Chart: Some Mauritanian responses to the Libyan crisis

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.


8 thoughts on “Chart: Some Mauritanian responses to the Libyan crisis

  1. Thank you Kal for this excellent post. Kadafi is now going for sure and your pronostic is correct. Let’s watch. Aziz has to change for the better and listen to the youth and unions. Otherwise, the country will end up like the neighboring countries and the opposition will try to get what they lost in the past election against Aziz: power. They will then lose it to the military again.

  2. This is the summary of the official position of Mauritania (and Sénégal) concerning the uprising in Libya. As Kal has rightly said, Aziz is perhaps trying to do like Ould Taya with Saddam at the end.

    La Mauritanie demande “l’arrêt de l’usage excessif de la force” en Libye
    Le gouvernement mauritanien a demandé mercredi “l’arrêt immédiat de l’usage excessif de la force” en Libye où une contestation sans précédent ébranle le régime de Mouammar Kadhafi. Nouakchott exprime sa “préoccupation et son inquiétude” face à l’”effusion du sang” que connaît la Libye où des manifestations matées dans le sang contre le pouvoir central…

    …sont en cours depuis le 17 février, affirme un communiqué officiel transmis à l’AFP. Il “demande l’arrêt immédiat de l’usage excessif de la force et appelle toutes les parties à plus de retenue”. Le gouvernement dit suivre “avec une inquiétude et une préoccupation très grandes les actes de meurtres et d’effusion de sang qui ont lieu depuis quelques jours en Libye soeur”. Le parti au pouvoir mauritanien, l’Union pour la République (UPR), avait dénoncé mardi “les massacres odieux” perpétrés par le pouvoir en Libye contre des populations “sans défense”. Plusieurs partis d’opposition mauritaniens ont également dénoncé la répression des manifestations par le pouvoir libyen. Le gouvernement sénégalais a pour sa part appelé le pouvoir libyen à “préserver la vie humaine” dans sa gestion de la contestation, selon l’Agence de presse sénégalaise (APS, publique). “Le chef de l’Etat sénégalais (Abdoulaye Wade) qui est le président en exercice de l’Organisation de la conférence islamique (OCI) en appelle à la compassion et à l’humanité dans la prise en charge des revendications populaires et des émeutes de la rue en Libye”, ajoute l’APS, citant le ministre sénégalais de la Communication, Moustapha Guirassy. Les violences liées au soulèvement contre le régime libyen de Mouammar Kadhafi ont fait au moins 640 morts, dont 275 à Tripoli et 230 à Benghazi, soit plus du double que le bilan officiel de 300 morts, a annoncé mercredi la Fédération internationale des ligues de droits de l’homme (FIDH)

    Toute reprise totale où partielle de cet article doit inclure la source :

  3. Any news about the Italian woman kidnapped Southern Algeria? Looks like a DRS operation. The downfall of Gadhafi would force re-assessing some plans in transforming the Sahara-Sahel into an unsafe area to justify the establishment of US-France military bases. I know some do not agree, but their arguments are very weak.

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