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Rough times are seen ahead for the government in Mauritania. Both inside and outside the North African nation, which has 1.6 million people, opposition is believed growing to the military regime of Air Force Lt. Col. Mohammad Khona Haidallah.

A Paris-based opposition group, the Alliance for Democratic Mauritania, seeks the government's ouster -- preferably by peaceful means, but possibly by force. The alliance advocates free elections at home and a policy of staying out of the nearby war raging between Morocco and Polisario guerrillas in the Western Sahara.

Henry Precht, head of the State Department's Iran crisis task force, will soon be dispatched to Mauritania as the new US ambassador.

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