"Zunes and Mundy have written the definitive book on the Western Sahara. . . . .Theirs is a contribution that prompts a wide array of adjectives: provocative, insightful, exhaustive, encyclopedic. The collaboration brings together their respective strengths as scholars, and their work displays a robust interdisciplinarity in its use of methods and insights from geography, cartography, diplomatic history, political science, anthropology, and postcolonial studies."—Africa Studies Review
"The main merit of the book lies in its extremely informative accounts of the conflict's beginnings, the course of the hot war from 1975 to 1991, and the successive failures of UN-backed initiatives: the 1991 Settlement Plan."—International Journal of Middle East Studies
"The authors of Western Sahara: War, Nationalism, and Conflict Irresolution largely succeed in giving the reader a comprehensive tour d’horizon of the dispute, one that begins with the 1975–91 war between Morocco and Polisario and continues with chapters describing the political rivalries in North Africa."—International Journal of African Historical Studies
"A must read for policy makers and students of northwestern Africa as well as for international human rights activists. Summing Up: Highly recommended."—Choice
"In this thoughtful and impressive analysis, Stephen Zunes and Jacob Mundy provide valuable insights on the importance of enabling the people of the Western Sahara to determine their own future through a democratic referendum."—The late senator Edward Kennedy
"An exhaustive and illuminating study."—Political Geography
"The book will not only become a standard reference on the conflict but also an important case study for students of conflict management, international relations, and political science as a whole."—Middle East Policy
"A well-researched, well-written and all-encompassing book on one of the most intractable, but for the most part forgotten conflicts of our times."—Anna Theofilopoulou, former official and special advisor (1997–2004) to UN Secretary-General’s personal envoy to Western Sahara James Baker
The Western Sahara conflict has proven to be one of the most protracted and intractable struggles facing the international community. Pitting local nationalist determination against Moroccan territorial ambitions, the dispute is further complicated by regional tensions with Algeria and the geo-strategic concerns of major global players, including the United States, France, and the territory’s former colonial ruler, Spain. For over twenty years, the UN Security Council has failed to find a formula that will delicately balance these interests against Western Sahara’s long-denied right to a self-determination referendum as one of the last UN-recognized colonies.
In the first book-length treatment of the issue in over two decades, Zunes and Mundy examine the origins, evolution, and resilience of the Western Sahara conflict, deploying a diverse array of sources and firsthand knowledge of the region gained from multiple research visits. Shifting geographical frames—local, regional, and international—provide for a robust analysis of the stakes involved.
Stephen Zunes is professor of politics and international studies at the University of San Francisco, where he chairs the program in Middle Eastern Studies. He is the author of Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism. He serves as a senior analyst for the Foreign Policy in Focus project of the Institute for Policy Studies.
Jacob Mundy is assistant professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Colgate University. He is the author of several book chapters and articles on North African politics. He has served as a consultant for several governments and NGOs on the Western Sahara conflict.
7 x 10, 360 pages, 7 maps