Federal occupies a total area of 102,703 square miles,

Federal University of


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PAPER TITLE:          Western
Sahara/SADR has almost all the features of a state but not a state……elucidate.


   GNS 202


        Group 5, Chemistry department.




Group 5 Student

Sodiq Olawale                                        132357

Joshua Shadrack                                          132358

Olamilekan                                               132359

Oladipupo Adeluola                                   132360

Eruvwu Beauty                                                  132361

Adeyemi Samson                                         132362

Ibrahim Babatunde                                132363

Aderonke Precious                              112336

Abimbola G.                                               130199

Oluwakemi Imoleayo                                141428

Blessing Motunrayo                                   141435

Temitope Roseline                                      141437

Blessing Kemi                                                     141448

Olayinka Ololade                                             141450

Omotayo Ajoke                                           141467

Ganiyat Oluwaseyi                                       141474

Toluwani Phoebe                                              141478

Meshach Olabode                                          141489

Elizabeth O.                                           141493

Oluwakemi Elizabeth                                    141501

Tolani Habeeb                                                 141464


Sahara/SADR has almost all the features of a state but not a state……elucidate


Sahara is a mostly low, flat desert territory located in northern Africa, and
bounded by the Atlantic, Algeria to the east, Morocco to the north and
Mauritania to the south. It has some small mountains to the south and
northeast. It occupies a total area of 102,703 square miles, and as at 2013,
its population was estimated at 554,795. Its largest city is El Aaiun, its
monetary unit is the Tala, and languages spoken include standard Arabic
(national), Hassaniya, Arabic, and Moroccan Arabic. As at 2007, its GDP was
estimated at $906.5 million. Major industries are Phosphate mining and
Handicrafts.  It has 6 airports, and
ports and harbours at Ad Dakhla, Cabo Bojador, and Laayoune. Despite having
these statistics and other features of a state as shall be examined, the SADR
cannot be referred to as a state in the true sense of the word. Why?


decades after the Green March, the Western Sahara dossier remains open in the
United Nations. It is in fact the only decolonization file still open in
Africa. The poisoned territorial dispute over the former Spanish colony
continues to represent one of the main, if not the main, threat to the
stability of the North African region, obstructing dangerously the relations
between Morocco, Algeria and Spain. In addition, the stagnation of the current peace
process represents a blow to the already damaged credibility of the United Nations,
which after 14 years of unsuccessful negotiations and several millions of dollars
invested, seems unable to find or impose a definitive solution to the dispute.
In many respects, it is not exaggerated to say that the political future of the
area (from the regional hegemony to the very survival of the current Moroccan
Monarchy) depends on the resolution of this low-intensity but persistent


Spain withdrew hastily from the Territory in 1976, few analysts could predict
the resistance of the Saharawi nationalist movement, led by the Frente Polisario,
also known as the Polisario Front, against the much more powerful forces of
Rabat and Nouakchott in Morocco. Then, the Polisario was only a group of a few
hundred badly armed and trained guerrillas, overwhelmed by the number of
refugees leaving the cities and seeking their guidance and protection. When in
February 1976 the Polisario proclaimed the birth of the Saharawi Arab
Democratic Republic (SADR), the infrastructure of the state was limited to one
doctor, a few primary teachers, and few thousand exhausted refugees completely dependent
on external aid. Decades later, it has been able to gather minimal recognition
from other countries.


the government of the SADR shares sovereignty with Morocco. According to
“Understanding Politics” by Chris Ojukwu, “sovereignty relates to attributes of
supreme authority of a state over the territory and people under its
jurisdiction. The state exercises absolute and unrestricted power in that it
stands above all other in a society”. This is not true of the SADR, as the
territory they occupy is disputed. After Spain withdrew from its former colony
of Spanish Sahara in 1976, Morocco annexed the northern two-thirds of Western Sahara
and claimed the rest of the territory in 1979, following Mauritania’s
withdrawal. A guerilla war with the Polisario Front contesting Morocco’s
sovereignty ended in a 1991 cease-fire and the establishment of a UN
peacekeeping operation. As part of this effort, the UN sought to offer a choice
to the peoples of Western Sahara between independence (which is what the Polisario
Front wants) and integration into Morocco. A proposed referendum never took
place due to lack of agreement on voter eligibility. There is therefore no
suffrage, and residents in the territories controlled by morocco take part in
Moroccan elections.  Local demonstrations
criticizing the Moroccan authorities occur regularly, and there are periodic
ethnic tensions between the native Saharawi population and Moroccan immigrants.
in February 1976, the Polisario Front formally proclaimed a
government-in-exile, the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) based out of
refugee camps near Tindouf, Algeria, and led by President Mohammed Abdelaziz.
Nevertheless, Morocco still maintains a heavy security presence in the


80% of the territory of Western Sahara is de-facto under Moroccan
administration. SADR controls only about 20-25% of the territory it claims. It
calls the territory under its control the Liberated Territories or the Free
Zone. The capital of the SADR is El Aarun, while its temporary capital,(due to
the placing of its government), is Tifariti. It is worthy of note that the
Liberated Territories controlled by the Polisario has a very small population
of approximately 30,000 nomads, and the Moroccan government views it as a
no-man’s land patrolled by UN troops. The portion under Moroccan control is
called Southern Provinces.  A 2,700km
long defensive sand berm built by the Moroccans from 1980 to 1987 and running
the length of the territory, continues to separate the opposing forces. This
makes a large portion of the territory uncontrollable by the indigenous
government.  It is indeed a peculiar sort
of state that is unable to control a large percentage of its territory and
still call itself a state.


