Russia’s offensive against international order does not confine itself to Europe. It is increasingly clear that it is also attacking the West, including the U.S. and particularly French interests in Africa as well as those states who are or have been pro-Western. Indeed, the recent Putin-Macron summit discussed Russian encroachments on France’s position in Mali as well as the current Ukraine crisis. As Mali shows, Moscow exploits both new and old African conflicts in its global campaign, typically utilizing all the means at its disposal. One such long-running conflict is the Western Sahara territorial dispute between Algeria and Morocco that originated in the insurgency led by the Polisario Front against Spanish colonial forces from 1973 to 1975 and the subsequent Western Sahara War against Morocco between 1975 and 1991. Today the conflict mainly manifests itself in unarmed civil campaigns of the Polisario Front and their self-proclaimed SADR state to gain fully recognized independence for Western Sahara and take that territory away from Morocco.
(AP Photo/Thibault Camus, Pool)