Few have taken little interest in Mauritania since its independence from France in 1960, because until recently it was seen as a poor expanse of desert with little strategic value (it has one of the lowest GDPs in Africa, making it among the poorest countries in the world). However, its importance is likely to increase, and with it the world's attention. Mauritania's extensive iron ore deposits, which account for almost half of its exports, have increased in value due to rising metal prices, leading to more mines being opened, and increased revenues. Furthermore, oil was discovered in 2001, although Mauritanians have yet to benefit because the country lacks the necessary infrastructure to fully exploit its reserves. However, with production on the rise, several oil exploration deals inked in the last year, the potential windfall is huge.
There is also the possibility, or perhaps even the probability, that the protests in Mauritania will intensify, mainly because the government seems not to have learned from the mistakes of other Arab regimes that are under threat. It has used a combination of repression and pledges of reform that have left Mauritanians unconvinced and more frustrated. Demonstrations have thus far been peaceful and centred around reforms. However, as in other Arab states, if protesters feel they are being indefinitely ignored or oppressed, not only might calls for reform become demands for regime change, but violence may become a means to advance those demands – a particularly dangerous development given Mauritania's ethnic fault lines.
Mauritanians are no less deserving of their rights, rather than the self-serving interests of the world powers.
Taken from here