The Polisario Front, Morocco, and the Western Sahara Conflict (2023)

The simmering 46-year-old conflict between Morocco and the Polisario Front over the disputed territory of Western Sahara, a Northwest African area of around 252,120 km2 (some 97,000 sq. miles), has recently taken an ominous turn after decades of stalemate. In mid-November 2020, the Polisario Front, a movement seeking independence for the territory, declared an end to a 1991 UN-brokered cease-fire agreement and a return to armed struggle against Moroccan forces that had entered the Guerguerat coastal border point with Mauritania—a UN-patrolled buffer zone—in contravention of the 1991 deal. Rabat sought to disperse unarmed Sahrawi protesters blocking the crossing point linking Morocco to Sub-Saharan Africa. In reaction, the Polisario Front declared that the clash was no longer about protests but about a complete Moroccan withdrawal from Western Sahara.

A Short History of the Western Sahara Conflict

Formerly a Spanish colony, the territory of Western Sahara was invaded and occupied by Moroccan and Mauritanian troops in 1975 following what has come to be known as the Madrid Accords, when Spain unilaterally withdrew from its colony. Through this act, both countries violated the 1975 International Court of Justice(ICJ) declaration that neither Morocco nor Mauritania have territorial sovereignty over the Western Sahara. The United Nations did not recognize the Madrid Accords, and a 2002 opinion of the UN Office of Legal Affairs made clear that colonizing powers cannot simply hand over the keys of one country to another. In 1976, the Polisario Front, recognized by the United Nations as the only legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people, announced (from exile in Algeria) the establishment of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) as an independent state.

In 1976, the Polisario Front announced (from exile in Algeria) the establishment of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) as an independent state.

In 1979,Mauritaniasigned a peace treaty withthePolisario Front, withdrew from occupied Western Sahara, and recognized the SADR. Morocco then annexed the Mauritanian portion of the territory that had been ceded by Spain. To prevent further attacks, Morocco’s armed forces eventually built a heavily mined and patrolled 2,700-kilometer berm, one of the largest military infrastructure projects in the world. By the time of the cease-fire in 1991, Morocco had asserted its control over more than two-thirds of Western Sahara in its western part along theAtlantic Ocean. The United Nations promised a referendum on the status of the territory, including the options of independence, autonomy, or integration with Morocco. The referendum was to be organized and conducted by theUN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara(MINURSO), but it has yet to take place. The planned referendum has been repeatedly delayed due to a dispute between Morocco and the Polisario Front over who is eligible to vote on the status of the territory.

(Video) Polisario Front declares war on Morocco over Western Sahara region

Polisario Front Returns to Active Resistance

Dissatisfied with decades of political stalemate and gridlock, the Polisario Front decided to return to active resistance after the Guerguerat incident in 2020. Since the Polisario Front is aware of the disparity of military power, one can deduce that its armed escalation is a tactical move rather than a concrete solution to end the occupation. Its aim is to exert pressure to push for a change in political course by bringing about renewed international attention to the forgotten cause and ending popular frustration.

Sahrawis have grown deeply frustrated by the lack of movement on their quest for national self-determination and Morocco’s impeding the referendum and exploitation of the territory’s natural resources.

Sahrawis have grown deeply frustrated by the lack of movement on their quest for national self-determination and Morocco’s impeding the referendum and exploitation of the territory’s natural resources. Occupied Western Sahara holds under its sand some of the largest phosphate reserves. It provides access to rich fishing waters that run along its 690-mile shore and contains vast offshore oil and gas resources. In addition, Western Sahara is a target of western renewable energy companies such as Siemens and Enel. Ali Salem Tamek, the vice president of Codesa, a Sahrawi human rights collective, said that “Multinational companies are dividing our country’s natural resources without consulting or benefiting the Sahrawi people.” Indeed, systematic exploitation of these resources is seen by the Sahrawis as the underlying reason behind the Moroccan occupation.

Enter the Trump Administration

The state of affairs became more complicated after former US President Donald Trump’s unilateral recognition of Morocco’s claim of sovereignty over Western Sahara in December 2020, in a quid pro quo for Morocco’s normalization with Israel (and in contravention of international law). Trump’s proclamation was promptly rejected by the United Nations, the European Union, and the African Union (AU), pitting the United States against most of the world on this issue. The Polisario’s armed escalation, coupled with Trump’s decision, have returned the Sahrawi issue to international attention.

