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officially the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, is an Arab Maghreb country in West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western Sahara in the north, byAlgeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest. It is named after the ancient Berber Kingdom of Mauretania, HP G42T-200 CTO Laptop Keyboard

which later became a province of the Roman Empire, even though the modern Mauritania covers a territory far to the south of the old Berber kingdom that had no relation with it. The capital and largest city is Nouakchott, located on the Atlantic coast. Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E520 Laptop Keyboard

The government of Mauritania was overthrown on 6 August 2008, in a military coup d'état led by General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. On 16 April 2009, General Aziz resigned from the military to run for president in the 19 July elections, which he won. In Mauritania about 20% of the population live on less than US$1.25 per day.[7] SONY 147977821 Laptop Keyboard

Slavery in Mauritania has been called[by whom?] a major human rights issue[8] as well as female genital mutilation[citation needed], child labour, and human trafficking.

The Bafours were primarily agriculturalist, and among the first Saharan people to abandon their historically nomadic lifestyle.  Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E520 Laptop Keyboard

With the gradual desiccation of the Sahara, they headed south.

Successive waves of migration to West Africa included not only Central Saharans, but in 1076, Moorish Islamic warrior monks (Almoravid or Al Murabitun) who attacked and conquered the ancient Ghana Empire. Over the next 500 years, SONY Vaio PCG-K35 Laptop Keyboard

Arabsovercame fierce resistance from the local population (Berber and non-Berber alike) to dominate Mauritania. TheMauritanian Thirty-Year War (1644–74) was the unsuccessful final effort to repel the Yemeni Maqil Arab invaders led by the Beni Hassan tribe. TOSHIBA NSK-TAJ01 Laptop Keyboard

The descendants of the Beni Hassan warriors became the upper stratum of Moorish society. Berbers retained influence by producing the majority of the region's Marabouts—those who preserve and teach Islamic tradition. SONY VGN-FE770G Laptop Keyboard

Many of the Berber tribes claimed Yemeni (and sometimes other Arab) origin; there is little evidence to support such claims, though some studies do make a connection between the two.[9] Hassaniya, a Berber-influenced Arabic dialect that derives its name from the Beni Hassan, became the dominant language among the largely nomadic population. TOSHIBA Satellite P300 Laptop Keyboard

Imperial France gradually absorbed the territories of present-day Mauritania from the Senegal river area and upwards, starting in the late 19th century. In 1901, Xavier Coppolani took charge of the imperial mission. Through a combination of strategic alliances with Zawiya tribes, and military pressure on the Hassane warrior nomads, DELL Inspiron 6400 Laptop Keyboard

he managed to extend French rule over the Mauritanian emirates. Trarza, Brakna and Tagant quickly submitted to treaties with the colonial power (1903–04), but the northern emirate of Adrar held out longer, Lenovo Thinkpad T520 Laptop Keyboard

aided by the anticolonial rebellion (or jihad) of shaykh Maa al-Aynayn. It was finally defeated militarily in 1912, and incorporated into the territory of Mauritania, which had been drawn up in 1904. Mauritania would subsequently form part of French West Africa, from 1920.  HP Pavilion DV7-3186cl Laptop Keyboard

French rule brought legal prohibitions against slavery, and an end to interclan warfare. During the colonial period 90% of the population remained nomadic, but many sedentary peoples, whose ancestors had been expelled centuries earlier, began to trickle back into Mauritania. As the country gained independence in 1960, the capital cityNouakchott was founded at the site of a small colonial village, the Ksar. IBM Thinkpad T60 Laptop Keyboard

With independence, larger numbers of indigenous Sub-Saharan African peoples (Haalpulaar, Soninke, and Wolof) entered Mauritania, moving into the area north of the Senegal River. Educated in French language and customs, HP Pavilion DV9243EA Laptop Keyboard

many of these recent arrivals became clerks, soldiers, and administrators in the new state. This occurred as France militarily suppressed the most intransigent Hassane tribes of the Moorish north, shifting old balances of power, and creating new cause for conflict between the southern populations and Moors. HP 605344-001 Laptop Keyboard

Between these groups stood the Haratin, a very large population of Arabized slaves of sub-Saharan African origins, who lived within Moorish society, integrated into a low-caste social position.[10] Modern-day slavery is still a common practice in Mauritania.[11] According to some estimates, up to 600,000 Mauritanians,  ACER TravelMate 6292 Laptop Keyboard

or 20% of the population, are still enslaved.[12][13] A 2012 CNN report, "Slavery's Last Stronghold," by John D. Sutter, describes and documents the ongoing slave-owning cultures, including a compelling story about a former slave owner who is now an active abolitionist.[14] ACER AEZG5R00010 Laptop Keyboard

This social discrimination concerns mainly the "black Moors" (Haratin) in the northern part of the country, where tribal elites among “white Moors” (Beidane) hold sway, but low-caste groups within the sub-Saharan African ethnic groups of the south are affected by similar practices.

The great Sahel droughts of the early 1970s caused massive devastation in Mauritania. DELL Vostro 1014 Laptop Keyboard

Moors reacted to changing circumstances, and to Arab nationalist calls from abroad, by increasing pressure to Arabize many aspects of Mauritanian life, such as law and language. A schism developed between those Moors who consider Mauritania to be an Arab country and those who seek a dominant role for the non-Moorish peoples, TOSHIBA Satellite L655D-12L laptop keyboard

with various models for maintaining the country's cultural diversity being suggested, but none successfully implemented.

This ethnic discord was evident during intercommunal violence that broke out in April 1989 (the “1989 Events” and “Mauritania–Senegal Border War”), ASUS K030662M2 laptop keyboard

but which has since subsided. Some 70,000 sub-Saharan African Mauritanians were expelled from Mauritania in the late 1980s.[15] Ethnic tension and the sensitive issue of slavery – past and, in some areas, present – are still powerful themes in the country's political debate; a significant number from all groups, however, seek a more diverse, pluralistic society. HP Pavilion dv6-2155dx laptop keyboard

The government bureaucracy is composed of traditional ministries, special agencies, and parastatal companies. The Ministry of Interior spearheads a system of regional governors and prefects modeled on the French system of local administration. Under this system, Mauritania is divided into thirteen regions (wilaya), including the capital district,  HP Pavilion dv6-3015tx laptop keyboard

Nouakchott. Control is tightly concentrated in the executive branch of the central government, but a series of national and municipal elections since 1992 have produced limited decentralization. ACER TravelMate 8215WLMi laptop keyboard

Mauritania, along with Morocco, annexed the territory of Western Sahara in 1976, with Mauritania taking the lower one-third at the request of former imperial power Spain. After several military losses to the Polisario – heavily armed and supported by Algeria, the local hegemon and rival to Morocco – Mauritania withdrew in 1979,  HP Pavilion dv6-2165tx laptop keyboard

and its claims were taken over by Morocco. Due to economic weakness, Mauritania has been a negligible player in the territorial dispute, with its official position being that it wishes for an expedient solution that is mutually agreeable to all parties. While most of Western Sahara has been occupied by Morocco, the UN still considers the Western Sahara a territory that needs to express its wishes with respect to statehood.  SONY VAIO VGN NR298E laptop keyboard

A referendum is still supposed to be held sometime in the future, under UN auspices, to determine whether or not the indigenous Sahrawis wish to be independent as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, or to be part of Morocco. The Moroccan government has thus far blocked such a referendum. SONY N860-7676-T101 laptop keyboard

