His father, Hassan II of Morocco, initially supported the referendum idea in principle in 1982, and signed contracts with Polisario and the UN in 1991 and 1997. The Museum of the Sahrawi People's Liberation Army is located in this refugee camp. [84] These forces are dug into permanent positions, such as gun emplacements, defensive trenches and underground military bases, as well as conducting mobile patrols of the territory. Chairmen/Presidents of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (1976–present), Coat of arms of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, List of colonial governors of Spanish Sahara, Prime Minister of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Western Sahara: War, Nationalism, and Conflict Irresolution, "Mort du chef du Polisario Mohamed Abdelaziz", "Death of Sahrawi President Mohamed Abdelaziz: Polisario Front declares 40-day mourning", Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs (CORCAS), https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=President_of_the_Sahrawi_Arab_Democratic_Republic&oldid=992103447, Government of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Presidents of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 3 December 2020, at 14:43. ARTifariti, the International Art and Human Rights Meeting in Western Sahara, is an annual art workshop set up in the Liberated Zone and refugee camps, specifically in Tifariti, that brings artists from all over the world. As a consequence, Ahmed Belbachir Haskouri, the Chief of Cabinet, General Secretary of the Government of Spanish Morocco, cooperated with the Spanish to select governors in that area. [27] This was discussed by the United Nations Security Council in 2000, and envisioned an autonomous Western Sahara Authority (WSA), which would be followed after five years by the referendum. [36], In 2016, the European Union (EU) declared that "Western Sahara is not part of Moroccan territory. Highly renowned Spanish filmmakers and actors, such as Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz, and Pedro Almodóvar have supported and attended the festival. In 1997, the Houston Agreement attempted to revive the proposal for a referendum but likewise has hitherto not had success. [89][failed verification], UN sponsored peace talks, the first in six years between Morocco and Polisario, were held in Geneva on 5 December 2018, with both sides agreeing to meet again in a few months for further talks.[90][91]. [40] The Moroccan government views it as a no-man's land patrolled by UN troops. The Polisario Front fought for independence and the U.N. brokered the 1991 cease-fire and established a peacekeeping mission to monitor the truce and help prepare a referendum on the territory’s future. [1] The first President was Mohamed Abdelaziz from August 1982 until his death in 2016.[2][3]. New York (United Nations), 05 December 2020 (SPS) - The incumbent President of the United Nations Security Council, Ambassador Jerry Matjila, called last Tuesday on the international community to recognize its failure in Western Sahara and the failure to fulfill its promises to the Saharawi people to reach a definitive solution through the celebration of a referendum on self-determination. [101], Similarly, the exploitation of phosphate mines in Bou Craa has led to charges of international law violations and divestment from several European states.[102]. The Polisario Front claims to run this as the Free Zone on behalf of the SADR. The Polisario Front is an Algerian-backed group that fights for the independence of the Sahrawi people and represents the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic from exile in Tindouf, Algeria. International press and other media coverage have been sparse, and reporting is complicated by the Moroccan government's policy of strictly controlling independent media coverage within the territory. [115] One such artist was Spanish street artist MESA, who travelled to the Sahrawi refugee camps in 2011 and displayed his own graffiti throughout the landscape. All trade and other economic activities are controlled by the Moroccan government (as its de facto southern province). This event led to the introduction of graffiti art to the camps, and popular graffiti artists have come to the workshop to work with refugees. During the war years (1975–1991), both sides accused each other of targeting civilians. [109] Similar to other nomadic traditions on the African continent, Sahrawi women traditionally exercised significant power and roles both in the camp and in their tents. Several international human rights organizations expressed concern at what they termed abuse by Moroccan security forces, and a number of Sahrawi activists have been jailed. [5] One year later, a new resolution was passed by the General Assembly requesting that a referendum be held by Spain on self-determination. This museum is dedicated to the struggle for the independence of Western Saharan people. The Polisario has insisted on only allowing those found on the 1974 Spanish Census lists (see below) to vote, while Morocco has insisted that the census was flawed by evasion and sought the inclusion of members of Sahrawi tribes which escaped from Spanish invasion to the north of Morocco by the 19th century. It also provided further detail on the referendum process in order to make it harder to stall or subvert. The contemporary history of the territory has experienced long-term international presence and occupation that has deeply influenced the cultural practices of the people, such as languages spoken throughout the territory and its institutions. [116], This article is about the geographical area. Together with the Spanish High Commissioner, Belbachir selected from this list. In December 1999, the United Nations' MINURSO mission announced that it had identified 86,425 eligible voters for the referendum that was supposed to be held under the 1991 Settlement plan and the 1997 Houston accords. The United Nations considers the Polisario Front to be the legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people, and maintains that the Sahrawis have a right to self-determination.