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.