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Will the world prevent Ivory Coast war?

Andrew Harding | 15:28 UK time, Thursday, 24 March 2011

Is there a more chilling spectacle than a country sliding, fast and foolishly, into civil war?

Ivory Coast is at least three-quarters of the way there now, and the optimists are running out of straws at which to clutch.

Laurent Gbagbo supporters undergoing military training

These supporters of Laurent Gbagbo are undergoing military training

It's still not beyond the realm of possibility that this might play out peacefully," says a western diplomat in Abidjan. "But that's becoming less and less likely."

"It will be worse than Rwanda," says a contact of mine, who is close to Laurent Gbagbo, the man trying to cling on to the presidency. The comment hangs pungently in the air - half-way between a warning and a threat.

We can quibble over the details of the impending war. Military leaders allied to internationally recognised President Alassane Ouattara talk - unrealistically to my mind - of something like a "blitzkrieg." Others fear something grimly close to genocide. But the drumbeat of war, of one sort or another, is ominously loud.

Can outside pressure still halt the inevitable? There is hopeful talk of widening divisions within Gbagbo's camp, of defections and waverings - a palace coup, perhaps - as international economic sanctions bite. But Ivory Coast's key neighbours are caught up in their own electoral battles, and while the region hasn't ruled out military intervention, it's doing a lousy job of trying to sound threatening.

There are some signs that, after weeks spent focusing on Libya, the UN and the African Union are once again turning their attention to Ivory Coast's crisis. About time too. For many on this continent, the contrast between the international responses to the two countries is stark and telling.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Gbagbo was like a dejected village clown with a lit match threatening to burn down all the grass huts in the village.. The village elders watched on trying to talk sense into him while forgetting to send someone to the village well for a bucket of water ... Now with the grass burning, all village elders are busy yanking out their best bits in an effort extinguish the flames. ... A bucket of water won't help anymore, Obama's and Europe's fire brigades are needed now....The sad truth be said, 6 million Libyans with oil are obviously more important to the west than 21 Million Ivorians with cocoa..

  • Comment number 2.

    Sadly the worlds attention is focussed on Libya and some have said that if Ivory Coast had oil things might be different. I just hope that for the sake of humanity these two 'babies' sit together and come to a meaningfull solution

  • Comment number 3.

    It beats my imagination how the situation in Ivory Coast has been relegated to the background by all the International Media and governments. 41 percent of Abidjan residents have fled. Abidjan is half empty for fear of been killed by supporters of Gbagbo. I just left the Ghana boarder. Hundreds of Ivorians are stranded at the boarder. I saw a couple of families sleeping in their cars. In Accra,Ivory Coast is overdue for some sort of drastic action by the international community long before Libya.

  • Comment number 4.

    @victor The population of Abidjan was about 4 million of which approximately 500,000 have fled. That represents around 13% of the population, not 41%.

    @Chris That ECOMOG and the UN are not taking military action does not mean that the international community is doing nothing. Libya and Côte d'Ivoire are two entirely different situations and call for different responses. In Libya, Gaddafi launched large air attacks against civilians. While the situation in CI is grave and the potential for violence is great, those concerns have to be weighed against the consequences of military action, which would likely result in government troops and Blé Goudé's adherents attacking civilians. These actors will presume individuals' political affiliations based on their ethnicity or which quartier they live in. Unlike with Libya, there is no consensus on the best course of action with CI. At this point, it might be safer to wait and see if Gbagbo is not removed by someone who would be willing to negotiate. In the near future, the government's money will dry up which may trigger a "change of power." ECOMOG and the UN should stand by to protect the civilian population. Finally, Côte d'Ivoire needs a permanent solution to the crisis of the last 15 or so years. An invasion at this point would forestall the resolution of that crisis. Gbagbo's supporters will see it as an imposition. While Gbagbo's supporters are not a majority, they are numerous and this perception would lead to political problems in the future.

  • Comment number 5.

    I'm very sad the wold world only focusing in Libya, and forget about the peoples of Ivory coast .
    it very sad and shame !!!!
    George Koudakpo !!!!

  • Comment number 6.

    At Arnold.
    "While the situation in CI is grave and the potential for violence is great"

    Don't you think that this should be the main reason for a military intervention? They are letting it escalate to a point where nothing will stop it unless they get tired of chopping people up. They should have removed him from power 2 days after he lost the elections, they could have prevented everything and it would have been cheaper. The situation in Libya is bad but the one in Ivory Coast is starting to look worse in my opinion. I am not saying they should choose between the two, there are more western countries that boast a military that is capable of pulling Gagbo from his palace and flying him to The Hague. Your argument is exactly the reason that an estimated 800,000 people were brutally murdered in Rwanda. And of course the reason that Rwanda does not have oil so it is impossible for such a small country pay its debt to the UN. The UN does not fight for free, they are mercenaries. Its a shame that the west doesn't learn from history or its past mistakes.

  • Comment number 7.

    If these two person could listen to ordinary african or Ivoryan people might they would stop civil war to happen in Ivory coast. I hope they could see messages. https://mycontinent.co/HotTopic1.php

  • Comment number 8.

    Let us not forget the almost 100,000 Ivoirian refugees in Liberia and the effect this crisis is having in that fragile country!

  • Comment number 9.

    worth quoting in full, i think...

