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33 years of exile and struggle

Western Sahara: The Legitimate Reasons of the Saharawi People


Translated by  Atenea Acevedo

This is the updated and revised version of a former article, prepared as per the request of a French university journal that, in the end, decided not to publish it without giving the author any further explanation.

It has been over 32 years since Morocco expelled Spain from Western Sahara and replaced it, with great violence, as a colonial power and occupying country.

This was accomplished with the strategic advice and approval of Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of State, and instrumented through the infamous Green March, the process by which the King of Morocco pushed 350,000 civil subjects on to the northwestern border of the Spanish Sahara (November 1975). At the same time, under no media coverage, the Moroccan troops entered the territory from the northeastern border.[i]

Hassan II heinously exploited the fact that Francisco Franco, the Spanish dictator, was on his death bed (he died on 20 November 1975) and the long struggle of the democratic forces had weakened his already faded.

Facing the high probability of the slaughter of civilians (members of the Green March) and the certain threat of an imminent war with Morocco, the Spanish government –paralyzed by the agony of Franco- chose to withdraw and let the Moroccan troops enter, thus abandoning the Saharawi people (back then, Spanish citizens) to their fate.

After the Green March, the invasion and occupation of Western Sahara was formalized on 14 November 1975 through the illegal “Madrid Agreement” by virtue of which Spain temporarily ceded the administration (not the sovereignty) of its African province to Morocco (two thirds of the territory) and Mauritania (the other third in the south) and committed to completely withdraw from its African province by 28 February 1976 at the latest.[ii]

The war of Morocco and Mauritania against the Polisary Front was to start on that date.[iii] The Moroccan army, blind with rage, hunt down and bombed the Saharawi civilians both at their settlements and while they ran off through the desert in confusion, and carried out a horrible massacre the purpose of which was to eliminate an entire people. They forced the survivors to cross the Algerian border and take refuge in the most arid area of the desert (the Tinduf camps), where most of the Saharawis still live and founded their own State in exile: the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR)[iv].


Since then, the UN (both though the General Assembly and the Security Council) has adopted numerous resolutions on Western Sahara, has repeatedly recognized the Saharawi peoples’ right to self-determination, and has encouraged Morocco to pull out from an independent and sovereign territory.[v]

After Franco died, the first governments of the Spanish democratic transition, including all the opposition political parties, categorically and openly supported the Saharawi people and the Polisary Front in its struggle against the invader, and also supported a referendum for self-government.

In 1991, after 16 years of war, the mediation of the UN and the OAU succeeded in reaching a cease-fire, and the parties, including Morocco, agreed to hold a self-government referendum. However, after Spain and Morocco signed a Treaty for Friendship and Cooperation,[vi] the official stance of the following Spanish governments changed and has become inexplicable in the eyes of the Spanish citizens, traditionally supportive of the Saharawi cause.[vii]

After several attempts at putting an end to the conflict --always spoiled by the Moroccan ruling elites--[viii] the UN Security Council finally adopted, on 30 April 2007, Resolution 1754 to encourage Morocco and the Polisary Front to open up direct negotiations towards a political final solution to the Western Sahara question. In the context of such Resolution, the UN Secretary General invited the parties to a first round of negotiations on 18 and 19 June 2007 in Manhasset, near New York City. The second round took place on 10 and 11 August and a third round was held in January 2008. There were discussions about celebrating the third round in Geneva, seat of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) and of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), two of the organizations that the legitimate representatives of the Saharawi people have had to turn to and denounce the repetitive outrages of the Moroccan government.[ix] But holding the negotiations in a European city would have attracted the attention of all European countries, and we should not rule out the probability of Rabat, Washington and Paris pressuring the process so that the round was finally held, again, in New York, far from Europe and far from Africa, at the very field where the powerful, influential and multimillionaire Moroccan lobbies, studied by Frank Ruddy and Tomás Bárbulo (see the bibliography section), are used to play. Considering the virtually non-existent results of the three rounds, a fourth round was called and will take place in mid-March 2008, again in Manhasset, New York.

This paper responds to the urgent need to refute the statements in an article published by the Spanish diary El País, an article that confused the Spanish public opinion and kindled the wrath of the solidarity movement organized to support the Saharawi people. The following lines contest each and every argument presented in the above-mentioned article; the statements either negate or maliciously forget the legitimate reasons behind the Saharawi struggle for freedom and independence.



On the very same day that the UN Security Council adopted what seemed to be but wasn’t its last resolution on the Western Sahara (30 April 2007), the Spanish newspaper EL PAÍS published, in the Opinión Section, an article titled “Postponing Utopia, Defending Dignity,” by Bernabé López García (BLG). The article basically tried to justify the position of the Moroccan government on the future of Western Sahara. The author argues that the Moroccan offer[x] (the “autonomy” plan submitted by Morocco in April 2007) represents a unique historical opportunity for the Saharawi People and their territory in Western Sahara to integrate into Morocco as a limited autonomy region under Moroccan sovereignty. To support his argument, the author compared the concessions made by the PCE in the early stages of our transition to democracy to the concessions[xi], he believes, the Polisario Front should make now, thus giving up on its right to self-determination and independence (because it is utopian, Mr. BLG says). According to the author, should the Saharawi people and actually the SADR yield to such “concessions”, then they would be putting an end to the Diaspora, exile, and pain, and they could then live with dignity. Otherwise, Mr. BLG concludes, in a sort of veiled threat, the Saharawi People would be forcing themselves to an endless and painful exile… even longer than the last 30 years.

I believe that this approach not only is a mere repetition of the Moroccan view, but also evades key issues and includes arguments that far from adhering to reality, actually aim at distorting it. Allow me to explain myself:

1. Comparing the situation of Spain and the PCE in the early stages of our transition to democracy with that of the Polisario Front and Morocco as an invader trying to de facto annex a territory beyond its sovereignty is fallacious[xii]. The differences are many (a National Liberation Front is much more than a political party and its purpose is much wider): the PCE was part of the same country (Spain), while Morocco invaded and illegally and illegitimately occupied the land of another people. There is no possible relationship between the two situations. Therefore, the comparison is unsustainable.

2. The credibility of Moroccan leaders in the Saharan dispute is non-existent[xiii]. The Moroccan army machine-gunned and dropped bombs with napalm, white phosphorus and cluster bombs (dropped from their French-made last generation fighter-bombers and Phantom F-15)[xiv] on the Saharawi People and caused the forced exodus of the survivors of such genocide –still unpunished[xv]. Most of them sought refuge in the roughest and most inhospitable areas of the Algerian dessert. In the then Spanish province[xvi], Morocco imposed a second colonization process –in the last third of the 20th Century!- and aborted the Spanish decolonization process originally demanded by the UN as early as the 1960s. From the very beginning, the Moroccan leaders have constantly defied international law and unfairly hindered the internationally recognized solution for this type of conflict (self-determination referenda)[xvii]. And after a 16-year war against the Saharawi People and the dismantling of every plan put forward by the UN, the Moroccan Majzen now makes a unilateral offer to the Polisario Front –legitimate representative of the Saharawi People- to negotiate about a limited autonomy based on the non-negotiable Moroccan character[xviii] of the Saharawi territory, and of course, with no place for self-determination or independence[xix].


3. After all this time (32 years), after so many commitments unfulfilled, so many strategies to cut the grass under the feet of the decolonization process, Morocco is still sticking to fait accompli policy: with the Western Sahara invaded and occupied, its people massacred or exiled, the negotiation between the Parties would involve, at the most, a few conditions[xxi] of an alleged autonomy and the relevant process. The Saharawi People would have to immediately accept and suffer being submitted and annexed to Morocco, the political regime of which was recently rejected at the polls and inspires severe criticism, even at the very heart of the Alauita royal family.[xxii] Is that what BLG calls “defending dignity”? Is it not true that the UN Charter and its multiple resolutions state that the solution of decolonization conflicts is an open referendum on self-determination?[xxiii]

4. What would we, Spanish People, do in a similar situation; if “they” (the Saharawi) were Spanish and “us” (the Spanish) were Saharawi and faced the same ordeal? What did we do when the Napoleonic troops invaded our land? Did we give up on our independence? Did we let our dignity be crushed? No, we did not. We stood on our feet; we fought back and drove the invader out[xxiv]. The horrible consequences were immortalized by the brilliant artist Francisco de Goya in the painting titled The Third of May 1808: the Execution of the Defenders of Madrid[xxv]. To this day, some of those thousands and thousands of patriots that rose up against the invader are honoured as heroes, their bodies buried in the cemetery of La Florida, in Madrid.


5. It is actually because the Saharawi were denied by Morocco what  now Mr. BLG and other Majzen henchmen falsely consider utopian –first, through the invasion and the occupation; then, through the systematic violation of international law- the Saharawi People had no choice to defend their dignity and survival than to proclaim the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) in exile, already recognized by more than 80 countries and the African Union (the SADR is a founding and full member of the AU)[xxvi]. Let us not forget that, since the cease-fire declared in 1991 under the auspices of the UN and the AU, the SADR has always used peaceful means to seek a legitimate and decent future for its people, a future the condition of which is the inalienable right to self-determination.

6. The self-determination referendum was the offset agreed in exchange of a cease fire 1991. If Morocco does not meet its commitments and the world does not bring pressure to bear on the Moroccan leaders to effectively meet their commitments, are we to wait for the Polisary Front and the Saharawi People to eternally do nothing and sit impassively on the sand of the desert while they see the ashes of their Republic and of an endless number of lifeless victims pass before their eyes?[xxvii] Moreover, if the Saharawi People are not compensated, the most important international organization for peace will prove useless, and the seed of hate will undoubtedly be planted in the hearts of the outraged Saharawis. This would cause a most favourable environment for instability in the Magreb and, perhaps, elsewhere.[xxviii]


7. There are not “two coherent projects on the table that recognize the right to self-government of the Saharawi People”, as Mr. BLG claims. The document submitted by the Polisary Front to the UN Secretary-General in April 2007 to be discussed by the Security Council is titled "Proposal of the Polisary Front for a mutually acceptable political solution that ensures the self-determination of the peoples of Western Sahara"[xxix]. In turn, the document submitted by the Moroccan leaders bears a very different title: "Autonomy Initiative for the Sahara Region"[xxx]. No need to comment. The proposal of the Polisary Front claims and defends international law as expressed in UN resolutions, while the Moroccan project denies it or, at least, considerably mutilates it. Already in April 2006, the Report of the UN Secretary General to the Security Council (S/2006/249, paragraph 37) stated word by word the following[xxxi]: “In the bilateral consultations my Personal Envoy held [...], the Polisary Front reiterated that it would under no circumstances negotiate about any kind of autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty. My Personal Envoy clarified that [...] he had spoken of negotiations without preconditions, with a view to achieving a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that would provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara. The Security Council would not be able to invite parties to negotiate about Western Saharan autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty, for such wording would imply recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, which was out of the question as long as no States Member of the United Nations had recognized that sovereignty.” And the above-mentioned Resolution of the Security Council, dated 30 April 2007[xxxii], again “calls upon the parties to enter into negotiations without preconditions in good faith [...], with a view to achieving a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.” It should be added that Morocco has previously imposed its own terms (nothing is to be negotiated beyond their “autonomy project,” as stated by Mohamed VI himself) and that everything but good faith has characterized the process. Indeed, repression against the Saharawi people in the occupied territories in Western Sahara and in Morocco has been the hallmark of the process.[xxxiii]


8. International law is –however deficient- a set of rules devised by human as a framework for peaceful coexistence and the peaceful resolution of conflicts. But it ought to be observed and enforced. Morocco does not observe it (as per Chapter VI of the Charter of the United Nations)[xxxiv] and the international community does not put enough pressure on the need to enforce it (as per Chapter VII). As BLG himself rightly points out, “international law is a framework to ensure respect of peoples’ rights.” But, are the legitimate rights of the Saharawi People respected? On the other hand, have the Saharawi violated the rights of the Moroccan People? Had the SADR invaded and occupied Morocco, what would have been the reaction of the international community? Kuwait –and East Timor[xxxv]- ring bells and are not far in time. No need to speculate.

9. The reason why Morocco has continuously hindered a transparent and fair referendum is because its most unruly leaders fear the results[xxxvi]. They thus deny in advance and eliminate from reality what according to Mr. BLG is utopian (international law and, eventually, independence), while they keep the Saharawi People living under the most degrading conditions, in exile and abject poverty. They want to buy time, exhaust and demoralize the Saharawi, alienate the historical memory of the younger generations, defeat an entire people by exhaustion with the futile hope of seeing them finally surrender and accept whatever they are offered, deeply immersed in the contradictions imposed by unfair obstacles[xxxvii].

10. Contrary to BLG’s statement, Morocco has not been following the ostrich policy for over 30 years, but rather the burnt land policy, the fait accompli policy, in clear violation of international law from the times of the infamous Green March (of frenzied and manipulated civilians, on one side, and tanks, airplanes and troops, on the other) hatched with the strategic advice of Henry Kissinger[xxxviii]. And Spain and the international community decided to adopt a laissez faire attitude and look away, absorbed in more profitable business, displaying a short-sightedness that has lasted way too long and has become unbearable[xxxix].

11. According to International on decolonization, self-determination is nothing but the possibility of a colonized nation to freely and democratically elect from an arrangement of proposals: full integration with the metropolis, commonwealth status vis-à-vis the metropolis, commonwealth status vis-à-vis a third country or independence.[xl] Therefore, in spite of the fears and cunnings of Moroccan leaders, the right to self-determination does not compulsory or necessarily presupposes independence, the status that Saharauis legitimately seek. As explicitly and literally stated in item 8 of the Saharawi Proposal, with a broad-minded approach: “The Polisary Front also commits to accepting the results of the referendum, regardless of its outcome, and to negotiate with the Kingdom of Morocco, under the auspices of the United Nations, the rights it is willing to grant to the Moroccan population settled in Western Sahara for 10 years, and the political, economic and security rights it is willing to guarantee to the Kingdom of Morocco should the self- determination referendum result in independence”.

