March 21, 2023


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Western Sahara: Back to the still unresolved international problem

Every Monday, Eye in the Retro brings back a remarkable story from the past. This Monday, off to Morocco. In the midst of an inquiry into corruption by Qatar and Morocco in the European Parliament, we find that we have to go back to February 27, 1976 to understand. Reasons that could push Morocco to influence MEPs.

On that day, the The last Spanish soldier left the so-called Spanish Sahara, causing a thorny international issue that remains unresolved today. So what are we talking about? From a territory in northwestern Africa overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, opposite the Canary Islands, still Spanish.

The territory became Spanish in the late 19th century and became Western Sahara in 1976. Compared to other colonial countries, when the immigrant leaves here, the neighboring countries It shares the territory of Western Sahara. The Under an agreement with Spain, Morocco occupies two-thirds of the Sahara and Mauritania the remaining third. But no one asked the Sahrawis. On February 27, 1976, when the last Spanish soldiers left, the independence of Western Sahara was declared by the Polisario Front, a national liberation movement.

The latter would engage in armed struggle against Morocco and Mauritania, whom they perceived as the new aggressors. Three years later, in 1979, Mauritania abandoned the struggle and recognized the Polisario Front as having sovereignty over the territory it occupied. But Morocco is taking the opportunity to capture this area as well.

Since then, in practice, the conflict has continued, although Morocco now occupies 80% of the territory protected by the wall. The small landlocked area behind this wall is controlled by the Polisario Front.

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