Adrian’s posts on North Africa opened me up to a good_blog on Western Sahara and North African politics called Western Sahara Info. I especially liked his most recent post Preaching_Pointless_Ultraviolence_to_the_Choir, which looks at militant complaints about the presence of an Israeli embassy in Mauritania:
Especially potent here, of course, is the charge about the Mauritanian government having political connections with Israel — it being true and all. This is not the place and time to whine about how Washington has shoved a profoundly pointless Israeli embassy down the collective Mauritanian throat as a prerequisite for its aid and support, but, let us just note in passing that it is counterproductive idiocy. It doesn’t advance the Israeli-Palestinian conflict one iota, but it does hand Islamist loons the silver bullet of Mauritanian politics.
On the other hand, chopping up surrendered Muslim soldiers during Ramadan is most emphatically not how you win hearts and minds — not in Mauritania, not elsewhere — and it will be hard to convince anyone otherwise, no matter how many times you remind them that Mossad rules the world. AQIM, being the bastard child of the GIA, has a long and proud tradition of alienating its own base by senseless violence, and it seems they’re still not quite done with it.
I would agree that there is nothing to be gained for the US by enticing/coercing Mauritania into opening up an Israeli embassy. Its not as if relations between the two states are signifigant, politically or economically. But opening up an embassy just gives conservatives more fodder. Maybe its a victory for Israel, but it does not advance US interests.
Also, another new blog I recomend is Friday_in_Cairo. The author is a Cairo-based journalist whose posts offer some uniqe insight into Egyptian politics and society.
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