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The Green March Begins (1975) Options
Posted: Monday, November 6, 2017 12:00:00 AM
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The Green March Begins (1975)

Extremely arid and almost entirely sand and gravel, the sparsely populated territory of Western Sahara was a protectorate of Spain until the 1970s. Despite internal calls for independence, the king of neighboring Morocco led a march of more than 300,000 unarmed Moroccans into the territory as a show of support for annexation. Known as the Green March, the mass demonstration led to Spanish withdrawal, but control of the region is still contested. What other group claims the territory? More...
raghd muhi al-deen
Posted: Monday, November 6, 2017 7:46:14 AM

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Green March
Green March
Spanish–Moroccan conflicts

Siege of Larache (1689) Siege of Melilla (1774) Tetuan War (1859–60) First Melillan campaign (1893–94) Second Melillan campaign (1909) Rif War (1911–27) Ifni War (1957–58) Green March (1975) Perejil Island crisis (2002)

The Green March was a strategic mass demonstration in November 1975, coordinated by the Moroccan government, to force Spain to hand over the disputed, autonomous semi-metropolitan Spanish Province of Sahara to Morocco. The demonstration of some 350,000 Moroccans advanced several miles into the Western Sahara territory, escorted by near 20,000 Moroccan troops, and meeting very little response by the Sahrawi Polisario Front. Nevertheless, the events quickly escalated into a fully waged war between Morocco and the Polisario - the Western Sahara War, which would last for 16 years.
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Morocco, to the north of the Spanish Sahara, had long claimed that the territory was historically an integral part of Morocco. Mauritania to the south argued similarly that the territory was in fact Mauritanian. Since 1973, a Sahrawi guerrilla war led by the Polisario Front had challenged Spanish control, and in October 1975 Spain had quietly begun negotiations for a handover of power with leaders of the rebel movement, both in El Aaiún, and with foreign minister Pedro Cortina y Mauri meeting El Ouali in Algiers.[1]

Morocco intended to vindicate its claims by demanding a verdict from the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which was issued on Oct. 16, 1975. The ICJ stated that there were historical legal ties of allegiance between "some, but only some" Sahrawi tribes and the Sultan of Morocco, as well as ties including some rights relating to the land between Mauritania and other Sahrawi tribes. [1] However, the ICJ stated also that there were no ties of territorial sovereignty between the territory and Morocco, or Mauritania, at the time of Spanish colonization; and that these contacts were not extensive enough to support either country's demand for annexation of the Spanish Sahara. Instead, the court argued, the indigenous population (the Sahrawis) were the owners of the land, and thus possessed the right of self-determination. This meant that regardless of which political solution was found to the question of sovereignty (integration with Spain, Morocco, Mauritania, partition, or independence), it had to be explicitly approved by the people of the territory. Complicating matters, a UN visiting mission had concluded on October 15, the day before the ICJ verdict was released, that Sahrawi support for independence was "overwhelming".

However, the reference to previous Moroccan-Sahrawi ties of allegiance was presented by Hassan II as a vindication of his position, with no public mention of the court's further ruling on self-determination. (Seven years later, he formally agreed to a referendum before the Organisation of African Unity). Within hours of the ICJ verdict's release, he announced the organizing of a "green march" to Spanish Sahara, to "reunite it with the Motherland".

In order to prepare the terrain and to riposte to any potential counter-invasion from Algeria (according to Morocco) or in order to invade militarily the land and kill or deport the Sahrawi population (according to the Polisario Front), the Moroccan Army entered the northeast of the region on October 31, where it met with hard resistance from the Polisario, by then a two-year-old independence movement.[2]
The Green March
A 100 dirham note from 1991 commemorating the Green March

The Green March was a well-publicized popular march of enormous proportions. On November 6, 1975, approximately 350,000 unarmed Moroccans[3] converged on the city of Tarfaya in southern Morocco and waited for a signal from King Hassan II to cross into the region of Sakiya Lhmra . They brandished Moroccan flags and Qur'an; banners calling for the "return of the Moroccan Sahara," photographs of the King and the Qur'an; the color green for the march's name was intended as a symbol of Islam. As the marchers reached the border, the Spanish Armed Forces were ordered not to fire to avoid bloodshed. The Spanish troops also cleared some previously mined zones.
The Moroccan arguments for sovereignty

with my pleasure
Posted: Monday, November 6, 2017 8:49:27 PM

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Western Sahara profile

Western Sahara is a sparsely-populated area of mostly desert situated on the northwest coast of Africa.
A former Spanish colony, it was annexed by Morocco in 1975. Since then it has been the subject of a long-running territorial dispute between Morocco and its indigenous Saharawi people, led by the Polisario Front.
A 16-year-long insurgency ended with a UN-brokered truce in 1991 and the promise of a referendum on independence which has yet to take place.
A buffer strip, or "berm" with landmines and fortifications, stretches the length of the disputed territory and separates the Moroccan-administered western portion from the eastern area controlled by the Polisario Front.
The Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), declared by the Polisario Front in 1976, is now recognised by many governments and is a full member of the African Union.
Home to phosphate reserves and rich fishing grounds off its coast, Western Sahara is also believed to have as yet untapped offshore oil deposits.
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