Spain, during the undemocratic Franco period, left her colony
of Spanish Sahara and Ifni to Morocco and Mauritania. However,
some of the inhabitants, who were not consulted, wished for independence.
Morocco had a long term claim to the colony and also claimed
Mauritania, formerly a French colony.
POLISARIO (People's Organization for the Liberation of Occidental
Sahara) was formed to contest Morocco and Mauritania's occupation
and partition of the colony. Who by? It is said to be by the
inhabitants. However, POLISARIO was based in Algeria which also
had a claim to the area and especially was interested in the
phosphate deposits. The Moroccans claim that it is an Algerian
proxy to try to gain control of the mineral deposits. This war
continues at a low level.