The Western Sahara Conflict And Political Instability In The Arab Maghreb

Date of Graduation

Spring 2001


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Ulrike Schumacher


For twenty-five years the Western Sahara conflict did not know any kind of solution except a probable resumption of armed struggle. The conflict has involved Morocco, the Polisario Front and Algeria directly. For many years the United States has backed Morocco militarily, which helped to secure the annexation of the Western Sahara. Officially, however, the United States argues that it is following political neutrality regarding the final outcome of the conflict. On the other hand, since the beginning of the conflict France has pursued an overtly hostile policy towards the Saharawi people's right to self-determination. This thesis describes the U.N. proposal for a referendum for implementation of the proposal as a tool for conflict resolution. Based on a threat assessment of the Arab Maghreb, including the political instability of the Western Sahara the thesis discusses policy options for the United States and Western European States in order to create a more secure and stable region.

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


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