A. THE TERRITORY
Western Sahara, in northeast Africa, is almost entirely desert, but has
large phosphate deposits. It has one of the world’s richest sea fishing
areas and there is possibly large oil reserves beneath its territorial
waters. The Saharawi Arab democratic Republic is recognized by more
that 75 governments while remaining an occupied territory. 70% is
protected by a Moroccan-built earthen wall; the other 30% is under
Polisario control (who are themselves backed by Algeria). Development
of natural resources is limited by lack of water. Moroccan occupation
limits outside investment, but Morocco has contributed to massive
development of the region in the last 30 years.
B. THE PEOPLE
The population is estimated at ~400,000. Arab-Berber Moroccan
“settlers” are ~200,000; Saharawi indigenous ~75,000, refugees in four
main camps near Tindouf, Algeria ~270,000. There are also up to 130,000
Moroccan military personnel.
Almost 100% Muslim.
Operation World, Jason Mandryk. Colorado Springs: Biblica Publishing, 2010.