Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Future of the Western Sahara: Independence or Assimilation

By Natalya Marquand
Honors Project in International Relations
Professor: Beth Dougherty
Beloit College
April 2002
Published in International Relations A publication on international political and economic issues, International Relations Department, Beloit College, Summer 2002

“One of the most inhospitable places on Earth, the ex-Spanish territory of Western Sahara might seem the least likely tract of real estate to be coveted by anyone. Yet this bleak land on the western edge of the great Saharan desert has been the theatre of one of Africa’s most bitter and intractable wars since 1975.

To anyone visiting the Sahara for the first time, the landscape can seem as hostile as the ocean to a shipwrecked sailor. It is eerily silent, apparently lifeless in its vastness. In most of Western Sahara, there appear to be nothing but rocks and stones, stretching interminable over monotonous plains, for mile upon mile.

There is only one important river, the Saguia el-Hamra (the “Red River”) and no oases of any consequence on this blighted land. Besides dramatic shifts in temperature and the extreme aridity, the Sahrawi has to contend with the desert winds, which fill the air with fine particles of sand that, but for protective robes and turbans, clog hair, throat and eyes.”

(Tony Hodges, Western Sahara: Roots of a Desert War, 1983)

                 The Western Sahara is one of the few areas of the world left that is officially recognized by the United Nations as being non-self-governing. Since the end of the Spanish colonial rule in 1975, multiple groups including Mauritania and the Algerian-backed POLISARIO independence movement have claimed it, but Morocco took actual control of most of the territory when Spain left. Referendums to decide the fate of the Western Sahara have been proposed, but Morocco developed an unofficial government policy of procrastination in hopes that the world would forget about its occupation of the area. Due to the lack of violence, the small Sahrawi population, and the territory’s relative lack of resources, the Western Sahara issue suffers from a lack of global awareness and third party involvement compared to other world crises. What is the future for the Western Sahara?
I will investigate the four options suggested by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for the future in the region: decolonization through the MINURSO settlement plan, a self-governing region within Morocco through the draft agreement, a division of the territory, or the UN ending its involvement altogether. These options include several of the following possible outcomes: an independent Western Sahrawi state, assimilation into Morocco, a continuation of the present status quo, or a return to chaos and warfare. Through a discussion of the various claims to the territory and the economic viability of the Western Sahara, as well as an assessment of the best options for both the local Sahrawi population and other interested parties, I will prove that while a division of the territory is the best option for all the parties involved, a continuation of the status quo is more likely to occur.
Map of Maghreb Region
Map of Western Sahara- important: borders, natural resources, regional names
Map of Western Sahara and MINURSO-important: berm wall, MINURSO troop deployment, identification centers
Glossary of terms, people and acronyms
Options for Resolution
I.                    History
a.       Before 1975
-Formation of Frente POLISARIO
b.       1975: Origins to the conflict
c.        Since 1975
-United Nations involvement
II.                  Present situation
III.               Positions of various countries towards the Western Sahara
a.       Morocco
b.       Algeria
c.        Mauritania
d.       Libya
e.        Tunisia
f.        France
g.        Spain
h.       USA
i.         Other states
IV.                Future Possibilities: Possible outcomes and their likeliness
Options offered by Kofi Annan
a.       Resuming the Settlement Plan without concurrence of both parties
b.       Revision of the draft agreement presented on a non-negotiable basis to parties (Advocating a self-governing region within Morocco)
c.        Division/Partition of the territory
d.       End of the MINURSO mandate and UN involvement
Possible results and effects:
e.        An independent Western Sahrawi state
f.        Assimilation into Morocco
g.        A continuation of the present status quo
h.       Full on warfare and an indeterminable result
              Appendix 1: The Madrid Agreement 1975
              Appendix 2: List of United Nations Resolutions
              Appendix 3: Major arms sales to Morocco, 1975-1988
              Appendix 4: Major arms sales to Morocco, 1989-1994
              Appendix 5: Options: Who wants them? What’s their likeliness?
Appendix 6: Options and possible outcomes
Appendix 7: Map of “Greater Morocco”
-Primary Sources
                Web Sources
Newspaper and Magazine Articles
-Secondary Sources
-Tertiary Sources

Map of the Maghreb region: Zoubir (ed), 1999.

Map of the Western Sahara: Hodges, 1983

Glossary of terms, people and acronyms
Berm – defensive sand wall 900 miles long built by Morocco to defend itself and the Western Sahara from attacks from the Frente POLISARIO forces.

Machrek (Mashrek, Machriq) – The eastern Arab world, with the dividing line in the middle of Libya.

Maghreb (Maghrib) – North African region encompassing Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Occasionally, Mauritania and Libya are also included. In Arabic, it translates to where the sun sets, meaning the western Arab world, but as a place it refers to Kingdom of Morocco.

Sahrawi (Sahraoui, Saharawi) – adjective for describing someone with origins in the Western Sahara
AMU – Arab-Maghreb Union (Union du Maghreb Arabe or UMA). Formed in 1989, member states are: Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia (regional organization excluding SADR).

ARSO  Association de soutien à un referendum libre et regulier au Sahara Occidental. NGO based in Switzerland in favor of a referendum in the Western Sahara.

Frente POLISARIO – Frente Popular para la Liberación de Saguia el Hamra y de Rio de Oro. “POLISARIO Front”, the Western Sahara independence movement, which was began by intellectuals who were invited to study in Rabat by the Moroccan government in the early 1970’s, the United Nations popular terminology is simply Frente POLISARIO.

ICCPR – International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. UN General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI). Entered into force 23 March 1976.

ICJ – International Court of Justice in the Hague.

ICRC – International Committee of the Red Cross. All prisoners-of-war and prisoners with amnesty granted pass through ICRC before returning to their respective groups.

Istiqlal – Moroccan opposition party that was responsible for Moroccan independence. It later split from the central party over the monarchy (they considered a republic or a constitutional monarchy more democratic, while the monarchy refused to consider the possibility which meant giving up power).

Makhzen – Limited in functions and authority, the Moroccan state pre protectorate (under the sultan).

MINURSO – United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara. Began in 1991.

RASD/SADR – Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Official name of Western Sahara as an independent state in exile, declared by Frente POLISARIO in February 1976. It has have official state recognition from 76 countries.

Makhzen – Limited in functions and authority, the Moroccan state pre protectorate (under the sultan).

OAU – Organization of African Unity. Founded 1963.

UN – United Nations

UNHCR – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
(1st) Mohammed V – Moroccan sultan prior to independence and king from independence in 1956 until his death in 1961.

(2nd) Hassan II – Son of Mohammed V, king from 1961-1999. Responsible for Green March into Western Sahara, November 1975.

(3rd) Mohammed VI – Present king of Morocco. Son of Hassan II and educated in France, he became king in 1999.

(I) Houari Boumedienne – Former president of Algeria. To get into power, he led a successful coup in June 1965 against the party that achieved independence (led by Ben Bella) who had promised Morocco territory that had been removed from Morocco and added to Algeria.

(II) Abdelaziz Bouteflika – Current president of Algeria.

(A) Mokhtar Ould Daddah – Former president of Mauritania. Leader who marched into Morocco during the time of the “Green March”

(B) Maaouya Ould Sid’Ahmed Taya – President of Mauritania

James A Baker III. – United Nations Secretary-General Special Envoy to the Western Sahara region. March 1997-present.

Mohamed Abdelaziz – Secretary-General of the Frente POLISARIO
Options for Resolution
Draft Agreement – Proposed by Morocco, a modified proposal for Western Sahara. Resorting to a period of “autonomy”?

Settlement Plan – The original agreement and concepts of MINURSO. Initially agreed to by both parties, but after the inability to agree on issues of Identification Committee appeals, Morocco withdrew its support.
As one of the few areas of the world left that is officially recognized by the United Nations as being non-self-governing, the Western Sahara is quietly moving back into the focus of world leaders after being put on the back shelf for the previous decade due to other more violent and more controversial crises. Currently occupied by Morocco, the Western Sahara is claimed by both Rabat and the Frente POLISARIO (Frente Popular para la Liberación de Saguia el Hamra y de Rio de Oro), an independence movement based in southern Algeria.
The attempt to resolve the issue of the Western Sahara has been going on for over 26 years, and the political stands of the parties involved have changed frequently. It is important to give a substantial and detailed history of the events of the situation before, during, and after its 1975 beginnings. This history shows just how complicated it is to achieve a solution, and just how inconsistent the parties have been, remaining stubbornly, often illogically, by their various positions.
There are many countries that are involved in the Western Sahara issue. The resolution of the crisis is of importance to all the countries in the Maghreb region as well as various outsiders. Obviously, those closer have much more at stake, but those further away are still influenced by Frente POLISARIO campaigns. Regional states involved include: Algeria, Mauritania, Libya, and Tunisia, all members of the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU). The next two most important countries are France and Spain, because of their colonial connections to the region. The United States is also involved, mainly because of its size and clout, but also because of its close ties with Morocco. Its important position on the Security Council and in the United Nations is a factor in the resolution of the issue, although others also have the same power. By looking at their individual perspectives and positions, the reader can see why alliance groups have formed and what their influences are on Western Sahara.
           Through February and March 2002, the Western Sahara has frequently been in the news as the United Nations Security Council is currently deciding the future of MINURSO’s mandate, which expires on 30 April 2002. Secretary-General Kofi Annan finalized four options for the Security Council: a) resuming the Settlement Plan that was initially proposed with the establishment of MINURSO, which would occur without the concurrence of both parties (Morocco is against this option); b) revision of the Draft Agreement presented on a non-negotiable basis to the parties, which advocates a self-governing region within Morocco (Frente POLISARIO and Algeria reject this option); c) division or partition of the territory between the disputing parties; d) end of the MINURSO mandate and UN involvement. Other options exist, though they are usually the sole desire of one party in the discussions. They include: e) an independent Western Sahrawi state (desired by Frente POLISARIO and Algeria); f) assimilation into Morocco (Morocco considers this almost a reality now, it would just be a formalization of it); or g) a continuation of the status quo (this would basically mean that no agreements would be made, and nothing would happen at all to the present situation, which is not a satisfactory resolution to the conflict). Each option will be discussed in terms of why it is desired as a possibility, and whether it is the best option for the local Sahrawi population and for the other interested parties.
The final section will include arguments and discussion on the topic in general. Future possibilities discussed earlier in the paper will be analyzed as to which is most likely to happen, why, and what effects it would have on the region as a whole and to the populations of the area. Added to this will be the claims to the territory, their validity and the strength of the arguments in their favor. The conclusions will show which series of events should happen (as opposed to what will happen) for the best of the Sahrawi population and all the involved parties.
It is very difficult to decide the fate of so complicated and unclear a situation. The claims of both sides are valid. In many cases, the circumstances that have occurred over the last 26 years could be argued in favor of either side’s case. Sometimes the most likely, the easiest or the least costly option is not necessarily what is right. Nor is it often the best solution for the welfare of the parties involved, or the solution that the parties choose to fight for. What will be the fate for the Western Sahara? Is this a good or bad result? What should happen instead?

