Since 1967 the Sahrawi people of Western Sahara have been fighting for independence from other countries under the name of the Polisario Front. First they fought with Spain, which was the country that first colonized the Western Sahara territory. Then once Spain left the territory in 1976, Morocco and Mauritania moved in to control it. With Spain out of the picture, the Polisario Front started fighting a guerrilla war against Morocco and Mauritania. The Polisario Front reached some success and managed to make Mauritania relinquish control over their part of Western Sahara in 1979. Currently, the Polisario Front is fighting for independence and self-determination from Morocco and this is becoming a resource draining conflict for the Moroccans.
Through the conflict between Western Sahara and Morocco, many different aspects of bargaining can be observed. Most importantly, we can see how bargaining has failed to succeed and is at a stalemate due to indivisible issues and a limited bargaining range.
The goals that the Polisario Front and Morocco want to reach are different, in fact they are completely opposite of each other. The Polisario Front wants a referendum on independence and the right to self-determination. The Polisario Front seems to have a high resolve to continue their fight, which is evident by the fact that they simply have not given up yet after more than forty years. On the other hand, the goal of Morocco is to get recognition of its claim of sovereignty in Western Sahara. Morocco has a very high resolve when it comes to not letting Western Sahara become independent because of the resources in that region. Recently, Morocco has been granting oil licenses to numerous companies who want to drill exploratory wells offshore of Western Sahara. If oil is found off the coast of Western Sahara then it is highly probable that the Polisario Front will be reaching its goal of self determination in the near future.
Their goals are important to note since when both parties have bargained and attempted to find a solution, it is quickly seen that the right of self-determination for Western Sahara is an indivisible issue. This issue limits the bargaining range of both parties. One example of how the bargaining range is limited is seen in a 2007 Moroccan proposal. This proposal stated that the Moroccans would hold a vote in Western Sahara for either full integration into the kingdom of Morocco or autonomy within the kingdom. The Polisario Front disagreed with this proposal because full independence and self-determination was not an option on the referendum. As you can imagine, the proposal never went through and both parties are still in conflict. What are your thoughts on the Moroccan and Western Sahara stalemate?