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.



The Western Sahara Peace Process: Tragedy or Farce?

May 2012

At the end of every April, a small drama plays out in the UN Security Council. This is when the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO, its French acronym) comes up for its annual renewal. Western Sahara — Africa’s last colony according to the United Nations — is largely ignored by the Security Council the other eleven months of the year. The Secretary-General has a Person Envoy working on the case, former US Ambassador Christopher Ross, one of the great Arabophone diplomats of his age. The mandate given to Ambassador Ross, to achieve a mutually acceptable political solution that will afford Western Sahara its long denied right to self-determination, is a farce and everyone knows it.



The New York Times’ Western Sahara geography problem

March 2011

Last week, the New York Times ran an article on Arab lobbying in Washington, DC. While the context of that article focused on the current uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, the Western Sahara conflict received an indirect and odd mention. What was odd about the NYT article was the way it framed the motive for Morocco’s efforts: ‘Morocco spent more than $3 million on Washington lobbyists, much of it aimed at gaining an edge in its border dispute with Algeria, while Algeria countered by spending $600,000 itself.’



Thanks to Western Sahara, Morocco leads Arab world in number of US lobbying contracts

March 2011

Read the rest at the Sunlight Foundation: http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2011/02/01/the-arab-worlds-2010-lobbying-contacts/



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.



US leadership, not partisanship, desperately needed for peace in Western Sahara

November 2010

Recently we made the case for a more active US role in the Western Sahara peace process, prompting a constructive response from former US diplomats Ambassador Edward Gabriel and Mr Robert Holley, who now work as lobbyists for the Kingdom of Morocco. In their posting, Gabriel and Holley agree that a strong US role is needed but they claim that we are proposing a solution based on a referendum with independence as an option. Nowhere in our recent article or even the previous one posted in the Middle East Channel did we suggest such a thing.



U.S. Middle East talks – a model for Western Sahara?

October 2010

Coauthored with Anna Theofilopoulou

The recent decision by the Obama administration to invite Israel and the Palestinian Authority to engage in serious negotiations over the Middle East conflict should be instructive for those interested in resolving one that seems almost as intractable — the Western Sahara dispute. Key to this new effort in the Middle East conflict is (1) the U.S. is sponsoring and supporting the talks; (2) the U.S. has demanded that the two negotiate seriously, tackle the difficult subjects that have trounced previous attempts for resolution; and (3) the U.S. has given the two sides a one-year deadline. Though the fate of the Israel-Palestinian talks still hangs on a knife’s edge, a similar attitude on the part of United States towards the Western Sahara dispute might pave the way to a durable solution to one of Africa’s oldest conflicts.



Why the UN won’t solve Western Sahara (until it becomes a crisis)

August 2010

Co-authored with Anna Theofilopoulou.

The Secretariat under Ban Ki-moon does not seem to recognize, or is unwilling to admit, the tough choices facing the UN venture in Western Sahara. As early as December 1995, Boutros Ghali admitted to the Council that the differences between the sides were irreconcilable and surprised everybody by admitting that he never believed that the referendum would happen. He understood that there were really only three options on the table: force a solution on the parties, withdraw or keep pressing for negotiations. Consistently, the Security Council chose number three. For the Obama administration, these choices remain fundamentally the same and dismal in their prospects.

Read the Original:
http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/08/12/why_the_un_won_t_solve_western_sahara_until_it_becomes_a_crisis

in French
Pourquoi l’ONU ne résoudra pas le Sahara occidental (jusqu’à ce que cela devienne une crise)
http://apsoinfo.blogspot.com/2010/08/pourquoi-lonu-ne-resoudra-pas-le-sahara.html
Translation by Amis du Peuple du Sahara Occidental, France

in Spanish
Por qué no resolverá la ONU el problema del Sáhara (hasta que se convierta en una crisis abierta)
http://disenso.wordpress.com/2010/08/13/la-onu-ante-el-problema-del-sahara-occidental/
translation by Javier Villate