Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) On Monday, 18 February 2013, a military exercise with participation of 19 European, Arab, and African nations began in Mauritania. Among the participating nations are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO/OTAN. The initiative for the exercise was taken among growing concerns about a possible spill over of the war in neighboring Mali into Mauritania. The exercise raises concerns about the possibility that Mauritania will fall victim to the recent years French / NATO pivot in Central and Northern Africa.
According to a high-ranking Mauritanian military source, Colonel Tayeb Ould Ibrahim, the 19 nations military exercise will benefit the country by improving the performance of the Mauritanian army. Mauritania has over the last months witnessed increased activities by Salafist organizations and militants with ties to Al Qaeda.
Last week, a Mauritanian journalist, who is reporting from Mauritania for nsnbc said, that French troops had crossed the border from Mali into Mauritania, in pursuit of purported Al-Qaeda fighters, and that the inhabitants of the ancient Mauritanian city of Atar were shocked over the firefight, that ensued between insurgents and the French troops.
Last weekend, command posts of Mauritania´s National Gendarmerie, were opened in the eastern and the central parts of the country, and the Mauritanian army deployed troops to several strategic cities and locations to bolster security. The additional military presence is supposed to increase security in inland areas, where serious incidents, including terrorist attacks and abductions of both Mauritanian military officers and foreigners have taken place in recent years.
According to the newspaper Magharabia, Colonel Mohamed Ould Zein stated, that the steps were taken in the wake of years, where terrorists managed to hit targets in the heart of Mauritanian territory, by taking advantage of the lack of security outside the capital, and that the Mauritanian government had recognized the need to change that policy and the need to enhance security in remote provinces which are targeted by terrorists. (1
A tendency to increasingly describe Mauritania as a “spearhead for those terrorists who are operating in Mali” can be observed in many francophone and European media. Also among NATO circles, there is an increased tendency to describe Mauritania as “problem” with regard to purported terrorists in Mali rather than a partner. The fact, that the government of Mauritania´s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz and the military of Mauritania, over the last months, have made a great effort at preventing the infiltration of Mauritania by insurgents from Mali, and that Mauritanian military forces repeatedly have been crossing into Mali for operations against Al-Qaeda troops however, is not being reported. The manufacturing of a public discourse with Mauritania as a problem could turn into a problem for Mauritania.
Mauritania possibly the Next target of French / NATO Pivot in Africa
There are well-founded reasons to assume, that Mauritania, rather than being supported in its attempts to secure the country´s security and national integrity, may in fact be covertly targeted by France and other NATO members. It is a situation, which would leave the government of President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz in an extremely difficult and volatile situation with regard to considerations about national security.
According to well-informed, professional Africa experts, and persons close to the Presidential Candidate of Mali´s SADI Party, Dr. Oumar Mariko, the conflict between purported Al-Qaeda and Malian as well as French and other troops, is a situation that has been carefully planned and prepared, and which is being executed in an attempt to assure the continued French dominance over the regions national economies, the domestic and foreign policy of the regions countries, and the regions resources.
To fully comprehend the implications of the crisis in Mali and the presence of French and other NATO troops in Mauritania for Mauritania´s national security, it is necessary to fully understand the evolution and dynamics of the conflict in Mali. The situation is by far more complicated than one is led to assume when reading French newspapers.
The events which lead up to the military coup against the former Malian President Ammandou Touré were, that it had transpired, that Touré and associates from the ADEMA Party, where about to sell the northern part of Mali, that is, concessions for the exploitation of the regions resources, and in particular the rich, still untapped resources, to French interests. To secure the region militarily, President Touré, began cooperating with extremists of the region, including insurgents with ties to Al Qaeda.(2
It is necessary to be explicit about the fact, that both the ousted Malian President Ammandou Touré and the current interim President Dioncounda Taoré, which both are backed by France, are close personal friends as well as party associates of the Malian Al-Qaeda leader Ihyad Ag Ghali, who also entertains close ties to the French government. The Al-Qaeda campaign in northern Mali was in other words, planned and executed by members of the ADEMA party, the FDR coalition. Initially it was an attempt to sell off the north of Mali, and after the military coup, the campaign is being waged to reverse the results of the coup. What finally “triggered” the military coup under the command of colonel Sanogo, was the murder on a Malian military officer.
The officer had arrested an Al-Qaeda commander and taken possession of his telephone, when President Ammandou Touré called from his satellite phone, to give explicit orders to the Al-Qaeda commander to attack certain Malian military units. After the officer made the President aware of, whom he was talking to, and after the officer rejected attempts to bribe him by promotions and money, the officer was murdered in cold blood, by driving a 4×4 over his chest, and other officers who had witnessed the phone call were shot. It is this event that eventually triggered the coup by Mali´s military commander Sanogo.
By now it is also a well established fact, that France and interim President Dioncounda Traoré have signed agreements with the Touareq to invade northern Mali, promising the Touareq regional autonomy. It was the sudden influx of Touareq fighters in the north, that enabled the Al-Qaeda troops under Ag Ghali to attain control over much of the region.
After the 25th NATO Summit in Chicago in 2012, where top NATO leaders including, Ivo H. Daalder and James G. Stavridis called NATO´s war in Libya, procured under UNSC Resolution 1973(2011) “A Teachable Moment and Model For Future Interventions”, that NATO has made “Discount Warfare” part of its official military doctrine. (3
Other examples for NATO´s procurement of Al-Qaeda to manufacture an invasion, occupation or regime change are, the use of former Guantanamo inmate and commander of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, Abdelhakim Belhadj. (4
Abdelhakim Belhadj was, according to the former Spanish Prime Minister José Aznar, the mastermind behind the 2004 Madrid Train Bombings that killed numerous Spanish citizens, and secured that the Spanish Parliament would approve the continued deployment of Spanish NATO troops to Afghanistan.
In 2011, NATO cooperated with Abdelhakim Belhadj and the LIFG, to oust and murder the former head of state of Libya, Muammar Ghadafi. Abdelhakim Belhadj has since been installed as the Military Governor of Tripoli. In 2012, the Military Governor of Tripoli, Abdelhakim Belhadj, led 20,000 Al-Qaeda mercenaries, which had been transported to the city of Al-Mafriq, at the Jordanian – Syrian border in a massive assault against Syria under the guise of “Free Syrian Army”. (5
Mauritania is rich enough in natural resources for the IMF to report in 2011, that Mauritania recovered “vigorously” from the global economic crisis. (6 Since 2006 Mauritania began producing oil, it has still untapped gold, diamond and other reserves of valuable minerals, and moreover, it has access to the Atlantic Ocean, which Mali does not have. A look at the topography of Mali and Mauritania and maps over the rich resources of both countries, the dynamics caused by the presence of Al-Qaeda and Touareq forces in the region and the documented cooperation of both with France, is leaving Mauritania vulnerable to a potentially much greater threat against its security, independence and national integrity, than a purported “terrorism threat”.
The question how Mauritania´s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz will walk the tightrope between dealing with genuine terrorism, mercenary forces under the guise of terrorism, and the presence of allies who are known to procure both of them as either friend or foe is decisive for the future, security, integrity and independence of both Mali and Mauritania. An appropriate name for the 19 nations military exercise in Mauritania would be “Operation Trojan Horse“.
Christof Lehmann – 19.02.2013
3)NATO`s 25th Summit in Chicago in Preparation of Global Full Spectrum Dominance, Interventionism, Possible Preparations for A Regional War Directed against Russia and China, and Developments in Global Security.