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Special Political and Decolonization Western Sahara - IDIA

Special Political and Decolonization Western Sahara - IDIA

Rutgers Model United

Rutgers Model United Nations 13 Historical experience has led Algeria to “promote the national independence of all peoples of the world”, and has fueled their belief that all people should be the masters of their own destinies without interference from the outside. 48 Thus the Algerian support of the Polisario Front, and the Sahrawi struggle for self-determination draws upon Algeria’s own history and struggle for independence. The Algerian position is one based on principle; the Sahrawi’s are victims of colonization entitled to the right to selfdetermination. Furthermore, since all concerned actors agreed on a referendum on self determination, the Algerian government argues that Morocco’s blocking of the process is “contrary to international law.” 49 France and the United States A general consensus regarding the territory’s right to self-determination via referendum has emerged. Opposed to this consensus is not only Morocco but also the United States and France, the Moroccan governments biggest supporters. In what has been termed the Franco-American consensus, France and the United States have a “shared dedication to the stability of the Moroccan monarchy that trumps all else, including the interests of peace and international law in Western Sahara.” 50 The postcolonial Moroccan state, due to historical and geographical factors, has become key to the maintenance of global stability. The Franco-American support of Morocco is based on the belief that Morocco’s, and to some extent the entire region’s stability is rooted in the stability in Moroccan monarchy. The formation of the Franco-American consensus speaks to a fear of the governments of France and the United States that without the monarchy, Morocco would fall into chaos and would succumb to forces of outside of Western interests. 51 Crucial to the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara was the political unrest brewing within Morocco. Dissatisfaction with the monarchy and a 48 Younger, Sam. “Ideology and Pragmatism in Algerian Foreign Policy.” The World Today. (1978): 107 49 International Crisis Group, Western Sahara: The Cost of Conflict. Middle East/North Africa Report. (2007) a/65_western_sahara___the_cost_of_the_conflict.pdf (Accessed 4 April 2012) 50 Zunes and Mundy, xxv 51 Ibid., 59

Rutgers Model United Nations 14 deteriorating economy resulted in strikes, protests, and a coup attempt. 52 “reclaiming” of Western Sahara presented the monarchy with an opportunity to redirect national attention from the political unease within the state. 53 The Thus, in the eyes of France and the United States, Morocco’s control of Western Sahara is seen as necessary for the regime’s survival. Both the United States and France, in an effort to ensure Moroccan stability, have sold arms to the Moroccan government and have trained military personnel to aid Morocco in their fight against the POLISARIO. In addition to providing arms and training, France has consistently defended Morocco’s position on the Security Council. 54 In 2003, when the Moroccan government rejected the Baker Plan, France used its position on the Security Council to block efforts to endorse the plan. The support of the United States and France have contributed to the current state of the Western Saharan conflict as their desire for a stable Morocco has trumped the Sahrawi desire for selfdetermination. Non-Governmental Organizations The conflict regarding Western Sahara has raised numerous questions about human rights violations conducted by the POLISARIO and the Moroccan government, and has exposed the humanitarian aspect of the conflict. The Western Saharan conflict has produced a host of refugees who are currently living in refugee camps in Algeria. At these refugee camps, displaced Saharans face issues such as malnutrition. Furthermore, these refugee camps are located in a “harsh, arid, dessert environment” where opportunities for self-reliance are low and dependence on international aid is high. 55 Various organizations have criticized the Moroccan government and the Polisario Front for its abuses of human rights. Some of these organizations include Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, World Organization against Torture, and Freedom 52 Ibid., 38 53 Ibid., 39 54 Zunes and Mundy, 78 55 World Food Program. Assistance to Western Saharan Refugees (Accessed 4 April 2012)

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