Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Mauritania junta frees jailed Islamists, names PM
Interesting events in Mauritania. According to this news release, the military junta that seized power last week (see earlier posts) has appointed a civilian to serve as Prime Minister in what appears to be an effort to assuage popular concerns over the establishment of a military dictatorship.
In addition, the junta has ordered the release of several dozen people the Taya government had arrested for being "Islamic activists." Local sources indicate widespread belief that the old government, in an effort to stifle internal political opposition, had labelled the men as such in order to justify arresting them.
Some corners of the blogosphere are condemning the releases, seemingly jumping to the conclusion that Mauritania will turn into another Islamist-harboring source of international terrorism (much like Iran or Libya).
While this is indeed a possibility, I think it is much too soon to reach such conclusions. Those who claim this is an Islamist coup and that Mauritania has now joined the terrorists' cause are jumping the gun.
Mauritania has just overthrown a totalitarian dictatorship. The military leaders promise to transition the society to democracy. If spreading democracy is to mean anything, it must stand for the right of citizens of other countries to choose their own governments. So long as these folks (1) form a democracy (of sorts) and (b) don't engage in terrorism, I'll support their transition to a free, open government.
I simply find it unfathomable that we as Americans decry hostile dictatorships, but remain silent regarding those which choose to be our nominal allies.
Hat tip, Little Green Footballs.