I.        History
a. Before 1975
Spanish interests in the Sahara did not arise until the end of the nineteenth century, much the same time that the rest of North Africa was being colonized. Spain established a trading port at Dakhla and declared it a protectorate in 1884. Franco-Spanish conventions in 1900, 1904 and 1912 further expanded the zone of control.[1]
Morocco has a long history of ties to the Western Sahara, such as the agreements between the sultanate and some[2] Sahrawi tribal chiefs before and during the protectorate era, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[3] The Moroccan sultanate focused its relations on extending its influence over trade issues such as controlling strategic trading towns, salt-mines and oases; the sultanate preferred that trade was concentrated with it rather than with the Europeans beginning to enter the area, the West Africans to the south, or the peoples of the Machrek region. However, Hassan I “carried out two expeditions in 1886 in order to put an end to foreign incursions in the (Western Sahara) territory, and to officially invest (in the region)”[4]. Instances of the levying of Qur’anic and other taxes are also mentioned[5], although the biggest tie of all was religion. From Morocco’s perspective, “Allegiance to the Sultan or Sovereign was tantamount to allegiance to the State” because the Sultan was “commander of the believers”[6].
In the era of the sultan, prior to independence in 1956, it remained beyond Morocco’s governance abilities to control many of its surrounding areas, although its influence was far-reaching into such regions, for example the less controllable/inhabitable Rif and Atlas Mountains. Morocco maintained arrangements with chiefs of these areas in much the same way as it influenced the Sahara. During the French protectorate and after independence, such areas as the Rif and Atlas mountains were included in Morocco. Therefore, if the Western Sahara had been a French rather than a Spanish protectorate, the current controversy might not exist and it can be argued that the borders of the whole region are due entirely to the decisions of colonial powers, although this is true of most colonial areas.[7] It was not until independence that Moroccan interest in sovereignty over the area was formalized. The claims it made to ownership and rule over Western Sahara were based mainly on the earlier ties.
“Istiqlal’s claim was based on ties that in Islamic tradition and the Moroccan historical context, constituted sovereignty… In the generation since independence, the claim to the Western Sahara quickly became, and has remained, an unquestioned and integral part of Moroccan nationalist ideology.”[8]

An Istiqlal party map of Morocco at the time of Moroccan independence (the party responsible for seeking Morocco’s own independence, to later become an opposition party against the king), Moroccan territory extended farther into Algeria than it does today, and into territory south, not only including Western Sahara, but also parts of Mauritania.[9] The desired areas of Algeria and Mauritania were later reduced and “sacrificed” in diplomatic deals in attempts to win those countries’ acquiescence in allowing Morocco to have what Morocco considered much more important: the Western Sahara. The joint declaration of Spain and Morocco on April 7, 1956 marked the beginning of the decolonization of Spain’s other territories within Morocco: Tarfaya (1958), and Ifni (1969). Two areas along with Western Sahara, the cities of Sebta (Ceuta) and Melilla on the northern Mediterranean coast, were to follow but remain under dispute.
Mauritania also claimed a long history of ties to Western Sahara, as well as claiming the same reasons as Morocco for similarity of peoples.
“I cannot help evoking the innumerable ties which unite us: we bear the same names, we speak the same language, we conserve the same noble traditions, we honor the same religious leaders, graze our herds on the same pastures, give water to them at the same wells. In a word we are referring to that same desert civilization of which we are so justly proud. So I invite our brothers of Spanish Sahara to dream of this great economic and spiritual Mauritania.”[10]

It first staked its claim in 1957 after its independence (before that, it was an informal “entity” rather than a state) against its then archenemy Morocco’s similar claim. Ironically, there was also a “Greater Mauritania” policy, which was an almost exact copy of the “Greater Morocco” policy, crossing over and including territory claimed by Morocco, as well as parts of southern Morocco itself.[11]
“The idea that the Ahel es-Sahel (Sahrawis) might develop a national identity of their own and proceed eventually to independence occurred to neither Moroccans, Mauritanians, Spaniards nor even the Western Sahrawis themselves in the late fifties or early sixties.”[12]

In 1963, two major events occurred: the formation of the Organization for African Unity (OAU), and the starting of the boundary conflicts between Morocco and Algeria. Both would have huge future implications for the situation in North Africa influencing the Western Sahara. The OAU is important because it was formed by newly independent African states, which then aided other states in decolonization, later including the Western Sahara. The 1969 War of Sands, where escalated intensity of the border clash caused military aggression between Morocco and Algeria, left bitterness between the two Maghrebi states.[13] It was one of the causes of the beginnings of animosity between them. Later, in 1972, Morocco deliberately signed a treaty in Algeria’s favor[14], hoping that Algeria would not interfere in later issues concerning the Sahara, but Algeria supported Sahrawi independence movements anyway.[15]
Morocco introduced the Sahara question to the United Nations General Assembly in 1965, where it called on Spain in its capacity as administering power to take immediate and necessary measures for the liberation of territories and to start negotiations relating to their sovereignty.[16]
Formation of Frente POLISARIO
Frente POLISARIO was initially composed of Moroccan-educated, high-rank Sahrawi individuals (the ultimate irony being that the independence movement against Morocco actually began in Rabat by people who were invited to study there by the Moroccan government and were inspired by the Moroccan independence movement), who began an independence campaign (war of liberation) against Spanish colonization in 1972 and 1973. Frente POLISARIO claims to represent Western Sahara as an entire entity, but mainly represent the political desire for independence, although that is the majority of the original (colonial era) Sahrawis. Sahrawis are of a similar race to Moroccans; the main distinction is their historic nomadic lifestyle (“Very few Sahrawis came to live in the small Spanish settlements before the sixties”[17]). Their nomadic ways no longer form the entirety of their culture, however, colonization and urbanization have changed their way of life so that precise cultural definition is almost impossible.
b. 1975: Origins to the conflict[18]
When in 1974, Spain decided to organize a referendum in the Spanish Sahara which was expected to lead to independence, Morocco, through the General Assembly, requested an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague to determine the territory’s past status, inviting Spain and Mauritania to submit jointly, which Spain refused.[19] The question was posed, ‘Was the Western Sahara (Rio de Oro and Saquiat El Hamra) at the time of colonization by Spain a territory belonging to no one (Terra Nullius)?’ The ICJ ruling was negative, so the second question was ‘What were the legal ties between this territory and the Kingdom of Morocco and the Mauritanian entity?’[20]
Morocco produced documents intending to prove its ties of sovereignty,[21] as did Mauritania. Morocco and Mauritania each claimed an area, to the north and south of the Sahara region respectively, without an area in between, but with some overlapping as a result of intersection of nomadic routes. “The Court confine(d) itself to noting that this geographical overlapping indicate(d) the difficulty of disentangling the various relationships existing in the Western Sahara region at the time of colonization.”[22] In the 10 October 1975 ICJ decision results, Morocco was found to have “legal ties of allegiance”, while Mauritania simply had “legal ties” (mainly related to the nomadic land rights).[23] These were technical terms, agreeing that while there had been relations between each entity and that of the Western Sahara, they were no ties of sovereignty between the territory of Western Sahara and either country “of such nature as might affect the application of General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV) in the decolonization of Western Sahara through the free and genuine expression of the will of the peoples of the territory.”[24] Spain maintained its colonial policy, with King Juan Carlos of Spain swearing, “Spain will not abandon Western Sahara.”[25]
Morocco’s reaction to the ICJ ruling was to ignore it, so from November 6 to 9, 1975, Hassan II of Morocco organized the ‘Green March’ into the Western Sahara.[26] Three hundred and fifty thousand civilians from all parts of Morocco marched into the Western Sahara holding the Qur’an (green is to represent Islam).[27] The peaceful claim was more practical than any form of aggression as it was less likely to gain immediate condemnation and criticism from the international community. Because it was peaceful, Spain was unwilling to use force to send them back. Spain’s lack of response was reiterated in the Madrid Agreement (see appendix 1), which was signed on November 14, 1975 by Spain, Morocco and Mauritania and which surrendered the territory to Morocco and Mauritania.[28] The agreement was recognized by the General Assembly and Morocco justifies its presence in Western Sahara according to it.[29]
With the ‘Green March’, Morocco began a systematic process of settling Moroccans in the Western Sahara, thereby creating a Western Sahara population loyal to Rabat. Hassan II offered monetary incentives (mainly through lower taxes) to encourage Moroccans to move there. Despite excellent fishing resources, the fishing trade had been an insignificant part of the Sahrawi existence, no agriculture was practiced, and they made little usage of mineral resources such as phosphate. Morocco increased utilization of the plentiful waters of the Western Sahara Atlantic to add to its own fisheries resources, selling rights and subletting the area to European fishing companies. Morocco, which was already the world’s largest producer of phosphates, added to its supply the minerals of the Western Sahara. The fishing and minerals compensated for the inferior agricultural environment, which was not utilized at all.
The result of the ‘Green March’ was a withdrawal of a substantial percentage of the Sahrawi population[30], mainly Frente POLISARIO members or supporters, into exile in Tindouf, Algeria. In January 1976, the last Spanish soldiers left Western Sahara, and on 26 February 1976, the Spanish presence in the Western Sahara had completely disappeared. The following day, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), the official independent state of the Western Sahara (actually a state-in-exile) was declared by members of Frente POLISARIO in Bir Lahlou. By now Frente POLISARIO had begun to fight against Morocco (instead of Spain) for independence, and this is also when it gained the support and sympathy of Algeria.
c. Since 1975
Not only was the new base of Frente POLISARIO established in Algeria, but southeastern Algeria and western Mauritania also became the site of multiple refugee camps filled with Sahrawis fearing for their security and political rights and following Frente POLISARIO. Algeria publicly announced its promise to fight for self-determination and an independent Western Sahara, and backed Frente POLISARIO with supplies that included weapons as well as humanitarian aid. The Algerian-backed Frente POLISARIO and Morocco were locked into a 13-year-long military conflict during which Frente POLISARIO inflicted serious loses on the Moroccan army.[31] This caused Morocco to construct a 900-mile-long wall to separate the Sahara territory from the Frente POLISARIO base in Tindouf.
“A wall of sand, a thousand miles long and six to 12 feet high, was built by Morocco in the Western Sahara as a defense against rebelling Frente POLISARIO guerillas. The wall has preserved a standoff” [32]

