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Moroccan Political Strategies In Dealing With The Issue Of The Sahara


With the impact of the Arab Spring, the issue of the Sahara has had a great impact on the region of North Africa. The fall of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, has created vacuums, and has had a great ripple effect. The Kingdom of Morocco has in response gone through it’s own changes, especially in what has been a very at times difficult relationship with Algeria. With all the changes happening, how will Morocco deal with the changing climate, and maintain its influence in the Sahara.

Morocco has had to deal with two dilemmas in the region. One has been its tense relationship with Algeria, and the other has had to deal with the Polisario Front. The Polisario Front can be described a militia-like group that came together as Spain relinquished control of the area in the mid-seventies. Throughout the years the Polisario Front has become more active, and has been very influential in the Sahara region, not under the control of Morocco. Morocco has claimed the influence of the Polisario Front is illegal in regards to a UN ceasefire agreement, which dates back to the early nineties. This dispute has caused some tensions with some other countries, one of them being Algeria.

The reforms that have taken place in Morocco have been supported by the United States; with the influence of the United States, Morocco has been able to deal with what has been called national unity in regards to the Sahara. There has been a proposal by Secretary of State John Kerry for autonomy, and this has helped research the relationship Morocco has had with Algeria, and the Polisario Front. The dialogue that has been developed to create channels in order for Morocco to communicate with Algeria; Algeria has been very influential in the Sahara region, but as of now is reluctant to have direct negotiations with Morocco.

Morocco has been trying to develop a security strategy, using a holistic approach, while at the same time keeping its security in mind. What Morocco would like to achieve is security in the region of Sahel, and continue to stabilize security in the region, while at the same time trying to bring about democracy in the region, and to counter the risk of fundamentalism, which could lead to a theocratic government.

Morocco prides itself on adapting to change, and with the help of the United States continue to play a key role not only in the Sahara region, but also as a player in the Arab/Israeli peace process.