Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Another Hot Spot: Ivory Coast

More trouble in the world, this time in the Ivory Coast.

You might have missed the story what with the Japanese tsunami and the Libya thing. A bit of background - this burgeoning civil war is related to event from years ago:
Ivory Coast was split in two after an armed rebellion in 2002. A halting peace deal in 2007 led to a unity government with Gbagbo as president and northern rebel leader Guillaume Soro as prime minister. After years of delay, the presidential election finally was conducted in November.
Gbagbo refused to step down after he was declared the loser in a United Nations-certified election last year. Winner Alassane Ouattara refuses to take part in any compromise unity government that includes his opponent, making a peaceful solution elusive.

Rinaldo Depagne, an analyst with the International Crisis Group think tank, said it was difficult to see a resolution because of the distrust between Gbagbo and Ouattara.

Red arrow points to Ivory Coast
More than 300 people have died in violence since the balloting, but recent fighting in the commercial capital, Abidjan, and the west of the country broke a six-year cease-fire and marked the apparent failure of the African Union's efforts to find a peaceful solution to the election standoff.
There are 12,000 UN "peacekeepers" in the Ivory Coast, doing goodness knows what:

Currently deployed (31 January 2011)

  • 9,024 total uniformed personnel including
    • 7,578 troops;
    • 176 military observer;
    • 1,270 police
  • 389 international civilian personnel, 737 local staff and 255 United Nations Volunteers*
Things seem to be picking up a bit - volunteers are signing up for service in the "Ivory Coast Army" as set out here:
The fighting has led some 90,000 people to cross into neighbouring Liberia, the UN refugee agency says.

UNHCR head Antonio Guterres said the conflict could affect countries across West Africa.

"The risks of destabilising the region are enormous," he told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

He pointed out that Liberia was a poor country recovering from its own civil war and said hundreds of other refugees had also crossed into Ghana.
 "Destabalising the region?" That is not a good thing.

 These times remind me of that old song, "The Merry Minuet"
They're rioting in Africa. There's strife in Iran. What nature doesn't do to us... will be done by our fellow man.

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