Western Sahara’s e-war

A decades-long struggle has gone digital

The World Today
2 minute READ

Victor Jack

Politics student and journalist, University of Cambridge

In November, a 30-year ceasefire in the Western Sahara dispute ended when Moroccan troops intervened to remove Sahrawi protesters blocking a highway in the south of the territory. Since then, low-level fighting has continued between the Moroccan army which controls most of the former Spanish colony and the pro-independence Polisario Front. 

At the same time, tensions have risen due to a last-minute intervention by the outgoing Trump administration which in December recognized the Western Sahara, annexed by Morocco in 1975, as sovereign Moroccan territory.  

This recognition is seen as Washington’s reward for King Mohammed VI agreeing to open full diplomatic relations with Israel, making Morocco the third Arab country after Egypt and Jordan to do so. The United States also announced the opening of a ‘virtual’ consulate in the contested territory, supposedly to promote trade links in the region. 

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