(Video) The Sahara's Forgotten War (Full Length)

Trump’s recognition of Morocco’s claim—which President Joe Biden has yet to reverse—violates international law and all UN resolutions that affirm Western Sahara’s right to self-determination. Such a unilateral recognition has no impact if the EU and Morocco’s close neighbors, Spain and Algeria, reject it, which they did. Algeria attempted to lobby the Biden Administration to reverse Trump’s recognition, and Spain and Germany coordinated with European countries to prevent the EU from following the US move. Germany’s firm position on the issue caused a diplomatic spat with Morocco and resulted in Rabat’s suspension of diplomatic ties with Berlin.

Trump’s recognition of Morocco’s claim—which President Joe Biden has yet to reverse—violates international law and all UN resolutions that affirm Western Sahara’s right to self-determination.

The United Nations continues tolistWestern Sahara as a non-self-governing territory awaiting decolonization—an international legal status enshrined in the UN General Assembly’s 1960Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. It also reminds that self-determination of peoples is protected in theUnited Nations Charter and theInternational Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as a right of “all peoples.”

Morocco and Western Sahara

Morocco considers Western Shahara an integral part of its territory and sovereignty due to historical ties. The ICJ recognized those ties but adjudicated that this does not amount to ownership over the territory. Nevertheless, Morocco continues to insist that it has the full right to defend its territorial integrity and its sovereignty over the Western Sahara. On this basis, Morocco has dismissed Sahrawi calls for independence and has insisted only on offering Sahrawis autonomy, a plan that dates back to 2007 and has the support of the United States and France. Doubting the level of the promised autonomy, considering Morocco’s long history of highly centralized government, the Polisario Front promptly rejected the plan and insisted on full independence for the Sahrawis.

(Video) Morocco and the Polisario Front: What's Going On In Western Sahara?

In this context, the long-awaited US recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over the territory exhilarated Moroccans. It also emboldened the monarchy to take a more forceful approach with the European Union to follow suit with the United States. In January, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said that the EU should leave its “comfort zone” and “back Rabat’s offer of Western Saharan autonomy within the Moroccan state.” As if to exert some pressure on the EU, Morocco recently allowed some 12,000 people to cross its border with Spain’s Ceuta enclave, considered Europe’s southern boundary. Those included 2,000 unaccompanied children, prompting the EU and Amnesty International to accuse Morocco of putting migrant children’s lives at risk to pressure Spain, Morocco’s biggest trading partner, and the rest of the EU countries in order for them to recognize its sovereignty over Western Sahara. In April, Spain had admitted Brahim Ghali, leader of the Polisario Front, to a Spanish hospital on humanitarian grounds to be treated for COVID-19, an act Morocco was not shy about using as an excuse for its dangerous play in Ceuta.

The African Union and Western Sahara

The African Union, of which SADR is a founding member, backs the right of Sahrawis to self-determination. After Trump’s move, the AU emphasized the right to self-determination for the Sahrawi People and the decolonization of the territory while urging Morocco to respect colonial borders, as they existed at the time of independence, as enshrined in article 4 (b) of the AU Constitutive Act. At its 547th meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in March, the AU’s Peace and Security Council (PSC) urged the UN Security Council to fully assume its responsibilities and “take all necessary measures to rapidly resolve the Western Sahara conflict.” In other meetings, the PSC also decided to actively reengage in the search for a political solution of the long-standing conflict by reopening their office in Laayoune, in Western Sahara, and arranging a field visit to the territory to gather firsthand information on the developing situation.

Despite the AU’s firm position on the decolonization of Western Sahara and its commitment to the rights of Sahrawis to self-determination, Morocco has been able to achieve some gains with several African countries.

Still, despite the AU’s firm position on the decolonization of Western Sahara and its commitment to the rights of Sahrawis to self-determination, Morocco has been able to achieve some gains with several African countries in convincing them to open consulates in the occupied Western Saharan cities of Dakhla and Laayoune. This is an implicit acknowledgment by these countries of Morocco’s claims to the territory. The PSC of the AU called on the UN Secretary General to request the UN legal counsel to provide a legal opinion on the opening of consulates in the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara. Those achievements came as a result of Morocco’s rejoining the AU in 2017 after a 33-year absence in protest of the African Union’s recognition of SADR as a member state. Morocco realized that its isolation in the African continent did not help in attaining its goal in legitimizing its claim over Western Sahara. Morocco has been expanding its political and economic footprint on the continent to achieve more support.