12. As recently claimed by CEAS-Sahara, “the struggle to enforce their right over the territory they were robbed of in 1975, the patience and the resistance, the faith in justice and the confidence in their being right explain how Saharawis have been able to survive all this time in one of the most inhospitable areas of Earth[xli]despite so many and repeatedly unfulfilled promises[xlii]”. If it now seems like the times are changing, it is because the ruling Moroccan elite has run out of playing cards; because the Saharawi People have resisted with dignity time and time again, overcome all sorts of abuses and sorrow, honouring their determined commitment with international law (not with Utopia), because they have spun a network of solidarity among different peoples and defended their cause in fora all over the world. And because civil society, in Spain and all over the world, increasingly demands –as opposed to the ruling class at least part of the time- the enforcement and observation of international law.


[i]               Tomás BÁRBULO, La historia prohibida del Sáhara Español, Destino, Barcelona 2002.

            Carlos RUIZ MIGUEL, Sáhara Occidental: independencia, paz y seguridad, Cuadernos de  Pensamiento Político nº 12 (2006), p. 151-179, http://www.gees.org/articulo/3237/ and http://web.usc.es/~ruizmi/

            Chronology of the Western Sahara conflict:

            Claes OLSSON (Ed.), The Western Sahara Conflict - The role of natural resources in decolonization, Current African Issues No. 33 (2006), The Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, Sweden.











[ii]          The Madrid Agreements (14 November 1975) were never published in the Official Gazette (B.O.E.) and are thus illegal. They include a declaration of principles and a series of outline agreements for economic cooperation. The document was signed by the Spanish President Carlos Arias Navarro, the Moroccan Prime Minister Ahmed Osman, and Mauritanian Minister of Foreign Affairs. ("Décolonisation", ONU, n° 17, octobre 1980, p. 77 - United Nations Treaty Series), http://www.arso.org/ac3madrid.htm - http://www.wsahara.net/maccords.html

            The UN LEGAL AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT (S/2002/161) reaffirmed and confirmed the 1975 verdict of the INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE on the Western Sahara issue:

            1. "Spanish Sahara was included in 1963 in the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories under Chapter XI of the Charter (A/5514, Annex III)…. In a series of General Assembly resolutions on the Question of Spanish/Western Sahara, the applicability to the territory of the Declaration on the Granting of independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) was reaffirmed". (§5)

            2. "The Madrid Agreement [1975] did not transfer sovereignty over the territory, nor did it confer upon any of the signatories the status of an administering Power, a status which Spain alone could not have unilaterally transferred". (§6)

            3. "The transfer of administrative authority over the territory to Morocco and Mauritania in 1975, did not affect the international status of Western Sahara as a Non-Self-Governing Territory".(§6) http://www.arso.org/FPUK020202.htm - http://www.arso.org/UNlegaladv.htm

            Eduardo TRILLO DE MARTÍN-PINILLOS, Spain as Administering Power of Western Sahara, in Karin ARTS and P. PINTO LEITE (Eds.), International Law and the Question of Western Sahara, Preface by Frank RUDDY, International Platform of Jurists for East Timor, IPJET, Leiden - The Netherlands, 2007, (pp. 79-85). http://www.arso.org/Pedrosbook.htm

            AFAPREDESA, Conclusiones de la Jornada Jurídica Internacional sobre el Sáhara Occidental, Madrid, 24/09/2007. http://www.afapredesa.org/index2.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=71&pop=1&page=0&Itemid=2

            Carlos RUIZ MIGUEL, Los Acuerdos de Madrid, inmorales, ilegales y políticamente suicidas. La Ilustración Liberal, Num. 26, Invierno 2005-2006, http://www.libertaddigital.com/ilustracion_liberal/articulo.php/647 , http://www.gees.org/articulo/2344/ http://www.umdraiga.com/documentos/analisis/Ruiz_Acuerdos_de_Madrid.htm

[iii]              Mauritania signed a peace treaty with the Polisary Front on 1979 and withdrew from the occupied Western Sahara territory. Morocco immediately annexed the territory and thus its leaders failed to meet the “Madrid Agreements” which are, as already stated, illegal in any case.

            “There was a division of the territory between Mauritania and Morocco. Morocco today says that all of the Sahara is ours, we will never agree to any division or any partition.” (James BAKER III, Interview by Mishal HUSAIN – PBS TV– WIDEANGLE -  August 19, 2004), http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/printable/transcript_sahara_print.html


            Robert E. HANDLOFF (ed.), Mauritania: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1988. http://countrystudies.us/mauritania/

[iv]                   Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, SADR - http://www.arso.org/03-0.htm

        Western Sahara political map - http://www.arso.org/SOMAP2.GIF

        Proclamation of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, SADR (27 February 1976),


            Constitution de la RASD, http://www.arso.org/03-const.99.htm - http://www.arso.org/03-0.htm

            Country recognitions of the SADR - http://www.arso.org/03-2.htm

[v]              “This is the last de-colonization issue facing the United Nations. (...), when the Spanish pulled out they never determined -- there was never a determination of who would have sovereignty over what used to be Spanish Sahara. (...) The international court of justice has considered the matter and said that there's no basis on which to rule and that Morocco is entitled to sovereignty over the territory.” (James BAKER III, Interview, op. cit.).

         All UN Resolutions & Reports concerning Western Sahara: http://www.arso.org/06-0.htm and http://www.wsahara.net/bibliography.html

            Carlos RUIZ MIGUEL, An Essential Documentation to know the Western Sahara, Um Draiga, Amigos del Pueblo Saharaui en Aragón, 1st edition, mayo 2007 (updated, English, French, Spanish).



[vi]                   The General Principles of the Treaty for Friendship, Good Neighborhood and Cooperation signed between Spain and Morocco in Rabat on 4 July 1991 clearly state: “1. Observance of international law: the Parties commit to meeting, in good faith, the committments undertaken according to International Law, both derived from the principles and rules of international law as those derived from treaties or other agreements ratified according to international law”http://www.boe.es/g/es/bases_datos/doc.php?coleccion=iberlex&id=1993/5422&codmap=

[vii]             Tomás BÁRBULO, op. cit.: “The solidarity of the Spanish society clashes with the official stance” (p. 34). “Rabat diplomats know quite well that one of the key reasons why they have failed to definitely annex the territory is the fact that the Spanish public opinion supports the Polisary Front” (p. 29).

