So when we are going to bomb the Ivory Coast?

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Ivory Coast rebels advance, take 2 more cities



Rebels backing Ivory Coast's internationally recognized leader Alassane Ouattara extended their gains by capturing a strategic crossroads and advanced toward the capital Tuesday after four months of political chaos following the disputed election.

Incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to leave office is quickly degenerating into a full-scale war in the world's main cocoa-producing country, but accepting the rebels' support could prove risky for Ouattara if the fighters commit abuses in his name.

The United Nations said Tuesday that rebels had fired on a U.N. reconnaissance helicopter Monday afternoon. The shots failed to hit the helicopter, though the U.N. denounced the attack, saying that it constituted a war crime.

The U.N. also expressed alarm about an attack blamed on Gbagbo security forces that left at least 10 civilians dead in Abidjan, the country's largest city. Pro-Gbagbo youth also were accused of killing one man by putting a tire around a man's neck and setting him ablaze.

"With the increase in human rights violations and barbaric practices, there are grounds for wondering whether President Gbagbo is still in charge of his forces and supporters," the local U.N. peacekeeping mission said in a statement Tuesday.

More than 1 million people have fled the fighting and at least 462 people have been killed since the Nov. 28 presidential election. U.N.-certified results showed Ouattara won the election but he has been unable to assume office because Gbagbo is refusing to leave after a decade in power.

The political standoff has led to daily fighting where security forces loyal to Gbagbo have used heavy weapons against the population, acts the U.N. said could be crimes against humanity. The city's chic downtown neighborhoods are now a puzzle of roadblocks manned by hooded youths allied with Gbagbo.

Ouattara, who is from the country's north, had long tried to distance himself from the rebels based there who fought in a brief civil war almost a decade ago that left the country split in two. However, rebels have been stepping up their offensive to install him in office in recent weeks.
Read more: Ivory Coast rebels advance, take 2 more cities - KansasCity.com
 

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People in the Ivory Coast are being killed by a tyrant, so when we are sending our cruise missiles and fighter jets over there? supposedly we are bombing Libya to do the right thing and help people, so we need to get over to the Ivory Coast and help those folks as well.

Civilians Die as Ivory Coast Braces for a Defeated President's Last Stand



At least 52 civilians have been killed in the past week amid escalating violence instigated by an authoritarian President who refuses to heed the will of his people. No, not in Libya, or Yemen, or Bahrain, but in the West African nation of Ivory Coast, which is struggling for media attention amid crises elsewhere.

"Ivory Coast isn't considered strategically important enough on the global stage — it is not a Libya, so to speak," one Western diplomat points out. "And that, quite simply, is why it hasn't got the attention it deserves from the international community."

The erstwhile beacon of prosperity and stability in West Africa has been held hostage for five months by incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, who has refused to cede power after losing a November runoff presidential election. Instead, he has mobilized the state apparatus and a fanatical core of young militants against the citizens who voted for his challenger, Alassane Ouattara. Daily battles rage between a burgeoning pro-Ouattara insurgency in Abidjan known as the "invisible commandos," and the army, which backs Gbagbo. At least 460 deaths have been confirmed since mid-December, according to the U.N. mission there, known as ONUCI.

And the violence threatens to escalate as Gbagbo has urged his young backers to join the army en masse. In the main city of Abidjan, some 15,000 youths, mostly unemployed and illiterate, gathered at the army headquarters on March 22. "I'm prepared to defend my country, which is under attack from foreigners," unemployed 17-year-old Venance Kouakou, who rushed to sign up, told TIME. Foreigners, he added, were all those who "voted against Gbagbo, the true President."

Later, a group of youths marching through Abidjan's once clean, palm-lined streets, chanted loudly, "With our Kalashs, we will target the enemy!" Gbagbo's popularity has long centered on xenophobic rhetoric against migrants from other African countries. Ivorians from the north of the country — where Ouattara has popular support — are considered foreigners by Gbagbo's supporters because many have migrant roots, giving the threat of violence a distinctly xenophobic character.

Read more: Ivory Coast Braces for Civil War as Violence Escalates - TIME
Do they have oil?
 
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People in the Ivory Coast are being killed by a tyrant, so when we are sending our cruise missiles and fighter jets over there? supposedly we are bombing Libya to do the right thing and help people, so we need to get over to the Ivory Coast and help those folks as well.

Civilians Die as Ivory Coast Braces for a Defeated President's Last Stand



At least 52 civilians have been killed in the past week amid escalating violence instigated by an authoritarian President who refuses to heed the will of his people. No, not in Libya, or Yemen, or Bahrain, but in the West African nation of Ivory Coast, which is struggling for media attention amid crises elsewhere.