Mauritania left the Franco-African Community to become an independent nation in November 1960.[16] In 1964 President Moktar Ould Daddah, originally installed by the French, formalized Mauritania as a one-party state with a new constitution, setting up an authoritarian presidential regime. Daddah's own Parti du Peuple Mauritanien (PPM) became the ruling organization in a single-party system. SONY VAIO PCG-FR415S laptop keyboard

The President justified this decision on the grounds that he considered Mauritania unready for western-style multi-party democracy. Under this one-party constitution, Daddah was reelected in uncontested elections in 1966, 1971 and 1976. He was ousted in a bloodless coup on 10 July 1978, after bringing the country to near-collapse through a disastrous war to annex the southern part of Western Sahara, framed as an attempt to create a “Greater Mauritania”.  Lenovo Thinkpad T520 laptop keyboard

Col. Mustafa Ould Salek's CMRN junta proved incapable of either establishing a strong base of power or extracting the country from its destabilizing conflict with the Sahrawi resistance movement, the Polisario Front. It quickly fell, to be replaced by another military government, the CMSN. The energetic Colonel Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidallah soon emerged as its strongman, IBM Lenovo Thinkpad X200 laptop keyboard

and by giving up all claims to Western Sahara, he found peace with the Polisario and improved relations with its main backer, Algeria – but relations with the other party to the conflict, Morocco, and its European ally France, deteriorated. Instability continued, and Haidallah's ambitious reform attempts foundered. DELL Inspiron N4050 laptop keyboard

His regime was plagued by attempted coups and intrigue within the military establishment, and became increasingly contested due to his harsh and uncompromising measures against opponents; many dissidents were jailed, and some executed. In 1981 slavery was legally abolished, making Mauritania the last country in the world to abolish slavery. HP G72-227WM laptop keyboard

In 1980, Haidallah was deposed by Colonel Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya, who, while retaining tight military control, relaxed the political climate somewhat. Ould Taya moderated Mauritania's previous pro-Algerian stance, and re-established ties with Morocco during the late 1980s, ties which deepened during the late 1990s and early 2000s as part of Mauritania's drive to attract support from Western states and Western-aligned Arab states.  TOSHIBA Satellite U305-S5097 Laptop Keyboard

Mauritania has not rescinded its recognition of Polisario's Western Saharan exile government, and remains on good terms with Algeria. Its position on the Western Sahara conflict is, since the 1980s, one of strict neutrality. HP AEAT8TPU017 Laptop Keyboard

Ordinance 83.127, enacted 5 June 1983, started the process of nationalization of all land not clearly the property of a documented owner, thus abolishing the traditional system of land tenure. Compaq Presario CQ57 Series Laptop Keyboard

Potential nationalization was based on the concept of "dead land",[17] i.e., property which has not been developed or on which obvious development cannot be seen. A practical effect was government seizure of traditional grazing lands.[18]  HP pavilion DV7-1000 Laptop Keyboard

Political parties, illegal during the military period, were legalized again in 1991. By April 1992, as civilian rule returned, 16 major political parties had been recognized; 12 major political parties were active in 2004. SONY Vaio PCG-K35 Laptop Keyboard

 Most opposition parties boycotted the first legislative election in 1992, and for nearly a decade the parliament was dominated by the PRDS. The opposition participated in municipal elections in January–February 1994, and in subsequent Senateelections – most recently in April 2004 – and gained representation at the local level, FUJITSU Amilo Mini Ui 3520 Laptop Keyboard

as well as three seats in the Senate. The Parti Républicain Démocratique et Social (PRDS), formerly led by President Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya, dominated Mauritanian politics after the country's first multi-party elections in April 1992, following the approval by referendum of the current constitution in July 1991. President Taya won elections in 1992 and 1997.  HP G42-164LA Laptop Keyboard

This period was marked by extensive ethnic violence and human rights abuses. Between 1990 and 1991, a campaign of particularly extreme violence took place against a background of Arabization, interference with blacks' association rights, expropriation, expatriation and slavery. The slaves were mostly black.[19]  Lenovo 3000 Y500 Laptop Keyboard

In October 1987, the government allegedly uncovered a tentative coup d'État by a group of black army officers, backed, according to the authorities, bySenegal.[20] Fifty-one officers were arrested and subjected to interrogation and torture.[21] Heightened ethnic tensions were the catalyst for the Mauritania–Senegal Border War, Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E520 Laptop Keyboard

which started as a result of a conflict in Diawara between Moorish Mauritanian herders and Senegalese farmers over grazing rights.[22] On 9 April 1989, Mauritanian guards killed two Senegalese.[23] Following the incident, several riots erupted in Bakel, TOSHIBA NSK-TBD01 Laptop Keyboard

Dakar and other towns in Senegal, directed against the mainly Moorish Mauritanians who dominated the local retail business. The rioting, added to already existing tensions, led to a campaign of terror against black Mauritanians,[24] who are often seen as 'Senegalese' by Beidanes, regardless of their actual nationality. ACER Aspire 5930 Laptop Keyboard

As conflict with Senegal continued into 1990/91, the Mauritanian government engaged in or encouraged acts of violence and seizures of property directed against blacks. The war culminated in an international airlift agreed to by Senegal and Mauritania under international pressure to prevent further violence. HP G71-343US Laptop Keyboard

The Mauritanian Government expelled tens of thousands of black Mauritanians. Most of these so-called 'Senegalese' had no ties to Senegal, and many still reside in refugee camps in Mali and Senegal.[25] The exact number of expulsions is not known but the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that, as of June 1991, there were 52,995 Mauritanian refugees in Senegal and at least 13,000 in Mali.[26] HP Pavilion G7-1150US Laptop Keyboard

From November 1990 to February 1991, between 500 and 600 Fulas and Soninke political prisoners were executed or tortured to death by government forces. They were among 3,000 to 5,000 blacks – predominantly soldiers and civil servants – arrested between October 1990 and mid-January 1991,[27] HP Pavilion DV7-3065dx Laptop Keyboard

on the basis of alleged involvement in an attempt to overthrow the government.[28] A military investigation was put in place by the government and the results were never made public.[29] In order to guarantee immunity for those responsible and to block any attempts at accountability for past abuses, an amnesty[30] was declared by the Parliament in June 1993 covering all crimes committed by the armed forces,  HP G62-a20SQ laptop keyboard

security forces as well as civilians, between April 1989 and April 1992. The government offered compensation to families of victims, which a few accepted in lieu of settlement.[28] Despite this amnesty, some Mauritanians have denounced the involvement of the government in the arrests and killings.[31] TOSHIBA Satellite A300-1BZ laptop keyboard

In the late 1980s, Ould Taya had established close co-operation with Iraq, and pursued a strongly Arab Nationalist line. Mauritania grew increasingly isolated internationally, and tensions with Western countries grew dramatically after it took a pro-Iraqi position during the 1991 Gulf War. During the mid-to late 1990s, SONY VAIO VGN-FZ19VN laptop keyboard

Mauritania shifted its foreign policy to one of increased co-operation with the US and Europe, and was rewarded with diplomatic normalization and aid projects. On 28 October 1999, joined Egypt, Palestine, and Jordan as the only members of the Arab League to officially recognize Israel. Ould Taya also started co-operating with the United States in anti-terrorism activities, a policy which was criticized by some human rights organizations.[32][33] (See also Foreign relations of Mauritania.) SONY VAIO VGN-FS115ZR laptop keyboard

