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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Western Sahara Under Polisario Control
Author:Bhatia, Michael
Periodical:Review of African Political Economy
Geographic terms:Western Sahara
national liberation movements
Politics and Government
Abstract:From 17-27 April 2001, the author visited the Sahrawi refugee camps and the northern sector of the Western Sahara territory under Polisario control. The Sahrawi refugee camps are located in the southwest of Saharan Algeria. The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic/Frente Polisario - the political and military organization that represents the refugees - was granted administrative and governing autonomy over this area by the Algerian government. The purpose of the author's visit was to determine the potential for a return to war, and to assess the Polisario's readiness, capabilities for rapid mobilization, and current military resources and capabilities; to ascertain the Sahrawi refugee population's views on a return to war; to determine the Polisario's realization of the possibility for a 'Timor' scenario, which would involve the implementation of a referendum, with the repatriation of Sahrawi refugees to Moroccan controlled territory, and the evolution of the UN Mission for a Referendum in the Western Sahara (Minurso) from its current monitoring role to its assumption of the transitional executive powers originally included in its mandate; to observe various changes in the camps, with a focus on the evolving commerce and trade patterns, the Polisario administrative structure, and demographic developments. Included is the transcript of an interview, held on 25 April 2001, with Brahim Bedileh, Commander, 2nd Military Region (Tifariti), Polisario Front.