(Video) Will Morocco and Polisario go to war? | Inside Story

Algeria’s Support of the Polisario Front

Algeria, the Polisario’s main backer and unwavering supporter, has undermined Morocco’s drive to completely bring Western Sahara under its sovereignty. Algeria gave some limited support to the Polisario when it was founded in 1973 to fight for independence against Spain’s colonial rule. It was not until Morocco’s annexation of Western Sahara in 1975 that Algeria threw its full weight behind the Polisario. The Moroccan-Algerian rivalry predates the issue of Western Sahara; in fact, the two countries were involved in 1963 in a border war, dubbed as the Sand War, over the areas of Tindouf and Bechar, precipitating a geopolitical rivalry and distrust between the two Maghrebi powers. Cold war geopolitics further exacerbated these tensions and divisions since Algeria aligned itself with the Soviet bloc and anti-colonial camp and the conservative Moroccan monarchy allied with the West.

To this day, Algeria promotes itself as a champion of the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination. In his recent interview[i] with Al Jazeera, the president of Algeria, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, unequivocally reasserted that Algeria’s “firm” position on the Western Sahara issue has not changed and that Algeria will not accept the fait accompli that Morocco is trying to impose in the last African colony. He also reminded Morocco of Algeria’s military superiority. It is noteworthy that Algeria and Morocco are competing for domination over the Maghreb region and the Western Sahara issue is key to achieving that objective.

The Western Sahara Is the World’s Responsibility

The collapse of the 30-year UN-brokered cease-fire in Western Sahara and the escalation that followed came as a result of the United Nations’ failure to implement the referendum, thus ushering in a three-decade political stagnation of the situation on the ground. This means that the organization as well as the EU should actively work toward resolving the long-standing conflict. Diplomatic inaction has been compounded by the absence of a UN personal envoy; it has been over two years since the most recent appointee, Horst Köhler, resigned in May 2019. It is urgent to appoint a new envoy to ensure a durable and mutually acceptable political solution that will allow the self-determination of the people of the Western Sahara. Amnesty International (AI) is urging the UN Security Council to strengthen MINURSO, the UN peacemaking mission, to carry out the referendum in Western Sahara. AI requested from the UN to add a human rights component to its next mandate due to the lack of independent organizations and journalists to monitor human rights abuses in the territory, since they are denied access by Moroccan authorities.

Amnesty International is also requesting the same for the Tindouf refugee camps in Algeria for further human rights monitoring. While the Moroccan authorities have denied access to independent human rights groups, the Polisario Front has allowed them to monitor the camps and appears to have posed no obstacles to visits by Human Rights Watch (HRW), as stated in the 2014 HRW report of a two-week research mission to the camps in late 2013. In addition, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has an office in Tindouf camps to safeguard the rights of Sahrawi refugees.

(Video) Western Sahara: Polisario Front leader vows attacks on Morocco will continue

In March 2021, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International exposed the heavy police surveillance outside the house of the Sahrawi human rights and pro-independence activist, Sultana Khaya, since November 19, 2020. Khaya and several members of her family have been held under house arrest. With videos as documentation, the two human rights organizations exposed the abuse to which she and her family were subjected by Moroccan security forces. By the same token, forces of the SADR under the Polisario’s command have also arrested activists and critics and accused them of treason. To be sure, the Western Sahara issue is not only a national liberation struggle but also a rights concern for the international community.

Despite its recent diplomatic gains, Morocco has so far failed to decisively advance the Western Sahara dossier in its favor. The Western Sahara remains the last colony in Africa that requires decolonization. Solving the conflict should be under the auspices of the United Nations. It would safeguard the North African region from further turmoil and destabilization and help protect Europe’s southern border. Indeed, any violation of international law in the Western Sahara would lead to drastic consequences globally.

* Photo Credit: Flickr/United Nations
i Source is in Arabic.

FAQs

What is the conflict between Western Sahara and Morocco? ›

The Western Sahara is at the center of an ongoing conflict between Morocco, which controls the region, and the Polisario Front, which believes that the Western Sahara should be an independent state. Since 1975, the conflict has sparked numerous battles between the Polisario Front and the Moroccan military.