"Ivory Coast isn't considered strategically important enough on the global stage — it is not a Libya, so to speak," one Western diplomat points out. "And that, quite simply, is why it hasn't got the attention it deserves from the international community."

The erstwhile beacon of prosperity and stability in West Africa has been held hostage for five months by incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, who has refused to cede power after losing a November runoff presidential election. Instead, he has mobilized the state apparatus and a fanatical core of young militants against the citizens who voted for his challenger, Alassane Ouattara. Daily battles rage between a burgeoning pro-Ouattara insurgency in Abidjan known as the "invisible commandos," and the army, which backs Gbagbo. At least 460 deaths have been confirmed since mid-December, according to the U.N. mission there, known as ONUCI.

And the violence threatens to escalate as Gbagbo has urged his young backers to join the army en masse. In the main city of Abidjan, some 15,000 youths, mostly unemployed and illiterate, gathered at the army headquarters on March 22. "I'm prepared to defend my country, which is under attack from foreigners," unemployed 17-year-old Venance Kouakou, who rushed to sign up, told TIME. Foreigners, he added, were all those who "voted against Gbagbo, the true President."

Later, a group of youths marching through Abidjan's once clean, palm-lined streets, chanted loudly, "With our Kalashs, we will target the enemy!" Gbagbo's popularity has long centered on xenophobic rhetoric against migrants from other African countries. Ivorians from the north of the country — where Ouattara has popular support — are considered foreigners by Gbagbo's supporters because many have migrant roots, giving the threat of violence a distinctly xenophobic character.

Read more: Ivory Coast Braces for Civil War as Violence Escalates - TIME
Do they have oil?
Nope, and thats why they are nowewhere to be found on our radar.:(
 
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Gbagbo calls for cease-fire in Ivory Coast



Following a successful offensive by forces of Alassane Ouattara, including the capture of two more towns, disputed incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo called for a cease-fire and mediation in the Ivory Coast.

Fighting in Ivory Coast has intensified, with fighters loyal to Ouattara reportedly entering at least two new towns Wednesday after seizing several cities the day before from forces loyal to Gbagbo and moving closer to the official capital of Yamoussoukro.

The Associated Press quoted Ouattara's defense spokesman as saying fighters had taken control of the central towns of Bouafle and Sinfra. Witnesses also reported gunfire in Tiebissou, 30 miles from Yamoussoukro.

A spokesman for Gbagbo, meanwhile, called for a cease-fire and mediation. Don Mello told Radio France Internationale that the army had adopted a strategy of tactical withdrawal, though he that Gbagbo's forces could use their "legitimate right of defense."

Ouattara is the internationally recognized winner of the presidential election last November, but Gbagbo has refused to relinquish power and continues to control Ivory Coast's largest city and financial capital, Abidjan.
http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/110330/ivory-coast-gbagbo-africa-news-video
 
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Ivory Coast: Ouattara Forces Enter Capital



(ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast) — Fighters supporting Ivory Coast's internationally recognized leader reached the capital Wednesday after seizing a dozen towns this week alone in a bid to install him in office after months of political chaos caused when two men claimed the presidency.

Alassane Ouattara's military spokesman confirmed that his forces had entered the capital of Yamoussoukro but said that pockets of resistance still existed. "There have been some defections to our side, but the city isn't yet entirely under our control," said Seydou Ouattara, who is not related to the political leader.

The rebels' arrival in the administrative capital marks a dramatic advance from multiple directions after months of political stalemate. But many believe a final bloody battle over the presidency is destined for the commercial capital of Abidjan.

Still, if Yamoussoukro falls to the Ouattara-allied forces, it would open up the main highway to Abidjan, which is only 143 miles (230 kilometers) away.

Resident Sylvain Koffi said young men on motorbikes drove into Yamoussoukro on Wednesday afternoon with their AK-47 assault rifles pointed into the air.

The city was almost entirely shut down after reports of the advancing rebels reached Yamoussoukro. Multiple residents reported seeing soldiers and police loyal to incumbent Laurent Gbagbo flee the city earlier in the day.

The international community and Ivory Coast's electoral commission say Ouattara won the November presidential election. But Gbagbo refuses to give up power. Up to 1 million people have fled the fighting caused by political chaos and at least 462 people have been killed since the election.
Read more: Ivory Coast: Ouattara Forces Enter Capital - TIME
 

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If we were to bomb the Ivory Coast.....would anyone realize it had been bombed?
 
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In Ivory Coast, Gbagbo's forces defect en masse: reports



Celebrations are breaking out across Ivory Coast today as forces loyal to President-elect Alassane Ouattara seize city after city in a lightning-fast march to end the reign of renegade incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo.

