Then in July 2003, the Polisario and Algeria accepted the Baker Plan, to Morocco's surprise. Damis, Conflict in Northwest Africa 1983 ; T. Western Sahara: Roots of a Desert War. The control was notional: the Saharawis put up stiff resistance and refused to relinquish their nomadic lifestyle. The subsequent crackdowns and arrests drew media attention to the Moroccan occupation, and Sahrawi nationalists seized on the opportunity: in May 2005, a wave of demonstrations subsequently dubbed by the by Polisario supporters, broke out.
As with most African states, its boundaries are the result of agreements made among the colonial powers anxious to safeguard their interest in the region. The Western Sahara is the only -declared non-self-governing territory remaining in Africa. The colonisers were expelled from and from and the borders of were moved up to the in the south-west and to the in the south-east see: Battle of in 1591. Morocco later virtually annexed the northern two-thirds of Western Sahara in 1976, and the rest of the territory in 1979, following Mauritania's withdrawal. This area of some 102,700 square miles 266,000 sq km is bordered by Morocco, , , and the. The Sahrawi Republic is a government in exile.
The boundaries of the protectorate were extended by Franco-Spanish agreements in 1900, 1904, and 1920. The fall in 1974 of the after unpopular wars in seems to have hastened the decision to pull out. The ensuing appeals process again delayed the referendum. New York: Cambridge University Press. Get free map for your website. The first European discovery was in 1434, but the area remained unexploited until the 19th century, and even then controlled only the coastal area.
Concurrently, there was a large-scale civilian exodus 35 —65% of the population to camps in the Tindouf region of Algeria. Although the way of life of desert nomadism is quite different from that of the cities, there is great mobility and interpenetration between the populations of Morocco and Algeria, Mauritania, Mali and Niger and the entire Sahara. . The presence of both countries was contested by guerrillas of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro. During the following years, with Algeria's support, dozens of states, mainly developing and nonaligned countries, recognized the republic.
Until a referendum is held that will allow the people of the Western Sahara to determine their own political status, it appears unlikely that much of a media presence within the territory itself will be permitted. It was intended to replace the and the Houston Agreement of 1997, which had effectively failed to make any lasting improvement. Spain's formal termination of control came on 26 February 1976. Current Politics and Economics of Africa. Locally the Movement for the Liberation of the Sahara was formed in 1967 and organized huge demonstrations before being savagely put down and banned on 17 June 1970. The new outcome would then be not a midpoint solution, but a version of independence.
Like so many conflicts in the world, the issue per se is of no intrinsic interest to the United States, but it has enormous importance because of the relationships involved. Thus, it is important to the Washington to get the Western Saharan imbroglio off its plate. Historical Dictionary of Western Sahara. Over the past year, the United Nations also suffered a significant and regrettable loss of diplomatic engagement. The population is predominantly made up of Arabs and Berbers, both of Sahrawi Western Saharan and Moroccan origin; during the rainy season pastoral nomads migrate into the territory.
The conflict originated from an insurgency by the Polisario Front against Spanish colonial forces from 1973 to 1975 and the subsequent against Morocco between 1975 and 1991. Upon Spain's withdrawal, Morocco and Mauritania divided the region, with Morocco controlling the northern two thirds and Mauritania the southern third. To the south, there is little fauna and to the southeast, it is mainly fennecs, antelope and gerbils. The plan intended this referendum to constitute their exercise of self-determination, thereby completing the territory's yet unfinished process of. It is extremely arid, receiving an average of less than 2 inches 5.
Archived from on 8 January 2012. A referendum for the inhabitants to choose their government has been shelved often but may happen within the early 2000s. As with most peoples, the tribes reflect a highly mixed heritage, combining , Berber, and other influences, including ethnic and cultural characteristics. In 1974, the colonial power transferred administration of the territory to Morocco and Mauritania, divided along a northwest-southeast diagonal that corresponded to no human or physical geographic divisions and had no place for the Polisario. In 1973, the Polisario Front began a guerrilla war, which eventually forced a Spanish withdrawal in 1976. Area: 266,769sq km 102,680sq mi. In 2007, Morocco requested U.
Morocco based its claim to the Spanish Sahara on pre-colonial history, when Moroccan rulers intermittently exercised varying degrees of control over much of the western Sahara. It was inhabited almost entirely by Sahrawi pastoral nomads until the mid-20th century. King , for his part, had staked his throne on the issue, making it the glue by which he consolidated and reinforced his political authority at home. Thanks to our partnership with Booking. While the peace has held in Western Sahara for more than a decade, there has been no real rapprochement between Morocco and Polisario.
With most refugees still living in the camps, the refugee situation is among the most protracted worldwide. The United States does not recognize the Sahrawi Republic. Meanwhile, the gradual liberalization of political life in Morocco during the 1990s belatedly reached Western Sahara around 2000. The First Sahrawi Intifada formed a part of the wider and still ongoing Western Sahara conflict. Formerly known as the Spanish Sahara before independence movements swept the African continent beginning in the late 1950s, the territory became independent of when the former European colonial power withdrew in 1975. A central volcanic tableland, the Tiris, about 1,000 ft. Wikimedia Commons has media related to.