A Stalled Conflict in Sahara Risks Reigniting as Trade Blocked



Souhail Karam | Bloomberg

Protesters in the disputed region of Western Sahara blocked Morocco’s main trade route to West Africa, prompting a warning that a conflict suspended for three decades could reignite.

Dozens of supporters of the Polisario Front, which seeks independence for the partly Moroccan-controlled territory, have picketed the southern border for two weeks, demanding a long-delayed vote on the region’s status, local media reported.

Halting what was an average of 150 trucks crossing per day, they’re seeking leverage by impeding Morocco’s burgeoning trade with sub-Saharan Africa. Protesters have also approached Moroccan military outposts.

Escalation in the already tense situation threatens to revive fighting in Western Sahara frozen since 1991. Regional giants Morocco and Algeria would be on opposing sides, just as they both face the prospect of renewed anti-government unrest.

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