The Western Sahara Portal – بوابة الجمهورية العربية الديمقراطية الصحراوية
Western Sahara is the name of a disputed region in northwest Africa. The legal status of the territory and the issue of sovereignty are unresolved; the territory is contested by Morocco and the Polisario Front (Popular Front for the Liberation of the Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro), which in February 1976 formally formed a government-in-exile of what it refers to as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). The Polisario views the SADR as incorporating the entire territory of Western Sahara, referring to the region controlled by Morocco as the "Occupied Territories" and the remainder, of which it claims control, as the free zone. Morocco also claims the entire territory, which it refers to as its "Southern Provinces". The Moroccan government refers to the Polisario controlled regions as its "buffer zone", claiming these regions as part of Moroccan territory. On the ground the Moroccan controlled zones are physically protected by a series of defensive works constructed by the Moroccan armed forces and manned by an estimate 160,000 Moroccan troops. It is estimated that several thousand Polisario troops are present in the area behind the Moroccan Wall of defense, which they regularly enter. Troop movements of Polisario are regularly subject to severe condemnations by the UN. The government-in-exile of the self-proclaimed SADR is headquartered in the Sahrawi refugee camps in the vicinity of the town of Tindouf in Algeria, situated close to the Algeria-Western Sahara border.
Western Sahara was appropriated by Spain at the Berlin Conference in 1884 along with other provinces that were returned to Morocco (Sidi Ifni and Tarfaya). After the colonial era the Polisario Front has fought guerrilla war against Morocco, and Mauritania for independence of Western Sahara. The war ended in a 1991 UN-brokered cease-fire; a UN-organized referendum on final status has been repeatedly postponed. Today, 50 states, mainly from Africa and Latin America, recognize the SADR as the legitimate government in Western Sahara. It is a member of the African Union, but not the United Nations nor the Arab League. Morocco is considered by the UN and many other countries as the administrative power of Western Sahara, though they don't recognize its sovereignty over it. Several thousand Sahrawis live in refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria.
The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) (Arabic: الجمهورية العربية الصحراوية الديمقراطية al-Jumhūrīyah al-‘Arabīyah aṣ-Ṣaḥrāwīyah ad-Dīmuqrāṭīyah, Spanish: República Árabe Saharaui Democrática) is a partially recognized state that controls a thin strip of area in the Western Sahara region and claims sovereignty over the entire territory of Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony. SADR was proclaimed by the Polisario Front on February 27, 1976, in Bir Lehlou, Western Sahara. The SADR government controls about 20–25% of the territory it claims. It calls the territories under its control the Liberated Territories or the Free Zone. Morocco controls and administers the rest of the disputed territory and calls these lands its Southern Provinces. The SADR government considers the Moroccan-held territory to be occupied territory, while Morocco considers the much smaller SADR-held territory to be a buffer zone.
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Gathering of Sahrawi troops, near Tifariti (Western Sahara), celebrating the 32nd anniversary to the Polisario Front (2005).
The Western Sahara conflict is an ongoing conflict between the Polisario Front and the Kingdom of Morocco. The conflict originated from an insurgency by the Polisario Front against Spanish colonial forces from 1973 to 1975 and the subsequent Western Sahara War against Morocco between 1975 and 1991. Today the conflict is dominated by unarmed civil campaigns of the Polisario Front and their self-proclaimed SADR state to gain fully recognized independence for Western Sahara.
The conflict escalated after the withdrawal of Spain from the Spanish Sahara
in accordance with the Madrid Accords
. Beginning in 1975, the Polisario Front, backed and supported by Algeria
, waged a 16-year-long war for independence against Mauritania
and Morocco. In February 1976, the Polisario Front declared the establishment of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
, which was not admitted into the United Nations, but won limited recognition by a number of other states
. Following the annexation of Western Sahara by Morocco and Mauritania in 1976, and the Polisario Front's declaration of independence, the UN addressed the conflict via a resolution reaffirming the right to self-determination of the Sahrawi people. In 1977, France intervened
as the conflict reached its peak intensity. In 1979, Mauritania withdrew from the conflict and territories, leading to a stalemate through most of the 1980s. After several more engagements between 1989 and 1991, a cease-fire agreement was reached between the Polisario Front and the Moroccan government. At the time, most of the Western Sahara territory remained under Moroccan control, while the Polisario controlled some 20% of the territory in its capacity as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, with additional pockets of control in the Sahrawi refugee camps
along the Algerian border
. At present, these borders are largely unchanged. (Full article...
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Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
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General images -
The following are images from various Western Sahara-related articles on Wikipedia.
A sangar (fortification) from the Western Sahara conflict. The fortification is built of rocks on top of a mesa overlooking the Grart Chwchia, Al Gada, Western Sahara. The Sangar is facing north and was probably built by the Sahrawis in the 1980s.
A MINURSO car (left), and a post of the Polisario Front (right) in 2017 in southern Western Sahara
Natural products in a pharmacy.
Two women outside a hospital emergencies at a Sahrawi refugee camps.
A demonstration in Madrid for the independence of Western Sahara.
Morocco built several empty towns in Western Sahara, ready for refugees returning from Tindouf
A Moroccan police checkpoint in the suburbs of Laayoune
Spanish and French protectorates in Morocco and Spanish Sahara, 1912.
Four ways to show Western Sahara in maps
Remains of the former Spanish barracks in Tifariti after the Moroccan air strikes in 1991.
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