Posted by: ateedub | July 21, 2008

Who’s Winning the Internet War? Western Sahara v. Moroccan Sahara

As promised (though late, again), I’ve done a quick analysis of the websites dedicated to Western Sahara. Unfortunately, I was not able to find much that was relevant in the blogosphere by searching for Moroccan Sahara, so I’ve opened the scale of this a bit (!) wider to websites that come up in the first page of a Google search.

Before I get to that, what I did find interesting in the blogosphere were the videos. This was something I hadn’t explored much when I did my earlier Technorati search on Western Sahara. A search for “Western Sahara” brings up videos on culture, news, and the conflict.

A search for “Moroccan Sahara” has some videos on culture and several on travel, but most focus on the conflict.

My Google searches presented similar results to this. “Western Sahara” brings up official country information sources like the CIA World Factbook and a Google map of the region. The remainder of the links on the first page of results seem generally pro-self governance, but are certainly not propaganda.

Moroccan Sahara” is, again, full of travel links. They’ve clearly won the tourism war. As expected, there is no official country information associated with this search (it would all be under Morocco), but there are 2 other links of interest: www.moroccansahara.net and www.westernsaharaonline.net. They are both pro-Morocco. I find it interesting that Western Sahara Online does not appear on the first page of the “Western Sahara” search.

Finally, a Google search for “Polisario“, the Sahwari movement for independence, includes many news articles and proidependence links.

It’s interesting to see that while the pro-Moroccan propaganda forces have cornered the search market for Moroccan Sahara, they have had no success breaking into the top results for either Western Sahara or Polisario. Significantly, none of this has spilled over to affect “Morocco“.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Hi. You mention blogs being pro self-governance. In the context of this particular conflict this is an ambiguous term, as Morocco is proposing limited self-governance for Western Sahara within a greater Morocco under its “autonomy plan”. So Morocco and its allies will see “autonomy” and “self-governance” as being compatible with it retaining ultimate control over the territory (Morocco doesn’t control all of Western Sahara – some quarter to one third is controlled by the Polisario – but likes to give the impression that it does, and erroneously claims that the Polisario areas are a “buffer zone”).

    This all links to the arguments over what constitutes self-determination, which is what the UN promised Western Sahara. Morocco says the UN aspirations can be met under its autonomy plan, the Polisario and their allies claim that self determination requires that people have the option of choosing independence, and option that isn’t on the table under Morocco’s autonomy plan.

    Generally the pro-Polisario position is one supporting independence, and I’d be inclined to use this term explicitly to avoid confusion. All a bit pedantic and semantic, but that’s the fulcrum on which the argument over self-determination unfortunately turns.

  2. Hi again. You continue to write great posts about Western Sahara online, which is something I’m hugely interested in. Two things:

    -Western Sahara Online is an imitation of a pro-Polisario site that used to exist by the same name. The pro-self-determination one was run by a Sahrawi, but he discontinued it a couple of months ago because he was too busy to keep it up. It was a big loss, but at least

    -Polisario Confidential is actually an anti-Polisario site run by the Moroccan government. For more on it, check out this blog post I wrote based on a Moroccan newspaper’s article:
    http://onehumportwo.blogspot.com/2008/06/moroccan-secret-service-agents-run.html

    I can’t believe how high it ranks for “Polisario”! I blame the Google Ads bought for it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: