Unrest in the Ivory Coast

Apr 08 2011

Unrest in the Ivory Coast

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With all of the fighting in Libya recently, many people are unaware of what is going on in the Ivory Coast. Unfortunately there is also a large amount of civil unrest and so far many people have been killed due to the outbreaks of fighting.  A few months ago the Ivory Coast held elections for the new President, and a man named Alassane Ouattara won over the current president, Laurent Gbagbo.  While this would be all well and good, but Gbagbo refuses to step down from his presidency and continues to insist that he won the election.

The rest of the world has recognized Ouattara as the standing president of the Ivory Coast but Gbagbo is now using military power to defend the presidency against Ouattara.  This has caused the UN to deplore troops to the Ivory Coast to keep peace.  There has been fighting for at least 3 months now but it seems that with the UN’s help Gbagbo is finally being forced to step down.  Although, he has made no comment that supports that, his troops are depleting and the fighting seems to be dying down.

The Ivory Coast is also having issues because of the sanctions that the UN put on it because of former President Gbagbo and his refusal to step down from the presidency. That was all well and good but some believe that the UN is overstepping their boundaries in the Ivory Coast with the recent attack on Gbagbo’s rocket launchers. This is so prevalent now because the UN seems to be much more willing to use force to stop internal conflicts, which has also been demonstrated in it’s use of force in Libya. It will be interesting to see if this is just a temporary change in UN peacekeeping strategies, or if this becomes a regular strategy.

This fighting also has its roots in history, “for decades the Ivory Coast has been a place of stability and prosperity in an otherwise troubled region” but now there is a north/south divide that is tearing the nation apart.  The Ivory Coast experienced an economic crash in the early 90’s and after that the many foreigners were suddenly unwelcome and the south started to label the people in the North as foreigners.  The North is mostly Muslim, which is where Ouattara has most of his support, while the South, which is mostly Christian holds Gbagbo’s supporters.

This divide is one of the main reasons behind the fighting, but with the end of fighting and the presidency being filled by Ouattara, this could also bring the end to the divide between North and South, hopefully what looks like the end really is and the Ivory Coast can go back to being the strong stable country that it once was.

One Response to “Unrest in the Ivory Coast”

  1. jweiss5 Says:

    This situation is interesting because it is being seriously overlooked and out-shadowed by other situations going on around the world. I remember someone asked Brian Williams what a journalists’ duty is to report on this hard news when other, less important issues are being reported on. First off, I didn’t know that anything was going on in the Ivory Coast because it has been one of the more hopeful African countries coming into the modern world, mainly because of it’s awesome natural resources. Secondly, Brian essentially said that sometimes, that’s just how the chips fall. You must try to report on all things that are important, but it might be the same day a politician misspells a word, calls someone a communist or a celebrity is photographed in an explicit manner.

    Also, this brings up a great point about a possible strategy change for the UN. Because the UN was so passive after the incident in Somalia and watched as hundreds of thousands were killed in Rwanda, Bosnia, Sudan, and more recently Darfur, the UN was pressured to act. So it intervened in Libya and now in the Ivory Coast. I personally think that the UN is not changing its strategy to a more proactive one; rather, I think they are choosing their (figurative) battles more carefully, and are trying to respond to the public’s will.

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