The competition between Saudi Arabia and Iran is expanding. The latest evidence of their jostling surfaced last week in Morocco, where the government and the Polisario Front, a group fighting for the independence of Western Sahara, wrapped up United Nations-brokered talks on Dec. 6 with an agreement to meet again next year. It’s a small but important step in a long, slow process. The U.N. has been trying to get Rabat and Polisario back to the table since a disagreement scuttled the last round of talks in 2012. And it owes the success of the recent discussions in no small part to the rivalry between Riyadh and Tehran.
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Morocco has long been a Saudi ally. It depended on support and weapons from Saudi Arabia during its war in Western Sahara from 1975-1991, and in 2015 it joined the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, contributing a squadron of warplanes to the effort. As a Sunni country, moreover, Morocco is wary of Iran and its revolutionary ambit