“Laurent Gbagbo must understand violence will get him nowhere,” said French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet while French attack helicopters and troops attacked Abidjan.
There is a new Euphemism: “protecting civilians”. This is the catch word used to provide air to ground support to rebels in the Libyan desert and it now used to justify France’s destruction of the Ivorian Army while pro-Ouattara rebels conduct the ground offensive.
Nobody should be fooled by the wording. This is pure, naked, neo-colonial and imperialist aggression at its most nauseating.
The military intervention is the culmination of the French backed coup of 2002 and an effort to get rid of Gbagbo before more evidence comes out that he won the November run-off elections. (For more background see my Dec. 27 blog entry ‘More Cote d’Ivoire Rubbish’ 1).
The lessons Gbagbo is learning have been taught time and time again. Gbagbo, elected in 2000, survivor of the French (militarily) backed pro-Ouattara coup of 2002, gave into all the demands of France while the former World Bank VP Ouattara, Burkina Faso and the UN respected few of theirs. For example, the New Forces rebels never disarmed. To the contrary, as the present offensive shows, they have received many heavy weapons, combat vehicles, ammunition and new uniforms. By giving into the imperial demands, Gbagbo allowed his enemies to arm and plan the electoral fraud.
The United Nations, like France, never played an independent role in Cote d’Ivoire (2). They followed the French game plan, turning a blind eye to rebel abuses and French mass killings of pro Gbagbo civilians, most notably in November 2004. But never hesitated to go after Gbagbo every time his forces took action in areas where pro-Ouattara ‘civilians’ were carrying out armed attacks. They failed to list the number of policemen and soldiers killed by the rebels in Abidjan for example. The UN has shown it is its masters’ voice and has a very elastic interpretation of what ‘protecting civilians’ means. Note the 1000 people killed in Douekoue on March 29, the day after the rebels took the town.
The Imperial Masters only follow procedure when it works out in their interests. There was no consensus in the Electoral Commission, that is why the US and French Ambassador drove the pro-Ouattara chairman of the Commission to a UN protected compound to announce (on CNN!) Ouattara had won (3). They ignored the Constitutional Council’s role in validating or invalidating the results. They refused to recount and eliminate the massive fraud which could have averted the present crisis. The Financial Times worries Ouattara will have trouble shaking the image of the “French stooge” (4).
They very conviently prevented the huge Ivorian Diaspora in France, recognized as overwhelmingly pro-Gbagbo, from voting. They said there were ‘incidents’ and other ‘difficulties’.
The leadership of the African Union showed in whose service they really are. They silenced the Mbeki report of December 2010 which underlined widespread irregularities and could mean Gbagbo won. They chose envoys to ‘mediate’ the conflict who had openly pro-Ouattara views or a direct conflict of interest, i.e. Coup leader General Abel Aziz of Mauritania, Coup leader and electoral fraud king Blaise Compoare of Burkina Faso and Prime Minister Raila Odinga of Kenya who called for international military intervention in the Côte d’Ivoire even before Mbeki completed his mission. When there were people who were not openly on Ouattara’s side, they were either sidelined or refused by Ouattara, e.g. Cape Verde’s former Foreign Minister Jose Brito.
Former Ghanaian president, Jerry J. Rawlings, in December, called for a recount and cool headed thinking. There were many more ‘Wise’ who moved for calm and caution but were ignored.
The AU has once again earned its feathers and they are all white!
The western media shine by their short memories and readiness to comply to what Paris and Washington say. The ‘internationally recognized president’ they write. Don’t they want to examine the proof of the fraud Gbagbo says he has? Why don’t they ask the questions? Why don’t they remind us how France intervened in 2002 and 2004 against Gbagbo and the Ivorian Army? Why did South African President Jacob Zuma reverse his position so late?
The rebels became ‘Republican Forces’ over night with no questions asked. They had been ‘New Forces rebels’. The name change coincided with the military offensive which coincided with the French intervention. All so cozy. Why would a journalist ask questions? How is it when the French blow up ammunition dumps and hit the Presidential Palace, this is ‘protecting civilians’ but when the Army shoot back, they are ‘committing crimes and atrocities’?
Why have the press ignored the different offers for compromise made by Gbagbo, including direct talks and the possibility he and Ouattara both withdraw?
What prevented the press from looking at the voter registration and the votes cast and make up their own minds? Why did the press not push for a recount in their editorials? The press has been an eager accomplice in the media blitz for public opinion based on false, partial and biased news.
Another lesson (and there are many) is the danger of unbridled, uncontrolled illegal immigration. The population of the Cote d’Ivoire has trebled over the past thirty years, an estimated 25% of the country’s people, mostly Muslims from Burkina Faso (as many as three million). These immigrants and their countries of origin (Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria) are a major source of man-power and support for the rebels and Ouattara. If the Burkinabe immigrants were forced to return to their country, Burkina would collapse. This is a major reason why Compoare wants to see Ouattara in power.
I have rarely seen an international conspiracy to railroad an independent ‘patriotic’ president so false heartedly pursued. Corrupt leaders and Imperial Masters may think they can get away with this injustice but I am sure the African people will get the final word.
2. For a good audio analysis of what happened (in French) see Gri-Gri Internaitonal: http://www.google.fr/search?q=+gri+gri+internaitonal+cote+d’ivoire&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-US&ie=utf8&oe=utf8&redir_esc=&ei=BZqdTY-hBsqAhQeFmpC7BA
3. The Haitians foiled a similar electoral-coup attempt in November to sideline the singer ‘Micky’ Martelly. The UN backed electoral commission said he had finished third and was out of the running. Under pressure from voters in the streets, the UN and the Commission re-examined the results. The recount put Martelly in the second round and he won with 68% of the vote. No civil war. No military intervention. The Imperial masters (US and France) just did not get their way.
4. For the Financial Times worries about Ouattara’s image: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/058f3384-5fae-11e0-a718-00144feab49a.html#axzz1IihOYp46