Fear of al-Qaida attack cancels Dakar Rally
The annual Dakar Rally was canceled Friday on the eve of the race because of terror threats and the recent slaying of a French family in Mauritania that was blamed on al-Qaida-linked militants.
It was the first time in the 30-year history of the automobile, motorbike and truck race across the Sahara Desert that it has been called off.
In a statement, organizers blamed international tensions, the tourists' Dec. 24 murders and "threats launched directly against the race by terrorist organizations."
"No other decision but the cancellation of the sporting event could be taken," they said.
France, where the race organizers are based, had urged the rally to avoid Mauritania after the slaying of the four family members in an attack blamed on a terror cell that uses the Mauritanian desert as a hideout.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner praised the decision.
"In our opinion, in a complicated geographical context - and above all in a context of insufficient security - it seems very wise to have chosen security, and I commend them for it," he told France-Info radio.
Well- what do you know. A French foreign minister that lay's down on his back. Surprise! But yes, it is probably wise to cancel the rally. But whos fault is it really? The presbyritans? The catholics? The protestants? The hindus?-HUH?