The Western Sahara conflict has resulted in severe human-rights abuses, constantly reported by external reporters and HR activists, most notably the displacement of tens of thousands of Sahrawi civilians from the country, the expulsion of tens of thousands of Moroccan civilians by the Algerian government from Algeria, and numerous casualties of ...
The history of Western Sahara can be traced back to the times of Carthaginian explorer Hanno the Navigator in the 5th century BC. Though few historical records are left from that period, Western Sahara's modern history has its roots linked to some nomadic groups (living under Berber tribal rule and in contact with the Roman Empire) such as the Sanhaja group, and the introduction of Islam and ...
Western Sahara has been on the United Nations list of non-self-governing territories since the 1960s when it was a Spanish colony. The Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario Front independence movement, with its Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) government, both want control of the territory.
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Western Sahara, formerly the Spanish colony of Spanish Sahara, is a disputed territory claimed by both the Kingdom of Morocco and the Popular Front for the Liberation of the Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro (Polisario Front), which is an independence movement based in Algeria.
- Cease-fire and aftermath
- International incidents
The Western Sahara War was an armed struggle between the Sahrawi indigenous Polisario Front and Morocco from 1975 to 1991, being the most significant phase of the Western Sahara conflict. The conflict erupted after the withdrawal of Spain from the Spanish Sahara in accordance with the Madrid Accords, by which it transferred administrative control of the territory to Morocco and Mauritania, but not sovereignty. In late 1975, the Moroccan government organized the Green March of some 350,000 Morocc
In 1884 Spain claimed a protectorate over the coast from Cape Bojador to Cap Blanc. Later, the Spanish extended their area of control. In 1958 Spain joined the previously separate districts of Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro to form the province of Spanish Sahara. Raids and ...
In 1971 a group of young Sahrawi students began organizing what came to be known as The Embryonic Movement for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro. After attempting in vain to gain backing from several Arab governments, including both Algeria and Morocco, but only dr
The Polisario Front was formally constituted on 10 May 1973 in the Mauritanian city of Zouirate, with the express intention of militarily forcing an end to Spanish colonization. Its first Secretary General was El-Ouali Mustapha Sayed. On 20 May he led the Khanga raid, Polisario's
While Spain started negotiating a handover of power in the summer of 1975, it ceded the administrative control of the territory to Mauritania and Morocco only after signing the Madrid Accords. However, on 31 October 1975, Moroccan troops crossed into the territory from the north-
On December 11, 1975, the first Moroccan troops arrived in El Aaiún, and fighting erupted with the POLISARIO. On December 20, Mauritanian troops succeeded taking over Tichy and La Güera, after two weeks of siege. On January 27, the First Battle of Amgala erupted between ...
The Polisario Front proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic on 27 February 1976 and waged a guerrilla war against both Morocco and Mauritania. The World Court at the Hague had issued its verdict on the former Spanish colony just weeks before, which each party interpreted
A cease-fire between the Polisario and Morocco, monitored by MINURSO has come into effect on 6 September 1991, with the promise of a referendum on independence the following year. The referendum, however, stalled over disagreements on voter rights, and numerous attempts at restarting the process seem to have failed. The prolonged cease-fire has held without major disturbances, but Polisario has repeatedly threatened to resume fighting if no break-through occurs. Morocco's withdrawal from both th
On 17 January 1980, the Spanish SPS Almirante Ferrandiz destroyer was machine-gunned by a Moroccan Mirage airfighter, 8 kilometres from the southern coast of Western Sahara. The Spanish destroyer had received a S.O.S. from a Spanish fishing vessel that had been previously detained by a Moroccan patrol boat. On 24 February 1985, the Polar 3, a Dornier 228-type research airplane from the Alfred Wegener Institute was shot down by guerrillas of the Polisario Front over Western Sahara. All three crew
- 30 October 1975 – 6 September 1991, (15 years, 10 months and 1 week)
- Western Sahara
- Morocco controls 75% of the territory, the Polisario Front controls 25%.
- Spanish withdrawal under the Madrid Accords (1976), Mauritanian retreat and withdrawal of territorial claims, Military Stalemate, Ceasefire agreed on between the Polisario Front and Morocco (1991)
The Western Sahara Berm, also known as the Moroccan Wall, is an approximately 2,700 km-long defensive structure consisting primarily of sand running through Western Sahara and the southeastern portion of Morocco. It acts as a separation barrier between the Moroccan-controlled areas and the Polisario-controlled section of the territory (the SADR).
Disputes over natural resources. Fishing and oil exploration contracts concerning Western Sahara are sources of political tension. In 2015, a European court invalidated a trade deal between the European Union (EU) and Morocco that involved Western Sahara, prompting a diplomatic backlash from Morocco.
- calendar year
- 2,500 (2007 est)
- $908.9 million (2007 est)
- Moroccan Dirham (MAD) de facto
- Nature and ecology
Dakhla is a city in Western Sahara, currently occupied by Morocco. It is the capital of the Moroccan administrative region Dakhla-Oued Ed-Dahab. It has a population of 106,277 and is on a narrow peninsula of the Atlantic Coast, the Río de Oro Peninsula, about 550 km south of Laayoune.
The area has been inhabited by Berbers since ancient times. Oulad Dlim is an Arab tribe of Himyari from Yemen that settled in the Sahara in the twelfth century. Dakhla was expanded by Spanish settlers during the expansion of their empire. The Spanish interest in the desert coast of Western Africa's Sahara arose as the result of fishing carried out from the nearby Canary Islands by Spanish fishers and as a result of the Barbary pirates menace. Spanish fishers were seal fur traders and hunters, fi
Dakhla's main economic activity is fishing and tourism. In recent years the town has become a centre for aquatic sports, such as kitesurfing, windsurfing and surf casting, and is known as a centre for water sports. Golfo de Cintra and the World Heritage of the Banc d'Arguin Natio
A United States firm Kosmos Energy and its United Kingtom counterpart Cairn Energy began searching for oil in Western Sahara in early 2015.
Oyster farming by hand is a traditional practice in Dakhla. Oysters are first sold to people and businesses in Dakhla, then to restaurants in cities like Marrakesh or Casablanca, and then any left are sold to Europe. In April 2015, Vice Media reported that oysters had recently be
Like most areas in Western Sahara, Dakhla and vicinity areas are very poor in vegetation and are mostly covered by the Sahara Desert. Unlike on land however, sea waters are or had been very rich in sea life due to the highly productive Current System of Canary flowing offshore and the renown Nouadhibou upwelling which is located nearby as well. These environmental factors provide excellent conditions for local fisheries, and result in strong local biodiversity for birds in particular. For these
The Moroccan Western Sahara Wall is also called Western Sahara berm, Western Sahara separation barrier. Physical structure. The fortifications lie in uninhabited or very sparsely inhabited territory. They consist of sand and stone walls or berms about 3 m (10 ft) in height, with bunkers, fences, and landmines throughout.