Mauritanian army officers have announced the overthrow of the president and creation of a ruling military council.
The military council said it had ended the “totalitarian regime” of President Maaouiya Ould Sid Ahmed Taya who has arrived in Niger. ~BBC News
By most accounts I have found, the deposition of the relatively “pro-American” Taya is a blow to administration policy in Africa and at least an indirect victory for the Salafists whom Taya was working to suppress. U.S. training of the Mauritanian military, part of a larger west African push by Washington, will now assuredly be on hold. Less embarrassing than our alliance with the butcher of Andijan, Islam Karimov, the collapse of a government tied to anti-terrorism must be seen as a setback for the administration. Notice also how readily the Mauritanian officers have adopted the facile language of “totalitarianism” and “democracy” without batting an eye; notice, too, how this sort of nonsense has been employed, yet again, in a way probably injurious to a legitimate aspect of U.S. security policy. Perhaps Secretary Rice has some blithe, ignorant comparison with WWII handy to explain why this is really all for the best.