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The Army of Liberation (Moroccan Arabic : جيش التحرير, romanized: Jish Etteḥrir, Berber languages : Aserdas Uslelli) was an organization of various loosely united militias fighting for the independence of Morocco from the French-Spanish coalition.
It was founded sometime in 1955 as an attempt to organise the various factions of rural Moroccan armed resistance that swept the country as a result of the assassination of Farhat Hached and the exile of king Mohamed ben Youssef.Abdelkrim El Khattabi played an important role in the instigation of the army, through commanders such as Abbas Messaadi and Sellam Amezian.
In 1956, units of the Army, which started to move its staff from North Spanish Morocco, began infiltrating Ifni and other enclaves of Spanish Morocco, as well as Spanish Sahara (today Western Sahara), to claim them as part of Morocco. Initially, they received important backing from the Moroccan government. In the Spanish Sahara, the Army rallied Sahrawi tribes along the way, and triggered a large-scale rebellion. In early 1958, the Moroccan king reorganized the Army of Liberation units fighting in the Spanish Sahara as the "Saharan Liberation Army"[ citation needed ], also known as the Southern Liberation Army (Armée de Libération du Sud), sometimes abbreviated as ALS. The ALS had prestigious leaders such as Abderrahmane Youssoufi [ citation needed ], Fqih Basri and Bensaid Aït Idder.
The revolt in the Spanish Sahara was put down in 1958 by a joint French and Spanish offensive. Upon their retreat, the guerrilla fighters were, surprisingly, hindered by the regular Moroccan Army, which allowed Spanish and French forces to neutralize them.The King of Morocco then signed an agreement with the Spanish, where Spain returned the province of Tarfaya (until that agreement, part of Spanish Sahara) to Morocco. Part of the Army of Liberation was absorbed into the Moroccan armed forces.
Morocco sees the Army of Liberation battles in Western Sahara, and the fighting under Moroccan flag of Sahrawis as a proof of Western Sahara's loyalty to the Moroccan crown, whereas sympathizers to the Polisario Front view it only as an anti-colonial war directed against Spanish. Sahrawi veterans of the Army of Liberation today exist on both sides of the Western Sahara conflict, and both the Kingdom of Morocco and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic celebrate it as part of their political history. Some parents of founder members of Polisario were members of the Army of Liberation [ citation needed ], most notably the father of Mohammed Abdelaziz the president of Polisario and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, who is living in Morocco and is a member of CORCAS.[ citation needed ].
Western Sahara is a disputed territory on the northwest coast and in the Maghreb region of North and West Africa. About 20% of the territory is controlled by the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, while the remaining 80% of the territory is occupied and administered by neighboring Morocco. Its surface area amounts to 266,000 square kilometres (103,000 sq 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, of which nearly 40% live in Laayoune, the largest city in Western Sahara.
The history of Western Sahara can be traced back to the times of Carthaginian explorer Hanno the Navigator in the 5th century BC. Though few historical records are left from that period, Western Sahara's modern history has its roots linked to some nomadic groups such as the Sanhaja group, and the introduction of Islam and the Arabic language at the end of the 8th century AD.
The Polisario Front, Frente Polisario, FRELISARIO or simply POLISARIO, from the Spanish abbreviation of Frente Popular de Liberación de Saguía el Hamra y Río de Oro, is a Sahrawi rebel national liberation movement aiming to end Moroccan presence in the Western Sahara. It is a consultative member of the Socialist International.
Spanish Sahara, officially the Province of the Sahara between 1958 and 1976, was the name used for the modern territory of Western Sahara when it was occupied and ruled by Spain between 1884 and 1976. It had been one of the most recent acquisitions of the Spanish Empire as well as one of its last remaining holdings, which had once extended from the Americas to the Spanish East Indies.
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 province of Spanish Sahara to Morocco. The demonstration of some 350,000 Moroccans advanced several kilometres into the Western Sahara territory. Morocco later gained control over most of the former Spanish Sahara, which it continues to hold.
Greater Morocco is a label historically used by some Moroccan nationalist political leaders protesting against Spanish, Portuguese, Algerian and French rule, to refer to wider territories historically associated with the Moroccan sultan. Current usage most frequently occurs in a critical context accusing Morocco, largely in discussing the disputed Western Sahara, of irredentist claims on neighbouring territories.
The Madrid Accords, also called Madrid Agreement or Madrid Pact, was a treaty between Spain, Morocco, and Mauritania to end the Spanish presence in the territory of Spanish Sahara, which was until the Madrid Accords' inception a Spanish province and former colony. It was signed in Madrid on November 14, 1975, six days before Franco died, although it was never published on the Boletin Oficial del Estado. This agreement was in conflict with the Law on decolonization of Sahara, ratified by the Spanish Parliament (Cortes) on November 18. In cause of the Madrid agreement, the territory would then be divided between Morocco and Mauritania.