In 1979, Mauritania renounced its claim to the Western Sahara, signing a peace agreement with Frente POLISARIO.[33] Morocco proceeded to recover this area[34] so that it now occupied and controlled the infrastructure of the entire Western Sahara area.
Until 1981, Morocco’s policy had opposed a referendum in Western Sahara, but in June Hassan II reversed tactics and claimed Morocco favored a referendum, hoping to make the Frente POLISARIO look like the difficult party. The significance of this declaration was that while Morocco was in favor of a referendum, the definition of who was eligible to vote was different from that proposed by Frente POLISARIO.
The SADR was recognized as member of the OAU in 1984; Morocco withdrew from the organization in protest, grievously harming the OAU’s effectiveness and influence in the region and adversely affecting its unity. The recognition of SADR as a state (one of the crucial elements to achieving statehood) was mostly by fellow African states that were pro-self-determination and pro-independence, although there was no recognition by western powers apart from the former-Yugoslavia in 1984 and Albania in 1987.[35]
United Nations involvement
From 1985 on, the United Nations began to increase its involvement in the Western Sahara, beginning with visits by then Secretary-General Perez de Cuellar, and discussions within the General Assembly.[36] Eventually, the Security Council became involved, and the office of the Secretary-General displayed a more intensive interest hoping to make negotiations or at least contacts between the Morocco and Frente POLISARIO a possibility.
The process started with a series of separate meetings between representatives from Morocco and Frente POLISARIO, as well as Algeria and Mauritania and the presidents of the OAU; the meetings continued until 1988. At that point, the Secretary-General brought the Western Sahara issue to higher attention levels with a peace proposal and called again for the referendum to be held. Both parties agreed to the peace proposal, known as the Settlement Plan[37] on 30 August 1988. The Security Council passed its first resolution on Western Sahara, Resolution 621 (1988) on 20 September 1988. The Settlement Plan was to implement the preliminaries for the referendum (registration of voters), and allow for the Sahrawi refugees in Algeria and Mauritania to return to the Western Sahara. However, the details of the voter registration were not outlined.
After that first resolution in 1988 there would be at least two other resolutions covering at least three reports by the UN Secretary-General on the overall situation in the Western Sahara before the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) peacekeeping mission was established in April 1991 to speed up the Settlement Plan process.[38] Without MINURSO, it was unlikely that any plan would ever come into effect. During this time, in January 1989, Hassan II finally officially acknowledged the existence of Frente POLISARIO by accepting some of its representatives in Marrakech.[39]
The Arab-Maghreb Union (AMU)[40] was established the same year and included Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia. This appeared to be a significant step for Morocco because it was a regional organization that excluded SADR, which had so far seemed impossible, given Algeria’s support for SADR and Frente POLISARIO.[41] The significance of the event was short lived, as it failed to bring about a resolution to the crisis.
With the involvement of the United Nations also came the involvement of its affiliated organizations. For example, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was mandated to aid the refugee problem and work out means to carry out a repatriation program, and the World Food Program gave humanitarian assistance.
MINURSO was established with three main components, a civil unit, a security unit and a military unit. The headquarters were in Laayoune, with other regional offices in the northern and southern sectors of the territory, and a liaison office in Tindouf to maintain contact with the Algerian authorities and the Frente POLISARIO.[42] Its mission included: monitoring the ceasefire, verifying the reduction of troops in the territory, ensuring the release of political prisoners and detainees, overseeing the exchange of prisoners of war, implementing a refugee repatriation program, identifying and registering the voters, and organizing the free and fair referendum.[43] A ‘transitional period’ was to come into effect on 6 September 1991, with the implementation of the cease-fire and would end when the results of the referendum were declared, which was set to occur in January 1992. Small issues and tasks were supposed to be completed before the transitional period could begin, but the Secretary-General allowed them to remain undone, hoping that when 6 September passed, all would go smoothly. However, the transitional period never began, due to differences between different concepts of the plan by major actors.
“Since the deployment of MINURSO in September 1991, the ceasefire has generally held. The transitional period, however, has not begun, given to the parties’ divergent views on some key elements of the Plan, in particular, with regard to the criteria for eligibility to vote. Notwithstanding these difficulties, the parties have stated their commitment to implementing the Plan.”[44]

When minor hostilities broke out soon after the implementation of MINURSO, and the informal cease-fire that had been in effect for two years was broken, more UN military observers were brought in. The main stalemate was over who was eligible to vote: Frente POLISARIO wanted the list to be based on the 1974 Spanish Census list, but Morocco disagreed, as this would exclude Moroccans who went to Western Sahara as part of the “Green March”. Because of that, there have been many extensions and revisions to the Plan, most particularly, to its timetable.
The controversy over voter eligibility brought about the establishment of an Identification Commission by MINURSO in May 1993. Getting the parties’ acquiescence took over a year, and along with other initial groundwork, the slow process of identifying potential voters did not begin until August 1994.[45] The identification process was suspended, however, in May 1996 because there were still too many difficulties reconciling the parties. MINURSO staff was also greatly reduced at that time.
Diplomatic efforts continued however and there were more reports by the Secretary-General, resolutions by the Security Council (although most of them simply extended the mandate expiry date), and several attempts at talks, all of which broke down.[46] Redoubled efforts began in 1997, after the appointment of James Baker as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy. A series of bilateral talks between the parties were organized, which were held in London (preliminary contacts, 11-12 June 1997 and second round, 19-20 July 1997), Lisbon (first round, 23-24 June 1997 and third round, 29-30 August 1997), and concerned the confinement of troops of both parties and the liberation of war and political prisoners). Finally in Houston (fourth round, 14-17 September 1997)[47], a compromise was made concerning the principles that governed the identification process, which restarted in December 1997. The conflict over who would be eligible to vote would now be determined during the appeals instead of the identification (in other words, Morocco could submit its complaints then rather than preventing the identification from occurring).
Identification of applicants from the populations of all the Sahrawi tribes was finished on 3 September 1998, apart from three contested groupings. However, those three groups were so significant that the parties were still unable to come to a consensus regarding them.[48] Although there was renewed hope that the referendum would take place in 1998, and the talks that were brokered resulted in the new agreement being signed in Houston, the timetable was still not followed and no definite resolution was achieved.
After a protocol to identify the remaining three tribes was presented to the parties in October 1998, and accepted soon after, the identification of the three remaining groups resumed on 15 June 1999 and finished in December of the same year.  The appeals process for the earlier list of individuals also began at the same time as the Identification Committee was counting the second group, which was an extensive process, as around half of the names of those that applied were found ineligible.[49]
“Although the identification process has been completed, the parties continue to hold divergent views regarding the appeals process, the repatriation of refugees and other crucial aspects of the Plan. The Secretary-General has instructed his Special Representative to continue consultations with the parties to seek a reconciliation of these views and to explore ways and means to achieve an early, durable and agreed resolution of their dispute over Western Sahara.”[50]

There is a lot of criticism of MINURSO’s ineffectiveness from various international states as well as NGOS, not to mention the dissatisfaction of the parties involved.
“After nine years and expenditures approaching $500 million, MINURSO has managed to accomplish so little in the Sahara of which the same amount of expenditures has taken similar UN missions elsewhere only a matter of months.”[51]

The results that have been achieved can almost be related to luck and general procedure, as both parties stubbornly refuse to change their perspectives and opinions. Despite the difficulties and delays in the process, “neither side has indicated any willingness to pursue any political solution other than the implementation of the settlement plan”[52].
While there has been no resumption of hostilities between the parties since the cease-fire in 1991[53], and no indication that “either side intends to resume them in the near future”, both sides pose restrictions on UN military observers in their respective areas, which is one example of the continued suspicion and animosity between the parties. The MINURSO civilian police protect files and sensitive materials at the Identification Commission centers for just that reason. The UNHCR is working on the repatriation of Sahrawi refugees to Western Sahara, but only within the context of the Settlement Plan. Because of financial constraints, there are frequent shortages in basic food commodities for the refugee camps in both Algeria and Mauritania, supervised by UNHCR.
              Another series of talks in 2000 also failed to accomplish anything new. The Secretary-General said that his Personal Envoy, James A. Baker, “had been hearing the same arguments and pledges of cooperation since 1997 and expressed skepticism about the validity of such pledges.” Baker felt that there was no political will on either side to move forward. Talks continued into 2001 with Algeria and in January of 2002 with Morocco.[54]

II.   Present situation
Since the ‘Green March’, it has been just over 26 years of conflict and dispute in the Western Sahara, although the situation was an important international issue well before that. The UN has committed considerable resources in attempts to solve it, but the crisis remains unsolved at present.
On 2 January 2002, Frente POLISARIO announced the release of 115 of the 1,477 Moroccan prisoners of war it was holding. Coupled with efforts by Morocco to account for some former Frente POLISARIO combatants unaccounted for and the amnesty it granted in November 2001 to 25 Sahrawi detainees. These are steps in the right direction, but much remains to be accomplished.[55]
“To date, some 1, 362 Moroccan prisoners of war remain held in connection with the Western Sahara conflict, most of them for more than 20 years. More than 10 years after the entry into effect of the cease-fire, their release is long overdue, both under international law and commitments that the parties undertook in this regard.”[56]

There are still around 150,000 Saharwi living in refugee camps in the desert in Tindouf.[57] Human rights violations, particularly those by Morocco towards Frente POLISARIO prisioners, appear to be much fewer than in the past, although there are still many prisoners-of-war being detained on both sides. Perhaps the violations of human rights are simply fewer at present because of the lack of war and the long standstill in the negotiations.
From Morocco’s perspective, structural development in the Western Sahara continues. It is negotiating for contracts off-shore Western Sahara with foreign oil companies, the legality of which is questioned by the international community. Algeria, and the Frente POLISARIO in particular, not surprisingly, expressed concern about this issue.[58] Moroccan military authorities have begun preparations for the construction of a road in the Guerguerat area of the Western Sahara, at the south-western tip of the territory, close to the Mauritanian border. Morocco subsequently suspended this activity at the request of several UN Member states and MINURSO.[59] Morocco has released money for the construction of 12 fishing villages on the coast of Western Sahara, which at present has six fishing villages, a big sardine port in El Ayoun and another in Dakhla. There are an estimated 160,000 Moroccan seasonal fishermen on this coast.[60] Western Sahara has immense dunes 8 to 10 km wide and stretching 250 km south of Tarfaya. The sand is quarried and the major part exported by sea from the port of El Ayoun, to the Canary Islands in sand boats.[61]
Various NGOs and governments, such as ‘War on Want’, based in Britain, and the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), continue to fight for recognition and independence for Frente POLISARIO and to give emergency relief.[62] Major initiatives have come from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and James Baker, the current Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General. Baker considered that a political solution was only possible through direct dialogue between the parties, but “nothing would be agreed until everything had been agreed to.”[63]
“The parties have so far failed to negotiate the problems because of the high level of animosity existing between them. Neither party has shown any disposition to depart from the “winner-take-all” mentality or appeared willing to discuss any possible political solutions in which each would get some, but not all, of what it wanted and would allow the other side to do the same.”[64]
This issue has a low record of atrocities among non-combatants (although harsh repression of demonstrations and political prisoners Morocco’s part is unfortunate) as well as a low international profile, even if it is so very important to the parties involved. The irony of this is that the more ‘civilized’ nature of the conflict is actually preventing or slowing down the resolution of it. (What kind of world are we that just because it is not violent, we do not need to resolve it?).
Each state in the region and in the international region has a different perspective in terms of what kind of solution they would like to see in the Western Sahara. 
III.   Positions of various countries towards the Western Sahara
a. Morocco
                The single most important aspect of Moroccan foreign or internal policy is that of its territorial integrity.[65] That means that both public opinion and structures within government put the retention of the Western Sahara territories above any other regional or global diplomatic issue. Morocco has a policy of bargaining with neighbors, which sometimes involves making sacrifices on economic grounds for the sake of territorial issues.[66]
There is no doubt that being in the Western Sahara has cost Morocco financially, but also in terms of political campaigns, international reputation, foreign relations and government policy. The war against Frente POLISARIO was expensive in terms of casualties, until finally Morocco constructed the berm wall to keep Frente POLISARIO forces out of the Western Sahara and Morocco. Morocco’s implementation and maintenance of local infrastructure was also a significant burden. Incomes and standards of living are substantially below the Moroccan level.[67]
“In the long run, however, the annexation campaign tended to have negative effects on the country (of Morocco). The war that accompanied it lasted longer than expected and turned out to be very costly. (It) cost $1 million a day in the 1970s and 1980s. Even though Saudi Arabia provided many of the funds, close to 45% of Morocco’s annual budget went into the efforts, economic performance suffered tremendously. [68]

