In 1975 Spain left the Western Sahara, which had been its colony, and ceded it to Morocco and Mauritania. This was the beginning of a long conflict that still remains unresolved:
– That very year The Polisario Front proclaimed the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and declared war on the new invaders.
– In 1979 Mauritania withdrew from the conflict and recognised the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people. One year later, Morocco put up a 2,500 km-long wall from North to South which divides the territory and its population. Since then, some 200,000 people have been subsisting in precarious conditions in the refugee camps of the Algerian hamada.
– In 1991, under the auspices of the United Nations, the parties declared a ceasefire and signed the Peace Plan, which lays down the bases for a self-determination referendum.
– Nowadays the United Nations resolutions still have not been met and the referendum has not been held either. The reasons are to be found in the geostrategic interests of the United States, which have turned Morocco into an essential ally in the region, as well as in the economic interests of European and American transnational enterprises and their Governments.