Rather than occasionally tweeting random updates, I'm going to put all the emerging information about the renewed conflict in #WesternSahara in one thread that I can update as things unfold. 1/lots
First of all, general background on Western Sahara for those unfamiliar: bbc.co.uk/news/world-afr…
On #Guerguerat, this map from @MundyProf is very useful. Sahrawi protesters blocked the road between Guerguerat and Nouadhibou. The blockade was within Polisario territory, but put pressure on crossings from both Mauritania and the Moroccan-occupied area

My friend Mark Drury has written an academic article about the Guerguerat border crossing as well:
On the morning of November 13, Moroccan soldiers crossed the berm (the wall dividing Moroccan-controlled and Polisario-controlled areas of WS) to disperse peaceful Sahrawi protesters. Polisario soldiers evacuated the protesters.
This was arguably the most severe violation of the ceasefire agreement since 1991. Text of the ceasefire is here: sandanddust.files.wordpress.com/2020/11/milita…
Worth noting that technical violations aren't that uncommon, though crossing the berm at Guerguerat was qualitatively different. Here's an article I wrote in 2016 about the killing of a Sahrawi nomad by Moroccan soldiers, and subsequent UN fallout:

Frustration with the stalemate, disillusionment with the toothless UN mission in WS, and no prospect of a resolution, led to a proliferation of reporting about rising tensions among Sahrawi youth, of which the best example comes from @brkinibeachriot:

Over the next 24 hours, skirmishes broke out at a few sites along the berm. There is a lot of conflicting information, and apparently some misleading videos, floating around, but the Polisario press service mentioned a few different places:

On Nov 14, UN secretary-general Guterres
had a call with Polisario leadership. The UN doesn't really have any cards to play here, but there is still a possibility that the cycle of escalation will fade out. A full-scale war is certainly possible, but not quite inevitable yet
Meanwhile, in the Moroccan-occupied zone, particularly the city of El Aaiun, things are heating up, with demonstrations and protests. The occupied zone is important to keep an eye on. If Morocco cracks down too hard, then it's more likely Polisario will have to escalate.
This article (basically my MA thesis) discusses Sahrawi resistance in the occupied zone:

Meanwhile, the Guerguerat road appears to be "secured." Having achieved its early objective, Morocco is probably hoping this will blow over and the status quo will return. If that happens, it would be a huge blow to both Polisario and any remaining UN credibility in WS.
Why now? The Trump presidency was Morocco's best chance to get some international legitimisation for its occupation. If Trump had won re-election, this might have happened; as it stands, Morocco had a window of about two months to act, and went for it.

Looks like this might be one of Morocco's IAI Heron drones, apparently near Dakhla in the occupied zone (anyone who knows more about drones than I do is invited to correct me on this)
Graphic from a contact in WS showing approximate locations of some of the ongoing skirmishes

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