Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Chaos in Ivory Coast: Roots and Consequences

Dan Chirot sent me through a piece he recently wrote on the Ivory Coast. Thought I would post it; it is interesting and an area that seems to get little attention. It begins: "Back in the fall of 2002, an attempted military coup had failed in Ivory Coast. But — instead of really giving up — the mostly northern army officers retreated and took control of the northern half of the country, while the government held on to the south. The south has most of the country’s wealth, including its lucrative cocoa and coffee plantations, as well as the port of Abidjan which — far beyond Ivory Coast — serves much of French-speaking West Africa. The French, with about 5,000 soldiers there, managed to stop the renewed government offensive in November 2004, which actually had no chance of succeeding. Unexpectedly, though, the Ivorian government ordered the French military base in Bouake — the rebel capital — to be bombed."