|Province of Mauritania|
|The striped blue and green is Western Tiris.|
|Capital|| Dakhla |
|•||Madrid Accords||November 14, 1975|
|•||Mauritanian invasion of Spanish Sahara||November 27, 1975|
|•||Partition of Spanish Sahara||April 14, 1976|
|•||Mauritania evacuates Western Tiris||August 5, 1979|
|•||Annexation of Western Tiris by Morocco||August 11, 1979|
|•||1977||88,000 km2(33,977 sq mi)|
|Density||0.1 /km2 (0.4 /sq mi)|
Tiris al-Gharbiyya (Arabic : تيرس الغربيةTīris al-Ġarbiyya, "Western Tiris") was the name for the area of Western Sahara under Mauritanian control between 1975 and 1979.
Western Sahara is a disputed territory on the northwest coast and in the Maghreb region of North and West Africa, partially controlled by the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and partially occupied 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.
Mauritania is a country in Northwest Africa. It is the eleventh largest sovereign state in Africa and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Western Sahara to the north and northwest, Algeria to the northeast, Mali to the east and southeast, and Senegal to the southwest.
Mauritania annexed the southern third of the former Spanish colony of Spanish Sahara in 1975 after the Madrid Accords, with Morocco taking the northern two-thirds (Saguia el-Hamra and the northern half of Río de Oro) as its Southern Provinces. Both countries claimed historical rights over the area, while the United Nations demanded that the indigenous population (Sahrawis) had a right to self-determination, and should be allowed to decide through a referendum whether the territory should join either of the neighbouring states, or be established as an independent country.
The Spanish Empire, historically known as the Hispanic Monarchy and as the Catholic Monarchy, was one of the largest empires in history. From the late 15th century to the early 19th, Spain controlled a huge overseas territory in the New World and the Asian archipelago of the Philippines, what they called "The Indies". It also included territories in Europe, Africa and Oceania. The Spanish Empire has been described as the first global empire in history, a description also given to the Portuguese Empire. It was the world's most powerful empire during the 16th and first half of the 17th centuries, reaching its maximum extension in the 18th century. The Spanish Empire was the first empire to be called "the empire on which the sun never sets".
Spanish Sahara, officially the Overseas Province of the Spanish Sahara, was the name used for the modern territory of Western Sahara when it was occupied and ruled by Spain between 1884 and 1975. 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 Philippines and East Asia.
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, 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 latter was the preferred option of the Polisario Front, a Sahrawi organization which turned its guerrilla forces against both countries, having until then fought Spain. Its attacks against Mauritania proved highly effective. Polisario strikes against the iron mines at Zouerate, as well as the costs of the war effort, soon brought the country to the brink of economic collapse, and produced increasing tensions in the army and government apparatus.
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 an observer member of the Socialist International. The United Nations considers the Polisario Front to be the legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people and maintains that the Sahrawis have a right to self-determination. The Polisario Front is outlawed in the parts of Western Sahara under Moroccan control, and it is illegal to raise its party flag there.
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare in which a small group of combatants, such as paramilitary personnel, armed civilians, or irregulars, use military tactics including ambushes, sabotage, raids, petty warfare, hit-and-run tactics, and mobility to fight a larger and less-mobile traditional military. Guerrilla groups are a type of violent non-state actor.
The Western Sahara War was an armed struggle between the Sahrawi indigenous Polisario Front and Morocco between 1975 and 1991, 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 the 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 1978, the one-party government of Moktar Ould Daddah was severely compromised by the failing war effort, and fell to a coup by disgruntled army officers. Mauritania then disengaged from the conflict, surrendering its claims to any part of Western Sahara, and pulling out its troops. The areas occupied by Mauritania were entered by Morocco, which has since claimed ownership over the entire territory, despite continued opposition by Polisario, and its main backer, Algeria. Mauritanian president Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidalla in 1984 proceeded to recognize the Polisario-backed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) as the legitimate sovereign of the area. After his toppling in yet another military coup d'état later the same year, this position was increasingly downplayed – though never explicitly overturned – in order to appease Morocco.
Moktar Ould Daddah was the President of Mauritania from 1960, when his country gained its independence from France, to 1978, when he was deposed in a military coup d'etat.
Algeria, officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. The capital and most populous city is Algiers, located in the far north of the country on the Mediterranean coast. With an area of 2,381,741 square kilometres (919,595 sq mi), Algeria is the tenth-largest country in the world, and the largest in Africa. Algeria is bordered to the northeast by Tunisia, to the east by Libya, to the west by Morocco, to the southwest by the Western Saharan territory, Mauritania, and Mali, to the southeast by Niger, and to the north by the Mediterranean Sea. The country is a semi-presidential republic consisting of 48 provinces and 1,541 communes (counties). It has the highest Human development index of all non-island African countries.
Ret. Col. Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidallah was the head of state of Mauritania from 4 January 1980 to 12 December 1984. He was an unsuccessful candidate in the 2003 presidential election and the 2007 presidential election.
Western Tiris was the lower half of Río de Oro, the southern province of the former Spanish Sahara, comprising 88,000 km² (33,977 sq mi) with a population of 12,897. It consisted mostly of barren desert terrain, scarcely populated except by some thousands of Sahrawi nomads, many of whom had fled towards the Algerian Tindouf Province in 1975. A few minor settlements dotted the coast, and the largest of these, Dakhla (formerly Villa Cisneros), was made the provincial capital.
