Western Sahara’s moment in the sun – IRIN News

April 2016

As Jacob Mundy, an assistant professor at Colgate University and an expert on the conflict pointed out, Morocco has positioned itself as a key ally of Saudi Arabia and the West in North Africa, sharing intelligence with the United States and even playing host to at least one of the CIA’s controversial black sites. This brings the US closely into line with France, already staunchly on Morocco’s in the dispute. “Anytime Morocco is feeling the pressure on Western Sahara, they probably find ways of making themselves very useful to the United States,” Mundy explained.

El Watan (Algiers) : « Le Maroc est la cause de l’impasse actuelle »

April 2016

Inscrit depuis 1966 sur la liste des territoires non autonomes — et donc éligible à l’application de la résolution 1514 de l’Assemblée générale de l’ONU portant déclaration sur l’octroi de l’indépendance aux pays et peuples coloniaux —, le Sahara occidental est la dernière colonie en Afrique, occupé depuis 1975 par le Maroc qui est soutenu par la France. Jacob Mundy, enseignant à l’université Colgate de New York, explique les raisons des récentes attaques dirigées par le Maroc contre le secrétaire général de l’ONU.

Vice News : Morocco Boots UN Diplomats Over Western Sahara Spat

March 2016

For the secretary-general, these tensions appear to have helped fuel continued frustration towards Morocco and the visit may have been an attempt to show Western Sahara that the international body has not forgotten about the issue, according to Jacob Mundy, a political science professor and North Africa expert at Colgate University. As Mundy noted, the visit was unusual in the fact that Ban only met with one side. “It’s kind of unprecedented, just on its face, only going to meet with one side of the conflict,” he said. “The secretariat has never visibly shown this much frustration before and if it was… it never would have made its frustration public.”

«La Marche verte est la façade civile d’une invasion militaire»

November 2015

Au grand dam des populations sahraouies représentées par le Front Polisario dès 1973, le Sahara occidental, ancienne colonie espagnole, est colonisé en 1975 par le Maroc. Hassan II y envoie, le 6 novembre, des Marocains pour l’envahir, avant de lancer une offensive armée contre les Sahraouis. L’attaque marocaine est même appuyée par des bombardements massifs. Le peuple sahraoui lutte depuis plus de 40 ans pour son droit à l’autodétermination. Dans les territoires sahraouis occupés par le Maroc, la vie des Sahraouis est marquée par la répression et le harcèlement constants. Le Sahara occidental est aujourd’hui la dernière colonie d’Afrique. Spécialiste des conflits au Maghreb, Jacob Mundy de l’université Colgate (New York) explique le stratagème mis en place par le roi Hassan II pour accaparer ce territoire.

Guardian reviews Simon Brann Thorpe’s collection of photographs “Toy Soldiers,” with an introductory essay by Jacob Mundy

June 2015

The result is a series of images that show the absurdity of war, but also the plight of the individual soldier locked into a conflict that must seem endless. “It is difficult to look at Simon Brann Thorpe’s Toy Soldiers,” writes Mundy, “and not dwell on the powerful metaphor these photographs literally play with. Fighters in the Western Saharan liberation movement have become playthings. But whose toys are they, and what is the game being played?” These are the kinds of questions that echo through this odd, and oddly powerful, conceptual meditation on war – and war photography.

Open Democracy on Véronique Dudouet’s “Civil Resistance and Conflict Transformation”

May 2015

Dudouet has found authors to write on eight prominent contemporary cases in which movements have switched from armed to nonviolent methods: Western Sahara, West Papua, Palestine, South Africa, Chiapas, Colombia, Egypt and Nepal. Few of these stories are known to the wider public. Perhaps only the struggles in Palestine and South Africa are familiar through the mass media, and even in these cases the transition from armed to nonviolent methods is little known. So here is a valuable compendium of insights about a crucially important process that has escaped the notice of scholars and members of the public alike.

Review of Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh’s “The Ideal Refugees: Gender, Islam, and the Sahrawi Politics of Survival”

April 2015

The Ideal Refugees claims to make gender visible in the politics of Sahrawi refugee survival, but it does so at the expense of making the geopolitical conditions of the Sahrawis’ dispossession, exile, and brute refugeeness invisible. In The Ideal Refugees, the invisibility of the larger forces acting upon the Sahrawi refugees is evidenced in the fact that France and the United States, the two states that have done the most to determine the lives of Sahrawis through their support of Morocco on the UN Security Council, are mentioned so rarely as to be omitted from the book’s index. The connections between the conflict’s “high” politics of international diplomacy and the “low” politics of refugee survival are plainly obvious to most dedicated observers of the conflict. But all we get in The Ideal Refugees is the low politics of camp life vis-à-vis the entrenched rule of Polisario and the naiveté of solidarity activists.

Washington Post article and video on struggle of Western Sahara’s refugees

January 2015

Review of “Perspectives on Western Sahara: Myths, Nationalisms, and Geopolitics,” ed. by Anouar Boukhars and Jacques Roussellier

October 2014

Beware academic volumes that bear this disclaimer: “The views expressed are those of the authors alone.” Perspectives on Western Sahara, edited by Anouar Boukhars and Jacques Roussellier, contains several chapters in which this caveat is made. And for good reason: Perspectives on Western Sahara is primarily a political text, one backed by well-researched, if sometimes problematic, accounts of the conflict’s local, regional, and global dynamics. Most of the contributors have backgrounds in government, consulting, and think tanks; the others have formal academic positions. Several are well known for their defense of Morocco’s position on Western Sahara; others seem to have been recruited or shanghaied into the cause with little to no research or publication background on the issue. One of the chapters, an analysis of United States foreign policy towards the conflict, is even authored by two former US Foreign Service Officers who now work as lobbyists for Morocco, Edward Gabriel and Robert Holley. Boukhars and Roussellier’s collection also serves as a pro-Moroccan response to Western Sahara: War, Nationalism, and Conflict Irresolution, which this reviewer coauthored with Stephen Zunes in 2010. …read more

Citation: Jacob Mundy, “Perspectives on Western Sahara: Myths, Nationalisms, and Geopolitics ed. by Anouar Boukhars and Jacques Roussellier (review),” The Middle East Journal, 68(4), Autumn 2014, pp. 653-654 | 10.1353/mej.2014.0094

Recent analysis looks at role of international oil corporations and the Western Sahara dispute

September 2014

Middle East Eye and Middle East Economic Survey have examined the coming oil crisis in Western Sahara.