Still, despite the costs, there have been many benefits for Morocco too. The resources in the fishing and mineral industries are the main earners.[69] Despite the small population in the area, the relative benefits are promising for Morocco, and it is easy to see why it wishes to keep sovereignty over the region. It is very unlikely that the benefits that Morocco obtained in these industries outweighed the costs of the war however, which proves that the Western Sahara is more than an economic occupation for Morocco.
Within Morocco, the Western Sahara is a controversial issue, sure to provoke a response, the stand is firmly decided. Western Sahara is regarded by almost all as absolute legal territory. To many, Frente POLISARIO should not even be mentioned, and does not exist, while maps that divide Western Sahara from the rest of Morocco are illegal. Public opinion does not allow for the Western Sahara situation to be anything other than the status quo. “The predominant view in diplomatic circles in Rabat was that King Hassan would lose his throne if he lost the referendum.”[70] However, the monarchy itself was partially the cause of this—it was responsible for making long arguments for the importance of the Western Sahara to Morocco, spending exorbitant amounts of money and causing the loss of many lives. Some historians even argue that King Hassan provoked the war in the Sahara to divert public attention from domestic problems, which delegitimizes Morocco’s claim to the Western Sahara.[71]
“The Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara was not spurred, as many observers have assumed, by a simple lust for its phosphates. Rather, an ideology of territorial expansion, founded on the ideal of recreating a supposed “Greater Morocco” of precolonial times, was deeply rooted in the Moroccan psyche. Fashioned by Moroccan nationalists in the fifties, this ideology had been appropriated by the monarchy.”[72]

Arms sales figures show that even if Morocco did not have political and legal support for its campaign in Western Sahara, various countries were willing to support Morocco militarily. As seen in Appendices 3 and 5, arms sales to Morocco from 1975-1994 show military contributions to Morocco’s campaign from both the United States and France among other states.
b. Algeria
To the West, particularly the United States, Algeria appears to be a hub for terrorism, Islamic extremism and instability. To Morocco, it is a competitor for dominance in the region, whether in size, economic strength, good ties with the West, or military dominance.[73] When Morocco claimed the Western Sahara, which greatly increased its size and influence in the region[74], it was Algeria’s natural response to side with Frente POLISARIO and SADR, who had conveniently taken shelter in the south of Algeria. Inner turmoil in Algeria in the early 1990s saw Algiers blaming Rabat for loosening terrorists within Algeria’s borders. The Western Sahara issue was not the cause of the rivalry in the Maghreb, however; there was already longstanding ill will present before this occurred (for example: The War of the Sands). The animosity was thick despite the fact that “as of early 1997, Algeria’s military strength—in terms of weaponry—remained significantly superior to that of the armed forces of Morocco.”[75]
The importance of Algeria lies in its alliance with Frente POLISARIO. Many scholars of the Maghreb argue that the Western Sahara issue is directly between Morocco and Algeria for the sole reason that if Algeria were to withdraw its support of Frente POLISARIO, Frente POLISARIO would fold.[76] However, a counter-argument is that Algeria never claimed to want the Western Sahara. Instead, Algeria, because it had to fight so much harder for its independence from France than either Morocco or Tunisia, has much stronger nationalist tendencies, and is therefore more likely to sympathize and support self-determination movements like those of Frente POLISARIO.
Algeria’s main goal in Western Sahara is an independent SADR state. How far it will go to achieve this is evident from its involvement in the past. Although there are no official figures, Algeria transferred substantial amounts of military hardware to POLISARIO, provided training facilities and conducted diplomatic missions in POLISARIO’s name.[77] Algeria has a passive-aggressive front, choosing to remain behind Frente POLISARIO in its standpoint, but firm in its position against Morocco.
c. Mauritania
In recent meetings in Wyoming, the Mauritanian government officials expressed Mauritania’s support for “any solution to the problem of Western Sahara that would promote peace and stability in the region and have the support of the parties.”[78] While a vague and noncommittal comment, this statement shows Mauritania’s current lack of strong alliances. Even though it was in the same group as Algeria and Frente POLISARIO that was invited to Wyoming to discuss the Framework Agreement with Frente POLISARIO, it is in its interests not to offend Morocco too greatly. Mauritania is a weak state in the region and Morocco is one of the stronger ones, so trade between Mauritania and Morocco, while currently very minimal, could boost the Mauritanian economy. Although Mauritania has a history that included fierce claims to the territory as its own, its present government is weak and it has a minor position in the region, which are factors towards a neutral stand.
The status quo also has Mauritania sharing a “border” with Morocco, where Mauritania siding to steadfastly with Algeria and POLISARIO would to cause conflict, even though Mauritania does have some grievances as a host of refugees. For example, as you can see on the map at the front of this paper, Mauritania has several iron mines near less than 30 miles from the Western Sahara border, as well as the railway to evacuate the ore which runs along the border to end at a port (Nouadhibou) right on the border. These account for a large percent of Mauritania’s total export earnings, so protecting them by not aggravating Morocco, is in their interests. On the other hand, it should also not offend Algeria, as they have contributed aid and supplies at various times, and also share a large part of Mauritania’s border.
What Mauritania wants to see in the Sahara is a resolution. It is not particularly partial to which type; after all, it was initially one of the perpetrators with Morocco. However, from the other side, because Mauritania is a host of Sahrawi refugees, they would prefer to see them returning to their homes, so the resolution would have to enable that. Even when it was claiming Western Sahara as its own, Mauritania believed in self-determination. “Although the Sahara is an integral part of Mauritania, the right of its inhabitants to choose their future, without being converted into tools of the internal problems of other countries, must be defended.”[79]
d. Libya
                Libya has supplied military, diplomatic and financial backing to POLISARIO. The fact that Qaddafi overthrew a monarchy and has a personal dislike of Hassan II also tainted his views when dealing with the Moroccan monarchy, which meant more support for POLISARIO. Libya’s general stance is anti-West, anti-United States and Morocco is also both of these, which does not help relations. When Libya recognized SADR in April 1980, Morocco broke off all diplomatic ties. In recent years, however, their relations have been improving, and now the hostility is much reduced, although by no means has Libya changed its stance. As for the Sahara, Libya wants to see an independent SADR, simply because Libya has revolutionary perspective and seeks to aid others in such situations where they need a revolution.
e. Tunisia
Tunisia’s part in the Western Sahara conflict is minor. Its importance lies in the fact that it is situated in close proximity to the crisis. “Only Tunisia had the wisdom and good fortune to steer clear of any direct involvement in the Sahara conflict.”[80] The regional alliance AMU is significant from Tunisia’s perspective. The AMU included Tunisia among the other states, and pleased Morocco because SADR was excluded. Though Morocco did not expect the AMU to have much affect, Tunisia’s reasons for joining the organization did not involve the Sahara at all. Like Morocco, Tunisia is West oriented, but this has no impact on its stance on the Sahara. Tunisia, without choosing sides, would simply want a resolution to the conflict so that regional stability and cooperation movements could finally take place.
f. France
France’s associations to the region are through its former colonial ties to Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. Whereas Morocco and Tunisia had a relatively easy path to independence, Algeria was thought to remain a part of France indefinitely. Because of this, parts of what was Morocco were added to the Algerian territories prior to Moroccan Independence.[81] During the war over Western Sahara, France was a major supplier of military equipment to Morocco, accounting for roughly 50 percent of the total Morocco acquired.[82] “The Europeans—especially the French, who have made the development of northern Morocco a “duty” and “an absolute priority”—have supported Morocco more than they used to,”[83] which has, in turn, lessened Morocco’s dependence on the United States. When France’s president, Jacques Chirac visited the region in 2001, he impressed Morocco by referring to the Western Sahara as “the southern provinces of Morocco.”, solidifying his stand on the issue.[84]
France is unlikely to push any kind of resolution to the Western Sahara conflict, mainly because it does not wish to get directly involved, but also because it does not wish to risk jeopardizing its relations with Morocco. France knows that Morocco’s claim to Western Sahara is against the concept of self-determination and decolonization, but it is not going to push to change this.
g. Spain
Spain’s historic colonial ties with the Western Sahara, though now severed in all practical terms, have caused several international agencies and in some cases, UN member states[85] to request that Spain take a more active part in the decolonization of the Western Sahara. Relations with Morocco are significant because Spain held and still holds several areas within Morocco. Tarfaya, the closest Moroccan city to the Western Sahara, was Spanish until negotiations in 1958, and Sidi Ifni, a city slightly further north, was Spanish until 1969.
“Political relations between (Spain and Morocco) have been close despite the potential problems of Morocco’s claims to the two Spanish presidios of Ceuta and Melilla on Morocco’s Mediterranean coastline and residual Spanish sovereign ties over the Western Sahara.”[86]

Ceuta (Cepta) and Melilla remain under Spanish control; no agreements are in place for their reintegration into Morocco. Morocco has also made a fishing agreement with Spain that is to Spain’s benefit, all for the sake of good ties in hope for support in Western Sahara.
Spain is beginning to increase its support for POLISARIO, though concrete alliances have yet to be formed. Spain, already guilty of signing the fate of the Sahrawis to Morocco in the Madrid Agreement would probably try to remedy the situation and encourage an independent Western Sahrawi state.
h. USA
If the United States has any significant ties to the Maghreb region, which it considers less important than that of the Machrek, it is with Morocco and Tunisia rather than Algeria, Libya or SADR, although over the past few years policies have become more neutral in terms of the Western Sahara.
“The end of the Cold War, the moderation of the foreign policy toward Algeria, and the existence of a UN peace plan approved by Moroccans and Sahrawis, coupled with the perspective of a UN-OAU-sponsored free referendum, were instrumental in changing U.S. policy. The United States made it clear that it supported the peace process and that a freely held referendum would be the deciding factor about the future of the territory.”[87]

US officials do not perceive the Maghreb as an entity, but as individual countries, so various policies directed at one particular state can appear to contradict in terms of their effects. France has more of an influence in the Maghreb area because of its former colonial ties, and the United States does not want to jeopardize its relations with France by superceding French influence with that of the US.[88]
The United States and Morocco have always been allies of sorts, and the United States is grateful for Morocco’s assistance in Middle Eastern affairs (the Gulf War and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict)[89], both in negotiations with other states, but also the usage of Morocco’s strategic position on the edge of both the Atlantic and Mediterranean Oceans (including the Straits of Gibraltar) in terms of military hosting, airstrips, and as a refueling site.[90] The United States gives significant aid to Morocco—it has received more than any other Arab country except Egypt—and it has been a major player on the side of Morocco in Western Sahara, never officially recognizing Morocco’s claim, but nevertheless assisting in many other areas. In the future it could be Morocco’s rich mineral resources that create the best ties between the US and Morocco.
“Since the beginning of the war over Western Sahara in 1975, Morocco has obtained more than one-fifth of all U.S. aid to Africa, totaling more than $1 billion in military assistance alone. The United States played a major role in reversing the war over Western Sahara to Morocco’s favor through large scale economic and military aid, military advisors, and logistical assistance.”[91]

