Understanding the Situation in Guerguarate, Southern Morocco

Morocco’s colonization by European countries is like no other. The country was colonized by France and Spain. Spain colonized the southern part of the country then know as Spanish Sahara. The decolonization of Morocco was completed in different stages, culminating the decolonization of the Sahara 45 years ago with the signature of the Madrid Agreement, following the historical green march.

In the aftermath of this event, Algeria protested the Agreement and offered support to an armed militia, based in Algeria called Polisario, which self-proclaimed themover government in exile in Tindouf, Algeria and falsely accused Morocco of illegally invading the region. This led to the creation of a three-party regional dispute in which the UN intervened in 1991, when they sponsored a ceasefire agreement and established the MINURSO peace keeping mission.

The dispute became highly political. For years now, on the international political scene, many countries support Morocco’s efforts and resolution proposal through an autonomy plan for the region. Indeed, Morocco benefited from important support from the international community, through the UN, pushing for a political solution through discussions and round tables between the parties.

These past few weeks, the Polisario militia blockaded a key road in what is called the buffer zone, which is a UN patrolled border zone between Morocco and its southern neighbor Mauritania. This move disturbed the usual flow of goods and people between both countries. Many media headlines have portrayed Morocco as breaching the ceasefire by “attacking peaceful protesters” when in reality all it did was protect the integrity of its territory.

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