    RESOLUTION A/RES.1/03/11 OF THE AUTHORITY OF HEADS OF STATE
    AND GOVERNMENT OF ECOWAS ON THE SITUATION IN COTE D’IVOIRE
    The Authority of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, meeting in
    Abuja from 23 to 24 March 2011 at its 39th Ordinary Summit;
    Having exhaustively reviewed the rapidly deteriorating political, security and
    humanitarian situation in Côte d’Ivoire provoked by the disputed run-off
    presidential election of 28 November 2010;
    Firmly condemning the wanton violence against civilians leading to
    unacceptable loss of life and property;
    Deploring the deliberate targeting of innocent Ivorians, ECOWAS citizens and
    other foreigners, and also the attacks on personnel of the UN Mission in Cote
    d’Ivoire;
    Deeply concerned by the large waves of refugees fleeing across borders and
    the swelling colonies of internally displaced persons;
    Convinced that the current situation is a direct consequence of the refusal of
    the out-going President, Mr. Laurent Gbagbo, to cede power to Mr. Alassane
    Ouattara, the universally recognized winner of the 28 November 2010 election;
    Recognizing that the crisis in Cote d’Ivoire has now become a regional
    humanitarian emergency;
    Recalling the Decisions of the Extraordinary Summits of the Authority of 7 and
    24 December 2010, particularly regarding paragraph 10 of the latter, which
    states: “In the event that Mr. Gbagbo fails to heed (the) immutable demand of
    ECOWAS (to hand over power), the Community would be left with no alternative
    but to take other measures, including the use of legitimate force, to achieve the
    goals of the Ivorian people”;
    Bearing in mind that these Decisions have been endorsed by the African Union
    and the United Nations;
    Firmly decides that the time has come to enforce its Decisions of 7 and 24
    December 2010 in order to protect life and to ensure the transfer of the reins of
    power to Mr. Alassane Ouattara without any further delay.
    -2-
    To this end, requests the UN Security Council to authorise the immediate
    implementation of the Authority Decisions of December 2010.
    In this context, requests the United Nations Security Council to strengthen the
    mandate of the United Nations’ Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), enabling the
    Mission to use all necessary means to protect life and property, and to facilitate
    the immediate transfer of power to Mr. Alassane Ouattara;
    Also requests the United Nations Security Council to adopt more stringent
    international targeted sanctions against Mr. Laurent Gbagbo and his associates;
    Directs the President of the ECOWAS Commission to explore all avenues of
    providing the Government of Mr. Alassane Ouattara all the necessary legal and
    diplomatic means to exercise its authority, including admitting the Government
    to all meetings of ECOWAS.
    Urges all Member States of ECOWAS to facilitate the accreditation of
    Ambassadors and other representatives of Mr. Alassane Ouattara to their
    countries;
    Further directs the President of the ECOWAS Commission to intensify
    contingency plans to meet all eventualities, including the provision of
    humanitarian corridors and the protection of civilians.
    Instructs the President of the ECOWAS Commission to take all appropriate
    measures to strengthen the ECOWAS presence in Côte d’Ivoire to facilitate the
    discharge of the responsibilities of the Community;
    Urges the UN to request the international Community to ensure an enabling
    environment for the population and the UN Mission to go about their duties
    without any hindrance, and provide protection and welfare to the refugees and
    internally displaced persons generated by the crisis;

  • Comment number 10.

    @Andrew Arnold #4... I have to disagree with you. The waiting and foot dragging is what has led to the situation we have now. We have a whole nation held hostage by jobless youths with Kalashnikovs who know that the only way they will ever get paid is extorting money from anyone they deem an enemy of the despot...

    Gbagbo engineered this lawless state we have in Cote d'Ivoire today to scare the rest of the world from intervening . Are we so scared of another "Black-hawk Down" that we can tolerate another Rwanda? This pussy-footing needs an end and preferably before half the population is massacred...

    Finally, the Gbagbo supporters will just have to be re-educated like a majority of the Germans after the second World war.

  • Comment number 11.

    The main goal of any action should be ensuring the safety of civilians. Right now there is NOT a wholesale massacre of civilians. So long as there is a possibility that the situation can be defused without war, that is the line of action that should be pursued. Military action with result in the deaths of thousands of civilians. It will also further radicalize the "jobless youths with Kalashnikovs," making it harder to achieve reconciliation in the long-term.

    The question is not whether Gbagbo is a terrible guy or whether he precipitated the crisis. (He is and he did; he should have gone ten year ago.) The question is how to protect civilians and promote a permanent solution to the underlying problems in CI: xenophobia and scapegoating. Removing Gbagbo from power through force will allow the UN to pat themselves on the back, but soon the international community will lose interest in CI and the country will be left to solve its own problems. An invasion at this point will make that vital long-term project more difficult.

  • Comment number 12.

    @Andrew Arnold

    You are saying that "Right now there is NOT a wholesale massacre of civilians" and that military action "would likely result in government troops and Blé Goudé's adherents attacking civilians". But civilians in Ivory Coast are ALREADY being attacked by pro-Gbagbo forces ! At least 462 people have been killed (the vast majority of them by pro-Gbagbo forces) since mid-December 2010 and at least 52 civilians have been killed in Abidjan in the past week. Many of the victims have been burnt alive or beaten to death. The atrocities committed by the pro-Gbagbo forces amount to crimes against humanity. Human Rights Watch has just published a report on the horrifying atrocities: "Côte d’Ivoire: Crimes Against Humanity by Gbagbo Forces".

  • Comment number 13.

    Andrew Arnold reminds me of ramblings of a misguided Canada-based "African Crisis expert" called Rebecca Sargent who believes they've mastered the Ivorian psyche...

    Proposals for pussy-footing around the issue until we have a "wholesale massacre of civilians" is exactly the same kind of attitude that brought around the genocide in Rwanda... If ONE million refugees from Abidjan alone and 52 extra-judicial murders in a single week are not enough for you to stop waiting until " ...the near future, the government's money will dry up which may trigger a "change of power." ", then I'm afraid our definitions of problems differ. And, our thresholds for the tolerance of murder..

    The jobless youths with Kalashnikovs are already radicalized.. They cannot get any worse. The youths that follow Ble Goude's calls to murder and terrorize people are just jobless thugs. They do what they do simply because their acts pillaging, robbery and murder and are blessed by Gbagbo's Government. There is no political ideology behind all their acts violence. The Gbagbo government simply exploits their sad and desperate state which also happens to be a legacy of his 10 years of mismanagement. These thugs, Gbagbo's last card, have to be stopped with brute force.

    The problems of "xenophobia and scapegoating" will be solved in much the same way as they were solved in Germany after WWII. Quoting the Ivorian writer and activist, Venance Konan, " .. better a terrible end than terror without an end..."

  • Comment number 14.

    I guess the personal attacks have begun. I am no self-professed expert on Côte d'Ivoire, but just a long-term resident of Abidjan who does not want to see his friends killed on the streets. As I stated before, the agreed upon purpose is to save the lives of civilians. We merely have a difference of opinion on the the best strategy. I would be the first to support military action if I thought Gbagbo could be removed quickly and easily. Because he does have a sizable support base, I am afraid that military intervention will lead to a protracted civil war. The difference between 462 dead and, potentially, tens of thousands dead is quite significant and worthy of discussion. Personally, I think the best course of action is still to try to force Gbagbo to leave willingly. I hope that the apparent lack of action by the UN and African Union mean that they are putting enormous pressure on him behind the scenes to leave--and not that they are doing nothing.

    CI is not Rwanda in 1994. Which is not to say it is any better or any worse. But the international community should focus on the specific facts of this case, otherwise it risks doing more harm than good.

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    The sad truth be said, 6 million Libyans with oil are obviously more important to the west than 21 Million us Ivorian black people with cocoa..

  • Comment number 17.

    I have not seen (and cannot imagine) any evidence that Ivorians are less capable of understanding the principles and methods of nonviolent protest than Egyptians and other Arabs both in Africa and Middle East. The writings of Gene Sharp are available in many languages other than English like French, German, etc and various oriental (though likely not in any of the African dialects.