                In general the US is committed to a genuinely free referendum, but among the various US officials, the response is mixed. “Many congressional leaders, in fact, show more sympathy for the Sahrawis than do members of the executive branch.” While the US has never hinted that it would block any movement towards an independent Sahrawi state, it has never indicated that it favors such an outcome, either.[92]
i. Other States
There are a number of states with special influences. Great Britain, a favorite in history for hosting capitals for states-in-exile, has a number of prominent Non-Governmental Organizations who are on the side of the Frente POLISARIO. Other Arab states are mixed in their alliances and have changed them several times over the course of the last 45 odd years.[93] Saudi Arabia in particular has donated large amounts of money to the Moroccan cause,[94] while Fertile Crescent states are, of course, mostly mixed up in their own crises, although Syria did briefly support Morocco on the Sahara issue before it also recognized SADR in 1980. Several other would-be mediators have also existed from the region and from Africa.[95] There is full support for Western Sahara in the Swedish parliament[96] and Africa News Service reports also include support from civilians of Australia, Norway, and Britain supporting Frente POLISARIO.[97] The other two possible world powers, China and Russia, are either too distant to be involved (China) or remain neutral (Russia). Some scholars used to say that the Western Sahara existed due to and was prolonged by the Cold War, although its duration after the fall of the Berlin Wall would prove otherwise.[98]

IV.   Future Possibilities: Possible outcomes and their likeliness
Since January 2002, the UN Secretary-General has submitted several reports to the Security Council, the most recent of which is of considerable importance to the future of the Western Sahara if the matter included in the report actually comes into effect. MINURSO’s mandate expires on April 30, 2002, and the Security Council has make a decision on which option it wants to see as the future of the Sahara from those given by Kofi Annan in February 2002.
With the argument that neither party has been willing to cooperate with the UN to either implement the settlement plan or to negotiate an alternative political solution, four options were posed for the future.
Options offered by Kofi Annan
a. Resuming the Settlement Plan without concurrence of both parties[99]
The first option is to resume trying to implement the initial MINURSO settlement plan but without requiring the concurrence of both parties before action could be taken. In other words, the appeals process would begin, but facing the same problems and obstacles of the past 10 years. Morocco is no longer willing to go forward with this agreement, which means that the referendum’s results would not be accepted by both sides. Furthermore, in the instance that the referendum did occur, and because it is likely that both parties will not agree to it, there would be no mechanism to enforce the results of the referendum against the wishes of those parties.
The failures of MINURSO and the parties to come to an agreement in the past over MINURSO’s initial Settlement Plan makes Morocco constantly reiterate that it no longer considers the Settlement Plan a viable solution. Meanwhile, “Frente POLISARIO asks the UN to pursue implementation of the settlement plan, knowing that all such effects have clearly ended in deadlock.”[100]
This option is desired because it is a continuation of what has been in place since the beginning of the cease-fire, and some of the tedious problems that the parties had with the option have already been worked out over the course of the 10 years. Because Morocco initially agreed to the Plan, with further negotiation it is possible that it could be successfully implemented. However, Morocco found issues with the appeals process of the plan, was more in favor of Frente POLISARIO. Under this scheme, the (Moroccan) citizens that have moved to the Sahara or been born in the Sahara since 1975 are not able to participate in the referendum. This is the solution that Frente POLISARIO and Algeria are advocating, and is the best option for the Sahrawi population. One argument against it is that it proves MINURSO’s ineffectiveness so far. The advantages to parties other than Frente POLISARIO and Algeria include MINURSO being able to proclaim its success. There are many governments around the world that are advocating a free and fair election and this option would satisfy their interests.
Looking at the past 10 years’ failure to give results, the immediate impulse would be to say that the occurrence of this referendum is quite unlikely to occur, because Morocco has been stalling and postponing the entire time. Nevertheless, it is still a viable option on the table because if Morocco were to receive some small amount of pressure, the machinations of the referendum are already in place and ready to go.
b. Revision of the draft agreement presented on a non-negotiable basis to parties[101]
The second option would be a revision of the draft framework agreement, which was proposed in the interests of Morocco by Secretary-General Personal Envoy James Baker. The draft framework agreement would allot time before a referendum would occur, also allowing for the possibility that it may not ever occur. It is thought by many parties that the simple instance of having worked out an alternative should be a positive sign of Morocco’s willingness to work for a viable solution, although Frente POLISARIO and Algeria argue that the draft framework is biased in Morocco’s favor. The draft framework claims to have taken into account the various concerns expressed by the parties and other states about the faults within the settlement plan. However, the difference between this and past actions would be that the concurrence of the parties would not be sought, and once being passed in the Security Council, it would be presented on a non-negotiable basis.
Advocating a self-governing region within Morocco
Critics of the draft framework say that the agreement’s proposal of postponing the referendum for a further five years is unacceptable. In the interim time, despite the Sahrawi people being able to elect an autonomous body, their authority would be limited and the result would be an “autonomous region” within Morocco as opposed to an independent state. Other critics claim that the voter identification has also been extended too far, where “to be qualified to vote in such a referendum a voter must have been a full-time resident of Western Sahara for the preceding one year,”[102] as opposed to using the Spanish census of 1974. Such a formulation favors Morocco.
Apart from being advocated by James Baker, this option is actually already part of UN guidelines for the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (UN Resolution 1514). “A colonial territory’s decolonization need not involve its emergence as a sovereign independent state but could, instead, be achieved by its “free association” or “integration” with an independent state.”[103]
This kind of solution, even though quite obviously with a bias, is important to consider simply because Morocco is trying to come to a compromise. Baker’s approval helps validate and legitimize this choice. This option, however, is neither desired by the Sahrawis, nor would it benefit them. This is the best option from Morocco’s perspective, but is also very unlikely it could be implemented because of the adamant criticism and refusal of Frente POLISARIO and Algeria to negotiate the draft agreement in any way.
c. Division/Partition of the territory[104]
The third option would be to explore possibilities of a division of the territory through discussions with the parties involved. If the parties were unwilling or unable to agree upon a division of the territory by 1 November 2002 (which is highly likely), the decision would be presented to the Security Council, which would in turn decide on a settlement on a non-negotiable basis.
This option requires compromise from both parties. Neither side would get the entirety of what they want, but both would get a part of what they want. Therefore, because each has to sacrifice a part of their plans, it is also likely to be the least desired option by both sides. As is the case with all of the MINURSO proposals, nothing would be decided until everything was decided.
Considering that Morocco agreed to this kind of settlement with Mauritania in 1976, (see appendix 1) it would seem like a viable solution for Rabat, but Morocco has changed its position since then. It argues that a division of the territory requires making an agreement with a declared enemy, and therefore is not a solution. This position makes such an agreement less possible.
Former President President Boumedienne of Algeria (until 1978), communicated his agreement with the division of Western Sahara between Mauritania and Morocco, but withdrew it later.[105] While this goes to show the policies are often created by a single person in power and not necessarily by a set of consistent government decisions, it also offers the hope that because a division was acceptable to Algeria once before, it might also be again. Therefore, convincing Frente POLISARIO is made much easier.
A division is a very practical option for both sides simply because each would get part of what they want. It completely ignores the concept of self-determination, but if it is a resolution to such a drawn-out historical problem that both parties can agree on, then it deserves to have a place on the negotiating table. In terms of making each party happy even a little, it is the best option for both the local Sahrawi population and for Morocco. The other interested parties would also be satisfied because a resolution was achieved with the agreement of everyone involved.
Of the proposals made by the Secretary-General, this is the most likely option to be successful and to be chosen. If utilized, it will be a quick solution to the problem where neither party loses everything, and therefore both parties are much less likely to cause trouble in the future.
d. End of the MINURSO mandate and UN involvement
                The fourth and last option offered would be to terminate MINURSO, thereby recognizing and acknowledging that after more than 11 years and the expenditure of sums of money nearing half a billion dollars, the UN is not going to solve the problem of the Western Sahara “without requiring that one or the other or both of the parties do something that they do not wish to voluntarily agree to do.”[106]
The United States Congress has threatened to cut off aid to UN peacekeeping forces, which would have affected MINURSO, although this is better interpreted as frustration with the UN’s incompetence and failure to resolve the issue rather than as any bias against the peace process in the Western Sahara.[107] The most likely reason for this option to be posed is as a threat to the parties involved. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is frustrated with the lack of progress and this is one way to kick start the international arena into action (generally, no country wants to admit failure and abandon a needy group which desires self-determination to the scourges of war and political domination).
It is the author’s belief that this option is not desired in any way by any party, but was proposed as a last resort by a Secretary-General facing criticism for an ineffective peacekeeping operation which has exceeded expected cost and time limits. It would not help the situation in any way because the local Sahrawi population and Frente POLISARIO would probably fall back into a form of warfare with Morocco that it saw previous to MINURSO’s deployment, which would not benefit either.
The only party that could prove to benefit from such a defeatist option would be the donors of the money that funds MINURSO, but all member states agree that the welfare of a population and resolution of a crisis outweighs financial priorities.
The likeliness of this option occurring is small. Despite coming to frequent diplomatic impasses, not all the options available have been tried. Even though MINURSO is not as effective as its leaders would like, it has made a great deal of progress so far, especially given the obduracy of the parties, and there have been many benefits to the parties involved.

None of the options mentioned by the Secretary-General is ideal to all the parties and interested countries, but such a solution where everyone would agree has already proven to be impossible. (For a chart showing the preferred options of each party and the likelihood of each option, see Appendix 5). Considering that two of the options involve proposals made by the Security Council to the parties on a non-negotiable basis, it seems like the Secretary-General is finally advocating firm action. One would think that this should have been the best course of action from the beginning, but because of respect for sovereignty and each group’s own policies, the UN did not advance non-negotiable proposals, instead it only sought for vague actions like talks and an agreement to occur. For the same reasons the US has been unable to dictate a definite course of action in the past, it probably will not be able to do even now. Past Security Council resolutions were weak and general, made no concrete decisions, and left much of the efforts and work up to the Secretary-General and his staff. Offering ultimatums also poses another problem: enforcing the threat should parties refuse to cooperate. There is no mechanism in place to enforce the removal of Morocco or force the disbanding of Frente POLISARIO if such a final state was reached. The chance of the UN doing a peace enforcement mission in the Western Sahara is almost zero.
Possible results and effects:
With each option, there are certain possible results and outcomes that have not been directly mentioned and analyzed so far. Option e), an independent Western Sahrawi state, would come about if the proposed and frequently postponed referendum were ever to occur and if the Sahrawis voted for independence, most likely through the Settlement Plan (Option a). Option f), assimilation into Morocco, would occur with an opposite result in the referendum (Option a) or could occur gradually through the Framework Agreement (Option b). Option g), a continuation of the status quo is basically the result of continued non-action by MINURSO and the parties involved. The last option, option h) full-on warfare and an indeterminable result, would occur if MINURSO and the United Nations pulled out (Option d). (For a chart comparing the options and possible outcomes, see Appendix 6).
e. An independent Western Sahrawi state
Despite the enormous question of whether the Western Sahara will ever achieve independence, there is a question of its survival. Though the granting of statehood cannot be prevented on the question of the viability of a new state according to the United Nations GA Resolution 1514, an independent SADR Western Sahara would be a weak state. The emergence of such a weak Sahrawi state would have the same encircling effect on Morocco that Algeria seems to be afraid of with Morocco’s current occupation of the region. It would also change the balance of regional dominance.
“Such a state, with a small population, would be highly vulnerable to heavy Algerian influence and would look naturally to Algeria for protection against frustrated Moroccan irredentism. Furthermore, Algeria would be well-placed to exert heavy influence on weak Mauritania, as it did from the mid 1960s to 1974.”[108]

