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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Constructing Representations of the 'Global War on Terror' in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania
Author:Jourde, Cedric
Periodical:Journal of Contemporary African Studies
Geographic terms:Mauritania
United States
Subjects:international politics
foreign policy
Politics and Government
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
international relations
Abstract:The neo-authoritiarian regime of Mauritania led by Colonel Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed Taya remained in power throughout the 1990s and up to 2005. The purpose of this article is to fathom how it was able to resist the wave of democratization which swept over Africa. The author examines the discursive foundations of US policies (fuelled by terrorism and oil) and demonstrates how the American administration has represented overwhelmingly Muslim Mauritania in a manner which echoes Western colonial perceptions of French West Africa. This attitude has permitted intervention which has strengthened the power of local leaders, of both Moors and of the minority groups of the Haalpulaar, the Soninke, and the Wolof who have historically farmed the land in the Senegal River Valley in the south. The Mauritanian government soon found a way to hitch its wagon to the new concepts of a 'global enemy' and the Sahel as a new frontline. Just as did their predecessors in the colonial era, the current government has used Western hegemonic representations and their political system to stabilize its position against such local contenders as pro-democracy forces in the post-1992 era. Nevertheless, this alliance has also fed local discontent with the neopatrimonial regime. The coup attempt of 2003 was one such outing of opposition. The successful coup of 2005 has yet to produce significant changes. So far the military junta has maintained the former foreign policy orientations. Bibliogr., notes. [ASC Leiden abstract]