What is the dispute between Algeria and Morocco? ›

Break of diplomatic relations

In August 2021, Algeria blamed Morocco and Israel of supporting the Movement for the self-determination of Kabylia, which the Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune accused of being involved in the wildfires in northern Algeria. Tebboune accused Morocco of perpetrating hostile acts.

What does the Polisario Front want? ›

Polisario Front, abbreviation of Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro, Spanish Frente Popular para la Liberación de Saguia el-Hamra y Río de Oro, politico-military organization striving to end Moroccan control of the former Spanish territory of Western Sahara, in northwestern Africa, and ...

When did Morocco invade Western Sahara? ›

Formerly a Spanish colony, the territory of Western Sahara was invaded and occupied by Moroccan and Mauritanian troops in 1975 following what has come to be known as the Madrid Accords, when Spain unilaterally withdrew from its colony.

Why does Morocco claim Western Sahara? ›

Since the territory was ceded by Spain, Morocco has claimed Western Sahara as an integral part of its kingdom. Yet virtually no other country, except now the United States, recognises Moroccan sovereignty over it.

What is the biggest problem in the Sahara desert? ›

Overhunting. Over the last 100 years, over hunting in the Sahara Desert has been a big issue. The Nomads that live there are hunting animals for food. But, they are also hunting them for sport or recreation.

Who is Morocco in conflict with? ›

Area of dispute in 1963 'sand war' between Morocco and Algeria. Since 1975, the dominant issue between the two countries has been the conflict in Western Sahara.

Who are Morocco's enemies? ›

Morocco already has an irreconcilable enemy in the region, the hated Algeria. If we must add to this mix Tunisia, which the Moroccan media now labels a new ally of Algiers, Rabat will find itself totally isolated in the Maghreb. And the Maghreb is not Europe or the West.

Why does Algeria support Polisario? ›

Owing to historic ties with the people of Western Sahara, Algeria and Libya helped found the Polisario Front, also called the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro. Algeria has since also provided military backing and support to Polisario.

Did Morocco claim Western Sahara? ›

Western Sahara, formerly the Spanish colony of Spanish Sahara, is a disputed territory claimed by both the Kingdom of Morocco and the Popular Front for the Liberation of the Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro (Polisario Front), which is an independence movement based in Algeria.

Who are the Polisario in Morocco? ›

The Polisario Front (Polisario), the self-proclaimed “leader” of Sahrawis fighting for independence for the Western Sahara, is in reality a one-party dictatorship that does not represent the Sahrawi people and does not promote their best interests in pursuing a peaceful solution to the Western Sahara conflict.

Why does Western Sahara recognize no countries? ›

Recognition by the International Court of Justice. On 16 October 1975, by the mean of an Advisory Opinion, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) declared that it did not find any territorial sovereignty tie, either from the Kingdom of Morocco or the Mauritanian entity, over the territory of Western Sahara.

Who first conquered Morocco? ›

The region was conquered by the Muslims in the early 8th century AD, but broke away from the Umayyad Caliphate after the Berber Revolt of 740. Half a century later, the Moroccan state was established by the Idrisid dynasty.

Who colonized Morocco first? ›

France officially established a protectorate over Morocco with the Treaty of Fes, ending what remained of the country's de facto independence. From a strictly legal point of view, the treaty did not deprive Morocco of its status as a sovereign state. The Sultan reigned but did not rule.

What is Western Sahara called now? ›

The official Moroccan government name for Western Sahara is the "Southern Provinces", consisting of the Río de Oro and Saguia el-Hamra regions. The portion not under the control of the Moroccan government is the area that lies between the border wall and the actual border with Algeria (for map see Minurso map).

WHO recognizes Western Sahara as part of Morocco? ›

Therefore, as of today, the United States recognizes Moroccan sovereignty over the entire Western Sahara territory and reaffirms its support for Morocco's serious, credible, and realistic autonomy proposal as the only basis for a just and lasting solution to the dispute over the Western Sahara territory.

Who funds the Polisario Front? ›

Today 38 countries around the world recognize the legitimacy of the Polisario over Western Sahara. Support for the Polisario Front came mostly from newly independent African states, including Angola and Namibia.

What is harming the Sahara desert? ›

However, their effects can be gauged in several key ways. Humans are responsible for the spread of the desert along its border regions due to deforestation: humans cut down trees for firewood along the rim of the Sahara, leading to erosion and desertification.

