Ivory Coast Revolution Runs Into Civil War Realities?
By Staff News & Analysis - April 26, 2011

The danger is that in much of Africa, former imperialists are suspected of being imperialists still, which could make the development of international law appear to be a mere power play. This is even clearer in Côte d'Ivoire: it is the UN that explicitly demanded that France, the only foreign presence, implement the resolution that ratified Ouattara as the elected president and Gbagbo as the usurper. France did the job rather well, leaving, for example, the arrest of Gbagbo to Quattara's forces. Civil war was averted. It is, in fact, pure stupidity to believe that France is trying to restore its defunct empire. – Project Syndicate

Dominant Social Theme: France's role in Ivory Coast politics was short and surgical. The 21st century is not the 20th.

Free-Market Analysis: Michel Rocard (left), former Prime Minister of France and a former leader of the Socialist Party has penned an article (excerpt above), in which he has expressed relief that since the French "did their job well" civil war in the Ivory Coast has been averted. Below we will take a look at whether this is actually true or not. It is certainly something of a dominant social theme of the Western power elite – that the bad old days of colonialism have come and gone, and the Ivory Coast represented a more modern example of what was admittedly a bad way to run the world. France's role in the Ivory Coast disputed election, THIS TIME, was appropriate and scientific and will allow that country to prosper again.

In fact, the Anglo-American power elite has been helping with revolutionary overthrows throughout the Middle East quite regularly. It's been startling to see. There are active regime changes in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Syria and of course the Ivory Coast. Western elites which have been training "youth revolutionaries" in these countries and others (see AYM) have found it is not enough in some cases to instigate peaceful "color revolutions." Hence the protracted fighting in Libya where the Anglosphere elites have now frankly targeted Muammar Gaddafi.

Rocard's thesis aside, Western power elites are moving forward with their intentions to further consolidate world government and they WILL have their men in place in the Middle East and Africa. Alassane Ouattara, a former IMF high level functionary in the Ivory Coast, is the man that the West wants at the helm of the world's most prominent cocoa grower.

This is obvious, given that the UN virtually browbeat the Gbagbo administration into holding elections, then declared the election results valid when their were serious questions about them, refused to recognize the Ivory Coast's highest council (its Supreme Court) when it threw out disputed Ouattara votes and declared Gbagbo the winner, and finally went with the French to forcibly remove Gbagbo from the presidential palace he still occupied. Gbagbo had already been legally sworn in as president.

The French (and the West) are feeling the heat, as we have pointed out as we continue to follow this unfolding story. The Ivory Coast, meanwhile, still suffers a good deal from the violence unleashed by the determination of the West and the UN to force that tiny country into winner-take-all elections.

No wonder Laurent Gbagbo was confident that he would remain president within a power-sharing relationship with Alassane Ouattara. Gbagbo, in our view was a realist about the Ivory Coast, which is split down the middle between the Muslim North and the Christian South. Gbagbo probably couldn't conceive the French and the UN would be so brutally naïve as to hand total victory to Ouattara, especially within the context of a heavily disputed election. But for the French, apparently, neo-colonialism in the 21st century just means doing things clumsily and then denying they took place.

AFP just yesterday posted an article entitled, "Heavy shooting in Abidjan militia-held district: residents." It is filed from the Ivory Coast capital of Abidjan and begins, "Heavy gunfire rocked a neighborhood of Ivory Coast's main city Abidjan on Monday where militia loyal to the country's toppled president Laurent Gbagbo were holed up, residents said. 'They began firing heavy weapons. We don't know what is happening. We can't leave,' said a resident of the stricken Yopougon district in the northwest of the city. Another resident said he has heard 'heavy explosions for the past four days. There are young fighters driving around in pick-ups. We are hiding in our houses.'"

A section of Abidjan, Yopougon, is still controlled by pro-Gbagbo forces and Ouattara has been fighting to secure the capital since April 11. As we recall, Ouattara expected to reintroduce "security" into Abidjan later in April, but it is indeed "later April" and fighting has in fact escalated. As AFP reports, "Another armed group of former coup leader Ibrahim Coulibaly has taken position in the city's northern Abobo neighborhood and is demanding recognition by the new government for its role in removing Gbagbo."

So … fighting from the remnants of Gbagbo's forces, infighting among Ouattara's forces, and all of this is taking place in the heart of the capital of the Ivory Coast. Ouattara several days ago in response, ordered his own forces to return to barracks and indicated that further military efforts to oust Gbagbo forces would be handled by the Ivory Coast civil police forces.

It had been intended that the Muslim rebel forces would patrol the Ivory Coast but last week that plan was scrapped because the rebels could not be restrained from looting and raping. These pro-Ouattarian forces were then, it was announced, going to patrol with the French who restrain them and teach them how to pacify a population properly.

That didn't work either, apparently. We've reported the French can't wait to get out of the Ivory Coast militarily speaking now that they have their man in power. We're not sure how much "patrolling" the French want to do. The UN has reinforced itself and may end up doing the job, but surely it will be a dangerous own.

Meanwhile, the fighters that Ouattara just two days ago decided must return to barracks are still in the field. Abidjan, far from being pacified, is still, in parts, a war zone. Coulibaly, who claims to command a 5,000-strong force (it may be more like 1,000), wants talks with Ouattara about some sort of power-sharing. The Christian Gbagbo forces didn't return to barracks of course because they have no barracks to return to.

Ouattara may yet prevail. But the UN's decision to invoke R2P (which replaced the Treaty of Westphalia) and use it as a justification for the removal of a duly elected head-of-state – substituting one proclaimed by France and the West as the new president and doing this all within the sociopolitical situation that has ethnic, tribal and above all religious connotations – was probably not the best idea. Not if one wanted a peaceful resolution to a simmering civil war that actually has been ongoing for several decades. Michel Rocard, in France, can proclaim that "France is once more playing a decisive role in these countries" but how can he really believe in the Ivory Coast that France's role thus far has been effective and efficient. He writes:

Unfortunately, international solidarity for the armed protection of endangered populations does not yet really exist. Defunct imperialisms no longer make sense. Today's real problems are vastly different from when colonial empires held sway, and they need to be dealt with in a non-imperialist fashion. So what is really needed nowadays is for the world public to become convinced of the need for an effective international watchdog for peace and human rights.

In the 20th century, perhaps, the winners wrote the history, especially in Africa, where the Colonial powers could pen the narrative. But in the 21st century, the Internet makes it very hard to impose one's own narrative structure on reality. The Western powers-that-be may want ever-closer global governance, but the larger world may be resistant. It is not enough anymore for the French simply to state how matters should be perceived. Africans, especially in the Ivory Coast and surrounding areas are well aware of the truth.

After Thoughts

Gambia and Ghana both have refused to recognize Ouattara as the legitimate president of the Ivory Coast. In Libya, Gaddafi is not willing merely to remove himself from power as the West had in mind. In Egypt, the installation of a new and less independent, pro-Western government is not going smoothly. The same may said about Tunisia. In Syria and Yemen, the West apparently is dithering. Regime change is a good deal harder than it was a 100 years ago, it seems. We have been predicting this, so we are not surprised. The drumbeat of the Internet Reformation grows louder …

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