Weekly Geopolitical Report – The Western Sahara: Part I (March 1, 2021)
by Thomas Wash | PDF
To facilitate a restoration of diplomatic relations between Morocco and Israel, the Trump administration acknowledged Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara territory on December 10, reversing the three-decade U.S. policy of supporting self-determination for the Sahrawi People who make up most of the region’s population. The reconciliation between Morocco and Israel was part of the so-called “Abraham Accords,” which seek to normalize relations between Israel and various Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa. However, the decision to recognize Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara has drawn scrutiny from across the world as it marks a departure from the traditional U.S. approach of resolving conflicts through mediation. Rather, the Trump administration’s Abraham Accords process reflects a more transactional approach that attempted to solve conflicts through ultimatums.
In this week’s report, we discuss the dispute over Western Sahara and the possibility of a broader conflict. We begin with a short history of the conflict between Morocco and Western Sahara. Afterward, we discuss the truce between the two sides and why it has been difficult to come to a resolution. We will conclude the report next week in Part II with a discussion of how the next administration might deal with this shift in policy. As usual, we will close with possible market ramifications.