Morocco and the Conflict in Western Sahara: Background and Analyses
Daniel R. Cooper (Editor)
Series: African Political, Economic, and Security Issues, Global Political Studies
At a crucial crossroads between Africa and Europe, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, and the “Arab World” and the West, Morocco has long had a special place in U.S. diplomacy and strategic planning. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Morocco’s importance to the United States has only risen, and the more recent uncertainties of the Arab Spring and Islamist extremism in Africa have further increased the strategic value and operational relevance of the Moroccan-American alliance. Yet, one of the pillars of the legitimacy of the Moroccan monarchy, its claim to Western Sahara, remains a point of violent contention.
Since the Spanish withdrawal and subsequent occupation of the territory by Morocco in 1975, the United States has poured many millions of dollars in material, training, and intelligence into the Moroccan armed forces. But the latter has failed to inflict a decisive defeat on the Polisario Front, the Western Saharan organization whose goal is full independence for Western Sahara. This book provides an historical analysis of the conflict in Western Sahara, stressing developments of relevance to the U.S. Army and to American and regional strategic interests since Morocco’s independence in 1956. (Imprint: Nova)