A group of current and former Army officers launched a bloody, unsuccessful coup attempt on 8 June 2003. The leaders of the attempted coup were never caught. Mauritania's presidential election, its third since adopting the democratic process in 1992, took place on 7 November 2003. Six candidates, Packard Bell Easynote LM82 laptop keyboard

including Mauritania's first female and first Haratine (former slavefamily) candidates, represented a wide variety of political goals and backgrounds. Incumbent President Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya won reelection with 67.02% of the popular vote, according to the official figures, with Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidallafinishing second. HP Pavilion dv6-3230us laptop keyboard

On 3 August 2005, a military coup led by Colonel Ely Ould Mohamed Vall ended Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya's twenty-one years of rule. Taking advantage of Taya's attendance at the funeral of Saudi King Fahd, the military, COMPAQ Presario CQ50-210US laptop keyboard

including members of the presidential guard, seized control of key points in the capital of Nouakchott. The coup proceeded without loss of life, and the officers, calling themselves the Military Council for Justice and Democracy, released the following statement: HP 590527-001 laptop keyboard

"The national armed forces and security forces have unanimously decided to put a definitive end to the oppressive activities of the defunct authority, which our people have suffered from during the past years."[34] TOSHIBA PK13CW10200 laptop keyboard

The Military Council later issued another statement naming Colonel Vall as president and director of the national police force, the Sûreté Nationale. Vall, once regarded as a firm ally of the now-ousted president, had aided Taya in the coup which had originally brought him to power, and had later served as his security chief. Sixteen other officers were listed as members of the Council. HP Pavilion dv6-2143ez laptop keyboard

Though cautiously watched by the international community, the coup came to be generally accepted, with the military junta organizing elections within a promised two-year timeline. In a referendum on 26 June 2006, Mauritanians overwhelmingly (97%) approved a new constitution which limited the duration of a president's stay in office. The leader of the junta, Col. SONY N860-7676-T101 laptop keyboard

Vall, promised to abide by the referendum and relinquish power peacefully. Mauritania's establishment of relations with Israel – it is one of only three Arab states to recognize Israel – was maintained by the new regime, despite widespread criticism from the opposition, who viewed it as a legacy of the Taya regime's attempts to curry favor with the West. HP Pavilion dv6-2124eo laptop keyboard

The head of the Presidential Guards took over the president's palace in Nouakchott on 6 August 2008, a day after 48 lawmakers from the ruling party resigned in protest of President Abdallahi's policies[which?]. The army surrounded key government facilities, including the state television building, after the president fired senior officers, DELL Inspiron MINI 1010 laptop keyboard

one of them the head of the presidential guards.[36] The President, Prime Minister Yahya Ould Ahmed Waghef, and Minister of Internal Affairs Mohamed Ould R'zeizim were arrested.

The coup was co-ordinated by General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, SONY VAIO VGN-CR12GH laptop keyboard

former chief of staff of the Mauritanian army and head of the Presidential Guard, one of the officers whom the president had recently fired. Mauritania's presidential spokesman, Abdoulaye Mamadouba, said the President, Prime Minister, and Interior Minister had been arrested by renegade Senior Mauritanian army officers and were being held under house arrest at the presidential palace in Nouakchott.[37][38][39]  Lenovo 04W2236 laptop keyboard

In the apparently successful and bloodless coup d'état, Abdallahi's daughter, Amal Mint Cheikh Abdallahi, said: "The security agents of the BASEP (Presidential Security Battalion) came to our home and took away my father."[40] The coup plotters, HP SG-46100-XUA laptop keyboard

all dismissed in a presidential decree shortly beforehand, included Abdel Aziz, General Muhammad Ould Al-Ghazwani, General Philippe Swikri, and Brigadier General (Aqid) Ahmad Ould Bakri.[41] Lenovo 04W2236 laptop keyboard

A Mauritanian lawmaker, Mohammed Al Mukhtar, claimed that many of the country's people were supporting the takeover of a government that had become "an authoritarian regime" under a president who had "marginalized the majority in parliament."[42] The coup was also backed by Abdallahi's rival in the 2007 election, Ahmed Ould Daddah. HP Pavilion DV7-3060us laptop keyboard

However, Abdel Aziz's regime was isolated internationally, and became subject to diplomatic sanctions and the cancellation of some aid projects. It found few supporters (among them Morocco, Libya and Iran), while Algeria, the United States, TOSHIBA Satellite L505-S6959 laptop keyboard

France and other European countries criticized the coup, and continued to refer to Abdallahi as the legitimate president of Mauritania. Domestically, a group of parties coalesced around Abdallahi to continue protesting the coup, which caused the junta to ban demonstrations and crack down on opposition activists. International and internal pressure eventually forced the release of Abdallahi,  HP Probook 4710S Laptop Keyboard

who was instead placed under house arrest in his home village. The new government broke off relations with Israel. In March 2010, Mauritania's female foreign minister Mint Hamdi Ould Mouknass announced that Mauritania had cut ties with Israel in a "complete and definitive way."[43] HP G42-164LA Laptop Keyboard

Abdel Aziz had since the coup insisted on holding new presidential elections to replace Abdallahi, but was forced to reschedule them due to internal and international opposition. However, during the spring of 2009, the junta negotiated an understanding with some opposition figures and international parties, which dramatically changed the situation. SONY VAIO VGN-FS315M Laptop Keyboard

Abdallahi formally resigned, under protest, as it became clear that some opposition forces had defected from him and most international players, notably including France and Algeria, now lined up behind Abdel Aziz. The United States continued to criticize the coup, but did not actively oppose the elections. ACER Aspire One D150-1920 Laptop Keyboard

Abdallahi's resignation allowed the election of Abdel Aziz as civilian president, on 18 July, by a 52% majority. Many of Abdallahi's former supporters criticized this as a political ploy and refused to recognize the results. They argued that the election had been falsified due to junta control, and complained that the international community had let down the opposition. HP Envy 15 Laptop Keyboard

Despite marginal complaints, the elections were almost unanimously accepted by Western, Arab and African countries, which lifted sanctions and resumed relations with Mauritania. By late summer, Abdel Aziz appeared to have secured his position and to have gained widespread international and internal support, HP Mini 210-1109TU Laptop Keyboard

although several[which?] influential parties and political personalities, notably Senate chairman Messaoud Ould Boulkheir, continued to refuse the new order and call for Abdel Aziz's resignation. HP 519265-001 Laptop Keyboard

In February 2011, the waves of the Arab Spring spread to Mauritania, where hundreds of people took to the streets of Nouakchott[clarification needed].[44]

At 397,929 square miles (1,030,631 km2),[2] Mauritania is the world's 29th-largest country (after Bolivia). It is comparable in size to Egypt. It lies mostly between latitudes 14° and 26°N, and longitudes 5° and 17°W (small areas are east of 5° and west of 17°). SAMSUNG N140 Laptop Keyboard

Mauritania is generally flat, with vast arid plains broken by occasional ridges and cliff-like outcroppings. A series of scarps face south-west, longitudinally bisecting these plains in the center of the country. HP Mini 210-1095TU Laptop Keyboard

The scarps also separate a series of sandstone plateaus, the highest of which is the Adrar Plateau, reaching an elevation of 500 meters (1,640 ft). Spring-fed oases lie at the foot of some of the scarps. Isolated peaks, often rich in minerals, rise above the plateaus; the smaller peaks are called guelbs and the larger ones kedias. HP Pavilion G60-230 Laptop Keyboard

The concentric Guelb er Richat (also known as the Richat Structure) is a prominent feature of the north-central region. Kediet ej Jill, near the city of Zouîrât, has an elevation of 915 meters (3,002 ft) and is the highest peak. HP Envy 15-1050es Laptop Keyboard

