Top Ten Western Saharan Attractions

Top Ten Western Saharan Attractions

       The Western Sahara is a disputed territory in North Africa, bordered by Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, and the Atlantic Ocean. Its surface area amounts to 266,000 square km (103,000 square mi). It is one of the most sparsely populated territories in the world, mainly consisting of desert flatlands. The population is estimated at just over 500,000, many of whom live in El Aaiún (also called Laayoune), the largest city in Western Sahara. A colony of Spain since the late 19th century, the Western Sahara has been on the UN’s list of non-self-governing territories since 1963. In 1965, the UN General Assembly adopted its first resolution on Western Sahara, asking Spain to decolonize the territory. One year later, a new resolution was passed by the General Assembly requesting Spain to organize a referendum on self-determination. In 1975, Spain relinquished the administrative control of the territory to a joint administration by Morocco, which had formally claimed the territory since 1957, and Mauritania. A war erupted between those countries and the Sahrawi national liberation movement Polisario Front, which proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (exiled government in Tindouf, Algeria). Mauritania withdrew in 1979, and Morocco eventually secured effective control of most of the territory, including all the major cities and natural resources. Since a UN’s-sponsored ceasefire agreement in 1991, most of the territory, including the entire Atlantic coast line, has been controlled by Morocco, strongly backed by France, and the remainder by the SADR, strongly backed by Algeria. Internationally, major powers such as theUS andRussia have taken a generally ambiguous and neutral position on each side’s claims, and have pressed both parties to agree on a peaceful resolution. Both Morocco and Polisario have sought to boost their claims by accumulating formal recognition, essentially from African, Asian and Latin American states in the developing world. The Polisario Front has won formal recognition for SADR from 82 states, and was extended membership in the African Union, while Morocco has won recognition or support for its position from several African governments and from most of the Arab League. In both instances, recognitions have over the past two decades been extended and withdrawn according to changing international trends.

  1. El Aaiún

           El-Aaiún, “El Ayun,” “The Springs,” is a city in Western Sahara founded by the Spanish in 1928. Administered by Morocco since 1976, El-Aaiún is the capital of what the Moroccan government called the region of Laâyoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra, and POLISARIO called Occupied Territories. It is also claimed by the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic as their capital.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Aai%C3%BAn,
  2. Links: Top Ten Deserts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Sahara,