Mauritania Table of Contents
Mauritania's role in the Western Sahara conflict was heavily influenced by perceived and real threats of Moroccan expansionism. In the 1950s, Morocco advanced its concept of Greater Morocco, which included all Mauritanian territory, based on an historic (if currently moribund) allegiance to the Moroccan sultan as a political and religious leader. To make matters worse, most of the Arab League states, the Soviet Union, several progressive African states, and groups within Mauritania, as well, supported that position. For example, Mauritanian Entente leader Babana had claimed that a union with Morocco would protect the rights of the Maures from encroachments by the black population.
Even after Morocco finally had recognized Mauritanian independence in 1969--nine years after it had been granted by France--and had withdrawn its claim to Mauritanian territory, the Daddah government remained suspicious of Moroccan intentions. Thus, Mauritania favored using the Western Sahara as a buffer between it and Morocco, either by controlling all or part of the Western Sahara or by creating an independent state.
Data as of June 1988