How Ivory Coast's Gbabgo aims to solve his cash woes As Ivory Coast stalemate worsens, so do the chances of military intervention As Gbabgo seizes Central Bank assets in Ivory Coast, a look at the arcane institution Mr. Gbagbo has sat in the presidential palace for eleven years, using his army and youth militia to outlast a foiled coup and a 2002-03 civil war while presiding over a decade of economic stagnation and, finally, a Nov. 28 electoral defeat that he refused to acknowledge.

After months of waiting for a concession speech that never came, rebels last week launched an offensive deep into southern Ivory Coast, from whence Gbagbo hails.

Just hours ago, Gbagbo's armed forces appeared ready to respond, dragging the country deeper into a second, more vicious civil war on behalf of their defiant president.

Instead, they appear to have evaporated. Some 50,000 police thought to be loyal to Gbagbo have deserted, reports Agence France-Presse.

In the capital, Yamoussoukro, which the rebels took with hardly a shot, they spun donuts in the city center in jeeps as civilians cheered. Hours later, they took San Pedro, the key port through which 40 percent of the world's cocoa flows.

Rebels taking Gbagbo's hometown spent the night in his vacation villa.

As of this writing, they even appeared to have begun taking Abidjan, once the "Jewel of Africa," and still the country's most important city.

Gbagbo's army chief sought asylum in the South African embassy last night. And the leader of Gbagbo's youth militia, Charles Blé Goudé, has reportedly asked Angola for a visa.

Gbagbo's remaining entourage, however, appears ready to dig in its heels. How hard his most loyal forces will fight could determine the scale of the humanitarian disaster already underway.

The United States said Thursday that Gbagbo will be held responsible for clashes in Abidjan.

"If there is major violence in Abidjan and Gbagbo does not step aside, he and those around him, including his wife Simone Gbagbo, will have to be held accountable for the actions they failed to take to stop it," Johnnie Carson, assistant secretary of state for African affairs, told reporters. "The international community will certainly hold him accountable, but he does have an opportunity, but this opportunity is slipping away."
In Ivory Coast, Gbagbo's forces defect en masse: reports - CSMonitor.com
 

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The west African nation of Ivory Coast has been in turmoil ever since incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down after losing an internationally certified election in late November. As forces loyal to Gbagbo have killed civilians and been accused of crimes against humanity, and as the number of refugees from the country has ballooned to as many as 1 million, observers have described the situation as worse than the Libyan conflict.
While the crisis has gotten substantial press attention, one aspect of Gbagbo's past -- and present -- has flown under the radar: his longtime ties to the Christian right in the United States, a movement in which he still finds at least some support.
Why the Christian right is backing a brutal despot - War Room - Salon.com
 
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Ivory Coast's president-elect says his troops are outside key city



Reporting from Johannesburg, South Africa— The internationally recognized winner of Ivory Coast's disputed presidential election said Thursday that his forces were outside the nation's commercial capital, Abidjan, after taking control of much of the country, and he called on his rival's army to join him.

"It is time to rejoin your brothers-in-arms of the Republican Forces. The country is calling you," Alassane Ouattara, who won a United Nations-certified election in November, said in a television address.

Ouattara said the aim of the offensive was to remove incumbent Laurent Gbagbo, who has refused to relinquish power, and restore democracy. Gbagbo was reported by RTI state television to be safe in his home in the Abidjan neighborhood of Cocody.

"Despite numerous appeals to Laurent Gbagbo and his allies for a peaceful transfer of power, the only response to this outreached hand has been violence," Ouattara said.

Amid reports of army units deserting or changing sides in other parts of the country, the only choices left for Gbagbo appeared to be either fleeing into exile or fighting in Abidjan, his strongest source of support. Troops loyal to Ouattara on Wednesday seized Yamoussoukro, the capital.

Gbagbo's strongest weapon, his control of the army, appears to be disintegrating: His army chief of staff, Gen. Philippe Mangou, deserted Thursday and sought refuge with his family at the home of the South African ambassador.

But a Gbagbo advisor based in Europe reportedly said the incumbent would not step down.

"He will not resign in the wake of this attack. He is not going to abdicate. He is not going to lay down his arms. He will stay in power to lead the resistance to this attack against Ivory Coast organized by France, the United States and the United Nations," said advisor Toussaint Alain, according to the Associated Press.

Ouattara, whose forces have also seized the key cocoa-exporting port of San Pedro, has been stationed in Abidjan's Golf Hotel since December, surrounded by Gbagbo's army but protected by U.N. peacekeepers. In February, he set up a television station in the hotel, on which he has regularly addressed the nation. His forces have surrounded the city.