Approximately three quarters of Mauritania is desert or semidesert. As a result of extended, severe drought, the desert has been expanding since the mid-1960s. To the west, between the ocean and the plateaus, are alternating areas of clayey plains (regs) and sand dunes (ergs), some of which shift from place to place, gradually moved by high winds. The dunes generally increase in size and mobility toward the north. DELL E141395 Laptop Keyboard

Despite being rich in natural resources, Mauritania has one of the lowest GDP rates in Africa. A majority of the population still depends on agriculture and livestock for a livelihood, even though most of the nomads and many subsistence farmers were forced into the cities by recurrent droughts in the 1970s and 1980s. ACER Aspire 5613 Laptop Keyboard

Mauritania has extensive deposits of iron ore, which account for almost 50% of total exports. With the current rises in metal prices, gold and copper mining companies are opening mines in the interior. HP Envy 15 Laptop Keyboard

The country's first deepwater port opened near Nouakchott in 1986. In recent years, drought and economic mismanagement have resulted in a buildup of foreign debt. In March 1999, the government signed an agreement with a joint World Bank-International Monetary Fund mission on a $54 million enhanced structural adjustment facility (ESAF).  HP Envy 15-1040er Laptop Keyboard

The economic objectives have been set for 1999–2002. Privatization remains one of the key issues. Mauritania is unlikely to meet ESAF's annual GDP growth objectives of 4%–5%.

Oil was discovered in Mauritania in 2001 in the offshore Chinguetti field. Although potentially significant for the Mauritanian economy, SONY KFRSBA019A Laptop Keyboard

it remains to be seen how much it will help the country. Mauritania has been described as a "desperately poor desert nation, which straddles the Arab and African worlds and is Africa's newest, if small-scale, oil producer."[45]There may be additional oil reserves inland in the Taoudeni basin, although the harsh environment will make extraction expensive.[46] HP Pavilion dv3-2175ee laptop keyboard

Under the Abdallahi government there was a widespread public perception of governmental corruption and a lack of access to government information. Sexism, female genital mutilation, child labour, human trafficking, and the political marginalization of largely southern-based ethnic groups continued to be problems.[47] SONY VAIO VGN-N37GH/B laptop keyboard

Following the 2008 coup, the military government of Mauritania faced severe international sanctions and internal unrest, and was accused by Amnesty International of practicing coordinated torture against criminal and political detainees.[48] Amnesty has accused the Mauritanian legal system, SONY VAIO VGN-FS415M laptop keyboard

both before and after the 2008 coup, of functioning with complete disregard for legal procedure, fair trial, or humane imprisonment. The organization has further accused the Mauritanian government of institutionalized and continuous use of torture throughout its post independence history.[49][50][51]  HP Pavilion DV7-3100 laptop keyboard

Since its independence, charges have been made[by whom?] that Mauritania's society has been characterised by discrimination towards black populations, mainly Fula and Soninké, which are seen as contesting the political, economic and social dominance of Moors. Mauritanian blacks allegedly face discrimination in employment in the civil service,  ACER TravelMate 4650 Series laptop keyboard

the administration of justice before regular and religious courts, access to loans and credits from banks and state owned enterprise, and opportunity for education and vocational training. These are the stated reasons why armed groups like the now exiled FLAM have carried out low level rebellions in the southern part of Mauritania. SONY VAIO VGN-FS710/W laptop keyboard

Various[which?] forms of slavery still persist in Mauritania. Though legally abolished in 1981, it did not become a crime to own slaves until 2007. According to the US State Department 2010 Human Rights Report,[53] abuses in Mauritania include:  HP Pavilion tx2532la laptop keyboard

"...mistreatment of detainees and prisoners; security force impunity; lengthy pretrial detention; harsh prison conditions; arbitrary arrests; limits on freedom of the press and assembly; corruption; discrimination against women; female genital mutilation (FGM); child marriage; political marginalization of southern-based ethnic groups; racial and ethnic discrimination; slavery and slavery-related practices; and child labor."  SONY N860-7676-T101 laptop keyboard

The report continues: "Government efforts were not sufficient to enforce the antislavery law. No cases have been successfully prosecuted under the antislavery law despite the fact that de facto slavery exists in Mauritania." SONY VGN-FE48E laptop keyboard

Sentenced to six months in jail in January 2011, Oumoulmoumnine Mint Bakar Vall is the only person prosecuted to date for owning slaves. It has recently been estimated that 10% to 20% (340,000 to 680,000 people) of the population of Mauritania lives in slavery.[54] HP G61-424CA Laptop Keyboard

The government of Mauritania denies the existence of slavery in the country. In an interview, the Mauritanian Minister of rural development, Brahim Ould M'Bareck Ould Med El Moctar, responded to human rights abuse accusations by stating; "I must tell you that in Mauritania, freedom is total: freedom of thought, DELL Vostro PP37L Laptop Keyboard

equality – of all men and women of Mauritania....in all cases, especially with this government, this is in the past. There are probably former relationships – slavery relationships and familial relationships from old days and of the older generations, maybe, or descendants who wish to continue to be in relationships with descendants of their old masters, GATEWAY NV-54 Laptop Keyboard

for familial reasons, or out of affinity, and maybe also for economic interests. But (slavery) is something that is totally finished. All people are free in Mauritania and this phenomenon no longer exists. And I believe that I can tell you that no one profits from this commerce." [55] TOSHIBA Satellite P305-S8906 Laptop Keyboard

A tiny fishing town of 200 people[1] until 1958, Nouakchott was little mentioned during pre-colonial and colonial history. It is possible that the Berber Muslim Almoravids were originally from the area. Despite its name, based on a Berber expression meaning "place of the winds",[2] the city was selected as the capital city for its moderate climate and central location within the country.[3] It also sat on one of the most valuable trade routes to West Africa.[2] ACER Aspire 5742 Laptop Keyboard

Located on the Atlantic coast of the Sahara Desert, it lies on the west coast of Africa, on the Atlantic Ocean. With the exception of Nouakchott Wharf and a deep water port, the coastal strip is mostly left empty and allowed to flood. The coastline includes shifting sandbanks and sandy beaches.[2]  DELL NSK-D8001 Laptop Keyboard

There are also areas of quicksand close to the harbour.[8] The city is being covered by the sand dunes advancing from its eastern side (salmon-coloured on image to left), which pose a daily problem.[9]There have been efforts to save particular areas, including work by Jean Meunier.[10] The city is largely flat.[5] Compaq Presario CQ57 Series Laptop Keyboard

Owing to the rapid build-up, the city is quite spread out, with few tall buildings. Most buildings are one-storey only.[5] It also often acts as an interface between urban Mauritanians and their nomadic fellow citizens.  ACER Aspire 5742ZG Laptop Keyboard

Nouakchott is built around a large tree-lined street, Avenue Abdel Nasir, which runs northeast through the city centre from the airport. Other major streets are named (in French) for notable Mauritanian or international figures of the 1960s: Avenue Abdel Nasser, Avenue Charles de Gaulle, Avenue Kennedy, and Avenue Lumumba, for example.[11] TOSHIBA V072426CS1 Laptop Keyboard

The city is broken into numbered arrondissements, sub-divided into alphabetised Îlots. The Cinquième Arrondissement is home to a large shopping area.[11]

