President Donald Trump is touting his most current diplomatic coup– the partial normalization of relations between Morocco and Israel— yet another achievement for peace and U.S. interests in the Middle East and Africa. However as is so often the case with Trump, his characterization bears little relationship with reality.
Trump’s ill-considered offer can still be walked back when President-elect Joe Biden takes workplace– if he has the perseverance to weather the criticism from Israel and Morocco.
In fact, this supposed peace offer has ruptured years of U.S. diplomacy in North Africa, and it sets the phase for more violent conflict, not less. That’s due to the fact that Trump, in a transparent quid pro quo with Morocco, consented to formally acknowledge Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara despite decades of global agreement that the area’s status needed to be in harmony fixed by a referendum.
It is yet another example of the Trump administration’s running roughshod over people and norms it does not care about in the pursuit of its own short lived glory. And of running the risk of American interests and stability for a media event.
Western Sahara is a dry, sparsely populated area running along the coast of northwest Africa south of Morocco and north and west of Mauritania. Until recently, the harsh desert stretch was occupied primarily by the Sahrawis, a nomadic individuals of mixed Berber-Arabic and Black African descent.
Western Sahara was a stateless area doing not have a main government when Spain inhabited it in1884 In the 1970 s, the Sahrawi individuals led an effective revolt that culminated in Spain’s beating a rash retreat in 1975– only to have surrounding Morocco and Mauritania swoop in. Each thought about the territory to have actually been arbitrarily divided away from them by European colonialism.
Nevertheless, the International Court of Justice that year pertained to a nonbinding determination that neither Mauritania nor Morocco had pre-existing sovereignty over the area– and its phosphate, overseas oil and fishing resources— regardless of historic ties. The Sahrawis themselves displayed an “ frustrating agreement” for self-reliance, according to the United Nations.
The contending claims resulted in violence, and the majority of the Sahrawi population got away to refugee camps in Algeria, which came under napalm bombardment from Moroccan warplanes Over the next 15 years, the Sahrawi nationalist Polisario Front, enhanced by heavy weapons obtained through considerate Algerian and Libyan federal governments, warred with Moroccan and Mauritanian forces.
While Mauritania withdrew from Western Sahara in 1979, in 1981 the Moroccan army began developing an enormous 1,700- mile-long synthetic sand berm staffed by over 100,000 troops and the longest minefield in the world to consist of the Polisario Front within the much more remote interior of the objected to areas.
The dispute had declared 11,000 lives by 1991, when the U.N. scheduled a cease-fire, freezing the front lines and leaving the territory’s status undetermined pending a referendum. Years later, Morocco has refused to allow the referendum to happen. On the other hand, its security forces continue to apprehend, assault and torture pro-independence Sahrawis in the 80 percent of Western Sahara under Moroccan con