    It appears to me that what is strongly needed is a small group of motivated Ivorians to study, understand and be highly determined to utilize Sharp's wisdom and methods, which include shaming and shunning those enforcing the edicts of the government desired by the many to be replaced/eliminated. All governments depend on their enforcers since no President, Prime Minister, legislators, bureaucrats, etc get out in the fields/streets themselves.

    I do not think that "the world [can] prevent Ivory Coast [or any local] war". It is the people in the area who have the most to gain and to lose and therefore need to take the actions.

    Anti-Ghaddafi Libyans lost their momentum for liberty when large numbers began to resort to violence - and the possibilities for the future are not good. And even the current situation in Egypt is not assured to bring individual liberty. I recommend, hopefully just as a start, The Nation's article on Gene Sharp done March 16 to those yearning in Ivory Coast for liberty and those who yearn with them.

  • Comment number 18.

  • Comment number 19.

    No,the world and its body UN does not have time for poor people of the world. Unless you start killing poor people in thousands or if you plenty of resources others want, they are not interested in just people. They know it that all the poor people will then flock to become illegal immigrants, so lesser the number better it is. The UN, African Union and the powers of the world are not really interested. Get up yourself and take care of your problem yourself. Even God helps those who help themselves, the humans are a really tiny part. Do it yourself.

  • Comment number 20.

    To Andrew Harding BBC, there is your answer! The West is not going to do anything! That link you just posted really makes me mad. Obama basically just said that the Ivorian people are on their own.

    "you deserve a chance to determain your own destiny". Obama.

  • Comment number 21.

    Determine*

  • Comment number 22.

    Well, Gentlemen, allow me to offer you a different point-of-view.

    My Wife is Ivorian and we are in close contact with her Family in the Ivory Coast. Let me tell you how very wrong you all are in your opinion.

    This war began eight years ago. It began because Gbagbo said that he would not renew contracts with France for the exclusive sale of the Ivory Coast's natural resources to France for a pittance.

    The contracts with France stated that the Ivory Coast could not offer its natural resources to the World market at market prices without first offering these resources to France. Gbagbo was the first President since 'Independance' to stand up to France and say 'enough is enough. I will no longer sell the resources of my country and my People to France at giveaway prices'. For example, ask yourselves why the Ivory Coast was never allowed to produce chocolate from its cocoa for sale to Europe and the Western World.

    Eight years ago, once Gbagbo denied France, the war with the 'rebels' began in the North. It has continued because Gbagbo is still denying France.

    But it is not just cocoa, the Ivory Coast has the largest deposit of 'sweet oil' in the west of Africa. The oil is so pure that it does not need to be refined. Since the 'rebels' invaded from the North, and I do mean invaded because most of them number among malcontents from Mali and Bukina Fasso, mineral resources in the North have been indiscriminately mined and transported to the West and elsewhere. For example, the plentiful supply of illegal ivorian diamonds and other precious stones and metals that have been found for sale in the neighbouring countries.

    This is no less than the economic rape of a soveriegn country by Peoples alien to its Nation and the World, instead of stopping this destruction, is encouraging it.

    Now, I suggest to you that France has engineered this 'invasion (rebellion)' to pressure Gbago into renewing the economic contracts with France. Q'uattara is all to ready to sign these contracts and this is why France has promoted him beyond all reason and good conscience.

    Let us consider the Invaders (rebels) for a moment. They are poor People yet they are in possession of some very modern and very expensive weapons. How is it that such poor people could come by this expensive armoury?

    I suggest to you that these weapons were supplied by France and other Western nations who have an interest in securing the natural resources of the Ivory Coast.

    Why did France react so quickly and so forcefully on the World stage?

    Why is it that the Ivory Coast was denied ts own voice at the table of the United Nations by France?

    So did Gbagbo really lose the election?

    The Sister to my Wife recently sought money to send to her Brother in the North of the Country. Apparently, the Rebels had threatened to kill him and his Family if certain 'fees' were not paid. During the election, the People in the Northern occupied territories had a simple choice. Either vote for Q'uattara or be killed!

    We heard a lot about how the elections had been ratified by the United Nations. But knows what really happened. In the South, Gbagbo asked simply for a recount but nobody and I repeat nobody was willing to do this. Ask yourself now about the impartiality of the United Nations and the use of their armoured vehicles to transport invading (rebel) soldiers from the North to the South during the ceasefire.

    We have heard a lot about the AU. For example, the President of Kenya seems to have declared his country in support of Q'wattara. Do you know that this President is a relation of the President of the United States and that he was helped by the President of the United States to become the President of Kenya: i suggest that the President of Kenya is merely returning the favour. The USA (see reference to the documentary at end of blog) also has an interest in the resources of the Ivory Coast and I ask how many others in the AU are also returning the favour?

    Under the Sovereign Law of the Ivory Coast, if after three days, the election winner had not been pronounced, then the Consitutional Court would then pronounce the winner. Note, that this is the same system that is used in France. The Consitutional Court found that there were gross irregularities in the votes cast in the Northern territories. For example, a village of no more than perhaps a hundred people, suddenly had an electoral population of over a thousand people.

    The Law is the Law and at least Gbagbo has maintained the rule of Law. The Ivorian Army has only supported Gbagbo because Gbagbo is supported by the Ivorian Law. Q'wattara is not supported by the Ivorian Law and France certainly does not dictate Ivorian Law.

    So Gbagbo is killing his own population, you say, but it was not Gbagbo who placed gunmen in amongst the 'peaceful protesters', who shot and killed the Ivorian military from within the crowd: these so-called 'invisible commandos'.

    With the development of his country in mind, Gbagbo had the courage to deny France. Q'attara, in accepting France, is dooming the Ivory Coast to the gun Law of the North and further years of economic rape and poverty.

    These 'invaders (Rebels)' are killing indiscriminately and looting as they go. Not just one but Two UNHCR Generals have resigned. They resigned because, in the words of one, 'they were not there to kill Ivorians'. If Q'attara is installed, I suggest that the gun law will continue and he will be unable to stop these foreigners from their killing spree. Q'wattara is not Ivorian so why should he even try to stop the killing?

    The World has got it very, very wrong. If the Ivorian population, the tribal chieftains in particular, did not wish Gbagbo to stay he would have been replaced a long time ago.

    Avoid the war, I read from all of these comments.

    Yet, you, the People who have written from outside and beyond the Ivory Coast; those who do not have a Sister who is being raped in the North or a Brother who is being shot because he is Ivorian, can do nothing but feel great shame for failing to search out the truth of this matter.

    Yet, you, the journalists, who have the power to persuade the World; how easily do you sleep at night knowing that you have aided western powers in their greedy destruction of an innocent People.

    But we are petitioning to save the People, you cry, and I say to you that you are decieved in your opinion.