Río de Oro was, with Saguia el-Hamra, one of the two territories that formed the Spanish province of Spanish Sahara after 1969; it had been taken as a Spanish colonial possession in the late 19th century. Its name seems to come from an east–west river which was supposed to have run through it. The river was thought to have largely dried out – a wadi, as the name indicates – or have disappeared underground.
Tindouf, also written Tinduf, is the westernmost province of Algeria, having a population of 58,193 as of the 2008 census. Its population in reality could be as high as 160,000 because of the Sahrawi refugee camps. Despite the barren landscape, Tindouf is a resource-rich province, with important quantities of iron ore located in the Gara Djebilet area close to the border with Mauritania. Prior to Algerian independence, the area served as a strongpoint of several tribes of the nomadic Reguibat confederation.
Dakhla is a city in Western Sahara, a disputed territory currently administered by Morocco. It is the capital of the Moroccan administrative region Dakhla-Oued Ed-Dahab. It has a population of 106,277 and is built on a narrow peninsula of the Atlantic Coast, the Río de Oro Peninsula, about 550 km south of Laayoune.
While some reports indicate the territory may hold important quantities of mineral resources such as iron – and there is speculation, but no proof of, off-shore oil – the war prevented any serious exploration efforts. It remains mostly unexplored and unexploited to this day. The exception is the rich Atlantic fishing waters. They were never put to use by Mauritania, but have since been fished by Morocco and foreign ships under Moroccan licenses.
The name "Tiris" refers to a desert plain of the Sahara. Mauritania's northernmost province (in its internationally recognized territory) is similarly called Tiris Zemmour, where "Zemmour" refers to a mountain range in central Western Sahara.
The Ould Daddah government's claims to the territory was based in the strong cultural and tribal ties between the Moorish inhabitants of Mauritania, and the tribes of Western Sahara. The government argued they were all part of the same people, and also put forth the notion of pre-colonial sovereigny by certain Mauritanian emirates (tribal fiefdoms) over some of these tribes. Before of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Mauritania claimed in 1975 that the entire Spanish Sahara had historically constituted part of "Bilad Chinguetti", which it argued had been an undeclared tribal and religious community. But it also recognized that there had never been a Mauritanian state to claim the territory, since Mauritania itself was a modern-day creation of French colonialism. The court recognized the importance of these cultural links, but announced that they had not constituted sovereignty over the territory or its inhabitants before colonialism, and could not by themselves justify sovereignty today. Instead, it recommended a standard self-determination process where Sahrawis were given the choice of merger with Mauritania and/or Morocco, or independence.
In later years, the Mauritanian government has maintained a policy of strict neutrality between Polisario and Morocco, while retaining its recognition of the SADR. Minor parts of the Mauritanian political opposition will occasionally express interest in the area, although direct advocacy for retaking it is very rare. Other groups support either Polisario or Morocco. The official position of most parties is to support any final outcome acceptable to both remaining sides of the conflict, and that has also been the government's position since the late 1980s, even if it has varied in tune with relations with Morocco.
The territory is now effectively divided between Moroccan and Polisario forces along the length of the Moroccan Wall, and with a cease-fire in effect pending the outcome of the United Nations decolonization process.
The politics of Western Sahara take place in a framework of an area claimed by both the partially recognized Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and the Kingdom of Morocco.
The term Djema'a can refer to two things in a Western Sahara context.
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. The Moroccan government favours "Southern Provinces" for its geographical obviousness, and because of the sensitivity of the word "Sahara" in Morocco. A frequent use of the term "Southern Provinces" is found for example in Moroccan state television
To assist in the decolonization process of the Spanish Sahara, a colony in North Africa, the United Nations General Assembly in 1975 dispatched a visiting mission to the territory and the surrounding countries, in accordance with its resolution 3292.
The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, commonly known as Western Sahara, uses a national flag consisting of a black, white and green horizontal tricolor charged with a red star and crescent in the center stripe and a red triangle at the hoist. It is used on Polisario-controlled areas, while the Moroccan flag is used on the rest of the occupied territory.
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 Lamatin 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 Coat of arms of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is a symbol created by the Polisario Front, the national liberation movement of Western Sahara. The Polisario Front proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic on February 27, 1976, and both the flag and the coat of arms were adopted as state symbols.
The Military Committee for National Salvation was a military government of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania that took power in 1979. It was installed by Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidalla, Ahmed Ould Bouceif and fellow officers, in an internal regime/military coup d'état on April 6, 1979, removing Col. Mustapha Ould Salek of the Military Committee for National Recovery (CRMN) from effective power. He was replaced by Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Louly in May 1979; Haidallah would later emerge as the main military strongman, and go on to assume full powers, only to be deposed by Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya. The CMSN remained as an institution until 1992, when Taya introduced a multi-party system - he himself lost power only in 2005.
"Greater Mauritania" is a term for the Mauritanian irredentist claim to Western Sahara, and possibly other Moorish or Sahrawi-populated areas of the western Sahara desert.
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.
Western Sahara history starts long before this below mentioned timeline. Timeline of Western Sahara history
General elections were held in Mauritania on 8 August 1976 to elect a President and National Assembly. At the time, the country was a one-party state with the Mauritanian People's Party (PPM) as the sole legal party. Its leader, incumbent President Moktar Ould Daddah, was the only candidate in the presidential election, and was re-elected unopposed, whilst the PPM won all the seats in the National Assembly election. Voter turnout was 97.9%. They were the last elections held until the restoration of multi-party democracy in 1992.
The Sahrawi Republic, officially the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, is a partially recognized state that claims the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara, but controls only the easternmost one-fifth of that territory. Until 1976, Western Sahara was known as Spanish Sahara, a Spanish colony.