            Felipe GONZÁLEZ (leader of the Socialist Workers’ Party and later President of Spain), pronounced the following speech to the Saharawi People and the Polisary Front during a visit to the refugee camps in Tinduf (Algeria) on 14 November 1976 (first anniversary of the signing of the Madrid Tripartite Agreements pronounced these exact words before the Saharawi people: I want you to know that the majority of the Spanish people, the most noble and the kindest part of our people, believe in your struggle.” http://www.kaosenlared.net/noticia/el-lobby-promarroqu-en-accin



            Endnote 41 includes a longer part of Felipe GONZÁLEZ’s speech.

[viii]            “And I ended up being the personal envoy of the Secretary General for seven years. During that time I convened 14 formal meetings of the parties on three continents and on any number of informal meetings of one party or the other. We put a lot of plans on the table. Three or four different proposals including the settlement plan, which had been agreed to by the parties back in 1991 when Javier Perez de Cuellar was the U.N. Secretary General. (...)

            I was talking about the old plan, the 1991 plan. Now, let me tell you about my plan, which is still on the table, called the Peace Plan for Self-Determination of the People of Western Sahara. That plan changed the settlement plan, which Morocco had decided they were no longer going to try and implement in this way. It broadened the electorate so that everyone in Western Sahara would have the right to vote on this issue of self-determination on the referendum and not just the people who were identified in the Spanish census of 1975 or 1976. And even under that arrangement, now that plan, by the way, was unanimously approved by the Security Council Resolution 1495, and the Moroccans concluded that they weren't even willing to risk a vote under those circumstances. (...)

            They [the Saharawi people] were promised a referendum. The other side agreed to it right up to the very point of the referendum and then backed out. And then you had the plan I put on the table which got the unanimous support of the Security Council, 15 to nothing and it was then rejected by Morocco. So I'm sure the Sahrawi are going to say, wait a minute, what do we have to do here to get a shot at self-determination? What do we have to do? We've said we'll include -- well, they didn't say this, I did -- we'll include all of the people in Western Sahara as voters in the self-determination referendum. And the Moroccans are evidently even afraid of that. (...)

            They [Morocco] did agree with Javier Perez de Cuellar, the former Secretary General of the United Nations, that they would implement the settlement plan that he put on the table. And for 10 or 11 years, even two or three years during my tenure we took steps to implement that plan. And when we got right up to having identified the people who were entitled to vote, the Moroccans then walked away from the plan. Why did they do that? You'll have to ask them but I would assume it was because they were worried that they wouldn't win the vote.

            (...) Well I kept telling the king, particularly King Hassan, I said, Your Majesty, if you don't want the settlement plan don't say you want it because I think we're going to be able to deliver it. And they kept professing to want it, not just the king but all of his courtiers as well.

            (...) For 10 or 11 years Morocco said publicly and privately that she wanted the settlement plan and wanted this referendum and then toward the very end, right after the voter list had been made, the voters had been identified, she said, Well, it's no longer applicable; we're not going to go forward with the settlement plan.” (James BAKER III, Interview, op. cit.).

            Frank RUDDY, Western Sahara: Africa’s Last Colony, Juneau – Anchorage (Alaska), Oct.-Nov. 2007,


            Carlos RUIZ MIGUEL, Sáhara Occidental: independencia, paz y seguridad, Cuadernos de  Pensamiento Político nº 12 (2006), pp. 151-179, http://web.usc.es/~ruizmi/sah.html - http://web.usc.es/~ruizmi/ http://documentos.fundacionfaes.info/document_file/filename/981/00065-08_-_sahara_occidental.pdf

            John BOLTON, Surrender Is Not an Option. Threshold Editions, November 2007, Chapter 9, pp. 246-247, and Chapter 13, pp. 367-369. http://www.upes.org/body2_eng.asp?field=articulos_eng&id=282

              Luis DE VEGA, Rabat sigue vetando las asociaciones del Sahara que piden la autodeterminación, ABC (14/03/2008), http://www.abc.es/20080313/internacional-africa/rabat-sigue-vetando-asociaciones_200803130250.html

[ix]                   Chronology of the Intifada in the occupied territories of Western Sahara:


            Aminatou HAIDAR, A Testimony of Human Rights Violations Against Saharawis, in Karin ARTS and P. PINTO LEITE (Eds.), International Law and the Question of Western Sahara,  op. cit. pp. 347-349, http://www.arso.org/Pedrosbook.htm

            Simon CUNICH, Western Sahara: Morocco’s repression continues, Green Left on Line, November 2006, http://www.greenleft.org.au/2006/691/35885

            Brief WESTERN SAHARA, Repression increases in Western Sahara, Green Left on Line, January 2007, http://www.greenleft.org.au/2007/696/36157

            Spanish PUNDIT, The repression grows in Morocco against Saharauis (May 2007),


            ASVDH, Repression against ASVDH continues (August 2007), http://asvdh.net/english/?p=237

            DPA, French trade union accuses Morocco of repression in Western Sahara (27.02.08),


            Maria J. STEPHAN and Jacob MUNDY, A Battlefield Transformed: From Guerrilla Resistance To Mass Non-Violent Struggle In The Western Sahara, Journal of Military and Strategic Studies, Spring 2006, Vol. 8, Issue 3 – Centre for Military and Strategic Studies, Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute. http://www.sandblast-arts.org/web/documentation/ABATTLEFIELDTRANSFORMED.pdf

             Jean-Paul LE MAREC, La répression est quotidienne au Sahara occidental,


            Donald MACDONALD, Torture in Morocco's Secret Prisons, (Extract from "The Sahara's Forgotten War", published NCU, United Kingdom, June 1993),  http://www.btinternet.com/~donald.macdonald/torture.htm

            WSO, Human Rights in Western Sahara, http://www.wsahara.net/wshr.html

        Rashi KHILNANI, How Morocco’s free media is silenced, Open Democracy (April 2006),


            Violations des Droits Humains dans le territoire du Sahara Occidental et au Maroc, http://www.arso.org/DHpris.htm

            BIRDHSO, Human Rights Violations in Western Sahara, http://www.birdhso.org/

           AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, MOROCCO/WESTERN SAHARA: Human rights violations in Western Sahara (April 1996), http://asiapacific.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGMDE290041996?open&of=ENG-376

            AFAPREDESA, La ONU prepara una sesión sobre derechos humanos de Marruecos (07/03/2008),


             United Nations Human Rights - OHCHR, Universal Periodic Review – Morocco,


 [x]              By virtue of what kina of law can the occupying power afford to blatantly “offer” autonomy under its own sovereignty to an occupied territory? See point 7 of this paper.

 [xi]             In the aftermath of Franco’s dictatorship, the left-wing parties (and particularly the Spanish Communist Party, PCE) were forced to make specific concessions, such as accepting the return of Monarchy and giving up on the restoration of the Republic legally constituted before the Civil War (1936-1939), in order to be accepted as lawful players in the game of parliamentary democracy.

 [xii]                 INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE, Advisory Opinion on Western Sahara (16 October 1975), http://www.icj-cij.org/icjwww/idecisions/isummaries/isasummary751016.htm - http://www.icj-cij.org - See also endnote 2.

