Africa Blog Roundup: Cote d’Ivoire vs. Libya, Sudan Violence, Nigerian Elections, and More

Jimmy Kainja sees double standards at work in the West’s treatment of Cote d’Ivoire and Libya:

The international response to the crisis [in Libya] underscores the importance of Libya, as a country. America has taken hypocritical step of endorsing the ICC indictment of Gaddafi and his innercircle even though America does not recognise the ICC. Academics with links to the Gaddafis have been forced to resign, under pressure from the Western media; and celebrities that earned money from the Gaddafis have been forced to donate the money to charity. Yet we are not told who sold Gaddafi the weapons he is using to kill his own people, which is arguably the most important piece of the jigsaw.

These double standards show that Libya is not an ordinary country. Libya has the most sought after and increasingly scarce commodity: oil. This is why an equally appalling situation in Cote d’Ivoire where people are being killed and freeing the country in large numbers is playing a second fiddle to Libya. Cote d’Ivoire is the world’s largest producer of cocoa. But then it is simple mathematics: oil is more important and more precious than chocolate and cakes! Lethargic African Union can sort out the Cote d’Ivoire fiasco (the chocolates) while the West will deal with Gaddafi’s “madness” (the oil).

Elizabeth Dickinson doesn’t necessarily disagree:

Once upon a time, the world was supposed to intervene — militarily if necessary — to ensure democratic transition and prevent conflict in the Ivory Coast. These days, the momentum is gone. And in fact, the closer this country comes to civil war, the less interested anyone is at getting involved. I get it; geopolitically, the Ivory Coast doesn’t hold a candle to the Middle East. But how about all of West Africa — all of which is threatened by the current conflict?

Finally, Aaron Bady (I linked this piece yesterday, but it’s relevant here too) offers his take on the international media “silence” on Cote d’Ivoire.

Two pieces on the upcoming Nigerian elections: Monkey Cage gives an overview of the contest and the candidates (h/t Chris Blattman). Carmen McCain analyzes presidential candidate (and outgoing Kano State Governor) Ibrahim Shekarau’s remarks on shari’a law and Kano films.

John Campbell writes about Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki’s moves to delay the ICC’s prosecution of six Kenyans. “The indictments,” Campbell says, “have hurt [Kibaki] politically and have the potential for further scrambling Kenya’s ethnic politics.”

Maggie Fick reports that border violence is harming relations between North and South Sudan.

What are you reading today?

3 thoughts on “Africa Blog Roundup: Cote d’Ivoire vs. Libya, Sudan Violence, Nigerian Elections, and More

  1. Alex, thanks for the link! Just one small correction. Ibrahim Shekarau is the current, not former, governor of Kano State. Thanks!

  2. Not all of it’s for oil. Italy, which imports the most oil from Libya, was probably the most open of NATO countries against intervention while the the U.K and France who import little Libyan oil were the strongest voices for intervention. The U.S, which imports relatively little oil from Libya and can rely on Saudi Arabia to pick up any slack, didn’t sign on until it looked like the rebels would lose and the Arab League requested the U.N do something.
    As for Cote d’Ivoire, I suspect our lack of action is due at least in part to a lack of easy support for entering the country (for Libya we have Malta), the lack of importance in the minds of our citizens and a hope that U.N sanctions will bankrupt Gbago.
    Besides that, look at how difficult it was for the U.S to decide to enter this conflict in even the least of ways. The international liberals were conflicted and worried about not focusing on home, the neoconservatives can’t even agree on whether or not any of these uprisings are good and the realists still consider this a dangerous idea at best. I don’t know what the debate was like across the Atlantic but I suspect it was largely the same.

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