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MAURITANIA, a part of the Maghreb, in North-West Africa on the Atlantic Ocean, stretches on 1,030,000 Km and has a population (01/2008) of about 3.2 million people. MAURITANIA is a Sunnite Muslim country, independent from 1960 and was a part of the French colonial empire in West Africa.

MAURITANIA is in the gray zone between the Arab prominent Muslim countries of North Africa – the Maghreb and Black Africa Southern of the Sahara. MAURITANIA, a military dictatorship, is a member in the Arab League and has official diplomatic relations with Israel, which weakened after the military coup of 08/2005 when Col’ Ely Ould Mohamed Vall replaced the former President Ould Sid Ahmed Taya.

MAURITANIA, one of the poorest countries of the world, is not on the main commercial road and junctions of Black Africa or the Maghreb or on the route of Imperial armies and invasions and never was a center for Islamic or African culture. Generally speaking, MAURITANIA is on the margin of the Arab Muslim world, its theological developments and ideological controversies.

In the late 90s’ , after the Algerian regime began to overcome the Islamists in the civil war that waged in Algeria since 1992, many Islamic activists fled Algeria through the Sahara desert to countries like MAURITANIA and began to show interest in the country. They joined local opposition in rejecting the relations with Israel and the presence of an Israeli embassy in Nouakchott, MAURITANIA’s capital. Indeed in the beginning of the 21 century there is a growing radicalization in the attitude of MAURITANIA toward Islam.

MAURITANIA, because its geographic location, its poor economy and its small population, will remain a marginal country in the Global Jihad, mainly as a refuge country for Islamic radicals.

 

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