Despite Israeli Requests, US Won’t Recognize Moroccan Claim to Western Sahara
The Trump Administration has reportedly turned down repeated overtures by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara in exchange for Rabat forging official diplomatic relations with Israel. According to Israeli media reports, Netanyahu broached the subject on multiple occasions but was met with heavy opposition, primarily from then-national security adviser John Bolton. The Israeli leader reportedly raised the subject again following Bolton’s resignation, but to no avail. After Madrid relinquished administrative control of the Western Sahara to Morocco and Mauritania in 1975, a war broke out between the two African nations and the Polisario Front, a Sahrawi nationalist movement. Mauritania withdrew its claims to the territory four years later, but the Algeria-backed Polisario Front continues to wage a campaign for independence. Morocco has long maintained informal ties with Israel, whose relations with various Arab states – particularly Sunni Gulf countries that oppose Shi’ite Iran – have improved significantly over the past decade. Nevertheless, the Israeli reports claim that Rabat is growing frustrated with Netanyahu due to the trilateral initiative’s lack of progress.