    How ashamed you will be in ten years or so when the truth is finally revealed. What did people say about Iraq and the quest for weapons of mass destruction? But then, for you it was only a story, a moment in time, one that did not touch your Life and the lives of your Families. It will not matter to you in ten years from now, who died and who lived. Be deeply ashamed of what you write here today!

    I say to you again, all of you here that have written so easily, be ashmed of what you have done. The Ivorian People were and remain a peaceful People but you have opened the gates to this invasion from the North and the continued Theft by France of all that does not belong to them.

    As a last thought, I direct you to this documentary that was recently made by a French Journalist. It is similar in nature to the documentary that was published by an American after the destruction of the twin towers in New York. It raises similar questions and I ask you all to look beyond what appears to be and discover the Truth of this awful, awful tragedy.

    Gbagbo dans le tourbillon du Golfe de Guinée:
    Le film-documentaire qui dérange Choi et Sarkozy
    Laurent Gbagbo dans le tourbillon du Golfe de Guinée, un documentaire de O. Cetaril, révèle: Les enjeux géostratégiques des crises en Afrique.
    https://ci.telediaspora.net/fr/visuelvideo.asp?Idmedia=10704&idchaine=1&cat=0&tipe=0

    I rest in my Hope that the Truth will yet be discovered before the exacting depth of the impending genocide comes to pass and my Wife's Family is lost to the destruction and the oblivion of Western Greed.

    Peter Charles

  • Comment number 23.

    Peter Charles,

    that two UNHCR Generals resigned because they are "not there to kill Ivoirians" is frankly quite difficult to digest. UNHCR has non generals, nor weapons, as far as I am aware, and in no country, I'm pretty sure, they have ever killed anyone, at least not intentionally. Some of their white vehicles may have killed somebody accidentally, but then again life is not known to be a fair enterprise. Anyways, when someone wants to be convincing in talking about Truths, he/she should be careful in verifying the truthfulness, or at least the thoroughness of the information.

    That France has been putting extensive money for eight years into propping up a halfway rebellion and a ceasefire line with no real outcomes, and all this for cocoa, however admittedly of good quality, strikes me as a fantastic example of geopolitical inefficiency, if not stupidity, and it is equally hard to believe. The same goes for that sweet oil that, contrary to what you claim, still requires processing. Reminding you that Ghana, Nigeria and the very comfortable CAR (where the French have a much easier business in puppeteering political leaders) have also considerable potential in the sector does not diminish the basic fact that France and other “Western powers” hardly depend on Cote d'Ivoire for a living. Things are much more complex, so complex that trying to reason along the line of right or wrong becomes an fascinating aesthetic exercise, but also a rather futile one.

    The one thing that in my past eight years in Africa I have learned to come to term with, from civil war to civil war (trying to help civilians and everyday more convinced that maybe I was a fool even trying to), is that the precious skill of leading a country within a "realpolitik" approach is in very short supply in African leaders.

    I talk here as a citizen of Italy, a country that according to the need to support this or that theory, is at times referred to as a Western Country, southern Europe (mind, it is never with a positive meaning), Latino (yes, heard that mainly from South-Americans), Pastaland, Mafialand, member of the Mediterranean Club and so on. Besides our magic times a couple of millennia ago, our colonial history resumes pretty much in the killing of half a million (at least) Libyans, some thousand Somali elderly speaking Italian, 5 years of attempted control of Ethiopian main cities, and (according to some) providing Eritrea with a national identity that boosted its separation from Ethiopia. Compared to other "Western countries", this is a far cry from an outstanding performance. On the other hand, we can be proud of several centuries of internal wars, and this while Spaniards, French, Arabs, Turks, Habsburg and Nazi empires owned the lands of the Italian peninsula for centuries. If Italy were to recriminate, after the end of WWII, for all those colonial powers controlling our resources in the past, we would have never moved forward. Besides equal doses of foreign help and interference, post-war Italy managed to move on because we decided to deal with it, rather than complaining and dream that we could live isolated by the Alps and the seas.

    Rare examples of “realpolitik” in Africa, such as Ghana, the Uganda of the authoritative but flexible Museveni, and few others, provide in their relative success a striking contrast with those too many countries where ideological leaders (ideology masking in fact outstanding greed) decided to believe that their country can function by simply disconnecting from rules of engagement established for centuries… and trying to fool history. Funny enough, a reportedly talented historian such as Gbagbo could not see around him and in the past the countless examples of miserable failures from countries that decided (without having the skills or the resources yet) to “do it yourself”. With the exception of China, which still has a very smart tolerance to economic compromise, I cannot see many shining examples of happylands whose government thought they could just do what they please with international interests.

    Economy has run politics since politics existed, with only intermittent doses of pride or pure folly. “France and Western nations […] have an interest in securing the natural resources…”. Please stop me if you heard this before. I don’t know from which planet you come from, but here on Earth this is as new as saying that African elites have contributed as much as foreigners, and actually doing the real dirty work, in raping their own countries. That the solution to France annoying politics of interference (and I sincerely mean it, as a good Italian should) rests in shooting and shelling each other in Abidjan baffles me enough. But I find even more discomforting that there are still people who condone the systematic violence and slaughtering by African leaders and so-called liberators with overused excuses; violence against, almost always, powerless populations victim of wars for which they will never rip the benefits, but always pay, whoever wins. Violence condoned along a tired and tiring rhetoric of post-colonial vindication 50 years after the main independence wave and several “rough” African leaders nicely increasing their international bank accounts, assets and 4x4 vehicles, just slightly bigger than the enormous elite bodies that they are meant to carry around. A post-colonial rhetoric that stinks of hypocrisy, particularly when a country after all invented in its current borders by the French is now adopted by some manipulators as the cradle for a mythological “Ivoirité”.

    On planet Earth, where most European people decided to live, most people understand that some countries unfortunately matter in our internal affairs, and we get along with it, and try to influence things as much as we can in our relative power. It’s not always easy, and some of us have to pay dearly in the process. The experiment has just started, after WWII, and it’s early to swear that this will help us to leave in peace forever. But it’s definitely worth a serious try after our own bloodshed. There is an implicit realization that at times the only hope to make meaningful choices in stronger currents is to go with them and make your way somehow within, at least until you have firm ground to make your own choice. Conversely, far too many African countries (or those who lead them) seem to have yet to understand that. Or in fact they, the so-called liberators, understood perfectly, and harvest, on the shoulders of their own people, they harvest again, richer than many Westerners could ever get.

    I'm no expert, in anything, and my own opinions on who should govern in Ivory Coast are so meaningless that I do not even try. But seriously, you’re not alone in the world, I suggest Africa gets on with it.

    Regards

  • Comment number 24.