The Southern Provinces or Moroccan Sahara are the terms used by the Moroccan government for Western Sahara. These two official Moroccan denominations explicitly include all of Western Sahara, which spans three of country's 12 top-level administrative regions. A frequent use of the term "Southern Provinces" is found for example in Moroccan state television.
The International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on Western Sahara was a 1975 advisory, non-binding opinion by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of two questions presented to it by the UN General Assembly under Resolution 3292 regarding the disputed territory of Western Sahara. In 1969, Spain returned the region of Ifni to Morocco.
El-Ouali Mustapha Sayed was a Sahrawi nationalist leader, co-founder and second Secretary-General of the Polisario Front.
Front Polisario Khat al-Shahid is a minor faction within the Front Polisario. It is based in the Sahrawi refugee camps of Tindouf, Algeria, but also claims to have supporters and members in the Sahrawi diaspora in Mauritania, Morocco, Spain, France and various European countries, as well as in the Moroccan-controlled part of Western Sahara.
The Western Sahara conflict is an ongoing conflict between the Polisario Front and the Kingdom of Morocco. The conflict originated from an insurgency by the Polisario Front against Spanish colonial forces from 1973 to 1975 and the subsequent Western Sahara War against Morocco between 1975 and 1991. Today the conflict is dominated by unarmed civil campaigns of the Polisario Front and their self-proclaimed SADR state to gain fully recognized independence for Western Sahara.
The politics of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic refers to politics of the Polisario Front's proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic - an unrecognized country in North Africa, controlling parts of the Western Sahara region.
Opération Lamantin was a December 1977 – July 1978 military intervention by France on the behalf of the Mauritanian government, in its war against Sahrawi guerrilla fighters of the Polisario Front, seeking independence for Western Sahara. Airstrikes were launched in the provinces, but the results of the operation were not significant. France used Jaguar combat aircraft from Dakar Airbase. The bombings were targeted in the rail route from the iron mines in Zouérat to the coast of Nouadhibou, which were obstructed by Polisario.
The Royal Moroccan Army is the branch of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations.
The Western Sahara War was an armed struggle opposing the Sahrawi indigenous Polisario Front to Morocco between 1975 and 1991 and Mauritania from 1975 to 1979, being the most significant phase of the Western Sahara conflict. The conflict erupted after the withdrawal of Spain from the Spanish Sahara in accordance with the Madrid Accords, by which it transferred administrative control of the territory to Morocco and Mauritania, but not sovereignty. In late 1975, the Moroccan government organized the Green March of some 350,000 Moroccan citizens, escorted by around 20,000 troops, who entered Western Sahara, trying to establish a Moroccan presence. While at first met with just minor resistance by the POLISARIO, Morocco later engaged a long period of guerrilla warfare with the Sahrawi nationalists. During the late 1970s, the Polisario Front, desiring to establish an independent state in the territory, attempted to fight both Mauritania and Morocco. In 1979, Mauritania withdrew from the conflict after signing a peace treaty with the POLISARIO. The war continued in low intensity throughout the 1980s, though Morocco made several attempts to take the upper hand in 1989–1991. A cease-fire agreement was finally reached between the Polisario Front and Morocco in September 1991. Some sources put the final death toll between 10,000 and 20,000 people.
In the 1970s in Morocco, after two coup attempts in 1971 and 1972, the patriotism engendered by Morocco’s participation in the Middle East conflict and by the events in Western Sahara contributed to Hassan's popularity and strengthened his hand politically despite serious domestic turmoil. The king had dispatched Moroccan troops to the Sinai front after the outbreak of Arab-Israeli War in October 1973. Although they arrived too late to engage in hostilities, the action won Morocco goodwill among other Arab states. Shortly thereafter, the attention of the government turned to the annexation of then Spanish Sahara from Spain, an issue on which all major domestic parties agreed.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic:
This article is about the history of Mauritania from 1960 to 1978. Mauritania, officially the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, is an Arab Maghreb country in West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western Sahara in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest. It is named after the ancient Berber Kingdom of Mauretania, which later became a province of the Roman Empire, even though the modern Mauritania covers a territory far to the south of the old Berber kingdom that had no relation with it.
The First Battle of Amgala was fought between 27 and 29 January 1976 around the oasis of Amgala, Western Sahara, about 260 kilometres (160 mi) west of the border with Algeria. Units from the Algerian Army were attacked by units from the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces on the night of 27 January. The Algerians withdrew after fighting for 36 hours. However, the retaliation came fairly soon, between 13th and 15th February 1976 Polisario units defeated Moroccan troops in the second Amgala battle.