Mauritania

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Islamic Republic of Mauritania

The present nation of Mauritania is officially the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (الجمهورية الإسلامية الموريتانية). The region was a part of the ancient Ghana Empire, but in 1076 Moorish warriors invaded resulting in a 500 year effort to subdue the indigenous population. This culminated in the Mauritanian Thirty Years War (Char Bouba War) in which immigrant Arab tribes such as the Beni Hassan defeated the local Sanhadja Berber tribes, thus securing control over modern day Mauritania. The nation and many of its surrounding neighbors came under French control in the late 19th century; by 1920 most of the nation was brought under French colonial administration as French West Africa. Independence was granted in 1960.

The Mauritania-Senegal Border War was fought between the two nations between April 1989 and July 1991, ending in a treaty initiated by the Senegalese president. The country has frequently experienced tensions between black African and Arab Mauritanians, with Arabs traditionally dominating politics and blacks often relegated to low social status. Although outlawed under French administration, slavery is rumoured to still exist, with as much as 20% of the population living under conditions of forced labor. The nation has endured several regime changes by coup d'etat, the latest orchestrated by General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz in August of 2008.

Camouflage Patterns of Mauritania

  • The oldest documented camouflage pattern in use with Mauritania's armed forces is a copy of the French tenue de leópard or lizard pattern. This has continued to be worn in various guises into the present era.

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  • A unique variant of the French lizard design utilizing desert colors has been in use with the Mauritanian armed forces since the late 1980s or early 1990s. The stripes of this pattern, like the original French design, are oriented horizontally. Although a vertical variation of the pattern was produced, there is no evidence supporting its use by Mauritania or any other country.

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  • Another variation of the French lizard design, made in China and having less-finely detailed stripes, is also worn by this nation. This pattern has seen widespread use by many nations throughout Africa.

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  • Most recently, some members of the armed forces have also worn a copy of the French CE woodland camouflage pattern.

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  • A copy of the US-designed tricolor desert pattern is also worn by some units in this country.

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  • This nation has also adopted a copy of the Italian armed forces vegetato pattern, which has been documented in use by the Presidential Guard unit.

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  • Additionally, members of the Mauritanian Air Force have adopted a variation of the Italian desert vegetato design, which appears to use a slightly different color palette.

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  • Another camouflage design worn by some members of the Presidential Guard unit is this four-color variation of desert DPM.

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