With a population numbering only in the hundred thousands, with no agricultural opportunities, the possible viability of Western Sahara is shaky. The resources that have the possibility of overcoming this issue, the abundant fishing grounds, mineral and oil resources could offer a chance of survival, but terms of trade would need to be strong, and whether Algeria would give its utmost support when it has its own problems is debatable.
This result, desired by Frente POLISARIO and Algeria, would seem like the final solution and answer to their dreams. But with the achievement of an independent state would need a strong set of trainer wheels, meaning the UN might run it for a while as in East Timor. Still, it is understandable and completely justified for the Sahrawi population to seek a state of their own, and is in their best interests to do so. Whether it is the best option for the other interested parties is questionable, but they do not really have the right to object.
If the referendum ever does occur (which is unlikely from the instant), the terms of the referendum will also determine its results. This is the sole reason why the referendum has failed to come about so far. So how likely a prospect is an independent Sahrawi state? If we consider the desires for it across the globe and compare those to the desires for Moroccan assimilation, then it is very likely, but there are significant obstacles left to overcome.
f. Assimilation into Morocco
While this is practically in effect now, an assimilation of the Western Sahara into Morocco would finally mean de jure international recognition for Morocco’s claim. Criticism in the form of human rights and development would no longer hinder Morocco’s relations with other states. A very distant possibility of admittance into the EU, which is highly sought after, would no longer be an absolute impossibility.
Whether or not this situation would allow relations between countries of the Maghreb, particularly between Morocco and Algeria, to improve is contentious. “Algerians fear that the absorption of the Sahara by their neighbors would only encourage Moroccan expansionist tendencies.”[109] The previous Moroccan-Algerian frontier disagreements could then be brought back to the negotiating table, with Algerian facing a stronger opponent.
Otherwise, Morocco’s situation would not change very much. It is already reaping the benefits of the resources of Western Sahara, but it is also understandable to see why a final solution is desired. There could be a reduction of the military in the region, and a possible improvement in the refugee situation for the local Sahrawi population.
This option, like the previous option is also not very likely because it does not satisfy both parties and Morocco has no official international support to push for this kind of result.
g. A continuation of the status quo
                This situation is very similar to the one just mentioned, assimilation into Morocco. However, the big difference is the final resolution of the conflict and the ability of parties to begin to move on from the conflict would be lacking without a legally recognized solution and with a continuation of the status quo.    
                Various international parties, while not desiring a continuation of the status quo, could still allow it to occur by doing nothing.
“Despite the US’s proclaimed neutrality in the conflict, the seemingly impartial and hands-off US approach has inevitably favored the status quo, particularly given the great inequality in relationship between the Sahrawis and the Moroccan occupying forces.”[110]

No agreements would be made, and nothing would happen at all to the present situation, which is not a satisfactory resolution to this conflict. Some scholars would argue that this is what Morocco wants, whereas the more likely choice would be official assimilation. Nevertheless, it is possible that the policies of procrastination and the refusal to agree will keep the situation in its state of limbo.
It is not a good option for any of the parties involved because there is no resolution. The lack of final decision creates a falseness to reality. However, this is also one of the most likely situations to occur, simply because this is exactly what has been occurring for the past 10 years.
h. Full on warfare and an indeterminable result
With the departure of MINURSO from Western Sahara, chaos might let loose. Warfare and aggression would most likely resume, and the entire Western Sahara situation would be as if MINURSO had not even occurred. A depressing course of action, this is unlikely to occur because of the impact of such a failure on the United Nations would fail to solve anything, where there are still many routes untried to solve the issue.
“The prospects that the United Nations’ efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Western Sahara will collapse, thus leading to a resumption of fighting between the armed forces of Morocco and of the POLISARIO Front, will essentially be determined by political calculations rather than by military factors.[111]
The Saharawi coordinator with the United Nations, M'hamed Khaddad, affirmed in The Hague that the referendum of self-determination remains "the only acceptable solution" for Western Sahara, while assuring that if this does not happen a return to arms would be inevitable.[112]
Self-determination can be achieved through war or revolution, election or an agreement, and so far none of the above have worked in Western Sahara. Due to the lack of violence, the small Sahrawi population, and the territory’s relative lack of resources (in terms of world markets), the Western Sahara issue has received a lack of global awareness and third party involvement compared to other world crises. There are no major international actors: France and USA, who are both allied to Morocco in a way, refuse to force a settlement.[113]
Morocco’s leverage (a recognized state) is stronger than that of Frente POLISARIO. However, the majority of international public opinion and the United Nations seem to support Frente POLISARIO, but the lack of major patrons willing to force the issue in their favor has prevented them from prevailing. This, and the overall inefficiency of the international system to come to a solution have allowed Morocco to maintain the status quo. Morocco has managed the territory efficiently, and is pouring money into the region, willing to establish infrastructure such as the road it wants to build in the South East (but is prevented by UN member states and MINURSO), but that does not mean that it is the best situation or the only option for the future.
One of the ultimate goals of the modern United Nations dominated world is self-determination, and even though it is likely that the independent SADR will be a government controlled by Algeria, such questions cannot be used to delay independence to a colonial territory according to UN General Assembly Resolution 1514, as mentioned earlier. The recognition status of the SADR is much to its advantage considering that no state, save Mauritania’s brief alliance, has recognized Morocco’s claim to the Western Sahara and that even the ICJ court appraisal denied that it had any rights to the territory. Therefore, even though Morocco’s presence in the area does work in its favor and has shown benefits, SADR, much to the chagrin of Morocco, needs to be given independence and recognized as a state by Morocco. Any other resolution would go against United Nations principles, values and ideals. This is very unlikely to occur, though, because Morocco has such greater influence internationally. Desire for an independent Western Sahara is partially shared at an official level by the UN Secretary-General, but with the politics of official diplomatic language and actions, he cannot push the issue too hard.
“At the conclusion of those consultations, my Personal Envoy was of the view, which I shared, that further meetings of the parties to seek a political solution could not succeed, and indeed could be counterproductive, unless the Government of Morocco as administrative power in Western Sahara was prepared to offer or support some devolution of government authority.”[114]

In consideration of all the events that have occurred, however, and the continued inability to come to an agreement satisfactory to both parties, the best option to advocate for would be the partition/division plan, although the specifics would still have to be settled (and likely to be as long, tedious, and ineffective as negotiations have been so far). Evidence in history shows it is possible for both parties to agree, and it offers both parties a certain percentage of what they seek. This is what should occur, but what will actually happen?
It seems like the only two legitimate ways of settling the dispute are through a referendum (which is unlikely, and if it does happen it will take a long time) or a division of the territory (not something that the parties are quite ready to discuss realistically in depth, considering the animosity between them). However, slow progress or a continuation of the status quo could cause the UN forces in the Western Sahara to simply move out, which could lead to yet another armed conflict, which neither party can afford. It was one of the options given by the Secretary-General (to end the MINURSO mandate), but this not really is an option that will be considered, because, the fact is: MINURSO has made a difference. To have come so far and give up would be tragic. Proof that this option was merely a threat has shown in recent weeks, as the UN rejected this option, saying they will not abandon the mission, although the Special Envoy James Baker has threatened to quit his position if firm action does not arise soon, which could have a similarly debilitating effect.[115]
Even though Frente POLISARIO and SADR have the majority of international support, that is not enough to go against a recognized state and military without the advocacy of a large power. There are the beginnings of a referendum mechanism already in place, so even if the progress were to be as slow as it has been so far, and it were to take another 10 years before the referendum takes place, it is still likely that the Sahrawi population will eventually vote between independence and integration. But that does not mean that a referendum will happen or that it is the final solution. The mechanism to enforce the result is vague to say the least, and non-existent to say the worst, which probably adds to the arguments of those critics’ who are thankful that the referendum has not taken place yet. After all, what will happen if even after the results are declared, both or one party refuses to accept the results? However, looking at the past and considering the lack of events, the referendum is still very far off from actualizing, and if the referendum ever does occur, we are still not certain of the result.
Independence is unlikely to occur because of the slim chances for a referendum, assimilation into Morocco is unlikely because of the international support for POLISARIO, a division is unlikely due to the poor relations between the parties, and MINURSO is unlikely to be cancelled because of the progress made so far. Thus, all of Kofi Annan’s options are unlikely to occur.
Basically, the most likely situation to occur in the Western Sahara is a continuation of the status quo. Other issues, such as the repatriation of refugees, and the issues with human rights and prisoners will remain unsolved.[116] Frente POLISARIO will continue to fight against Morocco for independence and Morocco will keep resisting, which is unfortunate because the resources used in continuing the conflict could be better utilized towards much needed economic development in the region. The MINURSO mandate will be extended (which it was, until 31 July 2002), as it has been countless times before, and the Secretary-General will continue to assess the situation, and the Security Council will in its constrictions of officiality and diplomacy, “remain seized of the matter”. While this is a pessimistic yet realistic conclusion, and the status quo could continue indefinitely, one would hope that a resolution to the conflict can occur, and soon, because  “A solution is sorely needed for long-term peace, stability and prosperity in the Maghreb region.”[117]

Events During the Last Month (not part of final paper)
                A draft resolution favoring the Framework Agreement was presented by the USA to the Security Council. It proposes to mandate James Baker to prepare an agreement (pseudo-autonomy) without seeking the agreement of both parties, to present it to the Council who would present it to the parties as non-negotiable. It is now supported by France, Great Britain, Guinea and Bulgaria. The American move was surprising to some, but scholars argue that they were motivated by wanting to defend the stability of the Moroccan monarchy while pursuing cooperation between Moroccan and American secret services on anti-terrorism and by the oil interests at stake.
The Spanish government remains attached to the settlement plan and refuses any solution imposed by force, which would create a climate of instability in the region. A technical extension of the mandate of MINURSO is sought by other members of the Security Council to allow a more carefully considered decision to be made. Within the Council there was not a clear majority in favor of any one of the three options, so the outcome is still unsure. On Friday 26th, a group of experts from the Security Council met but came to no conclusions.
Those states in favor of the US proposal are using the argument of the resignation of Baker if the framework agreement proposal is abandoned, while the states against the draft resolution are complaining of "the intolerable blackmail and inadmissible pressure". Frente POLISARIO has indicated that if the autonomy option is retained, they will withdraw from negotiations.
 Other developments include a letter from Algeria sent to the president of the Security Council, which notes that the American recommendation “deliberately ignores the interest shown by several UN delegations in the proposal for the partition of the Sahara”, which, in terms of what I theorize would be the best solution for the Western Sahara, a division of the territory, increases its chances of occurring now that Algeria has indicated possible support.[118]
      These events support my claim of this being a complicated situation that needs several sessions of negotiations to even come up with a possible proposal. My thesis is supported because the status quo has continued, although this particular set of events with Kofi Annan’s proposals shows promise for action that has not occurred in (recent) MINURSO history, although the extending of the mandate has already occurred, which defends the tediousness of the choice of any option. What is sure is that a resolution to the conflict will not occur soon (in the next year), and even if there will be a satisfactory resolution, the remote possibility of which is still very uncertain, even if a proposal is made or accepted, that does not ensure the implementation of it.
                Basically, the status quo will continue for now, but negotiations have the possibility of opening up towards the best solution for all the parties: the division of the territory. The conflict remains unsolved: what will happen in Western Sahara?