Abidjan is deeply polarized, with some neighborhoods already in the hands of anonymous anti-Gbagbo rebels who launched attacks in late February. Some of them, in military uniforms, appear allied with Ouattara's forces, but the allegiance of other ragtag rebels is less clear.

Gbagbo's opponents say his main military support consists of his volatile youth militia, the Young Patriots, along with other deeply loyal forces numbering at least 5,000.
Ivory Coast: Ivory Coast's president-elect says his troops are outside key city - latimes.com
 

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yup...

I don't recall a UN resolution for french action here but hey....what the heck right?

Ivory Coast: French forces take over Abidjan airport

France has sent extra troops to Ivory Coast's main city, Abidjan, and taken control of its airport.

A French military spokesman told the BBC there was a security vacuum as forces formerly loyal to incumbent Laurent Gbagbo changed sides.

Fighting continues between Mr Gbagbo's troops and supporters of his rival, UN-recognised President Alassane Ouattara.

The city's pro-Gbagbo TV station called for people to mobilise against the French '"occupation".

Mr Ouattara's forces are reported to be planning a further advance towards the presidential palace and have imposed a curfew on the city.

UN spokesman Hamadoun Toure told the BBC he had heard gunfire near the palace, adding that the situation was very tense

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BBC News - Ivory Coast: French forces take over Abidjan airport
 
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yup...

I don't recall a UN resolution for french action here but hey....what the heck right?

Ivory Coast: French forces take over Abidjan airport

France has sent extra troops to Ivory Coast's main city, Abidjan, and taken control of its airport.

A French military spokesman told the BBC there was a security vacuum as forces formerly loyal to incumbent Laurent Gbagbo changed sides.

Fighting continues between Mr Gbagbo's troops and supporters of his rival, UN-recognised President Alassane Ouattara.

The city's pro-Gbagbo TV station called for people to mobilise against the French '"occupation".

Mr Ouattara's forces are reported to be planning a further advance towards the presidential palace and have imposed a curfew on the city.

UN spokesman Hamadoun Toure told the BBC he had heard gunfire near the palace, adding that the situation was very tense

more at-
BBC News - Ivory Coast: French forces take over Abidjan airport
It seems the French feel an obligation to its former colony but beyond that, I don't see anyone else doing anything.
 
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Ivory Coast Fighters Prepare To Oust Leader Laurent Gbagbo



ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — Residents barricaded themselves inside their homes Sunday, blanketing windows and pushing furniture against doors as this country on Africa's western coast tensely awaited the final battle between the two men who claim the presidency.

Fighters backing the internationally recognized president, Alassane Ouattara, amassed at a tollbooth on the city's northern edge, preparing for the final assault. Their leader was declared the winner of last November's election, but Ouattara has not been able to assume office because outgoing president Laurent Gbagbo is refusing to yield power.

Water has been cut off to much of Abidjan, and on the empty streets, a handful of women with basins could be seen hurriedly crossing the waterfront highway to reach the lagoon. Men ventured out with plastic bags to scoop up water, holding the bags high in the air to signal to soldiers in firing positions that they were not armed.

Only about 20 miles separates the thousands of pro-Ouattara foot soldiers readying for battle from the lagoonside district where the presidential palace and mansion are located.

A resident of the Cocody neighborhood where the mansion is located said around 700 Gbagbo supporters had gathered at the gates of the compound Sunday, after state television, still controlled by the entrenched ruler, called on the population to form a human shield to protect the presidential palace. The resident, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal, said the supporters had been armed with AK-47 assault rifles.

Toussaint Alain, Gbagbo's representative in Europe, told reporters in Paris that Gbagbo is not giving up.

"President Gbagbo, I have said, is at the residence of the head of state, his usual workplace, and he is managing the crisis with teams that have been put into place to deal with this aggression coming from the outside," Alain said. "It's not up to America or France to decide who must lead the Ivory Coast."

The international community has been nearly unanimous in backing Ouattara, whose win with over 54 percent of the vote was confirmed by Ivorian election officials and a 900-strong United Nations observation mission.

In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called on Gbagbo to step down immediately. She expressed concern about a massacre in the western town of Duekoue, where U.N. investigators said Sunday at least 430 people were killed last week, after pro-Ouattara forces moved in. It's unclear which side committed the killings, with both camps denying responsibility.
Ivory Coast Fighters Prepare To Oust Leader Laurent Gbagbo
 
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Ivory Coast's Ambassador To France, Appointed By Alassane Ouattara, Says Laurent Gbagbo Is Negotiating Surrender



PARIS -- Ivory Coast's ambassador to France, who was appointed by the country's democratically elected leader Alassane Ouattara, says embattled strongman Laurent Gbagbo is negotiating his surrender.

