Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Western Sahara as a Colony of Morocco
It appears that the Western Sahara meets all of my criteria for being a colony. It is politically controlled by an outside power run by people of a different ethnicity and nationality and the indigenous population has neither autonomy or influence in Rabat. It is economically exploited by Morocco. The Moroccans extract a far greater net value from the Western Sahara than they invest in it. In particular the mining of phosphates and off shore fishing have benefited Morocco in a manner very similar to other colonial economic relations. In contrast very little has been invested by Rabat in the social and economic infrastructure of Western Sahara. The territory does not even have a single university. The Moroccan government has also settled hundreds of thousands of people from Morocco proper into Western Sahara. Finally, there has been significant opposition to Moroccan rule by the indigenous population including armed resistance by the Polisario. The controversial part of this claim is of course the first one. The Moroccan government claims that Western Sahara is part of its territory that got split off from the rest of the country by the colonial powers of France which ruled Morocco and Spain which ruled Western Sahara. The Sahrawis and their Algerian allies claim that Morocco took over from Spain as the colonial ruling power in Western Sahara in 1975.