A dangerous and decisive day as Abidjan awaits its fate
Some dangerous, possibly decisive days ahead for Ivory Coast.
Across the city, ambassadors in their manicured, cloistered villas, are preparing evacuation plans.
Right now Abidjan feels a little quieter than usual - but that's only because everyone is waiting to hear from the far side of the continent. Will it be news of a peace deal that filters back from Ethiopa, or - rather more likely - the starting gun for a return to full-scale conflict?
The expectation - by no means guaranteed - here is that the African Union will attempt to paper over its cracks and endorse Alassane Ouattara as the legitimate, elected president of Ivory Coast at a high-level meeting in Addis Ababa.
Mr Ouattara has left his besieged headquarters at the Golf hotel in Abidjan to travel to Addis - clearly anticipating the continent's backing. But his rival, Laurent Gbagbo has stayed behind, snubbing the AU and strongly implying that he will not abide by its recommendations.
If that happens, a well-placed source here in Abidjan has told me that we could see Mr Ouattara's forces - the former rebels who still hold the northern half of Ivory Coast - launch swift attacks on the south in order to seize full control of the country. Their allies are already pushing in from the west.
Will they race to find a military solution? Do they have the necessary force to win - and how much are neighbouring states weighing in with logistical support? Hard to say. This is a very unpredictable neighbourhood. It's hard to imagine Laurent Gbagbo's forces crumbling without the "bloodbath" that some here are already predicting.
Success for Mr Ouattara's side will depend a great deal on how quickly the southern economy - collapsing under the weight of sanctions - weakens Mr Gbagbo's grip on power and his ability to fight back.
Petrol, gas, and cash are all in short supply here. That will only get worse.
On Wednesday I took the short UN helicopter ride across the lagoon here in Abidjan to the Golf hotel. With Mr Ouattara away, the place was much quieter than on my last visit. The trapped inmates - or ministers, aides, and bureaucrats - sat drinking coffee in the lounge, or pacing the gardens for exercise.
"It's the only place I feel safe," said one aide. "I miss my family."
Patrick Achi, named by Mr Ouattara as presidential spokesman and government minister, was sounding far more confident, insisting that many soldiers were defecting from the Gbagbo camp, that a "consensus" would emerge from Addis, that sanctions were causing Mr Gbagbo to "panic" and that this crisis was entering its final stage.
But, he said, "we are afraid of a crazy dictator, losing power, doing a crazy thing - setting the country on fire."
Later today I'm hoping to meet Charles Ble Goude - leader of Mr Gbagbo's fiercely loyal Young Patriots.
In the meantime, you can follow me on twitter at hardingbbc