Mauritania. On August 3, a group of militants conducted a coup in Mauritania. Meanwhile, President Maaouya Ould Sid’Ahmed Taya, who himself came to power in a 1984 coup, was at King Fahd’s funeral in Saudi Arabia. The bloody coup began with soldiers from the presidential guard occupying the army headquarters, the state radio and television stations, the presidential palace and the ministries. In a statement, the coup makers explained that the army and security forces had set off Taya to “put an end to the totalitarian regime.” The military junta appointed Colonel and former Police Chief Ely Ould Mohamed Vall as its leader. Sidi Mohamed Ould Boubacar, previously ambassador to France, was appointed new Prime Minister. According to countryaah, Nouakchott is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Mauritania. The new seventeen-man junta would rule the country for a maximum of two years and meanwhile create the conditions for democracy and free elections. The military coup was condemned by the outside world. of the African Union, which also excluded Mauritania until democracy was introduced in the country. Taya was granted asylum in Qatar for pledging not to engage politically.
- Also see abbreviationfinder.org for how the acronym MR stands for the country of Mauritania and other meanings of this two-letter abbreviation.
The coup was carried out after unsuccessful attempts to overthrow Taya in 2003 and 2004. In addition to Taya’s authoritarian rule, there was a great dissatisfaction with his Israel- and US-friendly policies, especially among the country’s Muslim groups. Mauritania was, under Taya, one of the few Arab states that had diplomatic relations with Israel and supported the US war on terrorism. Several Islamic opposition activists were imprisoned without trial. In September, the military junta released all “political prisoners”. Among the approximately 50 people who received amnesty were involved in previous coup attempts and people accused of conspiring with the terror network al-Qaeda. One of those released was Major Salah Ould Henena, who in February 2005 had been sentenced to life imprisonment for leading the coup attempt in June 2003.
In October, Ely Ould Mohamed Vall said the junta would respect the previous government’s international commitments. This meant that Mauritania would maintain diplomatic relations with Israel and continue to fight terrorists.
In the early 21st century. Mauritania’s situation was still characterized by the authoritarian politics of the President of the Republic MOS Taya (who came to power in a bloodless coup in 1984, and repeatedly elected since 1992) and by the hegemony of the party linked to him, the PRDS (Parti Républicain Démocratique et Social). Taya’s power rested on the traditional network of tribal, regional and ethnic obedience and, therefore, on a social hierarchy that saw the Arab-Berber majority dominate the political and economic scene at the expense of the black ethnic groups, traditionally confined to a state of poverty and marginalization.
However, the increasingly personalistic management of power led to a growing isolation of the head of state, and the margins of consensus began to shrink even among his most staunch supporters. Taya’s foreign policy contributed to the discontent. In October 1999 he had established full diplomatic relations with Israel, breaking instead, a month later, those with Irāq. Crossed by the population, overwhelmingly Muslim, this line became particularly disliked starting from September 2000, when the clash between the Israeli government and the Palestinians escalated. To face the protest of public opinion, which had mobilized to demand the breakdown of diplomatic relations with Israel, the executive tightened the repressive measures and accentuated the controls on the most intransigent Islamic organizations.
The legislative elections of October 2001 reaffirmed the hegemony of the PRDS, but later the tension continued to grow, and reached its peak in the spring-summer of 2003: the street demonstrations against the government’s failure to react, on the diplomatic level, to the he Anglo-American armed intervention (March) in ̔Irāq, followed in November by an attempted coup d’état that provoked armed clashes in the capital for two days. Although Taya was re-elected (November), the hostility towards him continued to grow, also fueled by the privatistic and patronage management of the resources deriving from the agreements with Western companies for the exploitation of the new oil fields discovered starting from 2001. A new coup was attempted in August 2004, but was nipped in the bud. An extensive purge of the military followed; however, Taya’s decline was now unstoppable. In August 2005, while he was in Saudi Arabia to attend King Fahd’s funeral, a bloodless coup d’état, welcomed by the population, dismissed him; a military committee for justice and democracy was formed, supported by the PRDS itself, which set up a transitional government, made up of civilians, with the task of amending the constitution and calling new elections. In June 2006, a constitutional referendum sanctioned, among other things, the reduction of the presidential mandate from 6 to 5 years and the inability to be elected to office more than twice.