Mauritania updates


It's getting hard to cut a deal

It's getting hard to cut a deal

The compromise I mentioned last week was put up by Messoud Ould Boulkheir with backing of the FNDD. Abdel Aziz rejected it, in part because it did not allow him and his faction enough control and because it would have made the junta appear to having been folding to foreign pressure.

In other Boulkheir related news, the Spaniards got a does of his wrath on Friday, as he criticized the Spanish objection to sanctions as being racist. The Spanish, he said, did not believe that Mauritanians “deserve democracy because we are not Spanish, and are African.” 

At the same time, there is talk of Abdel Aziz wanting to put Vall on trial for corruption. If true, this is rather massive. However, after consulting sources in the country, it appears that such reports should be taken with a grain of salt. Evidently, Vall’s presidential ambitions and his less than ecstatic reception of the coup have lead members of Abdel Aziz’s entourage, if not surely Abdel Aziz himself, quite hostile towards him. They see him as credible threat, especially since France’s agenda is said to envision a situation in which Abdel Aziz has either no role or a very limited one; Vall would probably wind up as president. This news is also significant because Vall is still a member of the armed forces.

Abdel Aziz made a speech this weekend in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Nouakchott. He accused the opposition of having created the country’s problems and touted the military as the solution. He accused the FNDD leadership of poor governance and corruption before the coup. The implication is apparently that those who want to restore Abdallahi wish to do so because they it would more easily facilitate corruption. He defended the army, denying that the motivation behind the coup was the survival of the military’s political privileges (although he admitted as much to VOA). Talk of corruption can rather easily be spread around the Mauritanian ruling class, including on Abdel Aziz and his bunch along with the folks in the FNDD. But this is a major part of the junta’s case against Abdallahi and their opponents: they were too corrupt, lazy, and incompetent to continue ruling. The junta plays the terrorism card where the West is concerned (which is not so hollow an argument, but still not a solid basis on which to justify a coup). Abdel Aziz is convinced the country’s institutions are working well under his leadership.

Also, Mauritanian refugees in Senegal refused to meet with the director of the National Agency for the Support and Integration of Refugees, because he supported the coup.


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