French troops in Ivory Coast

I’m looking for some information and explanation of French involvement in the Ivory Coast. I was initially going to post this in General Questions but I’m afraid it may devolve to a debate so I started it here.

To start, I’ll admit my ignorance of knowledge on the subject of what’s going on in Ivory Coast right now. I understand they’re having some kind of civil war and that there are about 3000 French troops involved somehow (from a story I read at the BBC website). I assume that Ivory Coast is a former French colony.

If anyone has more knowledge on the history and current events in Ivory Coast I’d love to hear it.

Furthermore, I’d like to understand why the French can send troops into an independant country with nary a word from the UN (as far as I know) but they are so vehemently opposed to the US leading a coalition against Iraq?

>> Furthermore, I’d like to understand why the French can send troops into an independant country with nary a word from the UN (as far as I know) but they are so vehemently opposed to the US leading a coalition against Iraq?

I think you mean “independent”. The country is in a state of chaos and there are a large number of French nationals there so France has sent a force to protect them and get them out safely. Can you explain to me the parallel with the USA invading Iraq? Because I fail to see it.

The French (who have maintained close relations with Cote d’Ivoire since they allowed it to break away from the French Empire) sent troops in at the request of the Cote d’Ivoire government as security forces to protect French nationals in the country and to help in brokering a truce in the civil war. (This is a rather different situation than the U.S. invading the sovereign nation of Iraq with the intent to overthrow the current government.)

Now, the government of Cote d’Ivoire is not known for its democratic leanings or humanitarian concerns, so one may criticize the French for propping up a “client.” (Cote d’Ivoire has been independent long enough without French interference that a claim that the current government is a puppet would be inaccurate.) Of course, the various rebel groups object to France coming in and doing anything to interfere with the rebellion, so they have taken to shooting at France (both verbally in the international media and with bullets in the streets).

A really brief resume of the problems from the CIA World Factbook.

French and West African troops will jointly ensure the security of Ivory Coast’s new government. (CBC News)

A more detailed look at Ivory Coast: the seeds of strife (Radio Netherlands)

Can you explain to me why going in at the behest of a corrupt dictorship is acceptable, but going in to remove a corrupt dictatorship is not?

Could it possibly be that much of the opposition to the coming US liberation of Iraq is simply a knee-jerk anti-American response from the Left? Perish the thought!

Well, France is there at the request of Cote d’Ivoire and its neighbors while the planned attack on Iraq has been staged by the U.S. whop had to twist the arms of Iraq’s neighbores to get some of them to agree to support it (generally over the objections of the peoples in those countries.

Now, ousting the Ba’ath will be a good thing, but there is still a significant difference between the two situations.

Wow, that was fast! Thanks for the replies. I’m going to read the links tomndebb provided. Please continue!

Ummmm, the current gov’t of CdI was elected, although in flawed elections.

Corrupt, yes probly.

Ineffectual, probly.

Dictatorship? Not hardly.

Man don’t peopel read up before flappin’ their gums?

“Ummmm, the current gov’t of CdI was elected, although in flawed elections.” ~ wmfellows

Ummmm, Saddam Hussain was resently re-elected with 99.5% of the vote. Some people who think think that these elections are flawed.

As well, some people who think think that flawed elections are not elections.

( Now is the time for you semanticists who studied under Bubba Bill Clinton to not-think and cite the Gore-Bush election as, “same thing, flawed”. My, my my)

Of interest: In May 1991, just before the Gulf War, France cut off arms deliveries to Iraq due to non-payment. And as a result France’s government and taxpayers were left with a debt of 24 billion francs and the french armamnent industry lost its biggest customer.