    Peter Charles: "Eight years ago, once Gbagbo denied France, the war with the 'rebels' began in the North. It has continued because Gbagbo is still denying France."

    Why then did French LICORNE forces stop the rebel advance in 2002, thus keeping Gbagbo in power?

  • Comment number 25.

    It is sad to see that some have taken seriously Peter Charles's post. In my opinion, it is an excellent example of pro-Gbagbo propagandistic lies. Peter Charles mentions women raped in the North, but says nothing on the numerous and documented atrocities committed against migrants and northerners (these atrocities include politically motivated rapes). In the openly xenophobic Peter Charles's post, migrants from such countries as Mali and Burkina Faso are portrayed as "alien" to the Ivorian "Nation". Such xenophobic discourses have already caused many killings. People have been even burnt alive because of such discourses. Let me quote just one example of a killing documented by Human Rights Watch: "On March 3, a handicapped man from Burkina Faso accused by militiamen of hiding rebels in his house was brought into an abandoned building and set on fire."

    I encourage all those who have taken Peter Charles's post seriously to read the 15 March Human Rights Watch report "Crimes Against Humanity by Gbagbo Forces" (the report is available online). The report is definitely not biased, it mentions also atrocities committed by pro-Ouattara forces.

    It is, too, completely ridiculous to claim that Obama helped Mwai Kibaki to become the Kenyan president because the latter is allegedly a "relation" of Obama. Let me just say that Kibaki is a Kikuyu, whereas Obama's father was a Luo ... One can find many other examples of false or downright nonsensical claims in Peter Charles's post.

    By the way, I find it rather amusing that Peter Charles assumes that all the participants of this discussion are men ("Gentlemen") ...

  • Comment number 26.

    Who has the might in this issue? Why everyone that represents Ouattara is a muslim based on names? What about these two? Is there no other person in the Ivory Coast neutral enough to lead the nation through a transition period? Hope we are not bias in our comments throwing those we hate under the bus instead of judging objectively.

  • Comment number 27.

    I read all of you guys and I will say first of all that I know little about Ivory Coast(perhaps except Didier Drogba) but I know my country well and it is INDIA and from what I can see what happened to us 400 years ago is now happening to Africa.......Colonial Europe invaded us under the well disguised cover of Trade and Business and conquered us.........I think same is happening in Africa so beware.

  • Comment number 28.

    Joanna

    Thanks for providing us with a bright example of the very same condescending radical-chic attitude that has basically annihilated the left in Europe. Owing to this exact snobbish way of shunning off the rest of us mortal humans, now we’re only left to chose between centre-right, right and super right. As economic interests powerfully influencing international relations obviously exist (hardly disguised I would add), so does propaganda, as you call it. The problem is that it is not just one or two people, it is in fact a huge (possibly uncoordinated, but nonetheless huge) machine. Again, I suggest that we deal with it instead of having "smartestest" people pretentiously turning their erudite backs. Keeping a debate alive here allows those poor people like us that often don’t have time to read everyday a full report to debate as (admittedly inferior) human beings about issues that we take at heart. Thanks for letting us the space.

  • Comment number 29.

    My Wife has corrected me by saying that the two generals who resigned belonged to the ONUCI military force that is there on the ground in the Ivory Coast and not to the UNHCR. The last general quite clearly stated that 'he was not in the Ivory Coast to kill Ivorians'. The simple fact that you are unaware of this difference indicates quite clearly that you have absolutely no idea of what is happening there in the Ivory Coast.

    Your African history would be interesting if it was not based upon a false premise. You are acutally faced with an exception to the past. Here is one man, Gbagbo, who is actually trying to save his People from the hostile intentions of a murdering army of invading Rebel forces (malcontents from the border tribes of Mali and Burkina Fasso).

    Similarly, your European associations do very little to calm the absolute fear of my Wife's Uncle and his Family who are there right now in front of the invading army and who have no one but Gbagbo to defend them from what seems to be a certain death at the hands of indiscriminate extermination.

    Wake up I say to you. Wake up and defend the Principles that you quote so freely. Do not sleep once again through a genocide of rare proportions. Do I need to remind you of the events in the former Yugoslavia? Are you going to allow another Rwanda?

    The Truth is verified and you have not yet refuted the Truth of the details that I have provided. Refute the Truths that I have explained with concrete fact in the way that I have given to you and then perhaps you may gain some credibility.

    The Ivory Coast is immensely important to the West and to France in particular. Look closely at the current economic situation of Paris and then tell me that I am wrong.

    Cocoa, for example, is highly profitable. You need only to make a comparison of the commodity prices before and after the embargo. W'attara's eyes must be watering at the thought of how many cars he can by for his one wife and maybe many mistresses!

    You realise, do you not, that the largest global chocolate producers are American and that the Americans maintain in the Ivory Coast the largest of their Embassies in Africa.

    The ivorian oil does not need the expensive refinement of normal supplies. This reduction in cost is already a huge advantage to the Global suppliers of Petrol and other energy related products. Just look at the continued rise in the cost of petrol at the pump over the last twenty years. In Britain, the idea of paying six pounds for a gallon of Petrol was unthinkable but today it is a reality.

    There is an Oil crisis at the moment and it will peak by current estimates in the years 2020 to 2050.

    'Ok', I hear you say,' but does this really matter?'. Yes, it does. Every available supply is important.

    The World Population is rapidly exhausting the available suppy of Oil. Early estimates of the remaining supplies were even too conservative and it is currently estimated that the Oil will disappear before a feasible alternative is found. Again, I hear you say, 'what does this matter?'. It matters because the World Population is only supported by Oil. If the Oil disappears then approximately half the World's Population will starve to death! 'Where is the evidence?', I hear you cry. Look at the current rush by world powers to find alternative Sources of Energy. Europe is heavily investing in wind and solar power. Nuclear too but as a temporary solution because the supply of uranium is also finite. The race to develop Hydrogen power is very much on with Britain promising a safe source in three years. For the Chinese, a thorium based nuclear reactor promises a safe nuclear alternative.

    Look at how Canada and Russia are both heavily investing in oil production from canadian shale. Formerly a far too expensive method of seeking energy.

  • Comment number 30.

    I say again, that the Resources of the Ivory Coast are extremely important for the economic if not physical survival of Western Powers, including France. France's economy at the moment is on the verge of virtual and complete economic collapse. Do not even think of saying that France is uninterested in the natural resources of the Ivorian Coast.

    Gbagbo is not fighting to obtain these resources. He has not suppressed his People for the personal use of these resources. He has used them to develop his country. For example, the largest deep-sea port in the West of Africa was developed for the prosperity of his People. It was not developed for Gbagbo.

