The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

ICG on Mauritania

It's in French only for now, but there's a new ICG report out on Mauritania:

Mauritanians wish to break with the way power has been concentrated in the hands of a few tribal groupings, a syndrome that reached unprecedented levels under Ould Taya. However, the country’s new strongman and some of his colleagues are pillars of the old power structure and almost certainly will want to turn the page rather than examine it, redress past injustices and shed light on the practices of the previous regime. That Ould Mohamed Vall and Ould Abdel Aziz belong to the same tribal group, one which was highly privileged under the old regime, raises the question whether they truly intend to change its clientelist patterns and could fuel political tensions before long.

The Military Council has promised to organise a return to legitimate institutions within a reasonable timetable: a constitutional referendum is scheduled for 26 June 2006, municipal and legislative elections for 19 November 2006, and senatorial and presidential elections for 11 March 2007. Over its first months, the regime has taken welcome steps. Political parties are consulted; the electoral calendar is neither too short (which would have prevented parties from organising) nor too long. An electoral commission whose independence is widely acknowledged has been established. Still, more is needed...
More when I get time to read the full report. Hope to be able to go there in June, inch'allah.