            “What we were seeking to do was to find a political solution if we could, that would provide for self-determination as the U.N. Security Council resolutions require and give these people at least a shot at self-determination. (...) Morocco has won the war. She's in possession. (...) Morocco is absolutely determined to hang on to it. Why should she agree to anything? And so she is disinclined to do so. Well, there's one very good reason why she should, because she will never receive the imprimatur of international legitimacy for her occupation of the territory unless she works out some arrangement that is blessed by the international community, blessed by the Security Council, or acceptable to the other party. (...) Well I think as long as the issue remains unresolved yes, I think there's hope. I think there's hope because I don't know of hardly any country in the world that as a matter of international law, international recognition, recognizes Morocco's claim to the Sahara. Morocco needs to have international legitimacy attached to its claim.” (James BAKER III, Interview, op. cit.).

            Frank RUDDY, Western Sahara: Africa’s Last Colony, Juneau – Anchorage (Alaska), Oct.-Nov. 2007,


            John BOLTON, op. cit. http://www.upes.org/body2_eng.asp?field=articulos_eng&id=282

[xiii]                   The repeated failure of the Moroccan government to comply with UN resolutions and plans agreed thus prove it. The Moroccan government has even failed to organize the self-determination referendum (and the international community has done nothing but remained impassive and indiferent). The lack of credibility of the Moroccan government is constantly addressed by the authors quoted in this paper.

[xiv]            Tomás BÁRBULO, op. cit., p. 284. The US, French and Spanish sale of weapons to Morocco has continued since 1975, and this also applies to US, French and Spanish companies doing business in Morocco and thus contributing to the funding of the military occupation of the Western Sahara and the unpunished repression against the Saharawi people:

            Richard KNIGHT, Don't Sell Arms to Morocco, The Washington Post, (November 23, 1979),


            STØTTEKOMITEEN FOR VEST-SAHARA, USA sells 24 combat aircrafts to Morocco, http://www.vest-sahara.no/index.php?cat=49&art=760

            REUTERS, Morocco arms move may hit Sahara talks-Polisario (02 Mar 2008),


            DEFENSE INDUSTRY DAILY, Morocco to Buy a French FREMM Frigate,


            WSO, Major Arms Sales to Morocco, http://www.wsahara.net/m_armssales.html

            WAR ON WANT, The Arms to Morocco for Western Sahara Scandal,


                WESTERN SAHARA INFO,  Spain arms Morocco (Feb 12, 2007), http://w-sahara.blogspot.com/2007/02/spain-arms-morocco.html

            I. CEMBRERO / M. GONZÁLEZ, España vende a Rabat 1.200 blindados como los usados en Afganistán (EL PAÍS, 06/02/2007),


            SPS, SADR / SPAIN / MOROCCO /ARMAMENT, http://www.spsrasd.info/en/infos/2007/02/sps-e080207-b.html

            Stephen J. SOLARZ, Arms for Morocco? – Foreign Affairs, Winter 1979/80,


[xv]           Carlos JIMÉNEZ VILLAREJO, “Genocidio en el Sáhara”, El Periódico de Catalunya, 2/4/2007, http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=49253;

            Tomás BÁRBULO, “La historia prohibida del Sáhara Español”, op.cit.

            On 29 October 2007 and for the first time in history, an upon the request of the Saharawi citizens, the Spanish law accepted for consideration –similar to Pinochet’s case- a complaint for alleged genocide, murder, injuries and torture against thirteen top members of the Moroccan Royal Police, Army and Security Corps:

            AP, IHT, EL PAÍS, and Others, Complaint against Morocco for genocide in Western Sahara (30.10.07),


            IHT, Spanish judge to open inquest into suspected atrocities against North African Saharawi people,


            UPES, Saharawi jurists denounce the Moroccan "crimes in silence" in Western Sahara (03/03/2008)  


            AFROL NEWS, Morocco accused of genocide, http://www.afrol.com/News2002/wsa011_mor_genocide.htm

            SAHARA-WATCH, Spain to open genocide prosecution against Moroccan actions in Western Sahara, http://sahara-watch.blogspot.com/2007/03/spain-to-open-genocide-prosecution.html

            ASVDH, Spanish Judge starts Genocide proceedings against Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara,


[xvi]            On the Spanish policy on Africa during Franco’s regime, see Anne DULPHY, La guerre d’Algèrie dans les relations Franco-espagnoles. Enjeux spécifiques et éléments de comparaison avec l’Italie,  Cahiers de la Mediterranée, Vol. 71 – 2005 (Tome 2), and Tomás BÁRBULO (op. cit., p. 42): “Franco disregarded the UN calls (constant as early as 1965) and devised different tricks to hold on to the [Saharan] territory. He turned the Sahara into a Spanish province in 1961; created the Yemaá or General Assembly in 1967 as a manipulated and useless Saharawi parliament, and came up with an autonomy status in 1973 that was approved by the Yemaá in July 1974, but was never enacted because of the pressure exerted by Hassan II.”

[xvii]       Frank RUDDY, Western Sahara: Africa’s Last Colony, op. cit., mentions several unfair Moroccan obstacles to the self-determination referendum, http://arso.org/RuddyAlaskaspeech2007.htm

            Frank RUDDY, Testimonies, Statements and Speeches, http://www.arso.org/06-0.htm#ANCREru

            Joseph R. PITTS, Statement before the European Conference of Support to the Sahrawi People (2004)


        James BAKER III, Interview, op. cit.

[xviii]          UN Legal Affairs Department (S/2002/161), Resolution quoted on endnote 2.

            James BAKER III, Interview, op. cit.

            Stephen ZUNES, The future of Western Sahara, Foreign Policy in Focus (FPIF), 20/07/2007,

        http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/4410 - http://arso.org/Zunes200707s.htm

            Stephen ZUNES, Morocco and Western Sahara, Foreign Policy In Focus, December 1998, Vol. 3, No. 42, http://www.btinternet.com/~donald.macdonald/sahn19.htm

            Larosi HAIDAR, La imposible marroquinidad del Sáhara Occidental, Telde Actualidad, 19/08/2007, http://www.teldeactualidad.com/hemeroteca/hemeroteca_secciones.php?id=15&seccion=cartas


            See also point 7 of this paper.

[xix]            Carlos RUIZ MIGUEL, Constitutional Law professor, has devoted part of his research to and wrote a book on the rationality, legitimacy and advantages of independence: “Sáhara Occidental: Independencia, paz y seguridad”, op. cit. The following website offers further commentaries on Prof. Ruiz’s work on the Western Sahara (some sections in English): http://web.usc.es/~ruizmi/.