Nouakchott has a deep-sea port, opened in 1986, primarily used for imports. Annually, imports account for around 96.4% of traffic at the port. It handles 500,000[2]−800,000[1] tonnes of cargo a year. Recently, China has agreed to invest US$282 million in the port, SONY VAIO VGN-AW170YIQ Laptop Keyboard

aiming to extend the main quay, the deepwater Quay of Friendship, by 500 m (1,640.42 ft).[2] A 1,100 kilometres (680 mi) road connects the city with Néma via Boutilimit and Kiffa.[2] The city also features an internationalairport, Nouakchott International Airport.[15] Road transport is problematic, the main problem being overcrowded roads. Fuel for cars is also hard to obtain in Nouakchott.[16] HP Pavilion dv6-3020tu Laptop Keyboard

An agreement was signed on August 5, 2007 between Mauritania, Sudan, and China to build a $630m Mauritania Railway linking the port of Nouakchott and phosphate mines at Bofal, about 430 km (270 mi) away. The line goes near the border with Senegal. HP Pavilion dv6-3047eo Laptop Keyboard

As of 2000, it is the home to over 30 international or diplomatic institutions.[1]

Attractions in Nouakchott include Nouakchott Museum, several markets including Nouakchott Silver Market, and the beaches.[11] One beach is devoted to fishing boats where various species of fish can be bought fresh. HP Pavilion dv2-1003ax Laptop Keyboard

The city also hosts the National Library and National Archives. Nouakchott is the principal location in Africa for world distribution of native Saharanmeteorites.

There is a mosque donated by Saudi Arabia in the city centre, and a Moroccan mosque further south.[7] Although Islam is the state religion in Mauritania, Nouakchott includes the Cathedral of St. Joseph, a Catholic cathedral. It is home to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nouakchott, founded in 1965.[24] HP AESP7U00110 Laptop Keyboard

Until after the Second World War almost all the Africans living in the colonies of France were not citizens of France. Rather they were "French Subjects", lacking rights before the law, property ownership rights, rights to travel, dissent, or vote. The exception were the Four Communes of Senegal: those areas had been towns of the tiny Senegal Colony in 1848 when, at the abolition of slavery by the French Second Republic, Lenovo Thinkpad T520 Laptop Keyboard

all residents of France were granted equal political rights. Anyone able to prove they were born in these towns was legally French. They could vote in parliamentary elections, which had been previously dominated by white and Métis residents of Senegal. HP Pavilion G6-1223TX Laptop Keyboard

The Four Communes of Senegal were entitled to elect a Deputy to represent them in the French Parliament in the years 1848–1852, 1871–1876, and 1879–1940. In 1914, the first African, Blaise Diagne, was elected as the Deputy for Senegal in the French Parliament. In 1916, COMPAQ Presario C700 Laptop Keyboard

Diagne pushed through the National Assembly a law (Loi Blaise Diagne) granting full citizenship to all residents of the so-called Four Communes. In return, he had promised to help recruit millions of Africans to fight in World War I. Thereafter, all black Africans of Dakar, Gorée, Saint-Louis, and Rufisque could vote to send a representative to the French National Assembly. SONY Vaio VGN-AW41MF/H laptop keyboard

As the French pursued their part in the scramble for Africa in the 1880s and 1890s, they conquered large inland areas, and at first ruled them as either a part of the Senegal colony, or as independent entities. These conquered areas were usually governed by French Army officers, and dubbed "Military Territories". In the late 1890s, Packard Bell Easynote TK85 laptop keyboard

the French government began to rein in the territorial expansion of its "officers on the ground", and transferred all the territories west of Gabon to a single Governor based in Senegal, reporting directly to the Minister of Overseas Affairs. The first Governor General of Senegal was named in 1895, and in 1904, HP Pavilion DV7t-2200 CTO laptop keyboard

the territories he oversaw were formally named French West Africa (AOF). Gabon would later become the seat of its own federation French Equatorial Africa (AEF), which was to border its western neighbor on the modern boundary between Niger and Chad.  SONY VAIO VGN-NW15L laptop keyboard

Following the Fall of France, during World War II, the French colonies sided with the Vichy government. Two battleswere subsequently fought to bring the colonies over to the side of the Free French. These battles met with mixed success. Free French forces took control of Gabon and French Equatorial Africa, while French West Africa remained under Vichy control until the Allied landings in North Africa (Operation Torch) in November 1942. HP Pavilion DV7-2013tx laptop keyboard

Following World War II, the French government began a process of extending limited political rights in its colonies. In 1945 the French Provisional Government allocated ten seats to French West Africa in the new Constituent Assembly called to write a new French Constitution. Of these five would be elected by citizens (which only in the Four Communes could an African hope to win) and five by African subjects. TOSHIBA Satellite P305-S8906 laptop keyboard

The elections brought to prominence a new generation of French-educated Africans. On 21 October 1945 six Africans were elected, the Four Communes citizens chose Lamine Gueye, HP Pavilion dv6-2159tx laptop keyboard

Senegal/Mauritania Leopold Sedar Senghor, Ivory Coast/Upper Volta Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Dahomey/Togo Sourou Migan Apithy, Soudan-Niger Fily Dabo Sissoko, and Guinea Yacine Diallo.[1] They were all re-elected to the 2nd Constituent Assembly on 2 June 1946. HP Pavilion DV7-3165dx laptop keyboard

In 1946, the loi Lamine Guèye granted some limited citizenship rights to natives of the African colonies. The French Empire was renamed the French Union on 27 October 1946, when the new constitutution of the French Fourth Republic was established. In late 1946 under this new constitution each territory was for the first time (excepting the Four Communes) able elect local representatives, Lenovo Thinkpad T520 laptop keyboard

albeit on a limited franchise, to newly established General Councils. These elected bodies had only limited consultative powers, although they did approve local budgets. The Loi Cadre of 23 June 1956 brought universal suffrage to elections held after that date in all French African colonies. HP Pavilion dv6-3020tu laptop keyboard

The first elections under universal suffrage in French West Africa were the municipal elections of late 1956. Territorial Assembly elections were held in each of the eight colonies (Togo as a UN trust Territory was by this stage on a different trajectory) on 31 March 1957 under universal suffrage, and the leaders of the winning parties appointed to the newly instituted position of Vice-President of the Governing Council—French Colonial Governors remained as Presidents. SONY VAIO VGN-FS760/W laptop keyboard

The Constitution of the French Fifth Republic of 1958 again changed the structure of the colonies from the French Union to the French Community. Each territory was to become a "Protectorate" with the consultative assembly named a National Assembly. The Governor appointed by the French was renamed the "High Commissioner", TOSHIBA Satellite M105-S3001 laptop keyboard

and made head of state of each territory. The Assembly would name an African as Head of Government with advisory powers to the Head of State. Legally, the federation ceased to exist after the September 1958 referendum to approve this French Community. All the colonies except Guinea voted to remain in the new structure. Guineans[2] HP Envy 15-1040er laptop keyboard

voted overwhelmingly for independence. In 1960, a further revision of the French constitution, compelled by the failure of the French Indochina War and the tensions in Algeria, allowed members of the French Community to unilaterally change their own constitutions. SONY VAIO VGN-FZ19VN laptop keyboard

Senegal and former French Sudan became the Mali Federation (1960–61), while Côte d'Ivoire, Niger, Upper Volta and Dahomey subsequently formed the short-lived Sahel-Benin Union, later the Conseil de l'Entente. SONY VAIO VGN-CR220E laptop keyboard

Mauritania was part of the larger French colony of French West Africa, and as such had no capital during the colonial period: Saint-Louis, in Senegal, held that position. In 1957, this small port town was chosen to be the capital of the new country, and an ambitious building program was begun to increase its population to 15,000, DELL 1R28D Laptop Keyboard

starting a year later.[4] In 1958, Mauritania was formed as an autonomous republic in the French Community, and in 1960 it became an independent country, with Nouakchott as its capital.

