Friday, March 11, 2011

L'Abidjanaise, Part 8

Getting caught up on the situation in Côte d'Ivoire... before we proceed, you may wish to review previous parts in this series, especially Part 5 and Part 6: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 and Part 7.

For the most recent news, search the links in the sidebar at the right. It all boils down to this, from Ivory Coast's Gbagbo rejects diplomats' efforts to end power struggle, March 10, 2011:

Envoys of Ivory Coast's voted-out leader, Laurent Gbagbo, have rejected an African Union proposal aimed at ending the country's violent power struggle and warned that the nation risks civil war again.

Rebels based in the north of the country who back the rival politician Alassane Ouattara immediately reaffirmed their position that only military force would persuade Gbagbo to step down.

The AU talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, have been seen as a last chance to broker a compromise after the disputed November presidential election that triggered violence killing hundreds and led to about half a million Ivorians fleeing their homes.

Gbagbo argues that UN-certified results – showing that he lost in the elections to Ouattara – were rigged. His aides said they could not accept a proposal from an AU panel that was based on an endorsement of Ouattara as elected president.

In the previous posts, I put together a case that brings the UN-certified results into question; motive and opportunity are established.

We now look a little deeper into the situation.

First, we shall consider an excerpt from CÔTE D'IVOIRE: "THE WAR IS NOT YET OVER", dated November 28, 2003, which addresses the accords that ended the civil war in :

The accords outlined a nine-point program on disarmament, security sector reform, human rights violations and media incitement to xenophobia and violence, the organisation and supervision of elections, and measures to end divisive policies on national identification, citizenship, foreign nationals, land tenure and eligibility for the presidency.

This sentence could easily be written about America today. Legitimate questions about whether President Obama is Constitutionally-eligible to be President get spun as racism, divisive politics, etc.

However, as addressed previously in this series, "President-elect" Ouattara was one of the main authors of the laws that are now considered "divisive"; also, Ouattara approved of the law that made him ineligible to serve as President of Côte d'Ivoire.

For example, in Part 5 I quoted from DEMOCRATIC EXPERIMENT IN AFRICA: HOW COTE D’IVOIRE BECAME VICTIM OF THE CIVIL WAR? by Bertin K Kouadio (2007):

Unfortunately, this first round of austerity measures did not yield the expected results, for the government's coffers remained empty. Accordingly, Ouattara added new measures to the list. For example, he decided to reduce the salaries of all the new teachers for all levels of the education system by 50%. This 'unjust' decision gave birth to the famous phrase: "same job-different salary?" (à travail égal-différent salaire?).

If Ouattara were a Republican in Wisconsin, the media would be screaming for his painful death. But, since he is a puppet of the loan sharks who control the MSM, they are calling for his installation as president of Côte d'Ivoire.

Continuing with the excerpt of the excerpt that was excerpted :) above:

Next, he introduced for the first time the controversial Alien Identification Card (Cartes de Séjour), whereby every national from the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) was required to pay 5,000 F CFA (7.6 Euros) per year, while other immigrants outside this organization had to pay 50,000 F CFA (76.2 Euros) annually, as a resident alien (Fraternité Matin (28 April 2003))

This "xenophobia" was started in large part by Ouattara; now, Ouattara is being billed as the victim!

Perhaps more to the point is another quote from farther down in CÔTE D'IVOIRE: "THE WAR IS NOT YET OVER":

In addition, the accords have fuelled anti-French sentiment, not least because they were seen to have legitimated an armed rebellion.

This is a key point. Increasingly, rebel groups, from Kosovo to Côte d'Ivoire, find that, if they can garner enough international support, their violent rebellion will be legitimized and supported by the international community, while the legitimate, recognized government gets painted as an outlaw, rogue regime.

