Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Western Sahara: The Cost of the Conflict

from International Crisis Group

The Western Sahara conflict is both one of the world’s oldest and one of its most neglected. More than 30 years after the war began, the displacement of large numbers of people and a ceasefire in 1991 that froze military positions, its end remains remote ... Hundreds of Moroccan troops have been captured and tortured by the Polisario. Most have remained in prison for a long time. Moroccans also have to shoulder an exorbitant financial cost (military budget, investment in the “Southern provinces”, tax breaks and higher salaries for civil servants) that has hampered national development – a situation all the more serious since poverty in the country’s slums is generating momentum for a Salafi Islamist movement.

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