Speaking Tuesday on France Info radio, Ali Coulibaly did not provide any details about the alleged negotiations, nor did he say where he got the information.

Coulibaly's comments come a day after attacks by United Nations and French forces on Gbagbo's residence, military bases and other targets.

Pro-Ouattara supporters had succeeded in taking nearly the entire countryside last week, but they faltered upon reaching Abidjan, the country's largest city. With the help of international forces, the armed group has pushed its way into the city.
Ivory Coast's Ambassador To France, Appointed By Alassane Ouattara, Says Laurent Gbagbo Is Negotiating Surrender
 
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Gbagbo Ivory Coast Home Under Attack As Opposition Pushes For Surrender



ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — Heavy arms fire rang out Wednesday near the home of the country's strongman who remained holed up in a subterranean bunker, as forces backing his rival assaulted the residence to try to force him out, diplomats and witnesses said.

A spokeswoman for the government of the country's democratically elected president Alassane Ouattara said on France-24 television that pro-Ouattara forces had entered the gates of Laurent Gbagbo's residence.

"At the current moment they have not yet captured Gbagbo but it will happen soon," Affoussy Bamba said by telephone from Abidjan. "They opened the gates and noted that the residence is surrounded by heavy weaponry," she said. "Now the objective is to capture him."

Gbagbo had appeared to be on the point of surrender on Tuesday, sending an emissary to meet with foreign ambassadors in order to negotiate the terms of his resignation. But a senior diplomat who asked not to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the press said the overture appeared to be a foil, and that Gbagbo was simply playing for time.

"The conditions set by President Ouattara are rather clear. He is demanding that Laurent Gbagbo accept his defeat and recognize the victory of the legitimately elected president," French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Wednesday. "That's where we are today, and alas, words have given way to weapons."

Neither U.N. nor French forces were involved in Wednesday's fighting, he said.

Earlier in the day, French radio RFI broadcast an interview with Gbagbo in which he said he had won last November's election and that there was no question of him leaving.

"We are not at the negotiating phase. And my departure from where? My departure to where?" he said.

Gbagbo refused to accept defeat to Ouattara in last year's election and took his country to the precipice of civil war in his bid to preserve power. His security forces are accused of using cannons, mortars and machine guns to mow down opponents in the four months since Ouattara was declared the winner of the contested vote.
Gbagbo Ivory Coast Home Under Attack As Opposition Pushes For Surrender
 
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The Specter of Genocide



The woman had been trapped in her office for three days as fighting rocked the streets below and armed gangs roamed. Alexandra had survived on a package of cookies and two cans of soda. Finally, frantic that a promised rescue by a U.N. convoy did not materialize, she ran out of her building and into the dangerous streets, dashing two blocks to a nearby hotel. "This place is paradise," she said to the staff, who took her in and provided her with water and some food, even though they were running low. "This place is paradise."

On March 31, millions in the chic, sultry West African city of Abidjan, the center of power in Ivory Coast, abandoned their wine bars, high-rise offices and four-lane highways. They barricaded their apartments and watched, terrified, as the battle for their nation swept into town. Forces allied with northerner Alassane Ouattara, who was elected President on Nov. 28, fought troops loyal to southerner Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent, who delayed an election for five years, then refused to go when he lost.

Mediation went nowhere, and from March 28 to 30, militias supporting Ouattara captured most of the country. But the battle for Abidjan, a city of 5 million, was always going to be bloody. Gbagbo had surrounded himself with thousands of troops and heavy weapons — mortars, mounted machine guns and artillery — and was believed to be in a bunker under the presidential residence. Its food supplies already low, the city ran so short of water that even Gbagbo's thugs were knocking on doors begging for a drink. Thirsty civilians braved gunfire to draw water from the city's polluted lagoons.

Meanwhile, the specter of genocide hung in the air as Gbagbo's state television urged patriots to defend the nation, broadcasting pictures of bodies in the streets. Northerners and southerners daubed one another's doors with signs to indicate tribal affiliation, a guide to enmity. In the western town of Duékoué, 800 people died in two separate massacres, apparently one by each side. The U.N. estimated that a million people were displaced.

Gbagbo seemed to be counting on the world's doing little to stop what sounded like an all-too-familiar African tragedy. As with other autocrats — Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, Muammar Gaddafi in Libya — the country would burn. The world would watch in horror but just as quickly turn away. And after all the killing, rape and destruction, Gbagbo would remain.
Read more: Intervention in Ivory Coast - TIME
 

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