Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Thursday, August 04, 2005

I'm Surprised I Haven't Seen More on This

CNN reported yesterday that Mauritania's army effected a coup against absent president Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya, who was in Saudi Arabia for King Fahd's funeral. Hey, geopolitical karma is a bitch:

"Taya seized power in a 1984 coup."

The good news is that today's reports, which didn't even make's homepage as a headline, are that Nouakchott shops are re-opening today amongst relative calm. I suspect the lack of interest by CNN directly correlates to a lack of interest by Americans in general. Johnson notes the same thing, and like Johnson, I feel pretty high and mighty that I can identify Mauritania on a map.

After reading the story, this is the kind of thing I expected to see. And this. Here's a representative quote: "If so, this appears to be another case in which the so-called war on terror is hardening divisions between moderate and fundamentalist Islam, and building support for anti-western attitudes among many of Africa’s muslims."

The story has more than enough for the standard blame-America-first crowd: government cracks down on hard-liners, makes friends with Israel, sees an increase in militant Islamism, and is toppled. What's not to love, if you hate Bush? So I assumed I'd be seeing a lot more of this, and I don't. Now granted, my representative quote, above, is a little disingenuous, because it's an inrresponsible oversimplification of complex historical issues. Yes, militant Islam is on the rise in Mauritania, but it's on the rise throughout the Sahel region, even in nations that don't have diplomatic ties to Israel. And yes, an ostensibly pro-American leader was toppled, but he was also a totalitarian thug, who came to power in a coup of his own, and didn't care much for democracy.


Here's an analysis by a liberal (judging from his "John Kerry for President" link), but who foregoes the "Bush sucks" angle in favor of reasoned analysis about the appropriate response.

Nick poses the interesting question about when it is legitimate to overthrown an authoritarian regime. Stephen at Random Thoughts notes some of the same points, and links video. Douglas Farah takes a regional view.