Tensions have been rising in the Cote D'Ivoire since incumbent
president Laurent Gbagdo refused to concede the election to
internationally recognized winner Alassane Ouattara. The Wire
reported last week that the United Nations and other international
groups were attempting to keep violent protests at bay, but according
to the BBC
today, clashes in the past week have resulted in 173 deaths and almost
500 arrests. 800 UN peacekeepers are currently protecting the Golf
Hotel in Abidjan, where Mr. Outtara and supporters are taking shelter.
Here are some more details and observations of the situation:
- 'Power In Institutions' Morgan Roach
at the Foundry notes that conflict has been almost continual in Cote
D’Ivoire in the past ten years, despite once being considered one of
the more stable African countries. Roach predicts that Gbagbo and his
forces may be subdued with enough international pressure. She writes:
While Gbagbo is ignoring calls from the U.S. State Department
to step aside and make way for a peaceful transition, the imposition of
financial sanctions are a realistic possibility. The African Union
hasn’t fared much better in its progress. Gbagbo turned down a
compromise, and potential power-sharing deals have fallen through.
Though no single country or organization has wielded enough influence
in dethroning the unwieldy leader, there is power in institutions.
for Civil War Vivienne Walt at Time reports that "fighting talk on all
sides has raised fears that the post-election deadlock will revive the
civil war" from earlier this decade.
A Young Patriots leader
told huge crowds in an Abidjan square on Monday to gear up for
fighting, saying: 'We are ready to die.' Ouattara supporters, aligned
with militia concentrated in the north, have spoken of waging 'the last
- A Soccer Star Appeals for Peace In addition
countries such as the US and France issuing sanctions and urging
nationals to leave the increasingly dangerous area, Cote D'Ivoire
native soccer player Didier Drogba is making an effort to keep the
peace in his home country. Drogba made a statement
today urging "each of you, every manager, every soldier, every
supporter, not to turn to violence and to make every effort to restore
the calm and responsible democracy that our nation is waiting for."
Business Insider's Dashiell Bennett suggests
that the soccer player "may be the one person who can make a cease fire
happen," pointing out that "Drogba and his Ivory Coast teammates
actually helped negotiate a nationwide truce in 2006 after they
qualified for the World Cup."
- Will Other African Nations Come to
the Rescue? Cote D'Ivoire's West African neighbors are also getting
involved in the conflict. While the UN is concerned about Gbagdo
receiving aid from Liberian forces, Marco Chown Oved and John Heilprin report that "the regional bloc ECOWAS is due to hold a meeting on the crisis late Friday." In the same Time article
mentioned above, Walt cites a political science professor from the
Sorbonne University who believes "African countries could play the key
role, by isolating Gbagbo among his peers, stripping him of legitimacy
and greatly limiting his ability to move around."
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