[Marxism] Fw: From Abu Nasr on Mauritania Events

Pieinsky pieinsky at igc.org
Thu Aug 4 20:23:58 MDT 2005

Dear Jay,

Here's a little summary I wrote up about Mauritania.
I haven't had a chance to see what news has come out
during the day on Thursday yet.

The new government seems to be trying to hold its
cards close to its chest about such key things as ties
with "Israel" and the US, but it looks like things
might change.

Just as a footnote: I can't stand the semi-French way
that the Mauritanian names are transliterated in the
media, so I've transliterated them according to the
standard method I use - which is basically the same as
the Library of Congress, for that matter.  Also,
"walad" means, literally, "boy", but in North Africa
they use that a lot for "son of" so where in the Arab
East you see Ibn Tayi' (for "son of Tayi') or a
colloquial variant Bin Ladin (for "son of Ladin"), in
North Africa you see walad Tayi' (meaning "son of

My only concession to the standard journalese spelling
in the little piece below was to use Nouakchott for
the capital just so people know what I'm talking
about.  But it should be spelled Nuwakashut, with the
accent on the last syllable, which sounds like




Head of Presidential Guard leads coup d'état early on
the morning of Wednesday, 3 August 2005, ousting
Mu'awiyah walad Sayyid Ahmad at-Tayi'.

The coup leaders took advantage of the absence of
walad at-Tayi' who was away attending the funeral of
Saudi King Fahd ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz.

Walad at-Tayi' (64) formerly Chief of Staff of the
Mauritanian army, led a coup against then President
Khuna walad Haydallah in 1984.  Although the Walad
at-Tayi' government opposed the American-led war
against Iraq in 1990-1991, the regime shifted gears in
the 1990s, aligning itself with the United States and
arousing enormous discontent within the country by
establishing full diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv
in October 1999.  (Only two only other Arab states
have full diplomatic ties to the Zionist state - Egypt
and Jordan.)

In the last 15 months there have been four coup
attempts against his regime - the first in June 2003,
then again in August and September of 2004.  The
fourth coup, carried out on 3 August 2005, has
apparently at last been successful in ousting walad

Mauritanian government figures, quoted by Agence
France Presse (AFP,) indicated that the country has a
reserve of a billion barrels of oil and 30 billion
cubic meters of natural gas, but little production of
any such resources has been undertaken in the
impoverished north African country under walad

After several hours on Wednesday during which radio
and TV were silenced and military men deployed around
the country's capital Nouakachott, the television
reappeared enabling an announcer to read the first
communiqué issued by the rebel Military Council for
Justice and Democracy confirming their victory and the
overthrow of Mu'awiyah walad at-Tayi'.

Following the announcement, thousands of Mauritanians
took to the streets to celebrate the fall of the
regime that normalized relations with "Israel" and
become a close ally of the United States.  The US
government, for its part, condemned the coup, as did
UN General Secretary Kofi Annan.

Mauritanians rejoiced however, driving about the
streets, honking their car horns, flashing victory
signs, and shouting "thanks be to God!", enjoying the
day on which a dictator fell from power and prison
doors were opened.

Reports indicated that the celebration was taking
place not only in the capital but throughout the

The London-based al-Quds al-'Arabi newspaper reported
that groups of demonstrators particularly poured out
of the poor neighborhoods of Nouakachott to parade
past the presidential palace and greet the members of
the presidential guard deployed there following their
successful ouster of walad at-Tayi'.

Al-Jazeera satellite TV reported on Wednesday that
informed sources had told them that the Military
Council had arrested the Chief of Staff of the
National Army, Colonel al-'Arabi walad Jaddayn; the
Staff Commander of the National Police, Colonel
Sayyidi walad ar-Rihah; and the Staff Commander of the
National Guard, Colonel 'Aynayna walad Ayayh.

Al-'Arabiyah satellite TV from Dubai reported that the
spiritual leaders of the Islamic opposition movement
had been released from prison - Shaykh Muhammad
al-Hasan walad ad-Daddu and the former ambassador
Muhammad al-Mukhtar walad Muhammad Musa.

Information reaching the independent Mauritanian news
agency al-Akhbar indicated that the Military Council
for Justice and Democracy had selected Colonel I'li
walad Muhammad Fal (55) as the Chairman of the
Council, and Colonel Muhammad walad 'Abd al-'Aziz
(reportedly one of the main leaders of the coup) as
his deputy.

The new authorities ordered all government offices
closed until further notice as military and security
forces continued to surround sensitive points in
Nouakachott. The International Airport remained closed
as well.

Al-Akhbar news agency reported that the guards at the
civil prison had left the facility and opened the
doors so that the prisoners could leave.

In an item posted at 01:19:13 on Thursday, 4 August
2005, al-Akhbar reported that the Military Council for
Justice and Democracy was negotiating at that hour
with Salih walad Hanana, the former commander of the
Knights of Change who was serving a life sentence in
prison for leading the failed coup attempt against the
walad at-Tayi' regime on 8-9 June 2003.

Sources told al-Akhbar that if the Military Council
can secure the participation of Salih walad Hanana,
the result would be a more balanced and broad-based

The sources said that the negotiations had progressed
a long way towards agreement and were currently
addressing the issues of how the Military Committee
for Justice and Democracy could integrate with the
members of the Knights of Change military opposition
organization and oppositionists outside the country.

It would appear that the Military Council seeks to
bring together all serious, influential forces in the
political arena in order to win the maximum possible
popular support for the new regime in this critical

Al-Akhbar noted that Salih walad Hanana was the first
Mauritanian army officer to attempt a coup against the
regime of walad at-Tayi', and at the time cited the
corruption of the regime and its relations with
"Israel" as the reasons that the Knights of Change
went into action.

Exactly what the new regime would change and how it
would go about implementing such change was still
unclear at the end of Wednesday.


The Military Council for Justice and Democracy:
Communiqué No. 1 on the success of the overthrow of
the regime.

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Mercy-giving.


The armed forces and the national security services
have resolved unanimously to put an end to the past
practice of tyrannical rule from which our people have
suffered in recent years.  These practices led to a
dangerous deviation that has come to threaten the
future of our country.

The armed forces and the national security services
have resolved to set up the Military Council for
Justice and Democracy.  This council commits itself to
the Mauritanian people that it will create conditions
appropriate for open and honest democracy.

It will also enable civil society and all political
activists to participate in it in complete freedom.
Our armed forces and the security services will not
remain in power longer than the length of time
necessary to prepare for and create the institutions
of real democracy, and this period will not exceed two
years at the maximum.

In conclusion, the Council affirms Mauritania's
commitment to all the agreements and international
treaties that the country has ratified.

The Military Council for Justice and Democracy.

Nouakachott, 3 August 2005.

Arabic original at:
News item posted at: 15:47:36, 3 August 2005.

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