The war in the Western Sahara recently entered its 16th year. Although progress toward peace has been made, concrete steps to a final resolution have not yet occurred. This has had serious political, social, economic, and military consequences for the countries in the region. Despite the significance of the issue, until now very few scholarly works have dealt with the regional and international dimensions of the conflict. In particular, little attention has been paid to the role of the superpowers and of the United Nations in the region and to the other related issues which are the focus of this book. The Western Sahara conflict raises serious questions about the role of international law and of the United Nations in achieving the decolonisation of former colonial territories and resolving regional conflicts. Taken together, the work of the scholars, diplomats and experts in international law who have contributed to this volume constitutes a significant contribution to our understanding of the role of outside powers in the origins and evolution of the war in the Western Sahara.Their work also casts new light on the efforts of the Maghrebi states to overcome regional divisions by themselves and on the continuing attempts by the United Nations to resolve the conflict in the Western Sahara and restore respect for international law. This work should interest specialists in West African affairs and in international law and organisations.