Recognition: The SADR is not on the list of UN recognized states; rather it is
listed on the UN list of non-self-governing territories. The Polisario front is
considered by the UN as a conflict party. There is no country in the world that
has its government seated abroad. The European Union supports the right of
self-determination of the Saharawi people, but does not recognize the Polisario
Front. Over practical issues such as fishing in the territorial waters of the region
the EU deals with Morocco as the country currently exercising jurisdiction, but
not sovereignty, over the Western Sahara territory. In addition, members of the
EFTA (European Free Trade Agreement) trade bloc have made statements excluding Western
Sahara form the Moroccan-EFTA free trade agreement.  As of 2014, it has been recognized by 85
states. Of these, 39 have since “frozen” or “withdrawn” recognition for a
number of reasons. A total of 40 states currently maintain diplomatic relations
with the SADR, and Saharawi embassies exists in 18 states. Western Sahara is
not recognized as part of morocco by many states except for little that support
the Moroccan autonomy plan. The Arab League and the Arab Maghreb Union include
morocco as a full member, and supports Morocco’s claim to the territory of Western
Sahara. The SADR has no diplomatic representation to and from the United States
of America. Several States that do not recognize the SADR recognize the Polisario
Front as the legitimate representative of the population of the Western Sahara,
but not as the government in exile of a sovereign state.


The Moroccan government administers Western Sahara’s economy and is a key
source of employment, infrastructure development and social spending in the
territory. Western Sahara’s unresolved legal status makes the exploitation of
its natural resources a contentious issue between morocco and the Polisario. Despite
the fact that the territory has a dejure currency in the Saharawi peseta, it is
only commemorative and not circulating, with the de-facto currency being the
Moroccan Dirham in the morocco controlled zones and the Algerian Dinar in the
SADR controlled zone. Morocco and the EU in December 2013 finalized a four year
agreement allowing European vessels to fish off the coast of morocco, including
disputed waters off the coast of Western Sahara. Oil has never been found in
Western Sahara in commercially significant quantities, but Morocco and the Polisario
have quarreled over who has the right to authorize and benefit from oil
exploration in the territory. Western Sahara’s has so far been unable to
develop a more diverse set of industries capable of providing greater
employment and income to its territory.


The SADR has a sparse and limited telephone system. Its international country
code -212 is tied into Morocco’s system by microwave radio relay, tropospheric
scatter, and satellite. Satellite earth stations -2 intelsat, (Atlantic Ocean)
are linked to Rebat, Morocco. Morocco’s state owned broadcaster,
Radio-Television Marocaine (RTM), operates a radio service from Laayoune and
relays TV service, and a Polisario-backed radio station also broadcasts.


rights: The western Sahara conflict has resulted in severe human rights abuses,
most notably the displacement of tens of thousands of Saharawi civilians from
the so called country, the expulsion of thousands of Moroccan civilians by the
Algerian government from Algeria (the Algerian government backs the Polisario),
and numerous casualties of war and repression. During the war years
(1975-1991), both sides accused each other of targeting civilians. Moroccan
claims of Polisario terrorism has generally little or no support from the
international community. The Polisario leaders maintain that they are
ideologically opposed to terrorism, and insist that collective punishment and
forced disappearances among Saharawi civilians should be considered state
terrorism on the part of Morocco. Both Morocco and the Polisario additionally
accuse each other of violating the human rights of the populations under their
control, in the Moroccan controlled parts of Western Sahara and the Tindouf
refugee camps in Algeria, respectively. Both Morocco and the Polisario have
been repeatedly criticized for their actions in Western Sahara by international
human rights organization such as amnesty international and the French
organization France libertes. Sahrawi refugees in the Tindouf camps depend on
humanitarian aid donated by several UN organizations and international NGOs. It
is widely believed that much of this humanitarian aid never reaches those it is
intended to assist because it is sold on the black market in neighboring
countries by the Polisario, a claim which seems to be buttressed by the fact
that till date the Polisario has not allowed either a census or independent
oversight of its management of humanitarian assistance. How then, can we
proclaim the SADR a state when it is so grossly unable to uphold the rights of
its citizenry under its own very nose, even exploiting foreign aid sent to them
from international communities?

also supports the Polisario Front and has been accused of kidnapping Sahrawi
youth from the refugee camps and sending them to Castro’s Island of Youth,
where they are inundated with anti-western, Marxist-Leninist teachings. The Polisario’s
objective for the deportation of Sahrawi children is said to be to separate
families and to keep pressure on family members who remain in the camps to go
along with Polisario leadership so as not to endanger their children’s welfare.


The SADR is therefore trying to demonstrate
that it is a state like any other, with institutions, citizens, flags, national
festivities, bureaucrats and diplomats, and that if it is allowed to be a
‘normal’ state it can also be a source of stability in the region. At the same
time, this emphasis on asserting the institutional side of the Saharawi state
and its presence in the Territory, converges with the aim of the nationalists
in the areas under Moroccan control to show that the status quo, the de
facto situation, is chaotic and that Rabat is very
far from ‘normalizing’ its control over the disputed land. The time of ‘neither
peace nor war’ provided the Polisario with the opportunity to normalize and
sediment a Saharawi nationalist identity and a sense of political citizenship
that identified with the project of the Saharawi Republic. Despite the
frustration and despair at the uncertainty of the future, the camps have
generated the conditions for the sedimentation of the Saharawi nationalist
project. The future of the conflict is uncertain. But at present it seems clear
that Morocco has failed in its attempt to convince the international community
that the only solution is to recognize the current status quo. The status
quo, as the Polisario has managed to show, is that
of dispute, conflict and contending projects. It is, in other words, that of an
unfinished decolonization process.







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Anthony G.; Hodges, Tony (1994). Historical Dictionary of Western Sahara.
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and Territories: Western Sahara”, BBC News, 9 December 2011.


Toby (2004). Endgame in the Western Sahara: What Future for Africa’s Last
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