Appendix 1: The Madrid Agreement
Source: (

"On November 14, 1975, the delegations lawfully representing the Governments of Spain, Morocco and Mauritania, meeting in Madrid, stated that they had agreed in order on the following principles:
1. Spain confirms its resolve, repeatedly stated in the United Nations, to decolonize the Territory of Western Sahara by terminating the responsibilities and powers which it possesses over that Territory as administering Power.
2. In conformity with the aforementioned determination and in accordance with the negotiations advocated by the United Nations with the affected parties, Spain will proceed forthwith to institute a temporary administration in the Territory, in which Morocco and Mauritania will participate in collaboration with the Djemaa* and to which will be transferred all the responsibilities and powers referred to in the preceding paragraph. It is accordingly agreed that two Deputy Governors nominated by Morocco and Mauritania shall be appointed to assist the Governor-General of the Territory in the performance of his functions. The termination of the Spanish presence in the Territory will be completed by February 28, 1976 at the latest.
3. The views of the Saharan population, expressed through the Djemaa, will be respected.
4. The three countries will inform the Secretary-General of the United Nations of the terms set down in this instrument as a result of the negotiations entered into in accordance with Article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations.
5. The three countries involved declare that they arrived at the foregoing conclusions in the highest spirit of understanding and brotherhood, with due respect for the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and as the best possible contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security.
6. This instrument shall enter into force on the date of publication in the Boletin Oficial del Estado of the 'Shara Decolonization Act' authorizing the Spanish Government to assume the commitments conditionally set forth in this instrument."

*- Djemaa: Assembly of Saharawi notables (sheikhs)

Appendix 2: List of United Nations Resolutions (Partial List)
[This is by no means complete, but used to show the large amount of both resolutions and reports]
Source: United Nations Website
Note: Shaded areas are different types of reports/resolutions

Security Council/GA Resolutions
Secretary-General Reports

SC Res 621 (1988)
SG Awareness speech to GA

SC Res 658 (1990)
SG Report (S/21360) to SC

SC Res 690 (1991)
SG Report (S/22464) to SC
SG informs SC of date change
End 91
SC Res 725 (1991)
         -approves (S/23 299)
SG Report (S/23299) to SC
SG presents agreement text to SC
SC Res 809 (1993)
         -intensify efforts
         -voter eligibility
SG Report (S/23662) to SC
SG Report (S/24040) to SC
SG Report (S/24464) to SC
SC Res 907 (1994)
         -approves (S/1994/283)
         -start UNMRWS forms
SG Factual Report to GA
SG Report (S/25170) to SC
SG temporary report to SC
SC Res 973 (1995)
SG Report (S/26186) to SC

HCR tour 2-14 Feb
SG temporary report to SC

SC Res 995 (1995)
         -approves (S/1995/404)
SG Report (S/26797) to SC
SG “three options” report to SC
SC Mission visit

SC Res 1002 (1995)
         -extend mandate to 30/9/95
SG Report (S/1994/819) to SC
SG Report to GA
SC Res 1017 (1995)
         -extend mandate to 31/1/96
SG Report (S/1994/1257) to SC
SG Report (S/1994/1420) to SC
SC Res 1033 (1995)
SG Report (S/1995/240) to SC

SC Res 1042 (1996)
SG Report (S/1995/404) to SC

SC Res 1056 (1996)
SC mission report to SC

SC Res 1108 (1997)
SG Report (S/1995/779) to SC

Statement (S/PRST/1997/16)
SG temporary report to SC

SC Res 1308 (2000)
          -convention and safety of   
           UN personnel
SG Report (S/1995/986) to SC

SG Report (S/1996/43) to SC

SG Report (S/1996/343) to SC

SC Res 1390 (2000)
SG Report (S/2001/613) to SC

SC Res 1324 (2000)
SG Report (S/2002/41) to SC

SC Res 1342 (2001)
SG Report (S/2002/178) to SC

SC Res 1349 (2001)
SG Report (S/2002/178) to SC

SC Res 1359 (2001)

SC Res 1380 (2001)

SC Res 1394 (2002)

Appendix 3: Major arms sales to Morocco, 1975-1988
(Source: Volman. 1999. Page 213)

I.                    Type of Equipment
Kuerassier light tanks
F-1CH Mirage fighter aircraft

F-1EH Mirage fighter aircraft

SA-341 Gazelle helicopter gunships

AlphaJet counterinsurgency aircraft

AMX-13 light tanks

VAB armored personnel carriers

AMX-F-3 155 mm self-propelled howitzers
UR-416 armored personnel carriers

Do-28 transport aircraft
SF-260 trainer aircraft
South Africa
Eland and Ratel armored cars
AS-202 trainer aircraft
United States
M-48 tanks

M-113 armored personnel carriers

Vulcan 20mm self-propelled air-defense gun systems

M-48 Chaparral surface-to-air missile batteries

155mm towed and self-propelled howitzers

F-5A fighter aircraft

F-5E fighter aircraft

OV-10 counterinsurgency aircraft

C-130 transport aircraft

KC-130 tanker aircraft
Sources: IISS, Military Balance, 1979-1980, 96; IISS, Military Balance, 1987-1988, 107-9; IISS, Military Balance, 1989-1990, 108-10; Dean, Air Force Role, 16, 42, 44-47, 59, 61-62, 67-69.

Appendix 4: Major arms sales to Morocco, 1989-1994
(Source: Volman. 1999. Page 218)

II.                  Type of Equipment
VAB-VCI armored cars

AMX-10 armored cars

FH-70 155mm towed artillery
Assad-class missile corvettes
CN-235 transport aircraft

Lazaga missile frigates
United States
C-130 electronic warfare aircraft

UH-60 liason helicopters

M-60 tanks (NATO surplus)

M-113 armored reconnaissance vehicles

M-44 155mm self-propelled artillery

M-198 155mm towed artillery
Sources: IISS, Military Balance, 1987-1988, 108; IISS, Military Balance, 1989-1990, 109-10; IISS, Military Balance, 1995-1996, 142-43; IISS, Military Balance, 1996-1997, 125,128-29.

Appendix 5: Options: Who wants them? What’s their likeliness?

A Settlement Plan
B Draft Agreement
C Division of Territory
D MINURSO is dissolved
Others: Nothing changes
Morocco wants?
*Not currently likely, but could become likely at a later time.

Appendix 6: Options and possible outcomes (each must be both possible through the plan and likely to occur if the plan was implemented)

Option A Settlement Plan
Option B Draft Agreement
Option C Division of Territory
Option D MINURSO is dissolved
Independence for Western Sahara
Assimilation into Morocco
Continue Status Quo

Appendix 7: Map of “Greater Morocco”
Source: Hodges. 1983. Page 87.

