Topic 1: The status of the Sahrawi Arab Republic
Western Sahara, although one of the most sparsely populated regions on Earth and one of the least reported on, has been the source of international dispute and conflict for decades.
Originally a Spanish colony, control was granted jointly to Morocco and Mauritania in 1975 following pressure from the UN and the Moroccan ‘Green March’, a peaceful march that saw hundreds of thousands of Moroccan citizens sweep into Spanish Western Sahara. Soon thereafter, the Polisario front, a nationalist movement representing the local Sahrawi people began armed resistance against the Moroccan government.
Following years of conflict and support from the Algerian government a ceasefire was agreed in 1991. Since then, successive Moroccan governments have maintained their right to Western Sahara, despite pressure from the EU and the UN whom both recognise the right of the Sahwari people to self-determination. Despite this however, the question remains as to whether the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic will reach full self-determination.
Topic 2: Homegrown terrorism as a destabilising factor in international security
It is easy to lay the blame for terrorist actions on outsiders or foreigners, on those who do not understand our ways and who hate us for who we are. But what if the suspected terrorist is from the inside?
Ranging from the London bombings in 2005 to the Paris attacks of 2015, from acts by Islamist Chechens within the Russian Federation to mass shootings in the United States, the danger of citizens becoming radicalised and attacking their fellow citizens is a threat that has persisted for a long time. These acts, however, have always been considered primarily as destabilising for the nation under attack, and not for the international community as a whole.
But with the civil war in Syria winding down, and foreign fighters operating in that country seeking to return to their homelands, this issue is one which could hold broader implications for international security.
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