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Praise for “Western Sahara: War, Nationalism and Conflict Irresolution”

“The Western Sahara is one of the world’s last vestiges of colonialism. In this thoughtful and impressive analysis, Stephen Zunes and Jacob Mundy provide valuable insights on the importance of enabling the people of the Western Sahara to determine their own future through a democratic referendum.”
— The late Senator Edward Kennedy

“The main merit of the book lies in its extremely informative accounts of the conflict’s beginnings, the course of the hot war from 1975 to 1991, and the successive failures of UN backed initiatives: the 1991 Settlement Plan, James Baker’s impressive efforts to broker new agreements in 2000 and 2003, and the series of talks triggered in 2007 by Morocco’s Autonomy Plan. These accounts draw on a wide range of sources, including previously classified American documents, as well as the authors’ enterprising fieldwork in Western Sahara, southern Morocco, and Algeria. They are full of interesting information and little-known details, and the authors fully establish the extent of French and American complicity in Morocco’s initial annexation of the territory.”

— Hugh Roberts, Edward Keller Professor of North African and Middle Eastern History, Tufts University (from International Journal of Middle East Studies)

“one of the most comprehensive scholarly works on the conflict of western Sahara. It not only deconstructs the historical complexity of the dispute, but it also interprets the context of recent events. […] a valuable resource for people who are interested in the conflict and its local, regional, and global ramifications.”

— Aomar Boum, Assistant Professor, School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies and Religious Studies, University of Arizona (from Journal of North African Studies)

“can be considered, without exaggeration, the most informative, comprehensive, and all-encompassing book written in English about the dispute … a seminal work”

— Brahim Benmbark (from Fellowship)

“Zunes and Mundy have written the definitive book on the Western Sahara.”

— Gregory White, Professor of Government and the Elizabeth Mugar Eveillard ’69 Faculty Director of the Global Studies Center, Smith College (from African Studies Review)

“Zunes and Mundy disentangle this complex history with skill, before turning to recent events.”

— Nicolas van de Walle, Professor of Government, Cornell University (from Foreign Affairs)

an “exhaustive and illuminating study. The authors offer a multifaceted analytical overview of the ongoing conflict surrounding the territory, and the thus-far failed efforts to resolve it. In doing so, they provide a nuanced portrait of the history and internal political dynamics of Morocco and the Western Sahara; the complicated role played by neighboring countries, especially Algeria […] and Mauritania, as well as those of key “western” countries, most importantly the United States and France.”

— Joseph Nevins, Associate Profess of Geography, Vassar College (from Political Geography)

“It is no small feat to present such a detailed study of this lengthy and multifaceted conflict in fewer than 300 pages of readable and jargon free language. […] The book will not only become a standard reference on the conflict but also an important case study for students of conflict management, international relations and political science as a whole.”

— Lucas Winter, Middle East Analyst, US Army Foreign Military Studies Office (from Middle East Policy)

“This outstanding study of the former Spanish Sahara documents the largely forgotten cause of self-determination for the indigenous inhabitants of the territory and their descendants living in the Moroccan-occupied territory or as refugees in bordering Algeria and Mauritania. […] A must read for policy makers and students of northwestern Africa as well as for international human rights activists. Summing Up: Highly recommended.”

— Clement M. Henry, Chair, Department of Political Science, American University in Cairo and Professor Emeritus, Department of Government, University of Texas at Austin (from CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries)

“Jacob Mundy and Stephen Zunes have done a great service in putting together this book, the most comprehensive coverage of the Western Sahara conflict in the English language in a quarter-century. With scholarly rigor but an accessible style, they have written this study in a manner appropriate for those of us with little background on this issue, but they have also included the detail and original analysis from which experts on the region can learn much as well. I greatly appreciate their emphasis on international accountability, in particular their well-documented history of the U.S. failure under both Republican and Democratic administrations to uphold the fundamental principles of international law being challenged in this remote region of northwestern Africa.”

— From the Foreword by George McGovern, former US Senator and 1972 Democratic Presidential nominee

“A well researched, well written and all encompassing book on one of the most intractable, but for the most part forgotten conflicts of our times; in addition to a historical review of the conflict, the work also includes the latest developments on this issue which makes it very pertinent. The authors have delved thoroughly into the original and subsequent developments that created and have kept the Western Sahara issue unresolved over the years and elucidate on the role of outside actors in helping sustain rather than resolve the conflict. They present persuasive explanations about how and why both sides have become trapped in their incompatible positions and make a convincing case as to why the conflict needs to be resolved sooner rather than later and the impending dangers if it is not.”

— Anna Theofilopoulou, former United Nations Official and Special Advisor (1997-2004) to UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy to Western Sahara James Baker

“The authors have done thorough research on this intractable and relatively little known conflict. They present the origins of the conflict in considerable depth and analyze its unfolding from 1975 up to early 2008 in meticulous detail … [A] worthy contribution to the literature on Western Sahara and conflict (ir)resolution.”

— Robert Mortimer, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Haverford College

“A very impressive work, and especially comprehensive.”

— John Entelis, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Middle East Studies Program at Fordham University

“This book is a timely and scholarly synthesis presented with clarity and comprehension. Backed by their fieldwork, the authors consider Western Sahara’s irresolution as a consequence of not only competing nationalisms (and interfering actors), but also of conflicting imaginations of polity and society. Their analyses offer insight and especially detailed information regarding this seemingly intractable issue, a problem that has global besides regional repercussions.”

— Phillip Naylor, Professor of History, Marquette University, author of North Africa: A History from Antiquity to the Present (University of Texas Press, 2010)

“The protracted conflict in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara remains one of the least known conflicts around the globe. Zunes and Mundy provide the most systematic analysis of this dispute, deciphering the underlying causes for the stalemate of what should have been a straightforward decolonization. Scholars, politicians, and laymen will learn greatly from this breathtaking account of this unresolved dispute. I strongly recommend it.”

— Yahia Zoubir, Professor of International Relations & Management, Euromed Marseille, Ecole de Management, co-editor of North Africa: Politics, Region, and the Limits of Transformation (Routledge 2008)

“This outstanding book by two acclaimed authors is one of the best works in more than a decade on the long-running Western Sahara conflict. It is highly recommended reading. Scholars, diplomats, civil society activists and students of international affairs will benefit from the exceptional insights and significant research presented in the book. The Western Sahara is one of the world’s last post-colonial conflicts, holding important lessons for the rule of international law, self-determination of peoples and the stability of nation-states, particularly in Africa. This book will be a cornerstone of literature on Western Sahara for many years to come.”

— Jeffery Smith, former visiting scholar, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

“With the situation in Western Sahara and the region as a whole in such flux, it is essential for interested persons to have a one-volume history and analysis of this long conflict that is both factually correct and takes account of not only Morocco and Polisario, but also other regional and external actors, including France and the United States. The authors of Western Sahara: War, Nationalism, and Conflict Irresolution largely succeed in giving the reader a comprehensive tour d’horizon of the dispute.”

— Anthony Pazzanita, author of The Historical Dictionary of Western Sahara, Third Edition (from International Journal of African Historical Studies)