Western Sahara: A Country Or Part Of Morocco?

Western Sahara is a disputed territory in northwest Africa that does not have a government. It is between Morocco to the north, Algeria to the northeast, Mauritania to the south and east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.

The Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario Front, based in Algeria, claim the land.

Western Sahara needs to be recognized.

The United Nations thinks of Western Sahara as a territory that hasn’t been decolonized and doesn’t have its government.

The area used to be called Spanish Sahara, but when the Spanish colonists left in 1976, Morocco could take it over.

The occupation led to a guerrilla war between Morocco and Algeria’s Polisario Front. The war ended in 1991 when the UN negotiated a ceasefire and sent a peacekeeping force.

The UN was going to hold a vote to see if the people of Western Sahara would join Morocco or stay independent, but the vote didn’t happen because the parties couldn’t agree on who could vote.

Since the 1980s, people from Morocco have moved to the disputed territory and set up homes there. This has caused ethnic tensions between the newcomers and the native Sahrawi people.

The government of Western Sahara

Morocco controls about 75% of Western Sahara, but Brahim Ghali is recognized as the president by the Polisario Front. In 1976, while in Algeria, the Front made the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and set up a government.

After Mohamed Abdelaziz Ezzedine died in 2016, Ghali was chosen to be the new president of SADR. He is a military leader with a lot of experience. He was one of the people who started the Polisario front and led the fight against Spain’s occupation of Western Sahara.

The people who live in Western Sahara

Sahrawi nomads were the only people who lived in Western Sahara until the middle of the 20th century. The migration pattern was based on the rain, which was hard to predict, and did not match up with colonial or international borders.

But the native people have been forced to move to cities because of the constant fighting, minefields, cultural changes, lack of jobs, long-lasting drought, and closing of the border with Mauritania.

The nomads couldn’t move around as much after Morocco took over the area and built the 1700-mile-long defensive wall. About 80% of the people live in cities, and about 40% live in Laayoune.

As more people move to the area, the size and make-up of the population have changed because of Moroccan immigrants.

The country keeps a significant military presence on the territory and gives its citizens pay raises, bonuses, free food and transportation, and tax breaks to encourage them to move there.

The Moroccan Kingdom also helps the native people fit in by giving them jobs, raising wages, and building roads and other infrastructure. In 2018, about 540,000 people were living in Western Sahara.

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