January 20, 2006

Don't Cry For Me, Abidjan

Hatched by Sachi

When we forcus too much on one image, we tend to lose perspective. Critics of the Iraq war call our effort a "disaster," a "quagmire," or both. But for a textbook example of a disastrous quagmire, take a gander at the French-led UN peacekeeping operation in the Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire).

Following the failed coup d'etat on September 19th, 2002, the rebels, led by renegade soldiers from the Cote d'Ivoire army, took over the northen part of the country. In November 2004, the strongman president of Cote d'Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo, ordered airstrikes. Whether by accident or design, one of the bombs in Bouaké fell on the French, killing nine soldiers; Gbagbo had complained for two years that the French were actually taking the side of the rebels against him.

The French troops -- gotta love 'em -- responded by destroying virtually the entire air force of Cote d'Ivoire, sparking massive (and violent) anti-French rioting.

In the last year, according to BBC, the situation has detereorated, if that's possible to imagine:

After three days of protests the crisis is escalating, with youths surrounding UN and French buildings in Abidjan, the main city, a BBC correspondent says.

Gbagbo supporters are angry at attempts to dissolve parliament.

International mediators this week recommended that parliament, whose mandate has expired, be discontinued...

Following the mediators' move, the ruling party pulled out of the transitional government and UN-backed peace talks, and called on the 10,000 French and UN peacekeepers the peace to leave. [sic]

The UN mediators were supposed to host a democratic election last October; but it had to be postponed due to instablility in the country... unlike a certain other country we all know and love. After almost two years of intervention, Cote d'Ivoire balances now on the knife-edge of civil war. And from the looks of it, the UN and the French will have to withdraw.

The UN decided to abandon the base and the peacekeepers were being withdrawn to the demilitarised zone further north, Capt Combarieu said.

This is no surprise to Kinshasa On The Potomac

No one in the right mind can fault the peacekeepers for protecting themselves. And, maybe if they - and the French troops stationed there (who wiped out the Cote d'Ivoire airforce in 2004) - were even more proactive, than Gbagbo and his bully boys and the rebels would stop this stupid conflict and finally come to terms. Or, alternately, the world community can just kill off the current generation of thugs and see if there are some reasonable people who might want to run the country and not fight over the scraps.

So, next time you hear the term "failed operation," think of the Ivory Coast, think of the UN, and most of all, think of our friends, the French, masters of diplomacy.

Hatched by Sachi on this day, January 20, 2006, at the time of 3:53 AM

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Sparked by a proposal to overturn the French law that forbids employers from firing new employees during their first two years of employment, over a million French youths decided to hold a riot in Paris. See ¡No Pasarán! for some... [Read More]

Tracked on March 28, 2006 6:29 PM


The following hissed in response by: stackja1945

Early US had Shay's Rebellion then got on with Constitution. Germany and Japan then Korea had problems but people provided with security got on with their constitutions. Iraq security is not perfect but people getting on with their constitution. What constitution does Ivory Coast have?

The above hissed in response by: stackja1945 [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 20, 2006 3:09 PM

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