Crossfire War: NW Africa; Nouakchott – New Government Free Imprisoned Islamists


Hundreds of People Celebrate – “This is a new era, a page has been turned.”

Night Watch: NOUAKCHOTT – As expected previously, the new military government, in a popular move, released approximately 20 Islamist activists who had been imprisoned by former President Maaouya Ould Sid’Ahmed, accusing them of being involved with al-Qaeda, as part of his cooperation with the U. S. in its war on terror. About six have been kept in jail who confessed to being connected to the Algerian-based Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC).

One of the released, Moctar Ould Mohamed Moussa, was quoted by Reuters, “This is a new era, a page has been turned.” Hundreds of people outside the prison honked their car horns. Right after the release a former prime minister and ambassador to France was named new head of government, Sidi Mohamed Ould Boubacar.

Yacoub Ould Moine, a professor at Nouakchott university, who came to prison to witness the release said, “The Islamists are the majority in Mauritania. They do not preach violence. The former president rounded them as extremists so as to win support from the West.”

That should not be surprising in an Islamic country. Not all of the Islamists preach violence but they do openly advocate support for the Jihad and for Muslims they view as being under oppression or attack. They may not join militant cells but they have very little problem with those who do. Their role is one of advocacy and inspiration, to guide those who feel the call. This nationwide wide consensus cannot be ignored by the new head of government, especially if he wants to remain in power for the next two years while the Jihad runs its course.

The government will probably encourage the financing and expansion of Islamic centers with massive assistance from the wealthier Islamic countries.

That will give any Mauritanian ample opportunity to pursue his faith on a number of fronts and it is quite possible that Mauritania could find some military units voluteering for action somewhere.

Before this month is over there will be a series of meetings with senior-level diplomats, even heads of state, from the Islamic world welcoming Mauritania into the Jihad support network. Training camps for militant groups could be established with Saudi financing to take advantage of the opportunity to spread Wahabism, the most extreme/purist version of the faith, the most anti-world.

Concurrently new investment from Islamic capitals, including Dubai and Kuwait or the United Arab Emirates, not to mention Tehran, could pour into the country with the purpose of developing and directing Mauritania’s new offshore oil fields.

Night Watch Information Service

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Willard Payne is an international affairs analyst who specializes in International Relations. A graduate of Western Illinois University with a concentration in East-West Trade and East-West Industrial Cooperation, he has been providing incisive analysis to NewsBlaze. He is the author of Imagery: The Day Before.