I Have No Idea How I Should Feel About This

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania (AP) - Mauritanian army officers overthrew the U.S.-allied president on Wednesday, saying a military junta would temporarily rule the Islamic nation that has increasingly looked to the West as the government raised fears of a growing threat from al-Qaida linked militants.

President Maaoya Sid'Ahmed Taya, who himself seized power in a coup two decades ago, was out of the country when presidential guard troops took control of the national radio and television stations earlier Wednesday, cutting broadcasts and seizing a building housing the army chief of staff headquarters.

Taya, who has allied himself with the United States in the war on terror and cracked down ruthlessly on opponents he accuses of being Islamic extremists, refused comment after arriving Wednesday in nearby Niger from Saudi Arabia, where he attended King Fahd's funeral.


The junta said it would exercise power for up to two years to allow time to put in place ``open and transparent'' democratic institutions.


Oil recently was discovered in reserves offshore in Mauritania and the country is expected to begin pumping crude for the first time early next year.

I suppose the smart money is on this just being the exchange of one brutal, repressive dictator for another. For more on Mauritania (high on the list of Places I'm Glad I'm Not From), go here.

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