Some clues which might explain why Mauritania under Aziz is a strategically important “security partner”:
- Free media training by foreign “experts”; more powers for press authority; unprecedented churn in state media at all levels; funding problems for independent media.
- New legislation to gag whistleblowers and bloggers approved by Aziz, to be ratified by a government severely weakened by the opposition election boycott.
- Aziz, sanctioned by the African Union after leading the last coup, is now in charge of the African Union
- A 10,000-strong UN “peacekeeping” force plus additional police is now planned for deployment in CAR – taking control of 6,000 African Union troops, and with 2,000 French troops “allowed” to support.
- Calls from the political fringe in Libya, hastily and enthusiastically echoed by France, for border security, using troops from neighboring countries AND non-neighbor Mauritania.
- Patrol vessels and helicopters from Spain‘s gendarmerie to be deployed in Mauritania for border security against smuggling and illegal immigration, after claiming the first Spanish military arrivals a few months ago were there for a “training exercise”
- The USA, after years of maintaining a “hands-off” policy, is now engaged in joint patrols with Mauritania border security.
- Reportedly rejected by Algeria, France is said to want to establish a military surveillance and monitoring base in Atar, Mauritania