    The question of Justice in the Ivory Coast is not complex at all, not at all and only a dishonest person would try to confuse the issue. There is either a right or a wrong and under every principle of the established Rule of Law, including the French Codes, the indiscriminate murder of innocent Ivorians and the rape of its natural resources by these invading (rebel) forces is wrong!

    Answer my questions if you can? My facts are based upon Ivorian history, Tradition and current eyewitness reports. Where are your facts?

    Fortunately, we now have Gbagbo, one among the many who is ready and willing to save his People both militarily and economically from the wanton destruction of these invading forces.

    Let us rejoice together in the fact that you need no longer despair at the wanton crimes of other African leaders who could be described as dictators. Gbagbo is not one of these. He has killed no one. Where is the evidence that supports W'attara's claims of mass graves and other such atrocities? Where is the evidence that the Ivorian Army fired the shells into the market place? Even the Western Press no longer writes of such things. ..... and stop me here if you have already heard how invading forces will accuse the existing legal incumbent of atrocities to promote their cause amongst the Political Powers that matter ..... France for example.

    ..... and what about France? Is France not under a binding legal treaty to support and to defend the legal government of the Ivory Coast? The same treaty that it signed with all of its former colonies. Did France, under this treaty not go to the aid of Chad and Mauretanie when their legal governments were threatened by invading rebel forces? It did go to their aid. So why is France not fullfilling its obligations to the legal Government of the Ivory Coast. I suggest to you again that France has broken its Treaty with the legal Government of the Ivory Coast because Gbagbo now refuses to sign away Ivorian resources to french commercial abuse.

    Rejoice Brother, and rise up together with Gbagbo in the defence of Justice and the Rule of Law. You have been disappointed in the past but now you have an opportunity to do as you know that you should. Rise up and help the People. There is no courage in unwilling acceptance. Find your courage once again, support the Rule of Law and do not accept W'attara's anarchy.

    Any comparison with European history is irrelevant.

    The history of the Ivory Coast is based on its Tribal Traditions. What is happening in the Ivory Coast is happening now. Just because the right of any outcome did not occur in the past does not mean to say that such an outcome should never occur. Do not accept the wrong once more but fight now for the right.

  • Comment number 31.

    During the unrest in Togo in 1991, I saw how politics can exploit the deep distrust between tribes and ethnic groups and a simple rumor or lie can turn good men into murderers who pick up machetes and attack their neighbors. Politicians like Eyadema, Gbagbo and Ouattara have used this to their advantage, fanning the flames of distrust and hatred. Tribal politics like this are the real shackles that prevent progress in Africa. On the other hand, the steady progress Ghana is experiencing is a good example of how effective leadership can move African nations beyond tribal politics, as well as defeat neo-colonialism.

    Mr. Gbagbo and Mr. Ouattara are deeply entrenched in tribal politics and have shown no capacity to bridge the ethnic divide in Cote D'Ivoire. They have stoked the fires of distrust and hatred to a point where I think both sides have good reason to fear a takeover from the other side. Cote D'Ivoire needs a mediator who is respected and trusted on both sides in order to lead this country out of this quagmire. Sadly, the international community decided to get involved by taking Ouattara's side. So now any UN or AU mediation proposal solution will be viewed by Gbagbo's supporters as "foreign interference."

    Is there no one in Cote D'Ivoire who commands enough respect on both sides to take this country forward? I do believe that all ordinary Ivoirians are united by a desire for peace. It is up to you to reject divisions and focus on what unites all who seek to live peacefully in this rich land.

  • Comment number 32.


    Your refer to Ghana. Do you remember Rawlins and all that happened before he took control and all that happened afterwards. Ghana is stable now but only because of Rawlins. Do I hear you cry that W'attara is the Rawlins of the Ivory Coast? That an illegal pretender is using an army of foreign malcontents to bring Justice and the Rule of Law via the Gun to a Land that is not their own?

    Yes, you shout and I say No.

    The similarity between the situation of Gbagbo and Rawlins is great. The only difference is that Gbago is already the legal incumbent. For Rawlins, the people and more importantly, the Ashanti King supported him. For Gbagbo, the People and the Tribal Chieftains are supporting him. Gbagbo is the right man in the right place at the right time. W'attara does not have this support.

    When W'attara asked the People to strike, did anyone actually strike? No they did not. When W'attara dictated that the children should not go to School in the North, did the People not then move to the South? W'attara does not have the support of the People.

    W'attara is neither a Rawlins nor a Gbagbo.

    Ask W'attarra if he is supported by the Ivorian Law? Ask W'aattara if he has the support of the Tribal Chieftains... and do you have any reply?

    Your refer to Uganda. Were you there when Mouseveni first took control of the country. A friend was there, from a small village in Uganda. Where you there to explain to her your ideaology of acceptance when rebel forces of Mouseveni executed her Husband before her very eyes and the eyes of her children.

    Mouseveni is an example of the European outcome that you quote and an example of your blind and unthinking acceptance of the wrongs of any invading army. He did not have the support of the People. I say to you again now, do not let the likes of Mouseveni and the likes of W'attara once again execute innocent families. There is no courage in accepting such an outcome. Rather save my Wife's Uncle and his family from their impending doom. Do not let this Ivorian Wife witness the execution of her Husband before the eyes of her Children. They have nothing to fear from Gbagbo.

    Yes France and the USA both seek profit in their Enterprise. This is a simple Truth.

    Colonialism was an excuse that was much berated by Mugabe before the Zimbawean people. But Mugabe, like Mouseveni and W'attara, was also killing his People and abusing the Rule of Law. Mugabe used the argument that the British were threatening his country to justify what he was doing but there was no invading army supported by the British. Unlike the French in the Ivory Coast, there was no British military force on the ground.

    You are lost in your own idealism.

    Well there you have it, do we not.Your write: "particularly when a country after all invented in its current borders by the French is now adopted by some manipulators as the cradle for a mythological “Ivoirité”.

    Brother, drop this French idealism that you have wrongly brought unto yourself. On the one hand you write that the historical abuse by the former colonial powers is an excuse that is often used by current African regimes to maintain their legitimacy. On the other hand, you write that the Ivory Coast was defined by France.

    Let me say to you clearly, that France did not create and does not own the Ivory Coast.

    The Ivory Coast belongs to its Tribal Chieftains and their appointed representative, Gbagbo. Unlike W'attara, Gbagbo does not accept the dominant abuse of its Sovereignty by France.

    Once again, comparisons with Europe are irrelevant. You are correct in your opinion when you write that Dictators understand that the innocents will bow to the Law of Gun, particularly when these innocents do not have guns of their own, and that these Innocents will eventually accept what the wishes of their Dictators upon pain of death. With this in mind, I ask why it is that W'attara failed to disarm his army before the election? I suggest to you that his only intention is to dominate the Ivorian population to the Profit of France, America and his own bank account.

