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Coup in Mauritanian: The Final Moments | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat – A source close to General Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz, the coup leader in Mauritania, has asserted that the situations are improving inside the country and pointed out that the deposed president’s raising of the issue of “black’ rights in Mauritania and digging into previous coups” hastened the coup.

The source disclosed in a telephone interview with Asharq Al-Awsat the exact details of what happened between the coupist group and deposed President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheich Abdellahi during the last days and moments, among them the demand to him to “hold a dialogue about reform and to try the symbols of corruption in whose lap the deposed president had thrown himself”, according to the source.

It added that the symbols of corruption seized control of the state’s institutions and companies which have important revenues and that the deposed president marginalized the force that was very eager for change and protection of the democratic gains. The source explained the nature of the struggle directly before the coup and stressed that the corrupt symbols which seized control of the country’s revenues started to incite the deposed president against the officers so as to get rid of them. It added: “But the officers were smart enough and spoiled the plan of the deposed president and his aides with plans that were the first threads of the coup when the army officers went to get backing from parliament and the senate, tried to bring the symbols of corruption to an Islamic court of justice, and demanded the funds seized by the deposed president’s wife, which represented all the friendly Arab countries’ aid to the Mauritanian people.”

The source went on to say: “But the deposed president rejected this and exploited the officers’ absence to issue a decree dismissing the state’s most important and strongest symbols who sought change. These officers had no choice but to arrest the president, his interior minister, and the prime minister.” The source – which asked to remain unnamed – reported that “demonstrations were staged yesterday in Mauritania’s streets carrying photos of the new President Gen. Ould Abdelaziz” and said “this coupist action has internal support and is called a corrective movement. It has received unprecedented support from the tribal symbols and a majority of the Mauritanian parliament’s members as well as from many elites in the ruling party. Only five deputies remained with the deposed president.”

The source which is close to the ruling general listed the reasons for toppling the former regime and deposed president and stressed that” he marginalized the people’s interests and ignored their daily livelihood demands so that he left nothing for them on the ground.”

It added that the “most serious reason for the coup is that the deposed president tried with his allies to raise the blacks’ rights in Mauritania and to dig into past coups. The deposed president’s aim from this issue was to try the military establishment’s generals and military commanders and bring them before international courts as is happening in Sudan at present where there is a demand for the arrest of President Omar al-Bashir.” It pointed out that the Mauritanian army’s commanders believed that the incitement of the blacks a red line, that the current situation in the country had crossed it, and that raising it at present meant blackmailing the army and its men and this hastened the coup. The source went on to stress that the opposition of France and the United States are at present the challenge before the regime’s generals but considered this a message for local consumption in the two countries and not meant as opposition to the new regime. It disclosed that there was prior coordination between these countries and the generals, especially France which it said was not far removed from what happened and added that the United States believes Mauritania occupies a strategic position and this is in addition to grave issues of concern for France and the United States which the deposed regime did not resolve and they concern the drugs which pass through Mauritania to Europe, the illegal immigration, organized crime, and terrorism. Paris and Washington believe that these grave dossiers need a strong regime capable of having tight control on them.