Ivory Coast: the Pace Intensifies

It is very hard to keep up with the news from Ivory Coast, today. Things are moving very quickly and there is a lot of claim and counter-claim on twitter which makes it hard to sort out the wheat from the chaff. However, this article seems to sum up things fairly well.

After waiting four months for Laurent Gbagbo to step down, armed forces aligned to president-elect Alassane Ouattara have decided they have waited long enough and are marching from the north of Côte d’Ivoire to Abidjan. Coincidentally, the Gbagbo camp would now like to be friends with African Union again. By SIPHO HLONGWANE.

Throughout the Côte d’Ivoire post-election crisis, Laurent Gbagbo had one slim lifeline available to him: Alassane Ouattara promised him a peaceful resolution and a government of national unity if Gbagbo acceded to the wishes of the people of Côte d’Ivoire. Ouattara made this proposal to the five-president AU panel sent to the country to mediate the crisis, and they accepted it. Gbagbo rejected the proposal and continued to hold on to power – albeit with increasing shakiness

The Ouattara camp has had enough now. According to AFP, the “peaceful resolution” is now off the table. The army aligned to Ouattara is now moving towards Abidjan to deliver in person the invitation to Gbagbo to step down.

[Edit] Immediately after posting this, I found a very good article on whether the international community should engage with Ivory Coast in the way they have done in Libya. The whole thing is worth a read, but this little phrase captures the attitude of the West so well.

Finally, is it politically palatable? Much as it hurts me to say this: No.  A 13 percent increase in the price of cocoa is not going to get Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ Meet the Press threshold for vital interests. It’s just not.

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