Quoting from this article,

The Sahrawis who did not flee have been given Moroccan citizenship.

Is this all there is to the story? Much of the literature on the Western Sahara conflict overlooks why some of the native Sahrawi ended up in Tinduf while others remained. Were the former expressly chased by the Moroccan forces, and if so, what distinguished them from their fellow Sahrawis who did integrate the Moroccan realm?

In other words, to what extent are the Sahrawis in Tinduf "self-exiled" (e.g., for ideological reasons) as opposed to forcibly exiled (e.g., via the exactions of the Moroccan army)?


To better qualify the question, what evidence do we have that those who ended up in Tinduf were expressly chased by the Moroccans, as opposed to co-opted into leaving because of ideological factors (from within the Polisario elite, from Algeria, Spain, etc.) The very definition of "refugee" as opposed to "self-exile" rests on whether the move was from their own volition. This is all the more paradoxical in that significant numbers of them remained in (what is now) Morocco and willingly integrated its institutions (political, educational, etc.).

  • 2
    I don't know why - close votes indicate that someone doesn't think the question is suitable for the site. If I had to guess, I'd guess that it seems like a push question. The question in the title is answered by the quote in the question; the bulk of the question seems to be a request to discuss rather than an inquiry into facts. Or it could be that the issue is too contemporary to apply historical sources & methods.
    – MCW
    Jul 20 '20 at 9:18
  • To whoever down-voted, could I have a courtesy explanation or feedback as to the quality of the question? That may actually help.
    – Tfovid
    Jul 20 '20 at 10:01
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    Requests to explain downvotes are unlikely to garner a response. All too often, explanation have been countered with arguments or with active abuse. People have learned that it is safer to remain silent and avoid the abuse.
    – MCW
    Jul 20 '20 at 10:18
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    I may be missing something here. Isn't the answer to the question contained in the History section of the Wikipedia article you cited? "... Sahrawi refugees were fleeing from Moroccan forces, who advanced through Western Sahara during the Western Sahara War between Morocco and Sahrawi Polisario Front", and "... Thousands of ethnic Sahrawi refugees from Western Sahara also fled to Mauritania to escape the war, which began when Morocco annexed Western Sahara in 1976. Uncertainty about the political future of Western Sahara deterred the ethnic Sahrawi refugees from returning home." Jul 20 '20 at 15:13
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    @Tfovid - I suspect that this question has fallen victim to the fatal malady of "discussion in comments" - Questions with long comment strings, particularly those where the OP replies to comments, tend to die on the vine. If I were in your shoes, I'd flag all the comments for deletion, and then extensively revise the question to include all the information in the comments. I'd also look at whether the title expresses the question you want answered; I think there is some drift.
    – MCW
    Jul 21 '20 at 11:05

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