Why does a remote swathe of the Western Sahara concern the US and Europe? Why does Morocco maintain its occupation? Why has the UN Security Council prevaricated for three decades while the Sahrawis live under Moroccan rule or as refugees? This book examines the geopolitics and reveals: the little-known struggle of Sahrawis living under Moroccan rule to defend their identity, US/European competition for influence in the Maghreb, the rich natural resources at stake -- fishing grounds, phosphates, and the prospect of oil -- and the reasons for the UN failure to resolve Africa's last decolonisation issue. Toby Shelley has visited the territory and talked to both opposition activists and Moroccan officials. He has interviewed the Polisario leadership in the refugee camps. He shows how the future of the Western Sahara is being moulded by global and regional forces and how the Sahrawis are best placed to influence that fate.
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October 13, 2004
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