France Steps In To Oust Ivory Coast's Former Leader Gbagbo, Now Negotiating His Surrender

. I put a video of Glenn Beck's weird discussion of the situation in the Ivory Coast up because it's very illuminating. Apparently only the Muslim guy named Ouattara -- who actually won the reunification election -- is responsible for any

up
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I put a video of Glenn Beck's weird discussion of the situation in the Ivory Coast up because it's very illuminating. Apparently only the Muslim guy named Ouattara -- who actually won the reunification election -- is responsible for any bloodshed, because Laurent Gbagbo is a Christian guy, and he'd never plunge the country into this situation in the first place, right? When I began covering this tragedy, religion was never a part of who was right or wrong, but who won an actual election. Apparently winning a verified election doesn't matter if you're not a Christian to Beck, but this is the meme being driven by Pat Robertson and the religious right community.

Below is what's really happening there.

The news coming out of the Ivory Coast is that the French and the UN have joined they battle and have taken over Gbago's stronghold in Abidjan and are negotiating his surrender.

The French government said Tuesday that it was helping negotiate the surrender of Ivory Coast’s strongman, Laurent Gbagbo, a day after the United Nations and France struck targets at his residence, his offices and two of his military bases in a significant escalation of the international intervention into the political crisis engulfing the nation.

French negotiators are demanding that, before departing, Mr. Gbagbo sign a document formally renouncing control of Ivory Coast and recognizing Alassane Ouattara, the man who beat him in elections last year, as the country’s legitimate president, the French foreign minister, Alain Juppé, said at a parliamentary hearing on Tuesday. The United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, had backed the French terms, Mr. Juppé added.

“What is going on are negotiations with Laurent Gbagbo and his family, to finalize the conditions of his departure,” he said. France hopes to see the United Nations and Ivorian authorities under Mr. Ouattara take charge of the “departure conditions of Gbagbo” once an agreement is reached, Mr. Juppé said...read on

President Obama issued a strong statement against Gbagbo:

President Obama said Tuesday that he strongly supported “the role that United Nations peacekeepers are playing as they enforce their mandate to protect civilians, and I welcome the efforts of French forces who are supporting that mission.”

He added that the violence “could have been averted had Laurent Gbagbo respected the results of last year’s presidential election,” and that to prevent further bloodshed Mr. Gbagbo “must stand down immediately, and direct those who are fighting on his behalf to lay down their arms.”

The US needs to do more because even though Gbagbo might finally give in, there's a chance that many more innocent people could be hurt or killed and it appears as I've warned that Liberia could be in deep trouble: UN Refugee Chief Warns Ivory Coast Conflict Could Spill Over to Liberia

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, warns the conflict in Ivory Coast could spill over to Liberia and have a major destabilizing effect on all of western Africa. The refugee chief has just returned from a series of missions, including one to Liberia at the border with Ivory Coast.

Guterres calls Ivory Coast one of the most dramatic displacement crises in the world. As of now, the U.N. refugee agency has registered more than 120,000 Ivorian refugees in Liberia and several thousand more in Ghana, Togo and Guinea.

The LA Times reports that the Ivory Coast is a country in confusion:

When the soldiers left their battle positions and the guns fell silent Tuesday morning in the Cocody neighborhood of Abidjan around Ivory Coast's presidential palace, terrified residents didn't feel safe enough to go outside.

Bands of uniformed soldiers and militias in civvies roamed the city, the nation's commercial capital. It was anyone's guess whose side they were on and how dangerous they might be.

The uniforms of the rival forces in the fierce fight for power are identical — and the allegiances of ragtag armed youth militias rampaging and looting shops and houses are equally unclear. Some back longtime leader Laurent Gbagbo, who plunged the country into crisis by refusing to relinquish power after his defeat last year in a United Nations-certified presidential election, while others support the internationally recognized new president, Alassane Ouattara.

The intense fighting has left families trapped in their houses since Thursday, many of them desperate as they run out of food supplies or cooking gas.

"The situation is really confused," Isidore Kouadio, 24, a student staying with friends about 300 yards from the presidential palace, said by telephone. "There are some militias who have guns. Many people have guns."...read on

Also the ICC wants to look into possible atrocities committed in the ivory Coast:

The International Criminal Court prosecutor said on Tuesday he is in talks with West African states about referring alleged atrocities in the Ivory Coast to the court to accelerate an investigation into the violence.

More than 1,500 people are reported to have died in the Ivory Coast since Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to concede he lost November's presidential election to Alassane Ouattara plunged the world's top cocoa producer into civil war.

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said his office was concerned about reports of atrocities, particularly in the west of the country, and was looking into the violence, but declined to say who might be held accountable for the killings.

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