The administrative structure of French colonial possessions in West Africa, while more homogeneous than neighboring British possessions, was marked by variety and flux.  GATEWAY V030946FS1 US Laptop Keyboard

Throughout the history of the AOF, individual colonies and military territories were reorganised numerous times,[3] as was the Government General in Dakar.  HP Mini 210-2070sb laptop keyboard

French Upper Volta was formed and parceled out to neighboring colonies twice. The future states of Mauritania and Niger remained out of the federation until the 1920s and 1940s respectively.[citation needed] They were Military Territories, HP Mini 110-3109sl laptop keyboard

directly controlled by the French Army.[citation needed] World War II, and the passing of the Loi Cadre (Overseas Reform Act of 1956), both radically restructured the administration of the colonies. French Togoland, seized by France from Germany in World War I, was for most of this period not nominally a colony but a Mandate territory. Packard Bell Easynote TK85 laptop keyboard

In theory, the Governors General of the AOF reported directly to the Minister of Colonies in Paris, while individual colonies and territories reported only to Dakar. Originally created in 1895 as a union of Senegal, French Sudan, French Guinea andCôte d'Ivoire only, the federation was placed on a permanent footing in 1904.  Lenovo 0A62075 laptop keyboard

A governor-general was based first in Saint-Louis, then (from 1902) in Dakar (both in Senegal, the oldest French settlement). The AOF subsequently expanded to neighbouring French-ruled territories: Dahomey was added in 1904, after having been put under colonial tutelage in 1892;Mauritania in 1920,[4] LENOVO IdeaPad S10 20015 laptop keyboard

and when the territory of Upper Volta was divided from French Sudan by colonial decree in 1921, it automatically also entered the AOF.[5] Between 1934 and 1937, the League of Nations Mandate territory of French Togoland was subsumed into Dahomey,  Lenovo 3000 Y500 laptop keyboard

and between its seizure from Germany in World War I and independence it was administered through the AOF. In 1904, both Mauritania and Niger were classed "Military Territories": ruled by the AOF in conjunction with officers of the French Colonial Forces. HP Pavilion dv6-3023sy laptop keyboard

Despite this state of flux, and with the exception of the Senegalese Communes, the administrative structure of French rule at the lower levels remained constant, based upon the Cercle system. This was the smallest unit of French political administration in French Colonial Africa that was headed by a European officer. They might range in size, ACER Travelmate 4670 laptop keyboard

but French Sudan(modern Mali) consisted of less than a dozen Cercles for most of its existence. Thus, a Cercle Commander might be the absolute authority over hundreds of thousands of Africans. SONY VAIO VGN-FZ460EB laptop keyboard

A Cercle consisted of several cantons, each of which in turn consisted of several villages, and was almost universal in France's African colonies from 1895 to 1946.

The "Cercle Commander" ("commandant de cercle") was subject to the authority of a District Commander, and the government of the colony above him, HP Pavilion DV6z artist edition 2 laptop keyboard

but was independent of the Military structure (outside of Military areas, e.g.: modern Niger andMauritania prior to the Second World War). Below the "Cercle Commander" were a series of African "Chefs de canton" and "Chefs du Village": "chiefs" appointed by the French and subject to removal by the Europeans. HP Pavilion DV7-3069wm laptop keyboard

As well, the "Cercle Commander" made use of a large number of servants, employees, and African officers such as the "Gardes-de-cercle" police, any military units seconded to them by government authorities, and sub-administrators such as the Precepteur du marché trade inspectors, etc. Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E520 laptop keyboard

Because of administrative practice and geographic isolation

, Cercle Commanders had a tremendous amount of power over the lives of the Africans around them. The Cercle Commanders also had tremendous power over the economic and political life of their territories. Legally, all Africans outside the Four Communes of Senegal were "subjects" DELL Latitude E6400 laptop keyboard

under the Indigénat legal code of 1885. This code gave summary powers to French administrators, including the rights to arrest, try, punish and imprison subjects. It also gave French local authorities the right to requisition forced labour, usually limited to able-bodied men for a few weeks a year, but in practice having few restrictions. SONY VAIO VGN-N350N laptop keyboard

These "tools" included the Civilizing mission ideology common in the period following the First World War. Every new Cercle Commander might well bring with him vast projects for development and the restructuring of the people's lives he governed. GATEWAY V030946FS1 US laptop keyboard

he other official office particular to the local administration of French West Africa was the "Chief". These were Africans appointed by French officials for their loyalty to France, regardless of their rights to local power. HP G62-147NR Laptop Keyboard

These chiefs were assigned created territories based on the scale of a French Canton, as well as on the small scale tribal structures the French found in the coastal areas of the Rivières du Sud colony in the 1880s, modern Guinea. DELL 9Z.N1K82.C01 laptop keyboard

The Canton, then, was much smaller than, and qualitatively different from, the precolonial states of the Sahel (such as the Toucouleur Empire) which the French would later conquer.[6]

They were styled "Chefs de canton", "Chefs du Village", or occasionally taking the title of precolonial states assimilated by the French structure wholeDELL NSK-DG101 Laptop Keyboard

This last was uncommon, but became more prevalent in the later colonial territories conquered, as fewer administrators were available to rule over larger, less populated territories with strong pre-colonial state structures.  HP Pavilion G6-1223TX Laptop Keyboard

Where these larger polities resisted the French, they were often broken into small chiefdoms. Larger polities which presented a segment of the elite who would work with the French, were maintained under new leadership. The Sultan of Agadez, SONY VAIO VGN-FS550 Laptop Keyboard

the Sultan of Damagaram, and the Djermakoy of Dosso are examples of these large scale "Chefs de canton". But even these rulers were replaced by individuals handpicked by French authorities.

Regardless of source, chiefs were given the right to arm small numbers of guards and made responsible for the collection of taxes, the recruitment of forced labour,  HP Pavilion dv6-2112sa Laptop Keyboard

and the enforcement of "Customary Law". In general, Canton Chiefs served at the behest of their Cercle Commander, and were left to see to their own affairs as long as calm was maintained and Administrative orders were carried out. HP 640436-001 Laptop Keyboard

With an area of some 4,689,000 square kilometres (1,810,000 sq mi) (mostly the desert or semi-desert interior of Mauritania, Sudan and Niger) extending from Africa's westernmost point to the depths of the Sahara, the federation contained more than ten million inhabitants at its creation, and some 25 million at its dissolution. ACER TravelMate 6292 Laptop Keyboard

The AOF included all of the Senegal River valley, most of the Niger River valley, and most of the West African Sahel region. It also included tropical forests in Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea, the Futa Djallon highlands, and the Aïr Mountains of modern Niger. TOSHIBA NSK-TBD01 Laptop Keyboard

The Polisario Front, Frente Polisario, FRELISARIO or simply POLISARIO, from the Spanish abbreviation of FrentePopular de Liberación de Saguía el Hamra y Río de Oro ("Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro" Arabic: الجبهة الشعبية لتحرير ساقية الحمراء و وادي الذهب‎TOSHIBA Satellite L755-SP5102CL Laptop Keyboard

Al-Jabhat Al-Sha'abiyah Li-Tahrir Saqiya Al-Hamra'a wa Wadi Al-Dhahab), is aSahrawi rebel national liberation movement working for ending Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara. The Polisario Front is an observer member of the Socialist International.[1]

The Polisario Front is outlawed in the parts of Western Sahara under Moroccan control, and raising its flag is illegal.[2] HP 640436-001 Laptop Keyboard

