Côte d’Ivoire: Say Goodbye to International Law

The West is dealing shortly and brutally with African intellectual, who tried to build a European-like social state.

Given the civil war and NATO operation in Libya, the situation in another African country — Côte d’Ivoire — doesn’t draw much attention of the world media. In the meantime, these events are worth special consideration. First of all, violations of the international rights in this country — connected with interference of international institutions into the internal affairs — are unprecedented and inconceivable.

Second of all, scale and political pretext of the conflict are utterly impressive. It may seem unbelievable, yet it is a solid fact — during the last few months France and the USA have been successively finishing off a politician, who might have been called the most prominent fighter for democracy. Mind that he is literally a prominent politician, and that it is a real Western-kind democracy he fights for.

Not long ago Laurent Gbagbo was a respectable African leader, his party was a member of Social International Union (recently banned from it) and closely cooperated with the international labor union movement.

Laurent Gbagbo had a stainless reputation. Unlike numerous African leaders, who used to stay in power for decades using the military force, Gbagbo was a European kind of politician, and an adherent of social-democratic ideas at that.

How comes, that during merely half a year he turned into some sort of a fiend like Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, Central African emperor Jean-Bédel Bokassa or Foday Sankoh, leader of Sierra-Leone rebels?

During the post-colonial era Côte d’Ivoire had a tight relationship with France — its former mother country. However, it was former colonial Colonel Houphouët-Boigny, who established dictatorship and held the supreme power in the country. Gbagbo spent the most part of his life, fighting against his regime. Being an oppositionist, intellectual and dissident, he spent two years in the concentration camp and six years in exile.

Gbagbo has never held a machine gun in his hands — his workplace was the director’s cabinet in the Institute of History, Art and Architecture.

He left the country after architecting the labor union of science and higher education employees — this union was fiercely fighting against the regime. Their only weapons were strikes and rallies, yet dictator flew in rage and decided to punish the mastermind of the «treasonous plot». Gbagbo fled to Europe and gained the status of political refugee in France.

Having returned to his motherland, Gbagbo continued his political fight created a political organization, which structure resembled the one of Socialistic Party of France. Even its banner — red rose — was borrowed from the European lefts.

After three decades of political struggle Laurent Gbagbo finally got the free elections and in 2000 was elected a President. That was seemingly it — exemplary path of civilized politician, using the non-violent means on his way to power. West should have allegedly gazed upon the democratic triumph in Côte d’Ivoire with a great satisfaction.

But the West hasn’t, because Laurent Gbagbo, having come to power, was trying to limit the influence of foreign capital in the country and made foreign companies allot more funds for its social development. And in merely two years the USA and the EU have decided that Gbagbo didn’t quite fit the standard meter of a leader. Then the number of coup attempts, inter-ethnic clashes and conflicts with French military — that initially arrived to the country in order to protect the legally elected President — started.

In the end of 2010 Western patience has run out. Fate of the former dissident, human rights activist, labor union leader and the Social International Union member was sealed. At the two-round Presidential elections Gbagbo and another candidate Alassane Ouattara gained almost equal results. Both sides proclaimed their victory, both challenged the achievements of the rivals in the «adversary» election districts — then the debates moved to the legal and administrative institutions. Constitutional Council acknowledged Laurent Gbagbo as the winner.

The situation looked terribly like the resumes of the U.S. Presidential election in 2000, when few hundred votes of the Palm Beach elections district (Florida) determined the winner — was it George W. Bush or Albert Gore. Finally, the U.S. Supreme Council has stopped the count of votes — having opposed fives voices to four hundreds — which promised ill prospects to George Bush junior. Al Gore obeyed to the decision of the court. His African «fellow-sufferer» Alassane Ouattara though, decided not to submit himself to it and called for France, the USA and the UN Security Council.

Reaction of the global community was rapid. For the first time in the UN history, this organization interfered with the elections in a sovereign country and tried to define the winner by an order (which Russia stood up against, I might add). Sovereignty (and its very legal concept) of Côte d’Ivoire was neglected. President Laurent Gbagbo was proclaimed an usurper and the sanctions against his country were imposed — import of cocoa beans had ceased. Let us remind you that from an international legal standpoint this is a unique precedent that has never happened before.

What grounds had Ouattara to believe, that the global community would treat his demands with empathy? It’s plain and simple — in the 1980s «offended» candidate used to work as a head of the African IMF department and in the 1990s he was its Deputy Managing Director.

On the 18th of March this year, simultaneously with the UN Security Council resolution №1973, regarding Libya, Alassane Ouattara’s supporters started their conquest against Yamoussoukro and Abidjan, administrative and economic capitals of Côte d’Ivoire.

Yet, Gbagbo is no by no means a second Gaddafi. During all his life Gbagbo wore coat and tie instead of military uniform and he still has a long way to go to the bellicose charismatic leaders. Trying to build a European-like political system in his country he didn’t trouble himself, creating the elite commando units, majoring at the suppression of riots. His best bid against the rebels was his own adherents, hastily armed with submachine guns. In the end, Ouattara’s forces easily outdid Gbagbo’s supporters. They occupied the administrative capital of Yamoussoukro and then invaded the economic one — four-million-strong Abidjan.

Today Abidjan resembles the stage-ground of a horror movie. City is drowning in blood; count of slaughtered citizens has reached thousands. Rebels — most of whom are expatriates of the neighboring countries — have no mercy for the citizens of what once was the most prospering and wealthiest city of Western Africa. Today its citizens have fallen victims of both social and ethnic hatred at once. Ideally, proceeding from humanitarian point of view, France and the UN peacemakers should’ve stopped Ouattara’s troops on the approaches to Abidjan (let me remind you, that missile strikes against Libya were originally started «out of wish to save the peaceful Benghazi population from atrocities of Gaddafi’s army»). However, Abidjan citizens, who voted for Laurent Gbagbo, are perhaps somewhat different from the Benghazi population, as long as their torments don’t touch the Western hearts.

In all likelihood, trying to break a record of international legal norms’ violations, French troops in Côte d’Ivoire have in fact joined the rebels in Abidjan and started to fight against still loyal forces of Laurent Gbagbo. Helicopters of the French Air Force have struck at Gbagbo’s residence in the very height of battle in Abidjan — it was allegedly UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon, who asked them of that.

Choosing from the former IMF functionary and former dissident, oppositionist and human rights fighter, the West has chosen the former one without giving so much as a benefit of doubt. From now on Côte d’Ivoire will be governed by a representative of a global financial institution, who is perfectly aware, of what he is about to do and what other leaders expect of him. His competitor, idealist and democrat Gbagbo — who intended to build a social state in Africa, using the liberal European templates — will be gone into political unbeing.

OR Note: The article was written well before the yesterday’s arrest of Laurent Gbagbo by the French forces. So the development looks even more phantasmagoric.

Source: World Investigation Network

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