[8][9]. For example, Sahrawi Islam has traditionally functioned without mosques, in an adaptation to nomadic life. South African President Defends AU Consensus on Western Sahara Cyril Ramaphosa is no friend of Morocco in the Western Sahara dispute, but the South African president, contrary to … While the area can experience flash flooding in the spring, there are no permanent streams. [17] During Marinid dynasty rule, the Beni Hassan rebelled but were defeated by the Sultan and escaped beyond the Saguia el-Hamra dry river. Western Sahara's economy is based almost entirely on fishing, which employs two-thirds of its workforce, with mining, agriculture and tourism providing modest additional income. Every person present in the territory would be allowed to vote, regardless of birthplace and with no regard to the Spanish census. This again brought the process to a halt. In 2003, a new version of the plan was made official, with some additions spelling out the powers of the WSA, making it less reliant on Moroccan devolution. Major Sahrawi political events, such as Polisario congresses and sessions of the Sahrawi National Council (the SADR parliament in exile) are held in the Free Zone (especially in Tifariti and Bir Lehlou), since it is politically and symbolically important to conduct political affairs on Sahrawi territory. Was Western Sahara (Rio de Oro and Sakiet El Hamra) at the time of colonization by Spain a territory belonging to no one (terra nullius) ?” If the answer to the first question is in the negative, “II. Both sides blame each other for the stalling of the referendum. [94][95][96], After reasonably exploitable oil fields were located in Mauritania, speculation intensified on the possibility of major oil resources being located off the coast of Western Sahara. [111], In the contemporary history of Western Sahara, women have occupied central roles and been highly represented in the political sphere. Bluff et petites manœuvres, "La "Répudiation massive" de l'Algérie des colonels! Since a United Nations-sponsored ceasefire agreement in 1991, two-thirds of the territory (including most of the Atlantic coastline—the only part of the coast outside the Moroccan Western Sahara Wall is the extreme south, including the Ras Nouadhibou peninsula) has been administered by the Moroccan government, with tacit support from France and the United States, and the remainder by the SADR, backed by Algeria. The Spanish press was accused of mounting a campaign of disinformation to support the Sahrawi initiative, and all foreign reporters were either prevented from traveling or else expelled from the area. [93] The cable concluded that the territory is unlikely ever to be of any economic benefit for Morocco, even if offshore oil fields were to be discovered and exploited. As of July 2004, an estimated 267,405 people (excluding about 160,000 Moroccan military personnel) lived in the Moroccan-controlled parts of Western Sahara. The Western Sahara issue file has contributed to rising tensions between Algeria and Morocco. [40] United Nations MINURSO forces are also present in the area. [17] Towards the end of the Almohad Caliphate, the Beni Hassan, a sub-tribe of the Maqil, were called by the local ruler of the Sous to quell a rebellion; they settled in the Sous Ksours and controlled such cities as Taroudant. They are of mixed Arab-Berber descent, but claim descent from the Beni Hassan, an Arab tribe that migrated across the desert in the 11th century. President of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic - Wikipedia [92], Due to the disputed nature of Moroccan sovereignty over the territory, the application of international accords to Western Sahara is highly ambiguous. In 2011, leaked United States diplomatic cables revealed that the territory is somewhat of an economic burden for Morocco;[92] the Moroccan US$800 million subsidy program to Western Sahara was said to be one of the larger per-capita aid programs in history. The President of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is the head of state of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), a government in exile based in the Sahrawi refugee camps of Tindouf, Algeria. FIFA Rankings: Algeria keeps its 38th place worldwide, Belgium leading [6] In 1975, Spain relinquished the administrative control of the territory to a joint administration by Morocco (which had formally claimed the territory since 1957)[7] and Mauritania. The most imminent problem is Western Sahara, a disputed region controlled by Rabat. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. Western Sahara is located on the northwest coast in West Africa and on the cusp of North Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean to the northwest, Morocco proper to the north-northeast, Algeria to the east-northeast, and Mauritania to the east and south.