Perspectives on Western Sahara: Myths, Nationalisms, and Geopolitics

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9781442226852: Perspectives on Western Sahara: Myths, Nationalisms, and Geopolitics

The ongoing conflict in Western Sahara is one of the more intractable legacies of European colonization in North Africa. Following the withdrawal of Spain, this territorial dispute escalated in 1975 into a war of independence between the Sahrawi people of the Polisario Front, who were backed by Algeria, and the states of Mauritania and Morocco. In 1976, the Polisario Front established the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, which was not admitted in the UN but won recognition by a few states. After multiple peace efforts, the conflict reemerged in 2005 as the “independence Intifada.” Today, the Polisario Front controls about 20% of Western Sahara. At the heart of the conflict lie geopolitical interests and incompatible claims aggravated by the use of military force and decades of mostly unproductive diplomatic maneuvers by international bodies and regional or foreign powers.

This thorough, impartial survey brings together some of the best experts on the Sahara question to provide a broad-based analysis of the problem, from a range of perspectives. Featuring new research, the chapters examine the roots of the conflict, its dynamics, and potential solutions. This groundbreaking text also addresses questions of law, human rights, natural resources from an analytical point of view. Contributed by scholars from North Africa, Europe, and the U.S., it is an essential contribution to the literature of Middle East and African studies.

Les informations fournies dans la section « Synopsis » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

About the Author :

Editors
Anouar Boukhars is assistant professor of international relations at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He is also a non-resident scholar in the Middle East Program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and an associate fellow at the Madrid-based Think-tank, FRIDE. He is the author of Politics in Morocco: Executive Monarchy and Enlightened Authoritarianism (Routledge, 2010) and co-editor of Perilous Desert: Insecurity in the Sahara (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2013)

Jacques Roussellier is an instructor at American Military University and international political consultant. Author of Quicksand in the Western Sahara? From Referendum Stalemate to Negotiated Solution (International Negotiation 2005).

Contributors
Osama Abi-Mershed, associate professor of history, Georgetown University.

Laurence Aïda Ammour, Research Fellow in Les Afriques dans le Monde at the Institute for Political Science in Bordeaux.

Aomar Boum, assistant professor, School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies, University of Arizona.

Joshua Castellino, professor of law and head of Law Department, Middlesex University, UK.

Elvira Domínguez Redondo, senior lecturer in law at Middlesex University, UK, and adjunct lecturer of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway, Ireland.

Edward Gabriel, former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco from 1997 – 2001; currently Chair of the Moroccan-American Center, Visiting Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Robert Holley, served in the US Foreign Service from 1980 – 2002. Currently advises the Government of Morocco and is the Executive Director of the Moroccan American Center for Policy.

Stephen King, associate professor of government at Georgetown University.

Khadija Mohsen-Finan is a professor of political science at Université Paris 1 (Panthéon-Sorbonne) and Sciences Po Paris. She is also a research associate at IRIS (Institut de relations internationales et Stratégiques).

J. Peter Pham is director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC. He is the also the vice president of the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA) and editor-in-chief of its peer-reviewed Journal of the Middle East and Africa.

Samuel Spector, US House of Representatives. Former independent legal consultant specializing in the Middle East and North Africa, Fulbright Fellow at Tel Aviv University.

Glynn Torres-Spelliscy, instructor of public international law and human rights at the New School, New York City and at St. Petersburg College, FL.

Antonin Tisseron, research fellow at the Institut Thomas More in Brussels. Former member of the French Department of Defense.

William Zartman, served as Jacob Blaustein Professor of International Organizations and Conflict Resolution at SAIS for nearly 20 years, where he also directed the Conflict Management and African Studies programs.

Review :

Perspectives on Western Sahara provides for the very first time a truly balanced set of interpretative analyses. Composed of a broad range of chapters by a set of highly qualified scholars of different intellectual persuasion from a variety of countries, the book provides a nuanced understanding of the complexity of the issues surrounding the conflict that is neither ideologically-driven nor diplomatically-biased in favor of one side or another. This book will stand out as a compelling study of a subject that is increasingly influencing the dramatic and dangerous events currently engulfing the Saharan-Sahelian corridor. Well written, comprehensive, and objective, this book will be of great value both to seasoned scholars as well as introductory students of the subject. (John P. Entelis, Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science, Fordham University; President, American Institute for Maghrib Studies)

If solid information, good analysis, and reason could provide solutions to long-standing conflicts, this book would be the key to a settlement of the Western Sahara problem. Of course the book will not unlock the solution, but it is still required reading for anybody who wants to go beyond the propaganda of all sides and understand the issues. (Marina Ottaway, the Woodrow Wilson Center)

Perspectives on Western Sahara comes at a critical time in the long history of the conflict, a time marked by rising insecurity and instability in the region. By situating the conflict in its historical and geopolitical context, an international panel of authors deftly shed light on the origins of the problem, those associated with prolonging it, and the multiple attempts made to resolve it. The book is of direct relevance to those interested in conflict resolution as it relates to the processes of reconciling ethno-nationalist aspirations with state sovereignty, a process greatly complicated by the contest for regional rivalry, in this case between Morocco and Algeria. (Bernabé López García, Professor, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)

Perspectives on the Western Sahara has become the main source reference for diplomatic practitioners and other political operatives who, in the future, may develop the courage to try and find a political solution for one of Africa's oldest and most intractable crises. I recommend this volume for everyone who wants to have an in-depth and accurate understanding of the totality of issues inside and outside this disputed territory. (Herman J. Cohen, Former United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs)

For four decades now, the conflict in the Western Sahara has denied peace, human security and good governance to its citizens. The inability -- both internally and through external mediation -- to find a satisfactory solution that is both lasting and peaceful has weighed negatively on the relations of people within the Maghreb and the broader Sahel. Perspectives on Western Sahara provides a cross section of views from well-informed, notable experts that give us a better understanding of the root causes of the conflict and can help reasoned participants find a way to end this in a manner that will benefit all concerned. Ignoring the problem does not help, and the longer it lingers, the more likely it will become more violent both internally, and throughout the region. (Carlton Fulford, U. S. Marine Corps (ret.))

The rise of violent extremism in the Sahel and Sahara make this book an excellent reminder of the region’s many complexities and in particular their interconnectivities. It provides a very useful set of information and perspectives. Indeed, closing this costly political and human chapter in the conflict may be helped by the analysis provided by the Perspectives on Western Sahara. (Ould Abdallah, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mauritania, and former United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General for West Africa)

Perspectives on Western Sahara provides in-depth and well-balanced analysis on a long-term international dispute, and in a broad region - Sahel - where multiple crisis are strongly connected. This collective book is composed of various contributions from well-recognized serious experts coming from various horizons and nationalities. While the Sahrawi issue has sometimes been underestimated or ignored by many academics or think-tankers working on Maghreb and West-Africa, this book rightly avoids the classic views' distortion in general expressed by Morocco and Algeria and, simply for that reason, deserves to be already considered as a decisive contribution. (Jean-Luc Marret, Senior Fellow, Center for Transatlantic Relations, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University)

After four decades, the essential demands of the two sides in the Western Saharan conflict have changed very little and remain mutually exclusive - a demand, on each side, for recognition of its sovereignty over the region, whatever we understand by the term, 'sovereignty'. This book is virtually the first commenting on the conflict that seeks to present the views of all sides and thus reveals why it is that a conflict based on so simple an issue remains so intractable. As such, and in the quality of its contributors, it is a major contribution to our understanding of an issue that continues to be at the basis of regional security, despite the regional uncertainties that have resulted from the revolutions of the past two years. (George Joffé, Research Fellow, Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge)

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