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Deals that will Ultimately Limit America’s Strategic Choices in North Africa

Last week, the Trump administration announced a diplomatic agreement between Israel and Morocco that it brokered. Under the deal, the North African nation will normalize relations with Israel in exchange for Washington recognizing Morocco’s claims over the disputed region of Western Sahara. The pact comes two months after America mediated another landmark agreement to start diplomatic relations between Israel and Sudan. There, the U.S. has removed Sudan from a blacklist it maintains of nations it accuses of supporting terrorism. America’s changed position means Sudan can now attract global investments more easily. Morocco has effectively controlled Western Sahara, a strip of territory along Africa’s Atlantic coast, for the past 41 years, and has half a million troops stationed there. But the U.N. and most in the international community — including the U.S. until now — have never recognized that occupation as legal, and continue to treat the democratic freedom movement of the Saharwis as legitimate. By breaking with that global consensus, America now stands on the side of an occupation force.