Skipping down:

Even before they began to fray so obviously, there were indications that the accords were not a perfect solution. Their slow, incomplete and sometimes flawed implementation created considerable frustration among the Forces Nouvelles. Indeed, Gbagbo and many in his party lost little time in creating numerous and sometimes violent obstacles to implementation. They calculated with some reason that strict implementation could well result in their electoral defeat in 2005. Gbagbo has sought to buy time, playing on the rebellion's internal divisions and hoping for its disintegration. And the Forces Nouvelles are indeed splintering, with political and military leaders increasingly losing control over local commanders, who are distinguishing themselves by growing indiscipline, warlordism and violence.

Supported by ultra-nationalist "patriotic youth" groups, some organised into urban militias, government security forces undertook a witch hunt against the major opposition party and those thought to support it. The president's party charged that opposition party, the RDR, with masterminding the coup and supporting the rebellion. The growth of urban tribal militias throughout government territory, with access to arms and voicing a violent discourse of "ethnic cleansing", is perhaps the most alarming development, and there is a spectre of massive urban violence. In the process of ultra-national radicalisation, the press has played a major role. Both sides have been guilty of massive human rights violations.

If you check the news from Côte d'Ivoire, there are complaints in the media of militia groups terrorizing people there. Historically, though, the same observers who have commented on militia groups allied to the government have also commented about warlordism on the part of rebel forces. It is worth recalling the complaints by international observers about violence against pro-Gbagbo people in rebel-controlled areas, as mentioned previously in this series. It is not just a one-way street, as the international media would have us believe.


The accords failed to address the conflict's regional aspect. The leaders of the main rebel group, the Mouvement Patriotique de la Côte d'Ivoire (MPCI), planned the rebellion from exile in Burkina Faso, whose president, Blaise Compaoré, was aware of at least the outlines of their plans. Liberia's then president, Charles Taylor, was directly implicated in the creation of two rebel groups in the west of the country largely composed of Liberians and Sierra Leoneans.

As far back as 2003, the rebel groups were identified as being in part foreign... what? pawns?... in a somewhat regional conflict.

As we pointed out in Part 6:

So, in the wake of the agreement to end the previous civil war, Ouattara's forces refuse to disarm as they are supposed to, then are accused of voter fraud in the area they control. This, then, allows an election where Ouattara is declared the winner by a commission packed with his supporters, which, in turn, provides the pretext for the international community to declare Ouattara the winner.

Next, the international community cuts off Gbagbo's access to the country's money, and accuses him of not wanting to pay the country's debt.

And, an excerpt from Part 2:

We now pick up with an article from Al Jazeera entitled Gbagbo 'ready' for talks with rival, dated December 22, 2010:

The disputed president of Cote d'Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo, has said that he is ready to talk to rival Alassane Ouattara, who was recognised by the UN and other international observers as the winner of Nov 28 presidential runoff poll.

The incumbent president has also invited a panel from the African Union and other countries, including China, Russia and the European Union, to re-examine the results of the polls, though he has vowed to stay on as president.

Gbagbo's demand that the UN and French peacekeeping forces leave the country remains in place, and on Tuesday he said that "the international community has declared war on Ivory Coast".

Gbagbo "said that 'the international community has declared war on Ivory Coast'."

Towards the end of Part 2:

The situation is summarized at the end of an article entitled An If Too Far, December 19, 2010:

Gbagbo has another opportunity to survive all this. Russia has backed Gbagbo, and may be able to cancel the UN peacekeeping mandate, which expires at the end of the year. If the UN troops were withdrawn, Gbagbo believes he could force the French out, and defeat the northern warlords as well.

In fact, Russia, together with China, may become new markets for cocoa and other products shipped from Gbagbo's part of Côte d'Ivoire.

Interesting... accusations that the international community has declared war on Ivory Coast; Russia is the only ally of the current government - a government opposing Muslim rebel groups, which have been white-washed by the international media.

Where have we seen this pattern before?

And why do I find myself again siding with Moscow to support an alleged foreign thug - in sharp opposition to current US policy?

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