    You have not yet explained how it is that the Invading (rebel) forces have the guns that they do: expensive, modern equipment that their existing poverty could not possibly have purchased. Does W'attara have the money to supply these guns himself?

    I say to you once again that your opinion does matter and that blind acceptance of some illegal authority such as W'attara is not the right way. Do not accept but rise up and fight for your inheritance. Do not give it away to invading foreigners simply because you lack the courage to fight.

    ...... or are you perhaps a secret supporter of W'attara? Were you the one that held the gun to the head of my Wife's Sister's Brother? Are you the one who sat in the German Chancellery during the Second World War, Lord HawHaw, and actively spread treason because he was promised a greater share of a corrupt living? So, Brother of mine, where is the Truth? Where is your Truth?

  • Comment number 33.

    My Wife has corrected me. Obama's Father was a member of the same Tribe as the Kenyan Prime Minister, Odinga. Mr Odinga was helped by the American President. I did incorrectly write President.

    Licorne was not involved in the Ivory Coast in 2002. It was actually Gbagbo with the help of the Ivorian Army who repulsed the initial attack by the invading rebel forces. At that time, Licorne was not involved. It was only after the accords of Marcoussis on the 26th January, 2003 that 4000 French soldiers (Licorne) and the CEDEAO decided to put a line between the Ivorian Army and the invading Rebel forces to prevent further fighting.

  • Comment number 34.

    Your African history would be interesting if it was not based upon a false premise. You are acutally faced with an exception to the past. Here is one man, Gbagbo, who is actually trying to save his People from the hostile intentions of a murdering army of invading Rebel forces (malcontents from the border tribes of Mali and Burkina Fasso).

    Similarly, your European associations do very little to calm the absolute fear of my Wife's Uncle and his Family who are there right now in front of the invading army and who have no one but Gbagbo to defend them from what seems to be a certain death at the hands of indiscriminate extermination.

    Wake up I say to you. Wake up and defend the Principles that you quote so freely. Do not sleep once again through a genocide of rare proportions. Do I need to remind you of the events in the former Yugoslavia? Are you going to allow another Rwanda?

    The Truth is verified and you have not yet refuted the Truth of the details that I have provided. Refute the Truths that I have explained with concrete fact in the way that I have given to you and then perhaps you may gain some credibility.

    The Ivory Coast is immensely important to the West and to France in particular. Look closely at the current economic situation of Paris and then tell me that I am wrong.

    Cocoa, for example, is highly profitable. You need only to make a comparison of the commodity prices before and after the embargo. W'attara's eyes must be watering at the thought of how many cars he can by for his one wife and maybe many mistresses!

    You realise, do you not, that the largest global chocolate producers are American and that the Americans maintain in the Ivory Coast the largest of their Embassies in Africa.

    The ivorian oil does not need the expensive refinement of normal supplies. This reduction in cost is already a huge advantage to the Global suppliers of Petrol and other energy related products. Just look at the continued rise in the cost of petrol at the pump over the last twenty years. In Britain, the idea of paying six pounds for a gallon of Petrol was unthinkable but today it is a reality.

    There is an Oil crisis at the moment and it will peak by current estimates in the years 2020 to 2050.

    'Ok', I hear you say,' but does this really matter?'. Yes, it does. Every available supply is important.

    The World Population is rapidly exhausting the available suppy of Oil. Early estimates of the remaining supplies were even too conservative and it is currently estimated that the Oil will disappear before a feasible alternative is found. Again, I hear you say, 'what does this matter?'. It matters because the World Population is only supported by Oil. If the Oil disappears then approximately half the World's Population will starve to death! 'Where is the evidence?', I hear you cry. Look at the current rush by world powers to find alternative Sources of Energy. Europe is heavily investing in wind and solar power. Nuclear too but as a temporary solution because the supply of uranium is also finite. The race to develop Hydrogen power is very much on with Britain promising a safe source in three years. For the Chinese, a thorium based nuclear reactor promises a safe nuclear alternative.

    Look at how Canada and Russia are both heavily investing in oil production from canadian shale. Formerly a far too expensive method of seeking energy.

  • Comment number 35.

    My Wife has corrected me by saying that the two generals who resigned belonged to the ONUCI military force that is there on the ground in the Ivory Coast and not to the UNHCR. The last general quite clearly stated that 'he was not in the Ivory Coast to kill Ivorians'. The simple fact that you are unaware of this difference indicates quite clearly that you have absolutely no idea of what is happening there in the Ivory Coast.

  • Comment number 36.

    @Peter ... please refrain from putting words in my mouth. No Ouattara is no Rawlings, and neither is Gbagbo. While not devoid of self-interest, Rawlings had the strength and wisdom to let go of power when the time came. He put Ghana on track to grow beyond tribal divisions, and then stepped back. That is the type of leadership that Cote D'Ivoire needs.

    I understand (to some degree) your passions and fears. But if the people of Cote D'Ivoire - all people - cannot find common ground and a path to peace, I worry the future holds more pain for all Ivoirians. That path to peace has to come from the people of Cote D'Ivoire and it can not sweep aside the concerns of one side or another. And that path to peace can only succeed if it moves the country beyond tribal politics.

  • Comment number 37.

    Peter: "Licorne was not involved in the Ivory Coast in 2002. It was actually Gbagbo with the help of the Ivorian Army who repulsed the initial attack by the invading rebel forces. At that time, Licorne was not involved."

    I see, I see and quote the BBC: "Rebels tried to overthrow President Laurent Gbagbo in September 2002, they took the Muslim north but French troops stopped them from reaching the main city, Abidjan." --> https://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3567349.stm

    You will find that LICORNE was established in September 2002, the month the civil war started.

    You could cut down a lot on your writing here, improve the quality of what you're saying and save myself and others a lot of time reading and shaking heads if you decided to spend a significant part of your time fact-checking instead of rambling on and on.

  • Comment number 38.

    Will the world prevent Ivory Coast war? NO! And here is why...
    First, Ivory Coast has no oil. But more importantly, historical records on direct international military involvement worldwide suggest that Western societies place less human value on Blacks than they do for lighter skin colors. Here is a handful of examples: direct military intervention in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Libya. Meanwhile the world sat and watched 800,000 perish in Rwanda, 5.5 million in the Democratic Republic of Congo, over 500,000 in Darfur, and now a potential devastating civil war in Ivory Coast. The vast majority of those who perish were innocent black civilians. Don't forget those were left with major physical and emotional scars, such as rape and chopped limbs. If anyone disagrees, please inform the audience on the level of NATO and US involvement in these countries. Please don't point to the UN missions. Anyone familiar with these missions know that they are virtually ineffective without robust Western support, especially from the US, UK, and FR.

  • Comment number 39.

