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Since this article was written by the ICC’s section in France, it looks as though the presidency of Laurent Gbagbo is nearing its end, as the ‘rebel’ forces led by Alassane Ouattara strengthen their grip on the capital. But this does not diminish the accuracy of its description of this barbaric conflict.
The murders with small arms fire which began the day after the proclamation of the Presidential election results on 28 November 2010, have given way to large-scale massacres right out in the open. According to diverse sources (such as the spokesman of Ouattara on French TV), there have already been a thousand deaths, tens of thousands of injured and hundreds of thousands of refugees, 300,000 of whom fled the town of Abidjan. Fighting is unfolding in most areas of this town, particularly in the densely populated suburb of Abobo
The population is caught in the cross-fire of both camps of assassins who don’t hesitate to march over the bodies of their victims, including women and children. These are not only assassinations and sudden assaults by death squads, there are also tanks, helicopters and other heavy weaponry stepping into this danse macabre. Now the war is moving from Abidjan to the official capital Yamoussoukro and is spreading to the Liberian border where these bloodthirsty gangs are settling accounts. Elsewhere, those that escape death inevitably come up against the misery of a state of war with its scarcity, mass unemployment and permanent insecurity.
“Here, a woman, ‘housewife, a mamma’ as the people affectionately and tenderly refer to the mothers of families, had her head taken off by a soldier shooting in Abobo, the insurgent quarter of Abidjan. About six or seven other women were mown down with bursts of gun fire from an armoured vehicle of the defence forces (FDS) loyal to Laurent Gbagbo which came, according to the crowd, from a neighbouring camp of the Republican Guard, supported by men of the Anti-Riot Brigade (BAE). Diabolical columns are crossing now hostile zones, followed by ambulances and hearses in order to get rid of the corpses (...) Thursday 3 March, the march of women who thought that they could demonstrate peacefully in the style of Egypt or Tunisia with placards saying ‘Gbagbo go!’, turned out not to be the beginning of a ‘revolution’ called for by Guillaume Soro, ex-chief of the rebellion and now first minister of Alassane Ouattara, the President recognised by the international community. The FDS fired on the women with heavy machine-guns whose bullets were capable of tearing off heads, arms and legs. Seven deaths” (Le Monde, 10/3/11).
And the carnage continued on 8 March (during another march on the occasion of International Woman’s Day) at the end of which we saw the extreme barbarity in which the forces loyal to the criminal Gbagbo excelled. But we also shouldn’t ignore the responsibility of the no less criminal camp of Ouattara which has knowingly sent these women to their death without any protection. This same Soro, the right-hand man of Ouattara, has profited from the revolts in the Arab world to push these women into an abattoir under the pretext of unleashing a 'revolution' against the power of Gbagbo. This really monstrous procedure consists of manipulating civilians and women with the single aim of satisfying the politicians’ criminal ambitions. But these two camps of vultures don’t stop there; they enrol the population in absolute horror:
“The unthinkable is happening: each in their own camp, an ill-wind for the neutrals. There are more and more armed civilians; more and more situations where innocents are killed, burnt alive, wounded, martyred, in the two camps. The Ivory Coast is falling apart and the meeting organised by the African Union for Tuesday in Addis-Ababa to communicate a solution ‘constraining’ the two rivals for the presidency of November 2010, doesn’t give rise to great hopes... At the same time, the scale of the violence diversifies. Three mosques have been burnt in the last few days. Groups of militias have also sacked the homes of the leaders of the RHDP of Alassane Ouattara, who is holed up in the Hotel du Golf, discretely tucked away in the country. Eighteen houses have been ransacked based on the growing fears of seeing a new wave of atrocities hitting those that their neighbours suspect of being pro-Ouattara. On the other hand, the inhabitants of Anokoua, an area of Abobo peopled by the ethnic Ebrie, supposedly belonging to the Gbagbo camp, have been attacked the night before. Three deaths, including a woman burnt in her house and numerous injuries. Arms have been distributed to the Ebrie. If the spiral of violence is not stopped it will affect everyone (Le Monde, ibid).
