Monday, May 14, 2012

Insecurity in Mauritania

I normally confine this blog to the Horn of Africa, East Africa and China-Africa relations. I have included an analysis of Mauritania because of the high quality of the analysis and the fact that it brings back memories of my assignment to the U.S. embassy in Nouakchott from 1974-1976.

Anouar Boukhars, an assistant professor of international relations at McDaniel College in Maryland, wrote the April 2012 study titled The Drivers of Insecurity in Mauritania for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.

Boukhars reported that the trans-Saharan region is emerging as a hotbed of instability and insecurity. A confluence of forces, from the revolts in North Africa and the proliferation of weapons to transnational trafficking of illicit goods and terrorist activity led by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, are generating acute interest in this part of the world.

Mauritania epitomizes the risks that these unstable states with weak capabilities pose to regional and international security. Three stresses emerge as critical to Mauritania's current state of insecurity: the weakness and corruption of state institutions; sociopolitical tensions rooted in old tribal structures and historical ethno-racial divisions; and the growing radicalization of Mauritanian youth.

For Mauritania to break the cycle, the government needs to bolster its anti-corruption initiatives, professionalize its security apparatus, promote social justice, and improve the plight of those at the bottom of the socioeconomic pyramid.

Click here to read the entire analysis.

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