- January 27, 2007
Ould Mansour: Mauritania’s Junta Seek Extension
“Hope are waning in Mauritania” said MP for moderate Islamists (Muslim Brotherhood), Mohamed Jemil Ould Mansour, adding that the Mauritanian Junta may break the promises it gave after assuming power that gave it the legitimacy, and it may decide to extend its rule or nominate one of its members or a close independent candidate to run for the presidential elections, although it all depends on approval inside and outside the country.
Ould Mansour said in an interview with Aljazeera.net reporters that Europe and the United States reportedly reject any extension, and this is rejected domestically as well, specially that the army is not republican, but is tribally based, something that may lead to a coup, unless the Junta fulfills its pledges.
He added that the Junta is beginning, as presidential elections are approaching, to focus on politics” at least for those close to it, if not for itself”, and it is using the card of independents who are ” steered by the regime”.
The Coalition for Change to tried to stop this pace, he says, it it only weakened, not completely curbed, it; it is now aspiring only to ” steer the transitional stage with the least losses”.
Scenarios of Keeping Power
Ould Mansour said that the scenarios of remaining in power may take place either with a direct decree of extension or canceling decree banning candidacy for the junta members or nominating a close candidate- specially that the coalition hasn’t nominated any candidate- to guarantee keeping its promises, and indirectly maintaining power. What makes it do so are justified “fears” as some of its members are involved in human rights violations in the 1989, 1990 and 1991 Negroes’ crises and their files on the tables of the international human rights agencies, in addition to financial corruption files.
However, he pointed out that the Junta has tolerated the Islamic movement so far; although it did not allow establishing an Islamic party citing a constitutional article, but it allowed it to operate without a political label.
Ould Mansour said that the Coalition for Change ran for the elections and it was frank from the beginning when it said that it won’t win it, considering that the political scene is incomplete under the voting results, as the Coalition for Change (Islamists) achieved good results as it garnered 41 seats out of 96 but it didn’t gain a majority.
Relations with Israel
As for the relations with Israel, Ould Mansour acknowledged that ” severing them is more difficult than establishing them”, although Junta influential figures don’t want them.
However, the Junta chief, Ould Mansour says, defended the relations strongly and ” spoke very blatantly about it before the media”, although the opposition, including the ex-regime’s Republican Party in whose era the relations were established, agreed on calling for severing the relations.
The Israeli activities, basically restricted to agricultural and medical aid, has decreased after the coup because of the popular demands for severing the relations; for example, the network of relations that the Israeli ambassador established, decreased and he returned to his previous isolation, spending most of his time in the capital of Senegal, Dakar.
As for the US reaction for a possible severing of relations on the part of any coming regime, Ould Mansour said that Washington will likely give a priority to its own, rather than Israel’s, interests. “It must be acknowledged that Mauritania does not play a key role in our Arab region, and the Israeli penetration is more of symbolic rather than a strategic one” he said. He pointed out that if establishing relations can be justified in the states of Syria, Egypt and Jordan although he doesn’t approve them, but it was in Mauritania ” basically a security relation which was established in specific absolutely unjustified circumstances”.