**wmfellows, ** if tomndebb’s link has any veracity, you have a different sense of “elected” than do I:


tomndebb, I agree that the Ivory Coast is an ill-fitting analogy to Iraq. But I have two quibbles with your facts, and a big problem with your emphasis. One, I am unaware of any Ivory Coast “request” for French troops any more compelling than, say, Kuwait or Qatar or Bahrain’s request for an American presence. Two, your analysis leaves out that a lot of the demonstrations against the French intervention has come not from the rebels but from the pro-government population that. Three, and as for policy, are you really prepared to say that an armed intervention is OK if proposed by a country’s neighbors? Yowza.

Saddam was recently elected with 100% of the vote. All 14 million and some odd votes!! Saddam is clearly democracy’s most popular man!

Not at all, but a request that comes from both the neighbors and the current government is a different situation than one in which a few neighbors have had their arms twisted to agree to not object.

Before this gets too far off track:
the French intervention was the diplomatic one to attempt to broker a truce;
the French military action was an effort to protect French nationals in a war zone (just as the U.S. and the U.K. have sent in their respective marines on multiple occasions to protect their citizens).

Of course, civil wars being the messy things they are, the French military has become embroiled in “peace keeping” activities irritating groups on both sides of the war, as you noted. However, the invitation from the government of Cote d’Ivoire for the French to “intervene” was initially separate from the troops going in (following ancient tradition) to protect non-combatants.

QUOTE]*Originally posted by bbonden *
**wmfellows, ** if tomndebb’s link has any veracity, you have a different sense of “elected” than do I:


From the Economist, 7 Dec. 2000:
" General Guei proceeded to try to steal this election during the counting of the votes, when another opposition politician, Laurent Gbagbo, was in the lead. Mr Gbagbo’s supporters took to the streets and marched bravely at the troops. The soldiers wavered, and withdrew to their barracks. Mr Gbagbo was proclaimed president. But Mr Ouatarra and others demanded a fresh presidential election. This was refused, and fighting broke out in October between Mr Ouatarra’s men and Mr Gbagbo’s, with many people killed."

I added the italics.

I slightly mis-recalled how this ran, but the gist is this fellow Ouattarra was disallowed under a citizenship law for standing for pres. Gbagbo, the current pres. was well in the lead when this Gen Guie, who did a coup to get in power, tried to shut things down.

While the elections then were disputed, and perhaps a rerun might have been preferable, this isn’t a dictatorship in the proper sense of the term. A crappy shaky quasi-democracy, but not a dictatorship (see also below).

As for the rest, well CdI has a mutual defence pact with France, and CdI’s current Gov asked the French in to secure the capital etc.

Froggies came in, but diverted from script I guess the Gov expected - they enforced a cease fire, which all agreed to, but the Gov seems to have tried to violate rather more than the Rebs, excepting the Western Rebs.

Mass demos broke out from Gov supporters in the South when it became clear the Froggies were not going to do the old style help the South squash the North, but try to force a reasonable compromise. CdI’s neighbors have fully supported these actions.

So it looks utterly different than the Iraq situation. Gov asks the Froggies in, per long-standing treaty. Everyone but what seems to be a bunch of yahoos who want inter-ethnic massacres and warfare thinks the French have done a nice, pretty darn peaceful job of mediating – again at all sides request! (Except the Western Rebs, who seem to be a bit off)

I’d take a gander at the Economist’s analysis from 16 Jan 2003 before flapping the gums any more, and I quote from it:
“The talks in Paris will partly concentrate on reforming the controversial Ivorian nationality laws, which have left northern Muslims feeling excluded. But an even fiercer debate will focus on whether to hold an early election. Mr Gbagbo, who was elected in October 2000 in an election generally believed to have been flawed, insists that there should be no new poll until the one due in 2005. But all three rebel groups, and the prominent northern opposition leader, Alassane Ouattara, argue that a transitional government, including the rebels, leading to early elections is the only way to a lasting peace.”

I added the italics.

Oh yeah, the bit about the Froggies and Iraq is a real red-herring. A Saddam free Iraq is probably more likely to pay off old debts than a Saddami Iraq. Whole thing about being good debtors and all that.