The Kingdom of Morocco invaded Western Sahara in 1975. Morocco has retained control of the majority of the territory, with the nationalist Sahrawi (the ethnic group of the Sahara, mostly those from Western Sahara) Polisario Front, controlling only 20-25% of the land. The Polisario Front has declared the entire Western Sahara territory to be the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (RASD), which has been recognized by close to 80 other countries and granted membership to the African Union.
Sahrawis campaign for human rights and independence in the first intifada, Western Sahara, 1999-2004
In 1975, the Kingdom of Morocco invaded the Western Sahara territory, which had previously been a Spanish colony. Morocco, led by King Hassan II, attacked just as the territory was expected to gain independence from Spain for the first time. Morocco’s actions disobeyed a United Nations Security Council resolution stating that the people of Western Sahara had the right to self determination. The nationalist Sahrawi (the ethnic group of the Sahara, mostly from Western Sahara) Polisario Front, which had been fighting the Spanish, then turned its attention towards Morocco and
Western Sahara is one of the last remaining land disputes regarding decolonization issues. It was previously a colony of Spain until 1975, when the native Sahrawi people were promised a vote of self-determination. However, Morocco annexed the territory despite a ruling in the international court of justice that rejected this claim of sovereignty. A sixteen-year-war between Morocco and the Sahrawi nationalist Polisario Front resulted, eventually ending in 1991 with a ceasefire and an agreement to hold a UN-sponsored referendum on independence. But Morocco never allowe