The new war between Morocco and the Sahrawi People’s Liberation Army has started in western Sahara after a 30-year ceasefire in the region.
HINT: Western Sahara is the disputed region on Africa’s Atlantic coast. Morocco controls about 80% of the territory, including its phosphate deposits and fishing waters. The official position of the Kingdom is that Western Sahara is an integral part of the country despite the UN rulling that the Sahrawi people have a right of self-determination. The Polisario Front, with some support from Alrgeria, fought a war for independence from 1975 to 1991 that ended in September 1991 under the aegis of the UN. However, the planned referendum on self-determination has been repeatedly postponed due to a dispute between Morocco and the Polisario Front over the composition of the electorate and the status of the territory. Negotiations on the situation in Western Sahara involves Morocco, the Polisario Front, Algeria and Mauritania. They have been suspended for several months.
On November 13, Morocco launched a military operation to open the road to Mauritania in the Western Sahara region claiming that this operation is needed to end “provocations” by the Polisario Front (outlawed in the parts of Western Sahara under Moroccan control, while it is considered the legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people in the region by the UN) and “put a stop to the blockade” of trucks travelling between Moroccan-controlled areas of the disputed territory and neighbouring Mauritania, and “restore free circulation of civilian and commercial traffic.”
The Moroccan military already seized the Guergarat border crossing located in the no-man land formally controlled by the Polisario Front and its Armed Force – the Sahrawi People’s Liberation Army. The crossing is located on the southern coast of the disputed Western Sahara, along the road leading to Mauritania, some 380km north of Nouakchott, a buffer zone patrolled by a United Nations’ peacekeeping force.
الصور الأولى لمعبر الكركرات بعد تحريره من طرف القوات المسلحة الملكية
Premières photos du passage de Guergarat après sa libération par les FAR pic.twitter.com/EG3IC0gG1H
— Agence MAP (@MAP_Information) November 14, 2020
In response, the Polisario Front said that Morocco had broken their ceasefire and “ignited war” and Secretary-General of the Polisario Front Mr. Brahim Ghali issued a presidential decree (he’s the head of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic) announcing the end of the commitment to the ceasefire signed between the Polisario Front and the Kingdom of Morocco in 1991.
“After the Kingdom of Morocco violated the ceasefire agreement on 13 November 2020 by attacking civilians peacefully protesting in front of the illegal Guerguerat breach, and opening three new breaches within the Moroccan military wall in flagrant violation of the Military Agreement No. 1 signed between the Polisario Front and the Kingdom of Morocco under the auspices of the United Nations, in implementation of Security Council Resolution 690 of 1991, which provides for the organization of the referendum of self-determination for the Sahrawi people, and based on the decisions of the extraordinary session of the National Secretariat of the Polisario Front held on 07/11/2020, and the powers conferred upon him by the Basic Law of the Polisario Front and the constitution of the SADR, Mr Brahim Ghali, the President of the Republic and Secretary General of the Polisario Front, issued a presidential decree on November 13, 2020, declaring the end of the commitment to the ceasefire, which the Moroccan occupation had undermined and the consequent resumption of armed struggle in defense of the legitimate rights of our people,” the statement of the Presidency of the Republic said.
As of November 15, the Sahrawi People’s Liberation Army announced that it has been carrying out attacks on forces of the Kingdom in response to their violations. They allegedly conducted several attacks inflicting casualties along the Moroccan Western Sahara Wall (often called by Polisario supporters ‘the Wall of Shame’). The Moroccan Western Sahara Wall is an approximately 2,700 km long military barrier that separates the Moroccan areas on the west from the Polisario-controlled areas on the east.
The Ministry of National Defense of the Polisariio government claimed that several of its military bases, support points and supply centers came under fire, the most recent of which was the attack last night on the 13th base of the 67th legion in the Bakari sector near Tinelik.
Local sources report that sporadic clashes regularly appear between the sides in the region.
Videos showing the current situation in the region:
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