The Polisario Front is a successor of 1950s and 1960s organization Movimiento para la Liberación del Sahara, of the city of Villa Cisneros.[citation needed]

Since 1979, the Polisario Front has been recognized by the United Nations as the representative of the people of Western Sahara.[3] HP Pavilion G6-1223TX Laptop Keyboard

In 1971 a group of young Sahrawi students in the universities of Morocco began organizing what came to be known as The Embryonic Movement for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro[citation needed]. HP Mini 110-3004tu Laptop Keyboard

After attempting in vain to gain backing from several Arab governments, including both Algeria and Morocco, but only drawing faint notices of support fromLibya and Mauritania, the movement eventually relocated to Spanish-controlled Western Sahara to start an armed rebellion. TOSHIBA Satellite M645-S4047 Laptop Keyboard

The Polisario Front was formally constituted on May 10, 1973 with the express intention of militarily forcing an end toSpanish colonization. Its first Secretary General was El-Ouali Mustapha Sayed. On May 20, he led the Khanga raid, Polisario's first armed action,[citation needed] in which a Spanish post manned by a team of Tropas Nomadas (Sahrawi-staffed auxiliary forces) DELL Inspiron N4050 laptop keyboard

was overrun and rifles seized. Polisario then gradually gained control over large swaths of desert countryside, and its power grew from early 1975 when the Tropas Nomadas began deserting to the Polisario, bringing weapons and training with them. At this point, Polisario's manpower included perhaps 800 men and women, Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E520 laptop keyboard

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but they were suspected to backed by a much larger network of supporters. A UN visiting mission headed by Simeon Aké that was conducted in June 1975 concluded that Sahrawi support for independence (as opposed to Spanish rule or integration with a neighbouring country) amounted to an "overwhelming consensus" and that the Polisario Front was the most powerful political force in the country.[4] SONY VAIO VGN-AR230G laptop keyboard

While Spain started negotiating a handover of power in the summer of 1975, in the end the regime of Francisco Francodecided to throw in its lot with Western Sahara's neighbors instead[citation needed]. SONY VAIO VGN-AR670 laptop keyboard

After Moroccan pressures through the Green March of November 6 and the Moroccan Army previous invasion of eastern Saguia el-Hamra of October 31, Spain entered negotiations that led to the signing of the Madrid Accords between Spain, Morocco and Mauritania. Upon Spain's withdrawal, HP Pavilion dv6-2030ev laptop keyboard

and in application of the Madrid Accords in 1976, Morocco took over Saguia El Hamra while Mauritania took control of Rio De Oro. The Polisario Front proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic on February 27, Compaq Presario CQ56-102SE laptop keyboard

1976, and waged a guerrilla war against both Morocco and Mauritania. The World Court at The Hague had issued its verdict on the former Spanish colony just weeks before, which each party interpreted as confirming its rights to the disputed territory. TOSHIBA Satellite C655-SP6010L laptop keyboard

The POLISARIO kept up the guerrilla war while they simultaneously had to help guard the columns of Sahrawi refugees fleeing, but after the air bombings by the Royal Moroccan Air Force on improvised Sahrawi refugee camps in Umm Dreiga, Tifariti, Guelta Zemmur and Amgala, the Front had to relocate the refugees to Tindouf (western region of Algeria). HP 9J.NOL82.W01 laptop keyboard

For the next two years the movement grew tremendously as Sahrawi refugees continued flocking to the camps and Algeria and Libya supplied arms and funding. Within months, its army had expanded to several thousand armed fighters, camels were replaced by modern jeeps (most of them were Spanish Land Rover Santana jeeps, FUJITSU Lifebook S7210 laptop keyboard

captured from Moroccan soldiers), and 19th-century muskets were replaced by assault rifles. The reorganized army was able to inflict severe damage throughguerrilla-style hit-and-run attacks against opposing forces in Western Sahara and in Morocco and Mauritania proper. Packard Bell Easynote LM94 laptop keyboard

The weak Mauritanian regime of Moktar Ould Daddah, whose army numbered under 3,000 men,[5] proved unable to fend off the guerrilla incursions. After repeated strikes at the country's principal source of income, the iron mines of Zouerate, the government was nearly incapacitated by the lack of funds and the ensuing internal disorder.[6] SONY VAIO VGN-N38Z/W laptop keyboard

Ethnic unrest in theMauritanian armed forces also strongly contributed to the ineffectiveness of the army: forcibly conscripted black Africansfrom the south of the country resisted getting involved in what they viewed as a northern intra-Arab dispute, SONY VAIO VGN-N250E/B laptop keyboard

and the Moors and Sahrawis of northern Mauritania often sympathized with POLISARIO, fearing the regional ambitions of Morocco, and Daddah's increasing dependence on Moroccan military support. HP Pavilion DV6t-4000 laptop keyboard

The regime was not saved even by overt French Air Force backing in 1978, when SEPECAT Jaguar fighters strafed and bombed Polisario guerrilla columns en route to Mauritania. Also, the death of POLISARIO leader El Ouali in a raid on Nouakchottdid not have the anticipated result in the collapse of Sahrawi morale. HP Pavilion dv6-2112sa Laptop Keyboard

Instead, he was replaced by Mohamed Abdelaziz, with no letup in the pace of attacks. The Daddah regime finally fell in 1978 to a coup d'état led by war-weary military officers,[7] who immediately agreed to a cease fire with the POLISARIO. COMPAQ Presario CQ60-201EP Laptop Keyboard

A comprehensive peace treaty was signed on August 5, 1979, in which the new government recognized Sahrawi rights to Western Sahara and relinquished its own claims. Mauritania withdrew all its forces and would later proceed to formally recognize the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, HP Pavilion G7-1167DX Laptop Keyboard

causing a massive rupture in relations with Morocco. King Hassan II of Morocco immediately claimed the area of Western Sahara evacuated by Mauritania (Tiris al-Gharbiya, roughly corresponding to the southern half of Río de Oro), which was unilaterally annexed by Morocco in August 1979.[8] HP AEUT5U00010 Laptop Keyboard

A cease-fire between the Polisario Front and Morocco, monitored by MINURSO (UN), has been in effect since September 6, 1991, on the promise of a referendum on independence the following year. However, the referendum stalled over disagreements on voter rights. Numerous attempts to restart the process (most significantly the launching of the 2003Baker plan) ACER Aspire 1410-742G16n Laptop Keyboard

seem to have failed. The POLISARIO has repeatedly threatened to resume hostilities if a referendum cannot be held, and claims that the current situation of "neither peace, nor war" is unsustainable. Pressures on the leadership from the refugee population to resume fighting are apparent, but to date the cease fire (unlike the referendum promise) has been respected. DELL Inspiron 1750 Laptop Keyboard

In April 2007, the government of Morocco suggested that a self-governing entity, through the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs (CORCAS), should govern the territory with some degree of autonomy for Western Sahara. The project was presented to the United Nations Security Council in mid-April 2007, HP Pavilion dv6-2112sa Laptop Keyboard

 and quickly gained French and US support. POLISARIO had handed in its own proposal the day before, which insisted on the previously agreed referendum, but allowed for negotiating the status of Moroccans now living in the territory should the outcome of a referendum be in favor of independence. Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E520 Laptop Keyboard

