Mixing Occupation and Oil in Western Sahara

For thirty years, Morocco has been doing its darnedest as a
colonizer, subjugating Western Sahara, its neighbor to the south.
And yet, not a single country nor international body presently
gives Morocco credit for a legitimate occupation. Such a consensus
is due primarily to the fact that the UN-arbitrated dispute between
Morocco and the people of Western Sahara remains unresolved after
three decades.

During this protracted diplomatic stalemate, a guerrilla war has
been waged, tens of thousands of refugees have fled the country,
and Morocco has managed to pin Western Sahara under its heel. And
while the political community may not recognize Morocco’s claim to
power, some foreign companies looking to set up shop in the
disputed territory do. So when the Kerr-McGee Corporation caught
wind of potential crude deposits off the shores of Western Sahara,
the American oil and natural gas company approached Moroccan
officials for a ‘Reconnaissance Permit’ allowing it to explore the
possibility of drilling.

Writing in CorpWatch,
Jacob Mundy
charges that Kerr-McGee is irresponsibly inserting
‘another
volatile element’ into current negotiations for a lasting peace.
Along with Mundy, the Norwegian government is up in arms. Ronny
Hansen, spokesperson for the Norwegian Support Committee for
Western Sahara, contends ‘Kerr-McGee offers political
legitimization to the Moroccan occupation and contributes in
escalating the conflict.’ The company claims its dealings have not
raised the political stakes and have had only a benign
effect.
Archie Ingersoll

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Mixing
Occupation and Oil in Western Sahara

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