            Kamal FADEL, Forum for the Future: Good idea, wrong location,


            Ian WILLIAMS, Save Freedonia, Guardian Unlimited (May 1, 2007),


            Stefan ARMBRUSTER, Oil: Western Sahara's future, BBC News (4 March, 2003), http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/2758829.stm

            BBC NEWS, Mbeki backs W Sahara independence, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3664064.stm

            Angus REID, Thinking Outside the Box in Western Sahara, Angus Reid Global Monitor (June 17, 2007),


            Toby SHELLEY, Burden or benefit? Morocco in the Western Sahara, Middle East Studies Centre, Oxford University (February 18, 2005), http://www.arso.org/TSh180205.htm

            “You cannot, you will not get the economic development in the Maghreb that you would get if there were a settlement of the Western Sahara issue.” (James BAKER III, Interview, op. cit.)

            Ignacio CEMBRERO, El Sáhara lastra a Marruecos: El control de la antigua colonia española impide el desarrollo del país magrebí,  EL PAÍS, 11/03/2008,  http://www.casaarabe-ieam.es/index.php?modulo=multimedia&idioma=es&id=50

            Fouad ABDELMOUMNI  and Hugh ROBERTS, "Sáhara Occidental: los costes del conflicto",  Madrid 11/02/08, http://www.casaarabe-ieam.es/index.php?modulo=multimedia&idioma=es&id=50 (conference)

        http://www.casaarabe-ieam.es/index.php?modulo=multimedia&idioma=es&id=51 (debate).

[xx]                 “Surrender” is, indeed, the word chosen by John BOLTON, for part of the title of his most recent book, devoted to the Western Sahara. “Morocco initially agreed to a referendum – that was, after all, what the “R” in MINURSO, the Spanish acronym for “Mission of the United Nations for the Referendum in Western Sahara,” stood for –but consistently blocked taking the steps necessary to conduct it, such as voter identification and registration.” (...) “Morocco is in possession of almost all of the Western Sahara, happy to keep it that way, and expecting that de facto control will morph into de jure control over time, giving it both territorial breadth consistent with its historical concept of the “proper” size of Morocco and access to possible natural resources and fishing rights. Morocco’s alternative to a referendum was “autonomy” for the territory, which meant effectively keeping it under Moroccan control.” (...) “Since it was clear that Morocco had no intention of ever allowing a referendum, there was no point in a UN mission to conduct one.” (...) “I suggested terminating MINURSO and releasing the Saharawis from the cease-fire they had agreed to in exchange for the promise of a referendum.” (...) “...Morocco was never going to agree to a referendum where independence was a real option. “ (...) “...I never believed that Morocco would tolerate “true” autonomy.” (...) “In fact, in March 2007 Morocco promulgated yet another “autonomy” plan, with no provision for a referendum, and the Saharawis rejected it yet again.” (John BOLTON, Surrender Is Not an Option, op. cit., Chapter 13, pp. 367-369).

            James BAKER III, nnnn

            Ignacio CEMBRERO, Bolton lamenta que EE UU no le ayudase a pacificar el Sáhara, EL PAÍS, Madrid, 22/11/2007.


            Máximo RELTI, Bush no apoya el referéndum de autodeterminación del Sahara, Canarias Semanal (25.11.2007), http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=59458

[xxi]            Frank RUDDY, op. cit., señala, en particular, el artículo 6 del proyecto de autonomía marroquí, que especifica aquellas áreas en las que no habría autonomía alguna; y concluye: “In other words, the Moroccans are offering autonomy, except in everything that counts”.


            James BAKER III, Interview, op. cit.

            Carlos RUIZ MIGUEL, The 2007 Moroccan Autonomy Plan for Western Sahara: Too many Black Holes, http://web.usc.es/~ruizmi/

            Carlos RUIZ MIGUEL, Legal Analysis of the Moroccan Autonomy Plan (12/01/2008),


            Kamal FADEL, The Moroccan magic formula for Western Sahara,


[xxii]           According to official Moroccan data, during the elections of 7 September 2007, abstention reached 63%, and 19% of the ballot papers were blank or spoiled.  

            THE ECONOMIST, Morocco’s poor show – The lowest electoral turnout in its history (Sep 11th 2007),


            Anita BOSELLI, Morocco: the legislative elections in 2007, http://uk.equilibri.net/article/7686/Morocco__the_legislative_elections_in_2007

            Abdellatif IMAD,  Élections marocaines : Haj Moussa – Moussa Haj…, Bakchich.Info, samedi, 15 septembre 2007 – Tribune -  http://www.bakchich.info/article1636.html

            Ignacio CEMBRERO, Marruecos sigue sin facilitar los votos obtenidos por cada partido, EL PAÍS, 15/09/2007.


            Moulay HICHAM, Las elecciones marroquíes, inicio de explicación, EL PAÍS, 11/10/2007


[xxiii]          http://www.un.org/english/

[xxiv]      The Spanish people spontaneously rose against the invading troops. The revolutionary process started in Madrid on 2 May 1808 and spread throughout Spain, a guerrilla war was unleashed and lasted for six years, until the invader was driven out. The same episode is addressed by Fernando GUIJARRO ARCAS, Carta abierta a Raimon OBIOLS, euro-parlamentario ante la Unión Europea, http://www.arso.org/guijarro2.htm

            On the events of 2 May 1808 and the War of Independence against Napoleon (1808-1814), see:

            Benito PÉREZ GALDÓS: El 19 de marzo y el 2 de mayo; Bailén, S.A.P.E., Madrid 2005, et

            Arturo PÉREZ-REVERTE, Un día de cólera, Alfaguara, Madrid 2007.

            Benito PÉREZ GALDÓS, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benito_P%C3%A9rez_Gald%C3%B3s

            The Peninsular War 1808 – 1814, http://www.peninsularwar.org/penwar_e.htm

            Spain : Popular War, 1808-1813, http://www.zum.de/whkmla/military/napwars/popularwar.html

[xxv]           The world-famous painting by Francisco de Goya, “The Third of May 1808: the Execution of the Defenders of Madrid” [de 1808] is exhibited at the Museo del Prado, Madrid.

[xxvi]            Thabo MBEKI, President of South Africa and first president of the African Union (AU) sent a letter (dated 1 August 2004) -written with a severe but noble tone- to Mohamed VI, King of Morocco, explaining the reasons why he felt compelled to recognized the SADR: the fact that Morocco was not meeting it obligations and the fact that international law should prevail. The letter is available at http://arso.org.site.voila.fr/MBKs.htm - http://arso.org.site.voila.fr/MBK.htm http://arso.org.site.voila.fr/MBKfr.htm

            The Organization for African Unity (OAU) was founded in May 1963 thanks to the efforts of two key Third World leaders: Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana) and Gamal Abdel Nasser (Egypt), to promote unity and solidarity amongst African states, operate as the collective voice of the continent, eradicate colonialism and foster international cooperation. It had 54 members in 2002, including the SADR. Morocco left the organization in 1985 because of the recognition and inclusion of the SADR. The OAU was one of the main promoters of the boycott and diplomatic and political protests against the apartheid in South Africa (admitted into the organization in June 1994 after the fall of the apartheid). The OUA was replaced by the African Union (AU) in July 2002, an organization inspired by the European Union and created with the purpose of fostering political and economic integration, and strengthening the cooperation spirit amongst its members. Given the organization’s recognition of the SADR, Morocco is the only African country that has chosen not to be an AU member.

            83 countries have eventually recognized the SADR; however, only 70 still recognize it as Morocco has pushed small countries to either remove or freeze their recognition (Frank RUDDY, op cit., http://arso.org/RuddyAlaskaspeech2007.htm  and http://www.arso.org/03-2.htm).

[xxvii]     There are constant warnings from the Saharawis on the possible return to an armed conflict if Morocco insists on not respecting its commitment to international law and if the international community does not exert economic/military pressure on the Moroccan government:

            REUTERS, Polisario extends W.Sahara policy meeting, (Editing by Charles Dick), 19 Dec 2007,  http://africa.reuters.com/country/DZ/news/usnL19110073.html

            Hamid OULD AHMED, W. Sahara Independence Movement to Review Strategy, Global Policy Forum (December 5, 2007), http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/wsahara/2007/1205scindec.htm

            Tom C. VARGHESE, Polisario losing patience, Global Affairs, Issue 7 February-March 2008,


            Agencia EFE, El Frente Polisario amenaza con librar una nueva guerra contra Marruecos, Libertad Digital (21-05-2005), http://www.libertaddigital.com:83/php3/noticia.php3?fecha_edi_on=2005-05-21&num_edi_on=1453&cpn=1276252017&seccion=MUN_D

            Muhamad AREZKI HIMEUR, Polisario says ceasefire is void, BBC News (9 February, 2001),


[xxviii]         Carlos RUIZ MIGUEL, The 2007 Moroccan Autonomy Plan for Western Sahara: Too many Black Holes, Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos GEES, Análisis nº 196, 15/06/2007, http://web.usc.es/~ruizmi/

            Carlos RUIZ MIGUEL, Legal Analysis of the Moroccan Autonomy Plan (12/01/2008),


            Kamal FADEL, The Moroccan magic formula for Western Sahara,


            Frank RUDDY, Western Sahara: Africa’s Last Colony, Juneau – Anchorage (Alaska), Oct.-Nov. 2007,


            Stephen ZUNES, The Future of Western Sahara, op. cit., http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/4410 - http://arso.org/Zunes200707s.htm

            Carlos RUIZ MIGUEL, El proyecto marroquí de “autonomía” para el Sáhara de 2003: Análisis y consecuencias para el futuro, Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos GEES,  Análisis nº 146, 6 de Octubre de 2006 - http://web.usc.es/~ruizmi/ 

            Carlos RUIZ MIGUEL, Sáhara Occidental: independencia, paz y seguridad, Cuadernos de  Pensamiento Político nº 12 (2006), p. 151-179, http://web.usc.es/~ruizmi/

            James BAKER III, Interview, op. cit.   

[xxix]      PROPOSAL OF THE POLISARY FRONT for a mutually acceptable political solution that provides for the self-determination of THE PEOPLE OF WESTERN SAHARA [presented to UN Secretary General on April 10 2007], http://www.arso.org/PropositionFP100407.htm

[xxx]       MOROCCAN INITIATIVE for negotiating an autonomy statute for the Sahara Region, http://www.maec.gov.ma/Initiative/En/Default.htm

            See the comments on the Moroccan initiative by Stephen ZUNES,  Frank RUDDY, Carlos RUIZ MIGUEL, and Kamal FADEL  and James BAKER III, Interview, op. cit. (endnote 28 supra).

[xxxi]      Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation Concerning Western Sahara (S/2006 /249), 19 April 2006 - http://www.arso.org/S-2006-e.htm

[xxxii]     Resolution 1754 (2007) adopted by the Security Council, 30 April 2007,


[xxxiii] See the bibliography indicated under endnote 9.

[xxxiv]        The UN, international organizations, the EU, and several national Parliaments have the necessary mechanisms to impose and enforce international law. Suffice it to remember, among other cases, how pressure was exerted to put an end to the apartheid in South Africa.

            Karin SCHEELE, Time for a New EU Policy on Western Sahara, in Karin ARTS and P. PINTO LEITE (Eds.), International Law and the Question of Western Sahara, op. cit. pp. 351-352, http://www.arso.org/Pedrosbook.htm

            “The Security Council has never been willing to impose a solution, that is, to move to Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter from Chapter 6, which requires consensus of both parties. (...) But the real issue is whether or not no country on the Security Council is going to expend political chips on the issue of Western Sahara. (...) Well I think any dispute like this is solvable given goodwill on the part of both parties but you haven't had that. If you don't have that, if they're not willing to exercise the political will necessary to reach a solution and the Security Council is not willing to move from Chapter 6, that is consensus, to Chapter 7 where they can ask the parties, force the parties, one or both of them, to do something they don't want to do. Then I don't know where the solution comes from. (...) The 101st airborne isn't going to go in and require self-determination in the Western Sahara. (...) This issue is really not unlike the Arab-Israeli dispute: two different peoples claiming the same land. One is very strong, one has won the war, one is in occupation and the other is very weak.” (James BAKER III, Interview, op. cit.)   

[xxxv]   “Morocco’s crime was contemporaneous with and as flagrant a crime as Indonesia’s seizure of East Timor (Frank RUDDY, op. cit., p. 23). In East Timor, previously called Portuguese Timor, the Portuguese carried out a quite irregular decolonization process, very similar to that of Franco’s government in the Sahara. The former Portuguese colony was invaded by Indonesia in 1975 and remained occupied until 1999. Twenty years later the Portuguese returned and organized a self-determination referendum under the auspices of the UN. The result was the proclamation of a new country: Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, and its full independence was declared on 10 May 2002 (Tomás BÁRBULO, op. cit., p. 23).

            Stephen ZUNES, East Timor and Western Sahara: A Comparative Analysis on Prospects for Self-Determination, in:

            Karin ARTS and Pedro PINTO LEITE (Eds.), International Law and the Question of Western Sahara, op. cit., pp. 109-130, http://www.arso.org/Pedrosbook.htm

            Charles SCHEINER, Self-Determination Requires More than Political Independence: Recent Developments in Timor-Leste, Ibidem, pp. 133-146.

            “I think with the U.N. what you get is the lowest common denominator because you have 15 countries on the Security Council -- and I would remind you that the United Nations has only functioned the way the founders intended one time and that was when it voted 12 to 3 to authorize the use of force to kick Iraq out of Kuwait (...). That's the only time it's ever done that. (...) If you're going to say that you have to resolve the conflict by consensus agreement between the parties then the parties have got to want to resolve it. And there really should be some outside action forcing events that lead them to that objective. If, on the other hand, you can persuade let's say, the Security Council as we did in the lead up to the Gulf War to use its Chapter 7 powers to impose upon one party or the other or ask one party or the other to do something they would not otherwise voluntarily agree to do, that's a little different. And it's easier to resolve a conflict when you have that power and that ability behind you.” (James BAKER III, Interview, op. cit.).

