March 5, 2024

This article addresses the role of natural resources in the protracted conflict between Morocco and Western Sahara. Drawing from literatures of political ecology and political science, the article argues that natural resources have been deeply implicated in the conflict over time, with resource-related developments lending legitimacy to each party in different ways. The complex political economy of resource exploitation and the associated geopolitical enjeux have led to the de facto recognition of Morocco’s occupation, and the symbolic aspects of natural resources have lent the Sahrawi cause legitimacy and an important node around which allies can be mobilised.

That sovereignty is contested has facilitated a discourse in a different, more powerful way than when it is not in question, particularly in the Sahrawi’s capacity to invoke international law to support their case. Drawing on the cases of South Sudan and Indonesia, the article ends with a brief discussion of the potential of the region’s high-value resources for peace-making activities.

Full article


Source: Taylor & Francis Online

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