This is the hell in which the populations live their daily lives, unfortunately without hope of escaping. Given the protection given to the killers the most likely outcome is for the entire country to end up in a conflagration.
Facades of sanctions, but real imperialist confrontations
In order to support Alassane Ouattara, designated the winner (by them) of the second round of presidential elections last November, the United States and the European Union announced a series of economic and diplomatic 'sanctions' against the Gbagbo clan to force him to cede power to his rival. But three months later, Laurent Gbagbo is still there and openly mocks the sanctions because he knows that they have been implemented with a double language and there is unity on nothing. On the contrary, behind the scenes there is a battle to defend the respective interests of those countries involved.
Faced with the attempted blockade of Ivorian cocoa, Gbagbo decided on a reorganisation of the commercialisation of the raw material, calling into question “all powerful western groups” and looking for new outlets. His entourage boasted: “Gbagbo has paid the wages for February; he will pay them for March and April (...) International condemnation of his regime persists, but Laurent Gbagbo is not giving up. He hopes to profit from the disagreements appearing within the international community and thinks that time is on his side. Pharmacies are beginning to run out of medicine because of an unannounced maritime embargo. But European businessmen continue to knock on his door, even if Gbagbo only receives them when the indiscreet cameras are out of the way” (Jeune Afrique, 6/12 March 2011).
The case of France is particularly edifying. In fact, on one side, Monsieur Sarkozy publicly announces a series of measures to sanction the government of Gbagbo, including the threat of an economic boycott, whereas, on the other, he is taking care not to incite the big French companies present (Bouygues, Bollore, Total, etc.) to leave the country. On the contrary, all these groups continue to do business with the Gbagbo regime, mitigating and skirting around the so-called 'economic sanctions'. Yet again, we see the odiously hypocritical character of the 'African policy' of the French in the Ivory Coast. In reality, French imperialism is above all concerned for its capital and cares nothing for the fate of the population, the first victims of this butchery; moreover, the guard dogs of its military operation “Licorne” will be released if French interests are threatened. Clearly, in this business of 'sanctions', no gangster can leave an advantage to the profit of its rivals.
The UN and the African Union let the assassins loose
At each big explosion of violence in the Ivory Coast since the beginning of the bloody electoral process at the end of 2010, the Security Council of the UN has been quick to meet up to pass resolutions, but never to stop the massacres. On the contrary, each one of its members more or less openly supports one or the other of the armed camps on the ground. That clearly shows the sordid behaviour of these gentlemen of the Security Council; so cynical that their 11,000 soldiers on the ground do nothing other than record the numbers of victims; worse still, they cover up the fact that armed groups, even when surrounded by Blue Helmets, bombard and fire on the population with impunity.
Thus, not only do the UN authorities remain scandalously indifferent to the suffering of the victims of war, but they have also put in place a black-out on the killings.
Once again, the French president, addressing the entire world, launched an ultimatum to Gbagbo, giving him the 'order' to leave power before the end of 2010. Since then? Nothing... He has observed a scrupulous, total silence on the horrors unfolding in front of his interests and the 'soldiers of peace' on the ground.
As to the African Union, it adopts an attitude that’s just as wretched as the UN. In fact, given all its links with the respective butchers involved in the dispute for Ivorian power, it leaves it to its members to support and arm one bloody clique or the other (like South Africa and Angola for Gbagbo, Burkina Faso and others for Ouattara). In order to mask this reality, it is making out there is a 'reconciliation' of the belligerents by creating commission after commission, the latest of which (meeting in Addis-Ababa 10/3/11) found nothing better to do than nominate yet another “high representative responsible for enacting forceful solutions linking up with a close committee of the representatives of the Economic Community of the States of Western Africa and the United Nations”.
Behind this diplomatic jargon, lies the cynicism of all these imperialist gangsters! All these 'reconciliators' are none other than the real executioners of the Ivorian population.