The Frente Por la Liberación de la Saguia El Hamra y Río de Oro (POLISARIO) is more than a political party, a liberation army or an independence movement. It is more than the foundations of the government of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, today 75% occupied by Morocco. It is the legitimate representative of the Saharawi society, the people itself and its own modern history.
The Zemla events of June 17, 1970, led by Bassiri, mark the genesis of modern Saharawi nationalism, a movement that takes shape in the face of the intransigence of the then colonizing power, Spain. Madrid represses in blood and fire the first mass demonstration demanding the self-determination of Western Sahara, an event that not only slows down but also drives and extends the liberation struggle throughout the territory, introducing the component of armed resistance.
The creation of the Polisario Front, on May 10, 1973, at the initiative of the extraordinary Saharawi leader El Uali Mustafa Sayed, represents the crystallization of a mature nationalism, which will have to face, with very limited means, first the Spanish army and, after the abandonment of the colony of the European country, the Mauritanian and Moroccan armies. Despite the difficulties of the early days, the growth of the Polisario is meteoric and the actions of its armed wing, the Saharawi People’s Liberation Army (ELPS) only increase its prestige among the Saharawi population.
On May 12, 1975, a UN Commission travels to the Saharawi territory in order to analyze the territorial conflict, making public on its return that “the Polisario is the only dominant political force in the territory and that the vast majority of the people want independence”.
The Polisario Front proclaims the constitution of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic on February 27, 1976, the same day the last Spanish soldier leaves Western Sahara. After the departure of Spain and the entry of Mauritania and Morocco, the Polisario is forced to protect the thousands of people fleeing the new occupying armies and to organize their settlement in the hammada of Tindouf. During this migration the Moroccan air force even bombed with napalm and phosphorus several refugee camps, causing the death of hundreds of civilians.
Mauritania, after having suffered terrible material and human losses, unable to defeat a popular army more and more prepared and with more and more means, signed peace with the Polisario in 1979, a fact that Morocco took advantage of to automatically occupy the territory left by the Mauritanians.
The Polisario, while trying to implement its model of society in the refugee camps of Tindouf, leads the war against Morocco until the cease-fire of 1991 and, from then on, the negotiations for the implementation of the peace plans of the United Nations and the total decolonization of the territory. Until the Moroccan Army attacked Sahrawi civilians protesting at the illegal Guerguerat breach in the extreme south of Western Sahara and violated the cease-fire on November 13, 2020. Therefore Brahim Ghali the General Secretary and President of Republic, Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces, officially declared end of commitment to cease-fire on November 14, 2020.
The Popular Congress is the highest political body of the Front. Within it the national action program is drawn up and the most important decisions of the life of the Saharawi people are taken.