Mike McGovern has some questions about the international community’s actions in Cote d’Ivoire:
Have outside actors helped or harmed this long-simmering, low-level conflict? At first, West African states, the African Union, the European Union, and the United Nations spoke with one voice, insisting that Ouattara had won the election and that a power-sharing agreement (of the kind that has failed miserably in Kenya and Zimbabwe) was not an option. Such unanimity countered Gbagbo’s strategy of playing for time, hoping that African-European or inter-African schisms would provide him with some sort of mitigated legitimacy. Economic moves by the eight West African states that share the CFA currency to cut off the Gbagbo government’s access to banking channels was innovative and undercut Gbagbo’s ability to pay the salaries of civil servants and soldiers.
Yet as the endgame neared, many members of the international community acted in ways that were dangerously counterproductive. For example, when Gbagbo was hiding and refusing to give up power, one can think of few statements more unhelpful than the declaration by Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor, that no one in Côte d’Ivoire could receive amnesty from war crimes prosecution. With one sentence, Moreno-Ocampo ensured that Gbagbo would reject any negotiated solution and instead fight to the end.
(h/t Chris Blattman)
Texas in Africa excerpts a report on the role of “magic” in Cote d’Ivoire’s civil war and thinks through some issues related to “magic and war” in Africa:
What I’m explicitly trying to avoid in this research is the passing of value judgments vis-a-vis the question of scientific rationality vs. belief in supernatural forces. Because I honestly don’t think that what is real is what actually matters here. It’s all about perception. It doesn’t matter whether a stone with a bunch of cursed red cloths inside really affects whatever will happen to Monsieur Gbagbo, whose days seem numbered by any standard. What might matter, however, is whether all or some of Ouattara’s troops believe that taking out that stone is key to their victory. It could affect how they fight, their strategy, and what they are willing to sacrifice at the negotiating table.
Baobab explores “Abidjan after Gbagbo.”
Carmen McCain writes about Nigeria’s NN24, class issues, and the impact of new media on the elections. You can check the Nigeria Elections Coalition for the latest results from last week’s legislative vote and yesterday’s presidential election.
Africa Is A Country previews the exhibit “Africa Dream – Chinese in Africa” by Chinese photographer Wang Zhe.
Rachel Flynn asks, “How Should the EU Engage with a New African Nation in Sudan?”
John Campbell looks at issues of justice and accountability in East Africa.
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