This policy outlook analyses the shift in US policy regarding the Western Sahara, Morocco-Israel relations, and the role of 'normalisation' as a tool in regional diplomacy.

Anna Murphy 19 January 2021

On December 10th, 2020, the United States announced that it would recognise Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara. This policy shift, a product of years of covert diplomacy, was to be exchanged for Morocco's 'normalisation' of ties with Israel. This quid pro quo, a signature of the Trump administration's foreign policy, has far-reaching consequences that will continue to unfold in Israel, Palestine, Morocco, and throughout the MENA region. This policy outlook analyses some of the events that led up to this announcement and aims to establish what this crucial moment may mean for the future of Western Sahara, Morocco-Israel relations, and the role of 'normalisation' as a tool in regional diplomacy.

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