Nouakchott – In light of widespread discontent among Mauritanians over the French military intervention in neighboring Mali, the French embassy is taking strict security measures to protect its citizens living in Mauritania.
There is a wide consensus among Mauritanians, regardless of political leanings, against French involvement in Mali, which many view as a return to colonialism.
This sentiment found expression in a fatwa, or religious edict, issued by 39 clerics and imams forbidding the Mauritanian government and people from cooperating with the invading countries.
The fatwa said that France’s real objective is to occupy northern Mali and that the intervention is “the continuation of an ongoing colonial campaign that has targeted many Muslim countries, from Palestine to Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, and Somalia.”
Most of the country’s political parties agree with the clergy’s position, including the ruling Republican Party for Democracy and Renewal.
One of its leading members, Mohammad Ould Mham, denounced the French war, saying that it would have been better for Paris “to gather all the Malian parties around the negotiating table – only dialogue can avert a war in Mali and the region.”
Opposition party leaders such as Ahmed Ould Daddah also rejected French intervention in Mali, warning that Mauritanian participation in the war will have dangerous consequences for the country’s military. He added that Mali and Mauritania have historical and religious ties, as well as common interests which “the government has frittered away.”
Leftist opposition leader Mohammad Ould Mawloud also rejected the war against Mali, expressing concern that “Mauritania will be exposed to danger, particularly the eastern and southern provinces.”
The Mauritanian Party of Union and Change claimed that it was French colonialism that created the problem in northern Mali in the first place and now it has returned to ignite a war, the consequences of which no one can predict.
Two socialist-leaning opposition parties singled out France’s ruling Socialist Party for criticism, accusing it of being under the influence of Zionism.
In a joint statement, the parties pointed out French President François Hollande’s contradictory policies of supporting radical Islamist groups in Syria – not to mention allying Paris with the reactionary Islamist regimes of the Gulf – while at the same time waging war against them in Mali.
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From the Archives
By Ghada Karmi | July, 2004
When the Zionists decided in 1897 to establish a Jewish state in Palestine, the Jews of Vienna dispatched a delegation to examine the country for its suitability. The delegation reported back as follows: “the bride is beautiful but she is married to another man”. They had found that Palestine to their dismay was already inhabited by another people. And this has been Zionism’s central problem ever since. How to “vanish the Palestinians” and get an empty land? The latest manifestation of this imperative is the barrier wall, which Israel is currently building to separate and enclose Palestinian towns and villages in the lands it occupied after 1967. There are those who rightly point to the wall’s illegality and infringement of human rights. And the International Court of Justice has just affirmed this view resoundingly in its ruling, passed on 9.7.04 by 14 of the 15 judges, that the wall was an illegal structure when in the occupied Palestinian territories and that Israel would have to tear it down and make restitution for the damage it has caused to thousands of Palestinians. This position is entirely valid, but critics, in my view, have missed one crucial aspect of the wall’s purpose, which is, to “vanish” the Palestinians, to make them so invisible that Israelis can go on pretending that there is no “other man”. … continue
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