What are 3 problems in the desert? ›

Over-cultivation, poorly drained irrigation systems, mismanagement of available water, digging for fossil fuels and introduction of invasive species are only some of the environmental problems in desert biomes created by humans.

Is Morocco currently at war? ›

Morocco denied there had been any armed clashes between the sides and said the truce remained in place, while SADR authorities declared the ceasefire over.
...
Western Saharan clashes (2020–present)
Date13 November 2020 – present (1 year, 11 months, 1 week and 3 days)
StatusOngoing
Territorial changesMorocco secures Guerguerat border crossing
1 more row

Is Morocco a US ally? ›

The United States designated Morocco a Major Non-NATO Ally in 2004, and the U.S. and Moroccan militaries hold joint exercises and training. Morocco is a strong partner in counterterrorism efforts and works closely with U.S. law enforcement to safeguard both countries' national security interests.

Who is Morocco's closest ally? ›

Morocco has had strong ties with the West in order to gain economic and political benefits. France and Spain remain the primary trade partners, as well as the primary creditors and foreign investors in Morocco.

What country owns Morocco? ›

Morocco was made a French protectorate in 1912 but regained independence in 1956. Today it is the only monarchy in North Africa.

Is Morocco a Chinese ally? ›

Morocco's alliances are expanding and it seems that China is becoming a good ally for the Alawi country. The two nations are closing economic deals that mean a strengthening of relations.

Why is Morocco so important? ›

It has the fifth-largest economy in Africa and wields significant influence in both Africa and the Arab world; it is considered a middle power in global affairs and holds membership in the Arab League, the Union for the Mediterranean, and the African Union.

How much Algeria spend on Polisario? ›

Algeria shelters, arms, finances, trains, and supports Polisario, a separatist group claiming independence for Western Sahara. By Safaa Kasraoui - Feb. 21, 2022 6:18 p.m.

What is the meaning of Polisario? ›

Polisario in American English

(poulɪˈsɑːriˌou) an independence movement opposing Moroccan control of the Western Sahara, a former Spanish territory that Morocco annexed in stages beginning in 1976.

Is it safe to visit Western Sahara? ›

How Safe is Western Sahara? There is currently a cease-fire between the Moroccan government and the POLISARIO Front. The majority of safety concerns are related to un-exploded landmines from the conflict. Beware of aggressive theft and harassment (especially if you are a woman).

Who controls Western Sahara airspace? ›

Currently, Morocco controls over 80 per cent of the territory and contends that its jurisdiction over the region even predates the Spanish rule. Spain has remained neutral on the Western Sahara conflict all these years and has pushed for a political resolution which is mutually acceptable to the parties involved.

Was Western Sahara part of Morocco before colonization? ›

Western Sahara is a sparsely-populated area of mostly desert situated on the northwest coast of Africa. A former Spanish colony, it was annexed by Morocco in 1975. Since then it has been the subject of a long-running territorial dispute between Morocco and its indigenous Saharawi people, led by the Polisario Front.

What was Western Sahara called before? ›

Western Sahara, Arabic Al-Ṣaḥrāʾ al-Gharbiyyah, formerly (1958–76) Spanish Sahara, territory occupying an extensive desert Atlantic-coastal area (97,344 square miles [252,120 square km]) of northwest Africa.

Why is Morocco called Morocco? ›

Well, the word 'Morocco' derives from the Berber Ameṛṛuk, the shortened version of « Amurakuc », the original name « Marrakesh», itself arising from the Berber « amur n ukuc » meaning «land of God» or «sacred land» .

Is Morocco French or Spanish? ›

The languages of prestige in Morocco are Arabic in its Classical and Modern Standard Forms and sometimes French, the latter of which serves as a second language for approximately 33% of Moroccans.

Why did Germany want Morocco? ›

The First Moroccan Crisis or the Tangier Crisis was an international crisis between March 1905 and May 1906 over the status of Morocco. Germany wanted to challenge France's growing control over Morocco, aggravating France and Great Britain.

Is Morocco considered African? ›

The UN subregion of North Africa consists of 7 countries at the northernmost part of the continent -- Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, Western Sahara.

Why do Moroccans speak French? ›

The use of French is a colonial legacy of the French protectorate (1912–1956). French has no officially recognized status in Morocco, but is considered a prestige language, and is often used for business, diplomacy, and government, serving as a lingua franca with non-Moroccans and non-Arabs.

