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Mauritania: Anger at Foreign Minister's Support for Assad

A speech that the Mauritanian foreign minister Hamadi Ould Hamadi [fr] made at the latest Friends of Syria conference has angered Mauritanian activists. In his speech at the conference, which took place in Paris on July 6, the minister said that what was happening in Syria was “violence and counterviolence”.

This was considered by many to express support for Bashar Al Assad's regime, and tweets as well as angry, satirical videos circulated, criticising the minister and apologising to the Syrian people and the Syrian revolution.

It should be noted that this stance of the Mauritanian regime, in support of other regimes facing demands for their fall, is not new. The Mauritanian regime has previously supported the regime of Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo and the deposed Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi, in addition to the regimes of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak.

A number of rallies have already taken place in Mauritania demanding that the regime expel the Syrian ambassador from Nouakchott and cut diplomatic relations with Bashar Al Assad's regime.

“I am Mauritanian and this person does not represent me.” Photoshopped image of Mauritanian foreign minister, posted by Twitter user @moctarmm.

The page Mauritanie Demain made a satirical video using the minister's speech, altering the original footage and distorting the minister's words. In it the minister says that the reason for Mauritania's support for the Syrian regime is that Iran paid Mauritanian president Brigadier General Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz to support Bashar Al Assad.

The Mauritanian activist Tah Ould Habib criticised the foreign minister's speech:

‏@tahabib حمادي ولد حمادي لا يمثل حتى نفسه،‏ لا يمثل إلا الجنرال عزيز.‏ ‏‎‫‎‫‬
Hamadi Ould Hamadi doesn't even represent himself, he only represents General Aziz.

Activist Ahmed Abdallah commented in the same vein:

@ahmedbah أنا موريتاني وأدعم الثورة السورية العظيمة.. وهذا القبيح لايمثلني.. لايمثل إلا جنراله المستبد
I am a Mauritanian and I support the great Syrian revolution… This ugly person does not represent me… He only represents the tyrant general

And Elghoutoub Ould Mohammed Moloud wrote:

‏@Elghoutoub اللهم إني أبرأ إليك مما قاله وزير الخارجية..الإستبداد ملة واحدة..يسقط الجنرال.. يسقط بشار
May I have nothing to do with what the foreign minister said… Tyrants are one community… Down with the general… Down with Bashar…

In his turn, the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi commented:

@JKhashoggi موريتانيا بلد غريب، في زمن ما قبل الربيع العربي تفتح مكتب ارتباط لإسرائيل، ما بعد الربيع تنحاز و”تتفهم ” موقف النظام السوري!
Mauritania is a strange country. In the period preceding the Arab Spring it opened an office to liaise with Israel, and after the Arab Spring it takes a side and “understands” the position of the Syrian regime!

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