Moroccan–Algerian War

views updated


conflict in october and early november 1963 along the northern frontier between the two countries.

The causes of the Moroccan-Algerian War were rooted in colonialism, decolonization, and nationalism. Morocco considered the border established by colonialists artificial. During the Algerian War of Independence (19541962), the Provisional Government of the Algerian republic (Gouvernement Provisional de la République Algérienne; GPRA) agreed in July 1961 to address the frontier question after the liberation struggle. Ahmed Ben Bella further put off this issue as he attempted to secure power in 19621963. A revolt in Kabylia in late September 1963 offered Morocco an opportunity to seize the contested land. This resulted in a brief conflict, with Algeria receiving the heavier blows (60 dead and 250 wounded according to the French newspaper Le monde ). Mediation by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) produced a cease-fire in early November. In 1972 Morocco and Algeria signed conventions that delineated the frontier and agreed to the common exploitation of natural resources. Algeria ratified the agreements, but Morocco did not and subsequently engaged in its Western Sahara expansion (beginning with the Green March in 1975). The Western Sahara War included a brief engagement between Moroccan and Algerian troops in 1976. In the late 1980s, bilateral relations improved as demonstrated by Morocco's ratification of the 1972 conventions, the full restoration of diplomatic relations (1988), and the formation of the Arab Maghrib Union (1989).

see also green march; western sahara war.


Heggoy, Alf A. "Colonial Origins of the AlgerianMoroccan Border Conflict of October 1963." African Studies Review 13, no. 1 (April 1970): 1721.

Hodges, Tony. Western Sahara: The Roots of a Desert War. Westport, CT: L. Hill, 1983.

phillip c. naylor