Alison LakeJune 29, 2012 06:17
A generations-old territorial question between Morocco and Algeria poses new risks.
A Sahrawi woman walks in the desert near the Western Sahara refugees camp in Tindouf. Morocco’s de facto governance of Western Sahara since gaining full control in 1979 remains a point of bitter contention for the Polisario and Algeria. (Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images)
RABAT and WASHINGTON — Relative to large pockets of human suffering in sub-Saharan Africa in the form of widespread famine or civil wars, the fate of Western Sahara, a disputed desert territory and its 120,000 people, is easily overlooked. Yet this particular conflict undermines regional security in North Africa and perpetuates a troublesome humanitarian situation. Amid a changing climate colored by the Arab Spring and the ascent of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Western Sahara is an unfortunate liability.