    Concerned2011,

    Ivory Coast does have oil. Google for

    CIA Factbook oil proved reserves

    And some more has been found since then and there is potential for yet more. It's unlikely though to turn out to be the "largest amount outside the Middle East" as some Gbagbo supporters claim who will then tell you this was evidence that France and the US have an interest in installing an exploitative President friendly to them.

    It would be great if this oil was benefiting the Ivorian people. But so far the money made from it hasn't become part of the state budget. So it's unclear how much it is or who's pocket it's gone into. I have an idea, though.

  • Comment number 40.

    I do agree with most people here. Its such a pity when you think that you are an African. The western world takes decisions to protect their own interest. I think Africa should opt out of the UN. The western world have hijacked the UN to propel their own interest. Because Ivory Coast is do not have oil, the UN do not care about the people. It would have been a different situation if there was oil.

    Who are those rebels in Libya? Were there any rebels in Egypt and Tunisia? I don't remember yet they populace were able to overthrow their governments in a peaceful fashion. Where did those rebels got those sophisticated guns and arms from? No African country produce any.

  • Comment number 41.

    As someone with little knowledge of the history of Cote d'Ivoire I thank Peter Charles for his contribution to the debate. I did not know of the history of the 'exclusive' French contracts with the country - although knowing some other Francophone West African countries quite well, I am not surprised. The sooner France gives its former colonies real independence, the sooner we will have development in those countries and thus a greater chance of peace.

    However, the French desire to continue to proift from its former colonies is not the main factor behind the problems here. It was xenophobia - dislike of migrant workers from Burkina Faso and Mali - that started the civil war, and from all the reports we are receiving that is still the main problem in the country.

    & Peter, I have to say that your contribution to the debate is diminished by the rubbish that you also include in your posts. Odinga 'related' to Obama? Being in the same tribe does not mean you are related to someone. & Ouattara (it would help your credibility if you could learn how to spell his name) not Ivorian? He was born in Cote d'Ivoire and his mother is Ivorian - doesn't sound like a foreigner to me.

    & to others blaming the West for having their own interests at heart - what on earth do you expect? Is Africa any different? Did African nations send troops to help sort out problems in Kosovo, etc? Of course not. It would be wonderful if politics could be genuinely ethical, so we could all intervene to protect justice and human rights all over the world. But unfortunately we all have economies to run and electorates to satisfy, and so have to pick and choose when to intervene and when not to - which is not, to any extent, based on the colour of peoples' skin but on their economic importance to the intervening nations.

    Good luck to the Ivorians, anyway. I hope a peaceful solution can be found from somewhere, although sadly I doubt it can.

  • Comment number 42.

  • Comment number 43.

    The UN security council convened and agreed to enforcing a no-fly zone through a coalition of forces with the objective of protecting civilians. Yet, the international community have fled to take into account one of the consequences of actions—people migrating on european shores. An article published this morning by the BBC states that nearly 2,000 African migrants, many of them Eritreans and Somalis, have arrived on Italy’s tiny, overcrowded Lampedusa Island in the past 24 hours .
    African migrants arrived on the Island by way of boats, and officilas warn of a public health risk as the Island struggles to cope with some 7,000 migrants, most coming from war-torn Libya and Tunisia. Laura Boldrini, a spokeswoman for the UN’s refuggee agency admited that people were fleeing the military escalation, the vendettas and the retaliation attacks. The Italian administration has appealed to the EU for help in responding to the needs of tens of thousands of refugees fleeing north Africa upheavals. Home Affairs Commissioner of the EU, Cecilia Malmstrom has appealed to member states to accept refugees because it was not reasonable that countries closest to North Africa should bear alone the burden of responsibility. As coalition forces continue to weaken Gaddafi’s troops, allowing rebels to advance westward, part of civilian protection should include housing refugees in European countries until hostilities cease. Otherwise, worsening of conditions may lead to humanitarian crisis which would taint the intentions of current military strikes, as many analyst have described of being a an attempt at overthrowing Gaddafi more than a matter of protecting civilians. Arab league, which previously backed the no-fly zone initiative, have begun to express concerns over operations.
    As events unfolds in Libya, the situation in the Ivory Coast is ever moving closer to an all out civil war. The UN refugee agency, UNHCR claims that at least a million people have fled their homes because of violence following the country’s disputed elections. Incumbent leader Mr. Laurent Gbagbo refused to cede power to his rival Mr. Allassane Ouattara, widely recognized as the winner of last year’s presidential elections. UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming says that “the massive displacement in Abidjan and elsewhere is being fuelled by fears of all-out war” . Ivorians are steadily migrating to neighboring Liberia and for a country of just 3.5 million, an inlux of more refugees will put a strain on the country, which is still recovering from the devastating effects of its own 14-year civil war. The UN has deployed peacekeepers along the North-South borders to monitor the ceasefire that brough an end to the 2002 civil war. In 2002, the civil war left the rebels in charge of the north and the government army in control of the south. The think tank International Crisis Group has called for a more robust UN peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast (UNOIC) to protect civilians or run the risk of witnessing massacres. So far, international sanctions imposed to force combined with diplomatic negotiations under the tutelate of the African Union have failed to pressure Gbagbo into ceding power. Outtara stated that a military option is on the table but West African states have expressed reservations over committing troops and fighting an incumbent who remains popular in the south.
    In light of the events in Ivoray Coast and Libya, the following are some deducted lessons. First, as the Libya case illustrate, military intervention on humanitarian grounds must make provisions for the population migration that will inevitably result. International organizations such as the EU must help country in close proximity to North Africa the help they need to respond to the needs of inlux of refugees coming from Libya. This includes accepting their status as refugees until the situation in their homeland improves. Second, the case of Ivory Coast illustrate inconsistencies in humanitarian response to threat to civil war. At the moment, the Ivory Coast is on the brink of war, and yet the international community has focused its attention on increasing sanctions or continue diplomatic negotiation against an incumbent who has refused to step down. A military action in Ivory Coast may not be the best option at themoment, but measures must be taken to prevent a civil war and protect civilians who are casualities in rebels versus government clashes. The UN and the rest of the international community risks tainting its repetition once more if the situation in the Ivory Coast escalates into a civil war. It begs the question as to whether civilians in Ivory Coast are not of the same “value” as those in Libya? Let us hope that history will not repeat itself as it was the case in Rwanda in 1994, another country that was overlooked by the international community, with devastating consequences.

  • Comment number 44.

    There seems to be pattern forming in Africa this includes North Africa rebels are overthrowing governments.

  • Comment number 45.

    Part of the problem here is the hanger on's, Gbagbo with all his money would be out of there but the one's who will be left behind will lose out on the nice earners they are on with corruption rife, it is in their interest to keep him in power, life is cheap !!!!!

 

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