Monday, December 27, 2010

L'Abidjanaise, Part 3

In Part 1, we considered the recent history of Côte d'Ivoire, and saw how a November election intended to reunify the country instead set the stage for a violent division.

In Part 2, we began looking at how the division began to spawn violence, with claims that death squads and mercenaries are on the loose supporting President Gbagbo, who is recognized by the international community as the loser of the recent election, but who still retains power.

First, let us consider an economic effort to oust Gbagbo. From Invasion Threat As 14,000 Flee Ivory Coast, dated December 27, 2010:

Presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara called for a nationwide general strike that would shut the country down until internationally isolated incumbent Mr Gbagbo cedes power.


Next, we consider how the strike is working; from Ivory Coast general strike fails in Abidjan, December 27, 2010:

Residents of Ivory Coast's main city of Abidjan have largely ignored calls for a general strike to force the incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo to cede power.

The BBC's John James says the plan for a "dead city" came a little late in the day and many went into work as normal.

The strike has been more effective in the north of the country where there is more support for Mr Gbagbo's rival Alassane Ouattara, he says.

Mr Gbagbo says November's disputed election was rigged in the north.

The election results have been accepted by the international community, which had observers throughout the country during the election.

Yet, President Gbagbo says the election was rigged in the northern part of the country, which is not under government control, but rather under the control of rebel groups. Also, the northern part of the country is generally Muslim, while the southern part is more Christian, and the northern part is where challenger (and internationally-recognized President-elect) Ouattara supposedly won, while the southern part supposedly supported incumbent Gbagbo.

The current strike was far less effective in the south, even in areas that supported Ouattara. There is some hope that it will be more effective in coming days.

Meanwhile, The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is warning that if Gbagbo does not yield power to Ouattara, military force will be used. Back to Invasion Threat As 14,000 Flee Ivory Coast, dated December 27, 2010 (links in original):

Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo is facing renewed international pressure to quit or "face force", as thousands of Ivorians flee the chaos of their homeland.

In a sign of mounting determination to force Mr Gbagbo out, three leaders of the West African regional bloc Ecowas are due to fly to Ivory Coast on Tuesday.

The presidents of Benin, Sierra Leone and Cap Vert will tell Mr Gbagbo "that he must step down as quickly as possible or face legitimate military force".

Ecowas president James Victor Gbeho said the group was making "an ultimate gesture" to Mr Gbagbo to urge him to make a peaceful exit.

The 15-nation bloc made the decision at an emergency summit in Nigeria as fears mount that the dispute will rekindle a 2002-03 civil war.

As I pointed out at the end of Part 2, it is really easy to label Gbagbo a third-world dictator with hired thugs, and support an international effort, led by the UN, the US, the European Union, the African Union, and ECOWAS, to remove him from power - especially since it is mostly ECOWAS that would likely provide the troops to do so.

But, let us now consider an excerpt from Part 1:

We pick up with excerpts from a relevant June, 2009, Wikileak cable which addressed myths surrounding the elections that were then planned for late 2009:

3. (S) The Reality: There will not be an election unless President Gbagbo is confident that he will win it -- and he is not yet confident of the outcome.

In other words, the senior US diplomats on the scene felt in June, 2009, that an election would not be held unless Gbagbo were sure he would win.

The corollary to that is that if Gbagbo held an election, he must have been sure he would win.

Think about that.

Now, surprise, surprise! The election is held, and Gbagbo loses, claiming fraud in the rebel-controlled north, which essentially stole the election for the rebel-supported candidate.

And now, after what is possibly a stolen election, the international community is ready to intervene and impose on the people of Côte d'Ivoire the candidate that the international community says won the election.

Where have we seen this pattern before? Allegations of thuggery on the part of the established government, the will of the people supposedly defied, and an international force sent in to impose an internationally-accepted solution...

More to follow.

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