Here is a chart mapping some of the responses to the Libyan crisis (thus far). The PDF is here.
It should be said: virtually everyone with eyes, balanced minds and souls seems to be repulsed and disgusted by the indiscriminate and unrelenting violence (and vulgar threats of violence) taking place in Libya right now. That includes many, many Mauritanians. Readers will remember that this blog has long taken special interest in Libya’s role in Mauritania’s recent foreign policy since 2008. Thus it is only natural that this blog might try to account for responses to the crisis there using mind mapping software and obnoxious colors.
Note that both parliamentary majority leader Khalil Ould Tayeb and Foreign Minister Naha Mint Mouknass both have exceedingly close ties to Qadhafi; Mint Mouknass in particular enjoys the personal favor of Qadhafi and both have enjoyed his financial patronage. The “pro-Qadhafi parties” are those that pledged allegiance to Qadhafi in 2010 (Ould Abdel Aziz himself has been strongly backed by Qadhafi since the Gaza crisis). More on this in a later post though. Libya was essential in stabilizing Ould Abel Aziz’s foreign policy following the 2008 coup (especially after Ould Abdel Aziz broke relations with Israel during the Gaza Crisis), as well as helping to build parts of his political alliance and helping the General balance western, Arab and African reprisals. Qadhafi attempted to intervene on Ould Abdel Aziz behalf and was one of the first foreign leaders to visit Mauritania after the coup, claiming that elections and coups were no different from one another in a speech, causing moans and groans in the opposition at the time. Ould Abdel Aziz (as well as many opposition and pro-Ould Abdel Aziz factions) made many important visits to Tripoli during the post-coup period with important effects on Mauritania’s foreign policy in the Arab region and its domestic politics. This period was followed on this blog with interest.
One might speculate that if Qadhafi were to fall it could lead to an important realignment in Mauritania’s foreign policy with respect to Morocco and Algeria and its relations with its west African neighbors (with whom relations are relative poor on a leader-to-leader basis and which have been in some cases stabilized by Qadhafi’s intervention). Surely Ould Abdel Aziz’s very public relationship with Qadhafi is damaging to his own standing with an increasingly unsettled population and an opposition long bothered by his tendency to brush them off. Ould Abdel Aziz has been seen as as increasingly autocratic and opportunistic by his critics and recent events at Fassala and over scheduled youth protests (which the government has obstructed) have led to violent clashes between citizens and police and threats of sit-ins from students and youth groups. If Ould Abdel Aziz loses Qadhafi, his important and rich patron, he may lose his ability to hold on to some of his allies in parliament and the political parties; he may also lose some steam in recruiting new allies if he no longer has the financial and political backing of Qadhafi. And if Qadhafi remains in power his brand, and perhaps by extension Ould Abdel Aziz’s brand, may be badly stained by the blood of the many Libyans that have been shot, dismembered, tortured and otherwise obliterated over the last several days as Mauritanians and the whole rest of the world watches. This will be relevant in upcoming municipal and parliamentary elections. If Qadhafi remains in power his money might still be powerful but this recent crisis might be able to do to Ould Abdel Aziz’s relationship with Qadhafi’s Libya what the Gulf War did to Maaouiya Ould Tayya’s relationship with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. One shudders to attempt to predict big shifts or big things but there are some real possibilities for important shifts in the region with Qadhafi gone; Mauritania is a place where these might be seen easily. These things are always uncertain though.
Also note that certain important political parties are missing; these will be added with more time to add and search for statements and communiques. Readers are welcome to point such statements (as well as off clarifications, corrections, etc.) in the comments section (in fact, please do help contribute to and improve this — especially where students and unions are concerned). Links to the news articles used to build this chart will be posted shortly, either within a brief narrative or listing.