[15]. [6] A war erupted between those countries and a Sahrawi nationalist movement, the Polisario Front, which proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) with a government in exile in Tindouf, Algeria. Failed States. [12][13][14] However, a number of countries have expressed their support for a future recognition of the Moroccan annexation of the territory as an autonomous part of the Kingdom. At times, a cool off-shore current can produce fog and heavy dew. At the heart of the dispute lies the question of who qualifies to be registered to participate in the referendum, and, since about the year 2000, Morocco considers that since there is no agreement on persons entitled to vote, a referendum is not possible. When Mauritania, under pressure from Polisario guerrillas, abandoned all claims to its portion in August 1979, Morocco moved to occupy that sector shortly thereafter and has since asserted administrative control over the whole territory. Indeed, shortly after the Houston Agreement (1997), Morocco officially declared that it was "no longer necessary" to include an option of independence on the ballot, offering instead autonomy. A bloody and inconclusive war between Morocco and the local Polisario Front (a Sahrawi rebel liberation movement) ended with a fragile UN-backed truce in 1991. Over roughly five centuries, through a complex process of acculturation and mixing seen elsewhere in the Maghreb and North Africa, some of the indigenous Berber tribes mixed with the Maqil Arab tribes and formed a culture unique to Morocco and Mauritania. Landmine Action UK undertook preliminary survey work by visiting the Polisario-controlled area of Western Sahara in October 2005 and February–March 2006. History of Ibn Khaldun Volume 6, pp80-90 by, Tomás Bárbulo, "La historia prohibida del Sáhara Español,", CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (, Jacob Mundy – Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Colgate Universit. The deterioration in the status quo between Morocco and Polisario in the Western Sahara deserves greater attention because decisive action now may be able to preserve a ceasefire which has largely held since 1991. [112] During Spanish colonial rule, Sahrawi women actively provided financial and physical support to the resistance movements during the 1930s, 1950s, and the late 1960s. [77], A number of former Polisario officials who have defected to Morocco accuse the organisation of abuse of human rights and sequestration of the population in Tindouf.[78][79]. The Algerian-backed Polisario Front, which fought a war from 1975 to 1991, demands a … [23] It initiated guerrilla warfare and, in 1979, Mauritania withdrew due to pressure from Polisario, including a bombardment of its capital and other economic targets. They are Hassaniya-speaking or Berber-speaking tribes of Berber origin (97% of Y-DNA). Morocco disputes this number, saying it is exaggerated for political reasons and for attracting more foreign aid. Morocco has won support for its position from several African governments and from most of the Muslim world and Arab League. Despite the fact that findings remain inconclusive, both Morocco and the Polisario have signed deals with oil and gas exploration companies. By 1999 the UN had identified about 85,000 voters, with nearly half of them in the Moroccan-controlled parts of Western Sahara or Southern Morocco, and the others scattered between the Tindouf refugee camps, Mauritania and other places of exile. The referendum, originally scheduled for 1992, foresaw giving the local population the option between independence or affirming integration with Morocco, but it quickly stalled. Western Sahara's much-touted phosphate reserves are relatively unimportant, representing less than two percent of proven phosphate reserves in Morocco. Western Sahara: Some Advice for President Biden – Robert M. Holley Updated October 9, 2020 02:10 PM EST Vice President Biden meets with His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco November 19, 2014 in Fez to discuss a number of issues. The Moroccan and Mauritanian annexations were resisted by the Polisario Front, which had gained backing from Algeria. Morocco has repeatedly tried to get Algeria into bilateral negotiations, based on its view of Polisario as the cat's paw of the Algerian military. It became a protectorate of Spain in the 19th century and was later claimed by Morocco, Mauritania, and local inhabitants. [92] The territory is otherwise thought to be economically unviable and unable to support its population without the Moroccan subsidies. A field assessment in the vicinity of Bir Lahlou, Tifariti and the berms revealed that the densest concentrations of mines are in front of the berms. After that, the draft quickly garnered widespread international support, culminating in the UN Security Council's unanimous endorsement of the plan in the summer of 2003. [20] After 1939 and the outbreak of World War II, this area was administered by Spanish Morocco. Las pretensiones de Marruecos sobre los territorios españoles en el norte de África (1956–2002)", "United Nations General Assembly Resolution 34/37, The Question of Western Sahara", "Arab League Withdraws Inaccurate Moroccan maps", "Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara (paragraph 37, p. 10)", "Western Sahara not part of EFTA-Morocco free trade agreement – wsrw.org", "International law allows the recognition of Western Sahara – Stockholm Center for International Law and Justice", "Algeria Claims Spanish Sahara Is Being Invaded", "Western Sahara's Struggle for Freedom Cut Off By a Wall", "Is One of Africa's Oldest Conflicts Finally Nearing Its End? But in a surprising … Atlantic coast, is a disputed region controlled by western sahara president were also on..., and Pedro Almodóvar have supported and attended the festival provides entertainment and opportunities... 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