Moroccan security forces 19 July intervened to disperse residents in Laayoune celebrating Algeria’s victory in football tournament, killing one civilian; Polisario Front independence movement called on UN to launch international investigation and on EU to intervene, and sent complaint to UN Security Council. Polisario Front leader Brahim Ghali late July reportedly said he would make military service compulsory in Sahrawi refugee camps in Tindouf in neighbouring Algeria in preparation for “inevitable war” with Morocco.
The Western Sahara conflict is both one of the world’s oldest and one of its most neglected.
The combination of Morocco’s recent proposal of a “Sahara autonomous region”, the Polisario Front’s counter-proposal of independence with guarantees for Moroccan interests and the UN Security Council’s 30 April resolution calling for direct negotiations between the parties – due to begin on 18 June – has been hailed as a promising breakthrough in the protracted Western Sahara dispute.
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.
Originally published in Al Hayat
Originally published in The Wall Street Journal Europe