Hugh Pope is joined by North Africa experts Intissar Fakir and Riccardo Fabiani to ask whether Morocco holds a winning hand in its conflict with the pro-independence Polisario Front in Western Sahara as Europe looks on timidly, wary of direct challenges to the regional power.
Clashes have broken out in Western Sahara, ending a 30-year ceasefire between Morocco and the pro-independence Polisario Front. Fighting could intensify absent outside help. The UN should fill its empty special envoy post, while the U.S. leads international efforts to restart diplomacy.
Islamism, terrorism, reform: the triangle formed by these three concepts and the complex and changeable realities to which they refer is at the centre of political debate in and about North Africa today.
Israel's alliance with Morocco could mean that in the long-term Rabat becomes militarily superior to Algiers and dominant in the region.
Morocco has shown a more hardnosed approach to Western Sahara and in its relations with its neighbours, including Spain.
Morocco has been very successful at driving deep underground any major al-Qaeda or Isis group. Moroccan jihadis have largely gone to fight abroad, rather than stay at home.
What’s astounding is that an attack like [the one in Barcelona] hasn’t taken place inside Morocco.
The focus in the last few months has been on Morocco’s entry into the African Union…and now there’s a little urgency in trying to get a government back on its feet.
Refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria, have long been run by the Polisario movement, which seeks an independent state in Western Sahara, also claimed by Morocco. But a new generation of Sahrawi refugees is growing fractious as aid dwindles and diplomatic efforts fail to deliver a settlement.