The stalemate led the UN Security Council to ask the parties to enter into direct and unconditional negotiations to reach "a mutually accepted political solution".[9] This led to the negotiations process known as the Manhasset negotiations. Four rounds were held in 2007 and 2008; no progress was made, TOSHIBA Satellite L775D-S7305 Laptop Keyboard

however, as both parties refused to compromise about what they considered core sovereignty issues. POLISARIO agreed to add autonomy as per the Moroccan proposal to a referendum ballot, but refused to relinquish the concept of an independence referendum itself, SONY VAIO VGN-NR11Z/S Laptop Keyboard

as agreed in 1991 and 1997. Morocco, in its turn, insisted on only negotiating the terms of autonomy offered, but refused to consider an option of independence on the ballot.  DELL Vostro 3450 Laptop Keyboard

In May 2010, Polisario Front suspended contacts with the MINURSO, because of the failure on implementing the self-determination referendum, and accused the force of "... turning into a protector shield of a colonial fact, the occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco".[10] HP G42-164LA Laptop Keyboard

The POLISARIO is first and foremost a nationalist organization, whose main goal is the independence of Western Sahara. It has stated that ideological disputes should be left for a future democratic Western Sahara to deal with.  HP G42-415DX Laptop Keyboard

It views itself as a "front" encompassing all political trends in Sahrawi society, and not as a political party. As a consequence, there is no party programme. However, the Sahrawi republic's constitution gives a hint of the movement's ideological context: in the early 1970s, POLISARIO adopted a vaguely socialist rhetoric,  DELL FM8 Laptop Keyboard

in line with most national liberation movements of the time, but this was eventually abandoned in favour of a non-politicized Sahrawi nationalism. By the late 1970s, references to socialism in the republic's constitution were removed, and by 1991, the Polisario was explicitly pro-free-market. TOSHIBA Mini NB 505-SP0160 Laptop Keyboard

The POLISARIO has stated that it will, when Sahrawi self-determination has been achieved, either function as a party within the context of a multi-party system, or be completely disbanded. This is to be decided by a Polisario Front congress upon the achievement of Western Sahara's independence. DELL Vostro PP37L laptop keyboard

The Polisario Front has denounced terrorism and attacks against civilians,[11][12] and sent condolences to Morocco after the2003 Casablanca bombings. It describes its struggle as a "clean war of national liberation". Since 1989, when the cease-fire was first concluded,  SONY VAIO VGN-SZ640 laptop keyboard

the movement has stated it will pursue its goal of Western Sahara's independence by peaceful means as long as Morocco complies with the cease-fire conditions, which include arranging a referendum on independence, while reserving the right to resume armed struggle if terms are objectively breached, for example, Compaq Presario CQ56-110SE laptop keyboard

if the referendum is not conducted. Mohamed Abdelaziz has repeatedly stated that the Moroccan withdrawal from the 1991 Settlement Planand refusal to sign the 2003 Baker Plan would logically lead to war from its perspective if the international community does not step in.[13][14] SONY VAIO VGN-AR230G laptop keyboard

In contrast, POLISARIO-Mauritanian relations following a peace treaty in 1979 and the recognition of the SADR by Mauritania in 1984, with the latter's retreat from Western Sahara, have been quiet and generally neutral without reports of armed clashes from either side. SONY VAIO VGN-CR32S laptop keyboard

The series of protests and riots in 2005 by Sahrawis in the occupied territories received strong vocal support from POLISARIO as a new pressure point on Morocco. Abdelaziz characterised them as a substitute path for the armed struggle, and indicated that if peaceful protest was squashed, in its view, without a referendum forthcoming, its armed forces would intervene[citation needed]. SONY VAIO VGN-FS790 laptop keyboard

Until 1991, POLISARIO's structure was much different from the present one. It was, despite a few changes, inherited from the before 1975, when the Polisario Front functioned as a small, tightly-knit guerrilla movement, with a few hundred members. Consequently, it made few attempts at a division of powers, instead concentrating most of the decision-making power in the top echelons of POLISARIO for maximum battlefield efficiency.  SONY VGN-FE11M laptop keyboard

This meant that most power rested in the hands of the Secretary General and a nine-man executive committee, elected at congresses and with different military and political responsibilities. A 21-man Politburo would further check decisions and connect the movement with its affiliated "mass organizations", UGTSARIO,UJSARIO and UNMS (see below). LENOVO IdeaPad S10 20015 Laptop Keyboard

But after the movement took on the role as a state-in-waiting in 1975, based in the refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria, this structure proved incapable of dealing with its vastly expanded responsibilities. FUJITSU Amilo Mini Ui 3520 Laptop Keyboard

As a consequence, the old military structure was wedded to the new grass-roots refugee camp administration which had asserted itself in Tindouf, with its system of committees and elected camp assemblies. HP G62-450SV Laptop Keyboard

In 1976, the situation was further complicated by the Sahrawi Republic assuming functions of government in the camps and Polisario-held territories of Western Sahara. The SADR and POLISARIO institutions often overlapped, and their division of power was often hard to ascertain. TOSHIBA Satellite L300 Laptop Keyboard

A more comprehensive merger of these different organizational patterns (military organization/refugee camps/SADR) was not achieved until the 1991 congress, when both the Polisario and SADR organizations were overhauled, integrated into the camp structure and further separated from each other. HP G72-b52SF Laptop Keyboard

This followed protests calling for expanding the internal democracy of the movement, and also led to important shifts of personnel in the top tiers of both Polisario and SADR.

The organizational order described below applies today, and was roughly finalized in the 1991 internal reforms of the movement, IBM Lenovo Thinkpad X201 Laptop Keyboard

although minor changes have been made since then.

The Polisario Front is led by a Secretary General. The first Secretary General was Brahim Gali,[15] replaced in 1974 by El-Ouali at the II Congress of the Polisario Front, followed by Mahfoud Ali Beiba as Interim Secretary General upon his death. GATEWAY AEPA6TAU111 Laptop Keyboard

In 1976, Mohamed Abdelaziz was elected at the III Congress of the Polisario, and has held the post ever since. The Secretary General is elected by the General Popular Congress (GPC), regularly convened every four years. The GPC is composed of delegates from the Popular Congresses of the refugee camps in Tindouf, HP 496878-001 Laptop Keyboard

which are held biannually in each camp, and of delegates from the women's' organization (UNMS), youth organization (UJSARIO), workers' organization (UGTSARIO) and military delegates from the SPLA (see below). SONY VAIO VGN-FZ21E Laptop Keyboard

All residents of the camps have a vote in the Popular Congresses, and participate in the administrative work in the camp through base-level 11-person cells, which form the smallest unit of the refugee camp political structure.  Lenovo 04W0872 Laptop Keyboard

These typically care for distribution of food, water and schooling in their area, joining in higher-level organs (encompassing several camp quarters) to cooperate and establish distribution chains. There is no formal membership of Polisario; instead, anyone who participates in its work or lives in the refugee camps is considered a member. HP 519265-001 Laptop Keyboard

Between congresses, the supreme decision-making body is the National Secretariat, headed by the Secretary General. The NS is elected by the GPC. It is subdivided into committees handling defense, diplomatic affairs, etc. The 2003 NS, elected at the 11th GPC in Tifariti, HP 576835-001 laptop keyboard

Western Sahara, has 41 members. Twelve of these are secret delegates from the Moroccan-controlled areas of Western Sahara. This is a shift in policy, as the POLISARIO traditionally confined political appointments to diaspora Sahrawis, for fear of infiltration and difficulties in communicating with Sahrawis in the Moroccan-controlled territories. HP G62-450SV laptop keyboard

It is probably intended to strengthen the movement's underground network in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara, and link up with the rapidly growing Sahrawi civil rights activism. SONY VAIO VGN-FZ21E laptop keyboard

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