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[1] Hodges. 1982. Pages 5-6
[2] Emphasis of the “some” is important because it helped make the distinction for the ICJ between “legal ties” and “legal ties of sovereignty”. ICJ. 1975. Page 5.
[3] Prior to Moroccan independence, the Alaoui Royal family, which the current monarchy also belong to, was a sultanate. They lost power, government and administration to the French during the protectorate, which lasted from 1912-1956, only to resume it after independence.
[4] Historical Foundations of the Moroccanity of the Sahara website. page 2. They also mention Cheikh Ma el Ainain, a special representative of the Sultan appointed to resist against foreign encroachments in the Western Sahara at the end of the 19th C. Page 2. “Acts of military resistance to foreign penetration” is also recognized by the ICJ. ICJ. 1975. Page 5.
[5] ICJ. 1975. Page 5
[6] Historical Foundations of the Moroccanity of the Sahara website. page 1-2. “The Sultan is the religious leader of the community of believers whom he also governs temporally. The acceptation of the Sultan’s person by the believers is made through the “Beyaa” or allegiance.” The binding of a State to its nationals, making the Sultan the supreme spiritual and political authority is made so long as the Sultan remains faithful to the precepts of the Qur’an. page 1-2. This “special structure of the Moroccan State” was accepted by the ICJ. ICJ. 1975. Page 4.
[7] The French thought they would control Algeria indefinitely, whereas Morocco and Tunisia were only protectorates. So France extended Algeria’s boundaries into what should have been Morocco in order to make their territory (Algeria) bigger for their own interests. Morocco negotiated with and aided Algerian independence movements with conditions that the territory be returned to Morocco, but that particular party lost control once independence had been achieved.
[8] Damis, 1987, Page 201. It was also mentioned in the Historical Foundations of the Moroccanity of the Sahara website.
[9] Hodges. 1983. Page 85. The map was published in the party’s daily newspaper, Al-Alam, on July 7, 1956,  and drawn by Abdelkebir el-Fassi, cousin of the leader of the party, Allal el-Fassi. The areas of Algeria included the oases of Touat, Gourara, and Tidikelt, as well as the whole of Spanish Sahara and Mauritania, and even a corner of Mali. Page 90-91. Interestingly enough, when Mohammed V toured the Middle East in 1960, most of the Arab governments expressed support for the Moroccan claim to Mauritania and continued to do so when it came time to vote on Mauritania’s admission to the UN. In the Security Council, however, the western powers and the Soviet Union thrashed out a compromise to allow for both Mauritania and Mongolia.
[10] Mohktar Ould Daddah, then president of Mauritania, in Atar, July 1, 1957. Hodges. 1983. Page 100.
[11] Hodges. 1983. Page 102. “There were actually three distinct Mauritanian policies on Western Sahara during the sixties. There was the official claim to the territory, there was the quiet acceptance of the status quo, and side by side with these, from 1966, there was a third policy of support for self-determination. In fact, all these apparently contradictory policies had the same raison d’etre, the need to keep Morocco out of Western Sahara and so away from Mauritania’s existing borders.”
[12] Hodges. 1983. Page 100.
[13] Hodges. 1983. Page 88. “When Algeria finally achieved independence in 1962 after eight years of bloody war with France, it found itself confronted by Moroccan territorial demands and had to fight a brief war in 1963 to fend off an attempt by Morocco to seize Tindouf by force.”
[14] The Treaty of Fraternity, Good Neighborliness and Cooperation, ironically!
[15] Zouitni. 1997. Page 325.
[16] Resolution 2072 (XX) on December 16, 1965.
[17] Hodges. 1983. Page 70.
[18] The same year as the beginning of the conflict in East Timor, which has a number of similarities.
[19] It was UN General Assembly Resolution 3292 (XXIX) of December 14, 1974. Dunbar, Charles. 2000. Page 3. and Historical Foundations of the Moroccanity of the Sahara website. Page 2 Spain’s refusal: ICJ. 1975. Page 4.
[20] ICJ. 1975. Page 1
[21] Documents included treaties conducted with Spain, the USA, Great Britain and Spain between 1767 and 1861 and other bilateral treaties of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. ICJ. 1975. Page 5. Particular citings from documents were also mentioned in the Historical Foundations of the Moroccanity of the Sahara website. Page 2
[22] ICJ. 1975. Page 6.
[23] The Mauritanian Entity, although claiming to extend from the Senegal river to the Wad Sakiet El Hamra, did not have “any tie of sovereignty or of allegiance of tribes or of simple inclusion in the same entity” with the Western Sahara, although the rights, to land for example, constituted legal ties. ICJ. 1975. Page 5.
[24] GA Resolution 1514 (XV) outlined the guidelines and restrictions for the decolonization and independence of occupied regions. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). UN General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI). Entered into force 23 March 1976. ICJ. 1975. Page 1.
[25] Press Statement of Western Sahara (POLISARIO) Mission for UK and Ireland. Page 1
[26] Damis, 1987, page 190
[27] The number was symbolic as it represents the average number of Moroccans born every year since independence.
[28] Dunbar. 2000. Page 4.
[29] “In its resolution 380 (1975) of 6 November 1975, the Security Council had called on “all parties concerned and interested” to undertake negotiations under Article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations. On 14 November 1975, Morocco, Mauritania and Spain concluded the Madrid Agreement (registered with the United Nations on 9 December 1975, as number 14450).” Annex III: Comments by the Government of Morocco. Interim report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara. 10 January 2002. Page 15.
[30] Then the total Sahrawi population was around 73,500. Many but not all of these, became refugees after the Green March. For reference, the current population of the region is 250,559. CIA World Factbook website. Morocco’s population is 30.5 million.
[31] Hodges, 1983, also implies that the Frente POLISARIO were the dominant party for some of the fighting. “By 1982-83, the guerillas roamed unchallenged over five sixths of Western Sahara, while eighty thousand Moroccan troops were boxed into two coastal enclaves, protected by a panoply of “electronic warfare” defenses.” Page viii.
[32] Life Magazine, May 1988, Vol. 11, No. 6, page 14
[33] Until then Ould Daddah was the leader of Mauritania, but he was overthrown in a coup in 1978. Damis. 1985. Page 144.
[34] The area recovered was known as the Oued Eddahab province. “Moroccan Sahara Chronology” website. Page 2.
[35] Pazzanita. 1994. Page 272.
[36] General Assembly Resolution 40/50 of December 2, 1985 brings the Western Sahara back into discussion, and invites the OAU and UN Secretary-General to do their best to encourage the parties to meet, negotiate, and eventually organize a referendum under Resolution AHG/RES, 104 (XIX).
[37] The Settlement Plan is the official proposal of the United Nations Security Council, which they are still attempting to put it into effect, but since the agreement to the Plan, both sides have slightly altered their agreement to it.
[38] Dunbar. 2000. Page 4
[39] Representatives were Bachir Mustapha Sayed, Mahfoud Ali Beida, and Bachir Ghali. Moroccan Sahara Chronology website.
[40] Union du Maghreb Arabe (UMA) is the official name.
[41] Ghomari. 1997. Page 312. “Il s’agit de rendre l’Algérie moins capable de continuer les manœuvres dilatoire contre le processus unitaire opéré par le Maroc.” Translated roughly by the author to mean “It is said to have made Algeria less capable of continuing the dilatory tactics against the unity process created by Morocco.”
[42] MINURSO website. Background. Page 2
[43] MINURSO website. Mission. Page 2
[44] MINURSO website. Background. Page 2
[45] Two stations opened in Laayoune and Lahmada on 28 August 1994. Two more opened in Boujdour and Tindouf in November 1994. The last two opened in Es-smara and another in Tindouf in February of 1995.
[46] Between 1988 and 2000 there were at least 15 Security Council Resolutions and at least 24 reports by the Secretary-General to the Security Council and at least 3 to the General Assembly. See Appendix 2.
[47] It concerned new wording of the “conduct code” to govern the referendum campaign.
[48] A Moroccan government Press Release stated that while in July 1998, there were 50,093 registered in Morocco, 31,512 registered in Tindouf camps, and 3,177 in Mauritania, in December 1998, the Moroccan number had been reduced to 46,255, and the Tindouf and Mauritania numbers increased to 33,786 and 4,210 respectively. This means that Morocco still has the advantage in numbers, even if it has been decreased, but all those voters in Morocco are still not 100 % likely to vote to stay a part of Morocco. Mincom government website.
[49] MINURSO gives the numbers at 84,251 eligible out of 147,249 identified, and 79,000 appeals were received for the first group. In the second group 2,130 were found eligible out of 51, 200 applications. MINURSO website. Background. Page 3. Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara. 19 February 2002. Page 5 “an appeals process that promises to be even lengthier and more cumbersome and contentious than the identification itself.”
[50] MINURSO website. Background. 27 February 2002. Special Representative is William Lacy Swing.
[51] Dunbar. 2000. Page 1. Official budget expressed in Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara. 19 February 2002. Page 4, for the 2001-2002 year were $48.8 million.
[52] Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara. 19 February 2002. Page 4
[53] Although the cease-fire is officially from 6 September 1991, it had unofficially been in place two years before that.
[54] Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara. 19 February 2002. Page 2-5
[55] Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara. 19 February 2002. Page 3
[56] Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara. 19 February 2002. Page 3
[57] War on Want British NGO website: Projects/Sahara page.
[58] Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara. 19 February 2002. Page 4. Legality concerns were in (S/2002/161), Algeria’s concerns in (S/2002/144), and Frente POLISARIO’s opinions on the issue are mentioned in (S/2002/161).
[59] Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara. 19 February 2002. Page 2
[60] ARSO website.
[61] ARSO website.
[62] War on Want British NGO website: Projects/Sahara page. Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara. 19 February 2002. Page 3
[63] Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara. 19 February 2002. Page 5
[64] Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara. 19 February 2002. Page 5
[65] Ghomari. 1997. and Zouitni, 1997. Page 324.
[66] Zouitni. 1997. Page 321.
[67] ARSO website.
[68] Layachi. 1998. Page 91-93 and Layachi, 1999 Page 46-49
[69] Damis. 1985. Page 139. “The territory would add rich phosphate deposits, located at Bu Craa in the northern Skiet al Hamra panhandle, to Morocco’s own enormous reserves, plus excellent fishing grounds in the Atlantic ocean.”
[70] Zoubir and Zunes. 1999. Page 235.
[71] Tessler. 1987. Page 212.
[72] Hodges. 1983. Page vii.
[73] Damis. 1985. Page 139. “A Moroccan takeover of the Sahara involves a territorial change that would enlarge, enrich, and strengthen Morocco as a rival to Algerian preeminence in North Africa” not to mention that it would have an encircling effect.
[74] Damis. 1985. Page 139. With the territory of the Western Sahara, Morocco’s land are will increase by nearly 60 percent, including some 600 miles of Atlantic coast. The conflict between the two countries is such that no map produced in Morocco will even print an eastern border between Morocco and Algeria, simply leaving empty space.
[75] Volman. 1999. Page 221.
[76] Ghomari. 1997. Page 308.
[77] Volman. 1999. Pages 215-222.
[78] Interim report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara. 10 January 2002. Page 2
[79] Hodges. 1983. Page 102-3
[80] Damis. 1985. Page 139.
[81] Damis. 1985. Page 140. “After taking over Morocco in 1912, the French administered the Tindouf region from Agadir in Morocco until 1952, when they transferred it to Algeria.” The same was for the Bechar and Touat regions.
[82] Volman. 1999. Page 212
[83] Zoubir and Zunes. 1999. Page 236
[84] The Economist. December 8, 2001. Western Sahara: POLISARIO’s sinking hopes
[85] UK Campaign Urges Spain to Take Lead on Western SaharaAfrica News Service. February 26, 2002
[86] Joffe. 1999. Page 254.
[87] Zoubir and Zunes. 1999. Page 236. “It weakened the standard U.S. rationale for its pro-Moroccan bias. Algeria’s moderate policy and moves toward democracy, coupled with the belated acknowledgement by U.S. analysts that the Saharwi nationalist movement, the POLISARIO Front, could not be completely defeated militarily by the Moroccan Armed Forces, also caused the United States to reassess its relations with Morocco.” Zoubir and Zunes. 1999. Page 234-235
[88] Zoubir and Zunes. 1999. Page 227
[89] Zoubir and Zunes. 1999. Page 235. “Morocco supported the allies despite previous collaboration with the Iraqi government, widespread sympathy for Iraq among the Moroccan population, and the striking parallels between Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait and Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara.”
[90] Zoubir and Zunes. 1999. Page 235. “Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs John R. Bolton acknowledged that Morocco had been “unhelpful” in the peace process. However, he candidly conceded that Morocco’s role in supporting US foreign policy had to be taken into account in determining US response.”
[91] Zoubir and Zunes. 1999. Page 234
[92] Zoubir and Zunes. 1999. Page 236-237
[93] Hodges. 1983. Page 90. See also footnote 9.
[94] Layachi. 1998. Page 91-93 and Layachi, 1999 Page 46-49. The “two kings” have a familial support that is even though often against public opinion, is very been helpful to the Moroccan kings.
[95] At various times since 1975, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, Libya, Senegal, the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Guinea, Togo, Kuwait, Gabon, France, Spain, the PLO, the UN, the Arab League and the OAU have made several attempts to resolve the conflict. Damis. 1985. Page 149.
[97] Africa News Service articles Norwegian Human Rights Network Demands Referendum, Security and Aid for Sahrawis. February 7, 2002. Sydneysiders Protest to Support Sahrawi Prisoners. January 22, 2002. UK Campaign Urges Spain to Take Lead on Western Sahara. February 26, 2002.
[98] Zoubir and Volman, 1993, Introduction. “The Soviet Union has kept a surprisingly consistent neutrality in the conflict.” Page xv.
[99] The effect on MINURSO would mean the Identification Commission would be reinforced, and there would be an increase in the operation overall.
[100] Annex III: Comments by the Government of Morocco. Interim report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara. 10 January 2002. Page 15
[101] The effect on MINURSO would be a decrease in the operation overall.
[102] Thomas. 2001. New Statesman.
[103] Hodges. 1983. Page 105.
[104] MINURSO in this instance would remain at its present size, or possibly reduced.
[105] Damis. 1985. Page 143.
[106] Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara. 19 February 2002. Page 8
[107] Zoubir and Zunes. 1999. Page 237
[108] Damis. 1985. Page 139.
[109] Damis. 1985. Page 139
[110] Zoubir and Zunes. 1999. Page 237
[111] Volman. 1999. Page 222.
[112] ARSO website.
[113] Pazzanita. 1994. Page 266-268
[114] Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara. 19 February 2002. Page 6
[115] Arieff. 2002. “Council envoys already have made clear that they would not choose the fourth option: To walk away from the seemingly endless impasse.” Africa News Online. 2002. UN threatens to abandon Western Sahara. Hoyos. 2002. Lederer. 2002.
[116] The analysis and summary graphs in appendices 5 and 6, show these two conclusions just stated: a continuation of the status quo is most likely, yet the only thing that satisfies both parties is the division of the territory, which is unlikely. These graphs do not show, however, my views that independence is necessary, though it does represent the large obstacles to achieving it.
[117] Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara. 19 February 2002. Page 7
[118] All information from ARSO website. www.arso.orgArieff. 2002. Africa News Online. 2002. Hoyos. 2002. Lederer. 2002.

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