Hillary Clinton’s ties to Morocco’s phosphate industry and the implications for Western Sahara

May 2015

For example, the Office Cherifien des Phosphates (OCP), a Moroccan government-owned mining company that controls one of the world’s largest phosphate mines in the occupied Western Sahara, is the primary donor to the Clinton Global Initiative conference last week in Marrakech. This and other support provided to the Clinton Foundation by OCP — now totaling as much as $5 million — has raised some eyebrows, given Hillary Clinton’s efforts as secretary of state to push the Obama administration to recognize Morocco’s illegal annexation of the territory through a dubious “autonomy” plan promoted by King Mohammed VI that would deny the people of Western Sahara the option of independence as international law requires.

Stephen Zunes joins Jadaliyya roundtable on Western Sahara

June 2013

Morocco has been able to persist in flouting its international legal obligations toward Western Sahara largely because France and the United States have continued to arm Moroccan occupation forces and block the enforcement of resolutions in the UN Security Council demanding that Morocco allow for self-determination or even simply allow human rights monitoring in the occupied country. So now, at least as important as nonviolent resistance by Sahrawis, is the potential of nonviolent action by the citizens of France, the United States, and other countries that enable Morocco to maintain its occupation. Such campaigns played a major role in forcing Australia, Great Britain, and the United States to end their support for Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor, finally enabling the former Portuguese colony to become free. The only realistic hope to end the occupation of Western Sahara, resolve the conflict, and save the vitally important post-World War II principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter, which forbid any country from expanding its territory through military force, may be a similar campaign by global civil society.

Stephen Zunes remembers George McGovern, author of the foreword to Western Sahara: War, Nationalism, and Conflict Resolution

October 2012

His support for international law and self-determination was rooted in his taking part in the war on fascism. In his foreword to my most recent book, which analyzes the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara, he noted how that experience helped teach him that the right of self-determination “is one of the most fundamental rights of all” and that “no government should get away with denying that right by invading, occupying and annexing another national and oppressing its people.” He faulted successive administrations of both parties for failing to uphold such fundamental principles of international law.

The Reality of Western Sahara : A rebuttal on accusations concerning the Polisario and Moroccan occupation

August 2012

Earlier this year, Global Post ran an article by Jordan Paul, executive director of the Moroccan American Center for Policy, a registered foreign agent for the Moroccan government, which funds, supervises, and coordinates the group’s activities. The article contained a series of demonstrably false claims attempting to rationalize for Morocco’s illegal occupation of its southern neighbor, the country of Western Sahara.

Divesting from All Occupations

July 2012

The Palestinian solidarity struggle would be considerably strengthened if, instead of calling for divestment specifically from companies supporting the Israeli occupation, the call was for divestment from companies supporting all foreign belligerent occupations. Morocco is a predominantly Arab Muslim country. By including Western Sahara along with Palestine, the movement would avoid the accusation that it is unfairly singling out Israel. After all, it would be targeting all illegal occupations, not just one.

UN Security Council hypocrisy on Syria, Israel and Western Sahara

February 2012

As the Syrian regime continues to slaughter unarmed civilians, the major powers at the United Nations continue to put their narrow geopolitical agenda ahead of international humanitarian law. Just as France shields Morocco from accountability for its ongoing occupation and repression in Western Sahara and just as the United States shields Israel from having to live up to its obligations under international humanitarian law, Russia and China have used their permanent seats on the UN Security Council to protect the Syrian regime from accountability for its savage repression against its own citizens. Although the joint Russian and Chinese veto of the resolution is inexcusable, the self-righteous reaction by U.S. officials betrays hypocrisy on a grand scale and fails to take into account a series of policy blunders that have contributed to the tragic impasse.

Obama’s Middle East speech elides over Moroccan aggression in Western Sahara

May 2011

Obama’s claim that the United States “will not tolerate aggression across borders” continues to be somewhat selective given ongoing US support for the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara and support for Israel’s continued occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Read the rest at the Huffington Post

Stephen Zunes on KPFA’s “Africa Today” discussing Western Sahara and elections in Egypt

December 2010

Africa Today – December 20, 2010 at 7:00pm

Click to listen (or download)

WikiLeaks Cables on Western Sahara Show Role of Ideology in State Department

December 2010

Over the years, as part of my academic research, I have spent many hours at the National Archives poring over diplomatic cables of the kind recently released by WikiLeaks. The only difference is that rather than being released after a 30+ year waiting period — when the principals involved are presumably dead or in retirement and the countries in question have very different governments in power — the WikiLeaks are a lot more recent, more relevant and, in some cases, more embarrassing as a result.

Upsurge in repression challenges nonviolent resistance in Western Sahara

November 2010

Sahrawis have engaged in protests, strikes, cultural celebrations, and other forms of civil resistance focused on such issues as educational policy, human rights, the release of political prisoners, and the right to self-determination. They have also raised the cost of occupation for the Moroccan government and increased the visibility of the Sahrawi cause.