Why did France want Morocco? ›

Like most imperializing countries, the Spanish and French wanted to colonize Morocco because they wanted power. Feelings of nationalism made people proud of all that their country had achieved.

Why is the Sahara not green anymore? ›

The Sahara's green shift happened because Earth's tilt changed. About 8,000 years ago, the tilt began moving from about 24.1 degrees to the current day 23.5 degrees, Space.com, a Live Science sister site, previously reported.

Was the Sahara once green? ›

Paleoclimate and archaeological evidence tells us that, 11,000-5,000 years ago, the Earth's slow orbital 'wobble' transformed today's Sahara desert to a land covered with vegetation and lakes.

What did the Sahara originally look like? ›

Then humans showed up. Today, the Sahara Desert is defined by undulating sand dunes, unforgiving sun, and oppressive heat. But just 10,000 years ago, it was lush and verdant.

What is the conflict between Spain and Morocco? ›

Hispano-Moroccan War (1859–1860)
Date22 October 1859 – 26 April 1860
LocationNorthern Morocco
ResultSpanish victory Treaty of Wad Ras: Morocco recognizes Spanish sovereignty over Ceuta and Melilla Retrocession of Santa Cruz de la Mar Pequeña (moot location) to Spain Morocco pays 400 million reales as war reparations

What is the dispute between the countries of Spain and Morocco? ›

The 2007 Morocco–Spain diplomatic conflict was a short-lived disturbance of international relations between Morocco and Spain that arose after the announcement of the impending visit of the King of Spain to the Spanish-ruled autonomous cities Ceuta and Melilla, which are claimed by Morocco.

How much of Western Sahara is controlled by Morocco? ›

About 20% of the territory is controlled by the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), while the remaining 80% of the territory is occupied and administered by neighboring Morocco. Its surface area amounts to 266,000 square kilometres (103,000 sq mi).

Why did Spain invade Morocco? ›

Like most imperializing countries, the Spanish and French wanted to colonize Morocco because they wanted power. Feelings of nationalism made people proud of all that their country had achieved.

Why did Spain lose Morocco? ›

Tension between colonial Spanish forces and Rif peoples in northern Morocco culminated in a series of guerrilla attacks led by Berber leader Abd el-Krim on Spanish fortifications in June–July 1921. Within weeks, Spain lost all of its territory in the region.

How did Spain lose Morocco? ›

The northern zone became part of independent Morocco on 7 April 1956, shortly after France ceded its protectorate (French Morocco). Spain finally ceded its southern zone through the Treaty of Angra de Cintra on 1 April 1958, after the short Ifni War.

Did Morocco defeat Spain? ›

On 1 July 1921, the Spanish army in north-eastern Morocco under Fernández Silvestre collapsed when defeated by the forces of Abd el-Krim, in what became known in Spain as the disaster of Annual, some 8,000 soldiers and officers reported killed or disappeared out of some 20,000.

Why is the border between Spain and Morocco closed? ›

The EU's only land borders with Africa have long been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a diplomatic crisis between Madrid and Rabat. Crossings have been initially limited to residents of Europe's passport-free Schengen area and their family members and will be expanded to cross-border workers by the end of May.

What is the area between Spain and Morocco called? ›

Strait of Gibraltar, Latin Fretum Herculeum, channel connecting the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean, lying between southernmost Spain and northwesternmost Africa. It is 36 miles (58 km) long and narrows to 8 miles (13 km) in width between Point Marroquí (Spain) and Point Cires (Morocco).

Which country owns most of the Sahara desert? ›

Sahara Desert in Egypt

The desert covers an area of 262,800 square miles of the country, which is equivalent to two thirds of the entire country. Rocks and sand characterize the region.

Videos

1. Ceasefire Ends in Occupied Western Sahara After U.S.-Backed Moroccan Military Launches Operation
(Democracy Now!)
2. Tensions between Morocco and Western Sahara’s independence movement intensify
(CNN)
3. Morocco troops launch operation in Western Sahara border zone
(Al Jazeera English)
4. Western Sahara conflict explained - Morocco vs Polisario Front | UPSC GS Paper 2 Geopolitics
(StudyIQ IAS)
5. Can the Western Sahara conflict be resolved? | Inside Story
(Al Jazeera English)
6. W. Sahara ‘does not belong’ to Morocco, says Polisario Front, blasting Trump declaration
(FRANCE 24 English)
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