Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Military Space News .

President shot amid moves against al-Qaida
by Staff Writers
Nouakchott, Mauritania (UPI) Oct 17, 2012

The president of coup-prone Mauritania was recovering in a French hospital Wednesday after being shot by one of his own soldiers.

Officials say it was an accident, but there are suspicions it may have been an assassination attempt by al-Qaida.

Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz himself led two coups in the northwestern African state, the last one in 2008 in which he took power.

He's long been a leading opponent of the jihadist forces operating in the region.

The suspicions of an al-Qaida hit hinge on Abdel Aziz's efforts to crush the jihadist network that has swelled across the region and in particular his support for military intervention to crush al-Qaida's North African affiliate and its Islamist allies who seized control of two thirds of neighboring Mali in the spring.

If jihadists were involved in Saturday's shooting, that would likely intensify pressure on the United Nations to approve military intervention against the jihadists, which could ignite violence across North Africa.

The shooting of Abdel Aziz -- accidental or not -- took place at a checkpoint 25 miles northeast of the capital Nouakchott after nightfall as he drove returned from a regular weekend break at his ranch, his country retreat.

Officials say a military patrol failed to recognize the presidential convoy, in which Abdel Aziz was driving his own car, and opened fire.

Reports vary, but most confirm he was hit in the arm or abdomen, or both. Communications Minister Hamdi Ould Mahjoub said Abdel Aziz was "lightly wounded and his life is not threatened."

He was hospitalized in the capital. "Thank God, I'm doing well," he said in a televised statement from his hospital bed.

But despite reports he was doing well, he was flown to France, the former colonial power, Sunday for unspecified treatment at a military hospital.

There was no official explanation for that, raising questions about his condition and indeed the shooting itself.

Local commentators have questioned official accounts, asking why Abdel Aziz was traveling without bodyguards, why the checkpoint did not his convoy was approaching and if his injuries were light why he was moved to France.

If indeed the shooting was not accidental, it's generally believed Abdel Aziz, widely seen as a despot with no lack of enemies, was attacked by gunmen linked to AQIM.

It has issued several death threats against him for his hard-line crackdown on Islamist militants.

In July, one of al-Qaida's top ideologues, the veteran Abu Hafs al-Mauritani, returned to his homeland from Iran, where he had lived since late 2001.

It's not clear whether he's actively engaged in jihadist operations, and there's no evidence he was involved in the shooting of Abdel Aziz.

But with AQIM running northern Mali, his presence in Mauritania should be a cause for concern.

Mauritanian forces, which have been aided in the past by French Special Forces, mounted repeated attacks on AQIM bases in Mali before a March rebellion split the country in two.

Heavily armed Islamists, spearheaded by AQIM, seized control of the northern region and declared an Islamist state. Regional and Western powers fear it will provide a launchpad for jihadist attacks across the Sahel and even into Europe.

Abdel Aziz's government would be a key component of any regional intervention against al-Qaida and its allies in Mali.

The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States has proposed sending in a 3,000-strong force, provided the U.N. Security Council gives its approval.

Earlier this month, U.S. officials disclosed the White House had held secret meetings to examine the Islamist threat in Mali and to consider unilateral military strikes.

France has had a score of citizens kidnapped by AQIM and has commando units on the ground in North Africa. It favors military action to eliminate the jihadist threat. Several Western powers support intervention.

U.S. Special Forces have been reported moving into position for a possible strike, particularly following the Sept. 11 killing of the U.S. ambassador in Libya, Christopher Stevens, and other Americans in Benghazi, supposedly by jihadist operatives.

The Americans are reported to be considering extending missile strikes by unmanned aerial vehicles, widely used against jihadists in Yemen and Somalia, to North Africa.

AQIM and its allies in northern Mali were reported Oct. 8 to be bracing for a major offensive against them and to be building up their defenses.


Related Links
The Long War - Doctrine and Application

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Jihadist threat: Israel gunning in Gaza
Tel Aviv, Israel (UPI) Oct 16, 2012
Israel's aerial assassination of the two top jihadist leaders in the Gaza Strip marked a major blow against al-Qaida in the Palestinian territory, which is seen as a growing threat because of ties to Islamist extremists in Egypt's increasingly lawless Sinai Peninsula. On Saturday, Abu al-Walid al-Maqdisi, aka Hisham al-Saidani, a co-founder of the Mujahedin Shura Council, a jihadist umb ... read more

Jacobs supports Patriot Excalibur system

Russia prepares a response to US missile defence plans

Northrop Grumman Completes SBIRS HEO-3 Payload Integration and Ambient Functional Test

Report: Funding for Iron Dome could be cut

Full production for German army missile

Raytheon awarded $349 million US Army contract for TOW missiles

UN's Ban alarmed by North Korea missile claim

Raytheon awarded US Army contract for TOW missiles

Innocon selects Imint's Vidhance video enhancement engine and video tracker for its small unmanned aerial vehicles

Venezuela serious about producing drones

Israel unveils Flying Elephant, other UAVs

Israel's IAI 'wins $958M India drone deal'

$15M order for Harris tactical radios

SPAWAR Atlantic taps Engility

Northrop Grumman Begins Production of EHF SatCom System for B-2 Bomb

Mutualink Selects Benchmark to Manufacture Interoperable Communications Systems on Global Scale

Peru begins de-mining operations

Ukraine Brings Back Naval Killer Dolphins

4,000 tonnes of old munitions explode in Russia

Lockheed Martin Completes Centralization Of Targets and Countermeasures Operations in Huntsville

Putin slams dictation to Russia on arms trade

China leads rise in Asia military spending: study

Britain to investigate military 'cash for access' claims

EADS/BAE deal collapse a setback, mergers still needed: analysts

Chinese warships sail near Japan island: Tokyo

Outside View: Ready, aim fire!

Obama dismisses Romney tough talk on China

France refuses to take sides in China-Japan islands row

New Techniques Stretch Carbon Nanotubes, Make Stronger Composites

New Way to Prevent Cracking in Nanoparticle Films

Queen's develops new environmentally friendly MOF production method

Drawing a line, with carbon nanotubes

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement