Morocco's Influence (Western Sahara Special IV)

The Moroccan Wall (Sand Wall)
This is Part IV of our Western Sahara Special.  For previous articles, click the following links: Part I, Part II, Part III

The Wall
With the exception of some lands on the Eastern frontier, most of Western Sahara is controlled by Morocco.  The Eastern lands, controlled by the Polisario Front, are divided from the rest of the region by a large sand wall.  Constructed by Morocco, the sand wall is second in length only to China's Great Wall.  Called the Defensive Wall by Moroccans, it is call the Wall of Shame by others.  The region around the wall is covered in millions of mines and guarded by thousands of troops.  By isolating threats from the Polisario Front, Morocco is able to assert more control over the areas under its control.

The People
Another way Morocco has extended influence in the region is through the migration of its on citizens. Depending on which story is to be trusted, either thousands of Moroccan citizens decided to cross hundreds of miles of desert to settle in Western Sahara, or they were forced/encouraged by the Moroccan government to do so.  In the same way Russia once "Russified" parts of the Soviet Union, Morocco has "Moroccanized" Western Sahara.  Any referendum now held in Western Sahara poses the risk of being decided by Moroccan citizens, rather than the Saharwi of Western Sahara.  Even without a referendum, the population shift has led to a prominence of Moroccan education, language, art styles, etc. The day may come when Moroccans actually outnumber Saharwi in great numbers, which would likely lead to even less international pressure for a referendum.  A growing movement among the Saharwi believe this inevitability is a cause for war - the sooner the better.

Tomorrow is the final part in the Western Sahara Special.  We will take a look at the refugee camps and the lives of the Saharwi people.

Thanks for reading!

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