is the renewal of the UN Security Council’s peacekeeping and monitoring mission …(cont.)
Chatham House article >>

Ban Ki-Moon Has Sparked a Diplomatic Crisis in Western Sahara

Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy, 15 April 2016
BY TOM O’BRYAN

Ban Ki-Moon has sparked a diplomatic crisis in Western Sahara… but a crisis may be just what’s needed after decades of deadlock. Ban Ki-Moon’s criticism of Morocco’s 40-year “occupation” of Western Sahara during his visit to the territory on March 8, 2016 has sparked the most serious crisis in the region in decades. Morocco denounced the Secretary General’s “biased” rhetoric, and“irreversibly” expelled U.N. peacekeepers stationed in Western Sahara. .(cont.)

Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy article >>

Western Sahara’s moment in the sun: How the UN chief waded into a forgotten conflict with no end in sight

Annie Slemrod, Middle East Editor, IRIN
JERUSALEM, 14 April 2016

“Of all of the world’s forgotten conflicts…that of Western Sahara, with its refugees tucked away in a remote desert, ranks as one of the most consigned to oblivion. But last month, the world’s top diplomat, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, brought the issue to temporary attention with a rather undiplomatic move. After visiting part of the disputed territory, which is claimed by both Morocco and the Algeria-backed Polisario Front, he called Morocco’s presence there an “occupation.”…(cont.)

IRIN article >>

Incitec Pivot is Australia’s last importer of ‘illegal’ phosphate from disputed Western Sahara

Phosphate mine at Bou Craa factory of the National Moroccan phosphate company (OCP) situated in Western Sahara, . Reuters/Youssef Boudlal

Phosphate mine at Bou Craa factory of the National Moroccan phosphate company (OCP) situated in Western Sahara, . Reuters/Youssef Boudlal

Zac Crellin
International Business Times, 15 April 2016

Fertiliser producer Incitec Pivot Ltd. (ASX:IPL) is the last Australian importer of rock phosphate from the disputed territory of Western Sahara, a report has found. In 2015, Incitec Pivot imported 63,000 tonnes of phosphate worth US$7.48 million and constituting one third of its superphosphate fertiliser mix. “We have been in touch with Incitec Pivot for many years with letters explaining the issue to them and meeting them, but we haven’t been successful in convincing them to end their illegal exploitation of this resource,” said Kamal Fadel, Australian representative of SADR’s governing party, the Polisario Front, and head of the SADR Petroleum and Mining Authority. (cont…)

IBT article  >>

Western Sahara: Another Misinformed Imperial Analysis

Map-Western-sahara-400x300By Dr. Fikrejesus Amahazion, April 06 2016
Black Agenda Report, Global Research, Center for Research on Globalization

In his recent article, “Just Say No to Another Failed State,” published by Foreign Policy, Lester Munson claims that the only solution to the long standing issue between Western Sahara and Morocco is autonomy for Western Sahara under Moroccan sovereignty. Problematically, however, the article lacks context and is overly simplistic, is strewn with inaccuracies and errors, and is heavily tinged with paternalistic overtones.

Read full article >>

Radio New Zealand – Professor Stephen Zunes about Western Sahara

RNZ, Broadcast, 3 April 2016

A few weeks back UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon described the Western Sahara as an occupied land that had been forgotten. Morocco promptly expelled UN staff from the region in protest. Stephen Zunes is the co-author of Western Sahara War, Nationalism, and Conflict Irresolution – one of the only books on the struggle by the indigenous Sahrawi people for independance.

Listen to Prof Stephen Zunes broadcast >>

The Forgotten, 40-Year Refugee Crisis

Laura Secorun Palet,  OZY,  4 April 2016

Because they are out of sight, but they shouldn’t be out of mind. Imagine you have to live in the exact same place for 40 years. And now picture that place is a settlement made of mud in the middle of the desert, surrounded only by vast stretches of dusty nothingness. That’s how the people of Western Sahara live.
Forty years ago, the Saharawis went to war with Morocco, who had annexed Western Sahara into their kingdom against their will….(cont.)

Read more >>

Decades-old dispute separates Western Sahara families

Daily Mail Australia, 3 April 2016

Ergueibi Abdelahi was just nine months old when his aunt scooped him up and fled fighting in Western Sahara after Morocco sent troops into the former Spanish colony, leaving his parents and brother behind. Until he was 10, he thought his aunt was his mother.
“She (my mother) was at the market on the day we ran,” Abdelahi says of their escape in 1978 across the border into Algeria.

Daily Mail Australia report >>

Independent Diplomat : Security Council must stand up to Morocco’s bullying to end Western Sahara conflict

Photo credit: UN Photo.Evan Schneider

Photo credit: UN Photo.Evan Schneider

Nick Scott, External Relations Officer at Independent Diplomat
Huffington Post,
31 March 2016

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s first ever trip to Western Sahara has sparked a furious reaction from the Moroccan government.

Nick Scott’s hard-hitting article explores why the Security Council has failed to seriously grapple with the conflict over the past quarter century and points out that the Moroccan reaction to challenges over Western Sahara is always aggressive, both publicly and behind the scenes. Morocco often gets its way simply because it’s willing to raise the stakes when others are inclined to back down in order to reduce tensions…(cont.)

Read Nick Scott’s article >>

FPIF: Ban’s Misstep in Western Sahara

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

Foreign Policy In Focus, March 28, 2016

Anna Theofilopoulou writes
“The peace process has just suffered the latest of many setbacks. This time, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon undertook an ill-advised visit to North Africa, which did not include Morocco, the key player in the conflict. Instead of energizing the stalled talks over Western Sahara as he intended, the secretary-general’s visit likely put them in a deep freeze until his successor takes office….(cont.

FPIF article >>