Western Sahara: Forgotten Conflict

, by AfricaFocus

The Western Sahara conflict, notes analyst Yahia Zoubir, is now in the 35th year, with no sign of resolution. While the United Nations is ostensibly responsible for its resolution, France and the United States provide implicit support for Moroccan occupation of the territory, failing to support a referendum which might include the option of independence. The issue continues to poison relations between Algeria and Morocco, blocking hopes of regional economic integration in the Maghrib.

Recently France and the United States again blocked the inclusion of human rights monitoring in the UN peacekeeping mission for Western Sahara, the only UN peacekeeping mission lacking such a mandate. And although U.S. policymakers were reported to have successfully pressured for release of Saharan human rights activist Aminatou Haidar last December, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has stressed that there is no change in U.S. policy. And 54 U.S. senators have signed a letter endorsing Moroccan occupation.

This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains excerpts from an article by Zoubir, as well as a report by Stephen Zunes on the U.S. Senate resolution. Read more