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The Southern Provinces
Southern Provinces
or Moroccan Sahara are the terms used by the Moroccan government for Western Sahara. These two official Moroccan denominations explicitly include all of Western Sahara. The Moroccan government favours "Southern Provinces" for its geographical obviousness, and because of the sensitivity of the word "Sahara" in Morocco.[citation needed] A frequent use of the term "Southern Provinces" is found for example in Moroccan state television (weather forecasts, displayed maps on the news, government statements, etc.) Overview[edit] The Moroccan government controls and administers 80% of Western Sahara (the part west of the Moroccan Wall) and all the oceanic coasts of Western Sahara, government and private companies exploit coastal areas for fishing and the land areas for phosphate mining. The Polisario Front controls the remaining fifth, which is isolated from the ocean, mostly empty of any population, dry, and unfit for conventional urbanization or any basic economic activity.[citation needed] The two thirds of Western Sahara
Western Sahara
that are controlled by Morocco
Morocco
are treated by the government as normal Moroccan territory. The government conducts various economic and social development programs and includes these "Southern Provinces" in the national budget of government funding, national sport competitions, education programs, and national parliamentary elections. Following the Green March
Green March
and the Madrid Accords signed with Spain and Mauritania
Mauritania
in 1975, Morocco
Morocco
took control of Saguia el-Hamra, and the northern part of Río de Oro, while Mauritania
Mauritania
took control of the remaining part of Río de Oro, renamed as Tiris al-Gharbiyya. A locally based Saharawi national liberation movement, the Polisario Front launched a guerrilla war, with the crucial financial and logistical backing of Algeria
Algeria
and Libya, aiming to win independence of the territory under the "Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic" (SADR). Following bloody clashes with the Polisario troops (SPLA) and deteriorating ties with Algeria, Mauritania
Mauritania
pulled out in 1979 and gave up its share in the Western Sahara
Western Sahara
in order to avoid further complicated conflicts with the Sahrawi Republic, Algeria, and Morocco. Morocco
Morocco
then seized the opportunity and took control of the remaining part of Río de Oro
Río de Oro
as well, which had been recognized by the Moroccan regime as Mauritanian a few years earlier. Since a United Nations-sponsored ceasefire agreement in 1991, about two thirds of the territory is administered by Morocco, including all the seacoasts, due to the construction of the Moroccan Wall. The Polisario Front
Polisario Front
controls most of the remainder, which is almost unpopulated.[citation needed] Polisario's army is considered incapable[by whom?] of covering the vast one-third of Western Sahara, east of the Moroccan military berm.[citation needed] Moreover, most of Polisario's army is thought to be concentrated in the Tinduf area inside Algeria, safe from the long arm of Morocco's superior artillery and air force.[citation needed] The cease-fire line corresponds to the route of the weaponized Moroccan Wall
Moroccan Wall
(the military berm). Both sides claim the territory of Western Sahara
Western Sahara
in its entirety. The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic had been recognized by 84 nations, and is a full member of the African Union, but not of the UN. Moroccan territorial integrity is implicitly recognized by the Arab League
Arab League
with strong reservations from Algeria and Syria.[citation needed] Administratively, Morocco
Morocco
divided the territory under its control into administrative units (wilayas). Flags and coats of arms were created for the three wilayas of Boujdour,[1] Smara
Smara
and Laayoune.[2] There were further changes in the territories in 1983, with the area becoming four wilayas through the addition of Dakhla.[3] In 1990 Wadi al-Dhahab (Río de Oro) was added. Morocco
Morocco
has assigned a special satellite TV channel for the "Southern Provinces", called Laayoun TV.[citation needed] Population[edit] Following the 1975 Green March, the Moroccan state has sponsored settlement schemes enticing thousands of Moroccans to move into the Moroccan-occupied part of Western Sahara
Western Sahara
(80% of the territory). By 2015, it was estimated that Moroccan settlers made up at least two thirds of the 500,000 inhabitants.[4] In addition to guaranteeing a right of return for the Sahrawi refugees, the Sahrawi government in exile has indicated a willingness to offer Sahrawi citizenship to Moroccan settlers and their descendants in a future independent state.[5][6]

Western Sahara
Western Sahara
portal Morocco
Morocco
portal

References and notes[edit]

^ " Boujdour
Boujdour
province, Morocco". crwflags.com. Retrieved 2007-03-20.  ^ " Laayoune
Laayoune
province, Morocco". crwflags.com. Retrieved 2007-03-20.  ^ "Dakhla (Oued Eddahab-Lagouira) Province, Morocco". crwflags.com. Retrieved 2007-03-20.  ^ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/06/morocco-western-sahara-referendum-delay ^ South African Institute for Security Studies[permanent dead link] ^ Canadian Government Website report on SADR offer of citizenship to Moroccan settlers

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Regions of Morocco

from 2015

Béni Mellal-Khénifra Casablanca-Settat Dakhla-Oued Ed-Dahab(**) Drâa-Tafilalet Fès-Meknès Guelmim-Oued Noun(*) Laâyoune-Sakia El Hamra(*) Marrakech-Safi Oriental Rabat-Salé-Kénitra Souss-Massa Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima

1997-2015

Chaouia-Ouardigha Doukkala-Abda Fès-Boulemane Gharb-Chrarda-Béni Hssen Grand Casablanca Guelmim-Es Semara(*) Laâyoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra(*) Marrakesh-Tensift-El Haouz Meknès-Tafilalet Oriental Oued Ed-Dahab-Lagouira(*) Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer Souss-Massa-Drâa Tadla-Azilal Tangier-Tetouan Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate

1971-1997

Southern(*) Tansift Central Northwestern North-Central Eastern South-Central

Regions falling partly (*) or entirely (**) within the disputed territory of Western Sahara

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Western Sahara articles

Political status Sahrawi Republic

History  (timeline)

Before 1975

Colonial wars in Morocco Spanish Sahara
Spanish Sahara
(1884–1975)

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Spanish Morocco
Morocco
(1913–1956)

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Moroccan Army of Liberation Ifni War
Ifni War
(1957–1958)

1975

UN visiting mission (May) ICJ Advisory Opinion (October) Green March
Green March
(November) Madrid Accords
Madrid Accords
(November)

Since 1975

Western Sahara War
Western Sahara War
(1975–1991) Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
(SADR, 1976–present) Berm (built 1981–1987) Settlement Plan
Settlement Plan
(1991) UN referendum mission (MINURSO, 1991–present) Houston Agreement (1997) Baker Plan
Baker Plan
(2000/2003) UN Security Council Resolution 1495 (2003) / 1754 (2007) Manhasset negotiations
Manhasset negotiations
(2007–2008)

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SADR

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Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs
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Sahrawi peseta
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Coordinates: 25°N 13°W / 25°N

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