            EAST TIMOR: nn

[xxxvi]        Tomás BÁRBULO, op. cit., p. 220; Frank RUDDY op. cit.; and Carlos RUIZ MIGUEL, Sáhara Occidental: independencia, paz y seguridad, Cuadernos de  Pensamiento Político nº 12 (2006), p. 151-179, http://web.usc.es/~ruizmi/.

            “...1991 under Javier Perez de Cuellar, the U.N. Secretary General. He put something on the table called the settlement plan to which both the Sahrawi's POLISARIO Front and Morocco agreed, which called for a vote based on a Spanish census of 1975 or 1976. The closer we got to implementing the settlement plan - and we got quite close, (...) we got the Houston accords agreed to. The closer we got, the more nervous I think the Moroccans got about whether they might not win that referendum.” (James BAKER III, Interview, op. cit.).

[xxxvii]        We do not only refer to the different obstacles addressed by Frank RUDDY and Carlos RUIZ MIGUEL, but also to the contradictions that the long wait means for the Polisary Front, the Saharawi people and, especially, the younger generations who did not experience the massacre and the horror of the flight.

[xxxviii]  On Henry KISSINGER’s participation on the preparation of the Green March and its funding by Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, see: Tomás BÁRBULO, op. cit. (pp. 212-234) and Jacob MUNDY, How the US and Morocco seized the Spanish Sahara, Le Monde Diplomatique, January 2006, http://mondediplo.com/2006/01/12asahara

            “Well they built the sand wall way back in '86, '87 sometime. I remember being the representative of the United States of America on the throne day, the celebration of the day that his majesty King Hassan took the throne. And as I was meeting with him prior to returning to the United States he asked me if I could help him with some intelligence involving the wall. And I came back to Washington and put the request in and we got some overhead intelligence to help Morocco with respect to the wall.” (James BAKER III, Interview, op. cit.).

[xxxix]        Karin ARTS and Pedro PINTO LEITE (Eds.), International Law and the Question of Western Sahara,  op. cit, http://www.arso.org/Pedrosbook.htm

            Nick BROOKS, Way smoothed for genocide in Western Sahara, SAND & DUST (2007/02/27),


            EUROPA PRESS, La Fedissah, preocupada por la abstención de España en la ONU respecto al Sáhara, LUKOR (26/10/04), http://www.lukor.com/not-esp/internacional/0410/26181136.htm

            AFAPREDESA, History and Facts, http://www.afapredesa.org/index.php?Itemid=29&id=14&option=com_content&task=view&lang=en CODESA, A Detailed Report on the Violations of Human Rights Perpetrated by the Moroccan state in the Western Sahara and against the Sahrawi Citizens in Morocco since the passing of the UN 1754 Resolution in April 2007, http://www.arso.org/CODESAreport2.htm

            Afifa KARMOUS, Les ressources naturelles d'un territoire non autonome: le Sahara Occidental, Colloque des Juristes sur le Sahara Occidental, Paris le 28 avril 2001, http://www.arso.org/colljupa.karmous.htm

            Alberto CARNERO and David SARIAS, The Western Sahara: Disloyalty, Negligence... or Responsability, Papeles FAES, Nº 46, 22/05/2007.



            Cate LEWIS, Stop phosphate trade with Morocco! (12 January 2007) http://www.greenleft.org.au/2007/694/36071

            WESTERN SAHARA RESOURCE WATCH – WSRW, http://www.wsrw.org/index.php?dl=en

            WESTERN SAHARA RESOURCE WATCH – WSRW, Phosphates, fish and oil: The Plundering of Western Sahara, http://www.tlaxcala.es/detail_artistes.asp?lg=es&reference=142

[xl]             Carlos RUIZ MIGUEL, Sáhara Occidental: independencia, paz y seguridad, op. cit., p. 151.

            Catriona DREW, The Meaning of Self-Determination: “The Stealing of the Sahara” Redux?, in  Karin ARTS and Pedro PINTO LEITE (Eds.), International Law and the Question of Western Sahara,  op.cit.,  pp. 87-105, http://www.arso.org/Pedrosbook.htm

            Thomas M. FRANCK, The Stealing of the Sahara, The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 70, No. 4 (Oct., 1976), pp. 694-721

[xli]             CEAS-Sáhara: Coordinadora Estatal de Asociaciones de Amistad y Solidaridad con el Pueblo Saharaui, http://www.saharaindependiente.org/

[xlii]            Sobre las promesas incumplidas de España al Pueblo saharaui:

            José VIDAL-BENEYTO, “El Sáhara y la MPC”, EL PAÍS, 21/07/2007, http://www.elpais.com/articulo/internacional/Sahara/MPC/elpepiint/20070721elpepiint_15/Tes http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=54247

            Felipe GONZÁLEZ MÁRQUEZ (leader of the Socialist Workers’ Party and later President of Spain), pronounced the following speech to the Saharawi People and the Polisary Front during a visit to the refugee camps in Tinduf (Algeria) on 14 November 1976 (first anniversary of the signing of the Madrid Tripartite Agreements):

            "...We wanted to be here today, 14 November 1976, to show our rejection and disapproval of the 1975 Madrid Agreements...

            "The Saharawi People will be victorious, not only because they are right, but because they are determined to fight for freedom.

            "I want you to know that the majority of the Spanish people, the most noble and the kindest part of our people, believe in your struggle. In our view, it is not about the right to self-determination anymore; it is about walking with you in solidarity until the final victory comes.


            "As part of the Spanish nation, we are ashamed of our government’s terrible colonization of your land, but also of its even worse decolonization process and the way you were handed to the reactionary governments of Morocco and Mauritania. You should also know that our people are also fighting against that very same government that abandoned the Saharawi People to its fate. The closer our nation comes to freedom, the greater and more efficient support we will be able to offer you.


            "We know that your experience is about hearing plenty of unfulfilled promises. Therefore, I want not to promise you anything, but rather commit myself to History: our party will support you until victory is achieved”.

            Felipe GONZÁLEZ’s speech (Spanish) can be listened at http://www.rasd-tv.com/, and read at:

            Fernando GUIJARRO ARCAS, Carta abierta a Raimon OBIOLS, euro-parlamentario ante la Unión Europea, http://www.arso.org/guijarro2.htm

            Luis PORTILLO PASQUAL DEL RIQUELME, El lobby promarroquí en acción (February 2008):




            On unfulfilled promises made to the Western Sahara, please see:

            Richard KNIGHT, Former colonial powers have enough wealth to alleviate African debt, (The Green Cross Optimist, Issue 5, 2005),


Source: http://www.tlaxcala.es/pp.asp?reference=4625&lg=es

Original article published on December 29, 2007

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Atenea Avevedo is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, translator and reviser are cited.

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