Propaganda Update: #Mauritania and #Qatar fail to patch relationship

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UPDATE:  Maghrebia is forever engraved in my memory as the site which claims to encourage “discussion on all subjects, including sensitive ones” yet has consistently failed to publish even my most innocuous remarks; and also is the site which recently posted about the so-called Arab Bloggers Conference in Nouakchott with Lina Ben Mhenni’s name as a star speaker, even though she had very publicly declared her intention to boycott the event after discovering it was a political ruse on the part of Aziz and his cronies to usurp the Maghreb youth movements in the same way as he has tried to do in Mauritania. Anyway, this site publishes the note below, which I assume is the official version of events as they were supposed to unfold. How much of it, if any, is true remains unclear.

Mauritania, Qatar accords include job plan

2012-01-06

 Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz and the visiting Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, signed several bilateral agreements on Thursday (January 5th). Plans for joint projects include jobs in Qatar for Mauritanian workers.

The accords signed during Al-Thani’s one-day visit to Nouakchott also cover finance, agriculture, sustainable development, justice, and other sectors.

The National Bank of Qatar recently opened a branch in Mauritania and the emir’s wife has financed a social development foundation in the country to fight illiteracy and rehabilitate youths.

My opinions remain unchanged and unchallenged.

The poor relationship between Qatar and Mauritania meant I was not expecting much to result from the Emir’s 5 January visit. In particular, I felt that the Emir visiting in person, rather than extending an invitation for Aziz to visit him, was not so much of an honor, but perhaps a lack of trust, reflecting earlier reports that Qatar had refused to issue visas to Aziz’ wife, for example. All this points to the visit being intended to deliver some kind of warning to Aziz, rather than an olive branch or the hand of friendship.

However, after Aziz has invested so much time and energy strengthening the diplomatic and economic relationship with Algeria, and making a visit to Tunisia several weeks ago, around the same time as the Qatari Emir, I entertained a faint expectation that this might be a move towards bridging their differences. Other insider gossip has included complaints from Qatar about the level of corruption in Mauritania, in relation to the mismanagement of funds for development projects funded by Qatar, and @weddady’s status update indicates that this is still a point of contention.

Many people have also commented on the lapse in protocol in allowing the Emir to leave Nouakchott without a farewell party to accompany his entourage to the airport. Even if Aziz has been disappointed not to enjoy the patronage of one of the Arab world’s wealthiest leaders, good manners cost nothing.


weddady (weddady) t looks like the Emir of #Qatar‘s visit to #Mauritania turned sour, a shouting match ensued after the emir spoke democracy to General Aziz. The Emir of Qatar’s remarks to General Aziz struck a nerve: unconstitutional parliament,rising discontent with corruption, famine..
6-Jan 04:19AM

newsbase (NewsBase Ltd) Total has signed up two #exploration licences in #Mauritania, one in the #deepwater, the other in the #Taoudeni basin.
6-Jan 01:36AM

mejdmr (محمد مجدي أحمد) جمعة مباركة #Mauritania #Egypt #Syria #Yemen #Bahrain #Maroc #Libya #Saudi #Qatar #Sudan #Iraq
6-Jan 12:13AM

ahmedj85 (ahmedjedou) #Qatar‏ نهاية زيارة الامير القطري لموريتانيا: مشادة كلامية بينه وبين الرئيس الموريتاني bit.ly/wMwQfe ‎#Mauritania
5-Jan 10:02PM

4 thoughts on “Propaganda Update: #Mauritania and #Qatar fail to patch relationship

  1. This #Qatar – #Mauritania alleged argument instinctively feels wrong. Perhaps I am just used to everyone ignoring Mauritania, but seeing so many people suddenly interested in repeating an unconfirmed report has got my sceptical synapses firing on all cylinders.

    The pattern of news reports is rather intriguing:

    1. Several weeks ago, before Ramadan, Qatar was reportedly angry with Mauritania and refusing to seal deals that had been tabled because they objected to the rampant corruption of the administration. This unconfirmed report was readily accepted by all with good reason: the levels of corruption in the country are legend and widely reported, but it could just as easily have been that Ramadan and diary clashes got in the way of a meeting
    2. In between times there have been several high profile meetings on security and counter-terrorism in the Sahel region with Mauritania a constant presence and occasional host. Alongside this activity there have been trade and security agreements with EU countries and neighbouring states.
    3. A marked increase in reports of AQIM or other Al-Qaeda-like activity in and around Mauritania, again with consistently high levels of unconfirmed reports. It is worth commenting on the noticeable absence of any concrete evidence of serious efforts to rescue the hostages that have been kidnapped, including most recently, a Mauritanian gendarme.
    4. Last week, there was a report about a former member of the Mauritanian armed forces writing to Israel asking to be allowed to emigrate there and take Jewish nationality, and praising Israel’s wonderful track record on freedom, human rights, etc.
    5. A few days later, Mauritania announced that they would be allowing satellite television broadcasts in the country. This was popular news with the small minority of people who have both electricity and satellite dishes, but I think there are fewer people capable of watching satellite TV than there are of accessing the internet (about 1%). There is undeniable and uncomfortable incongruity seeing such news side by side with appeals to save 800,000 Mauritanians (over 25% the population) from starvation because of the ongoing drought.; a situation which is being exacerbated by rising food & fuel prices, by the way
    6. The day before the Qatari delegation was due to arrive in Nouakchott, an official announcement from Mauritania claimed to have uncovered a ring of spies from many different Arab countries – even more remarkably, also linked to Israeli intelligence services – from the written confessions of a terror suspect. The documents have not been produced, but they are said to have been found during a search of the suspect’s home while he was in custody. The letters are supposed to have been written to the consuls for the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, pleading for leniency in return for revealing information about the role of this spy network in a bombing incident on an Ethiopian plane in Lebanon and the assassination in of a senior Hamas member in Dubai. In his confession to the police the suspect is said to have claimed that he received a response from the UAE consul and had entered into communication with him. The UAE consul has denied this entire story. The prisoner was also allegedly attacked by a prison inmate, an event we are supposed to take as an attempt to silence him. High drama indeed.
    7. The day of the visit, news of the alleged spat was out long before the official account of a long list of agreements that had been signed, and which are intended to demonstrate strong ties between the two countries. Much has been made of the Emir leaving without an official escort to bid him farewell at the airport.
    8. The latest blog I read now tries to create a triangle of Al Qaeda – Qatar – Mauritania and insinuate that Qatar is behind increased reports of AQIM activity and is plotting to turn Mauritania into the next Libya. This is total fantasy. There are so few comparisons between the situation in Mauritania and that of Libya under Gaddafi I don’t even know where to start on how wrong this is.

    Here are my questions about all this:

    • How many reports are there showing big Mauritanian send-off’s for any other visiting dignitaries?
    • Does anyone else think it might be significant that Mauritania gave satellite TV the green light so close to the Qatar visit, even though it is useless to 99% of the population?
    • Who stands to gain from détente between Mauritania and Qatar?
    • Who do we know that likes to spread false rumours in the press, and has a poor relationship with the majority of Arab States and Israel?
    • Is the sudden increase in posts about Shiites – and simultaneous reduction in Zionist-conspiracy-theory posts – on the biggest Mauritanian FaceBook group in any way linked to this?

    Please add your own questions and your suggested answers in the comments here.

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