[oldembed width="400" height="280" src="https://cloudfront.mediamatters.org/static/flash/pl55.swf" flashvars="config=http://mediamatters.org/embed/cfg3?f=/static/clips/2011/01/21/13018/cbn-20110113-robertsonivorycoast.flv" resize="1" fid="10"]
Here's Pat Robertson giving his undying support for Gbagbo. Do you think they are strange bedfellows?
I've been writing about the Ivory Coast volatile situation for a while now. My last post summed up the situation a few days ago, but things are happening fast. Ivory Coast's Gbagbo threatens international journalists in wake of reports of 'heavy weapons' being used on civilians I grilled Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor on a blogger call yesterday about the possible genocidal ramifications there since Gbagbo has refused to give up power after losing the election and since the Obama administration has backed the Libya conflict. Enter the new crazy by James Inhofe. He's now calling for the US to back a new election altogether and shows his love for Gbagbo.
Amidst post-election fighting that threatens to evolve into a civil war in Cote d’Ivoire, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), yesterday called on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to chart a new U.S. position that demands new elections in Cote d’Ivoire to bring about peace. Inhofe, who has travelled extensively to the continent of Africa over the past fifteen years, including nine trips to Cote d’Ivoire, wrote for the second time to Clinton regarding this issue.
Through his letter to Clinton, Inhofe said, “I am aware that my position is different from that of the Obama Administration, which has recognized Alassane Ouattara as the winner. I ask, however, that you change your position in light of the evidence I have provided, and that you call for a new election. Such a change would not be viewed as inconsistent, but a wise reevaluation in light of new evidence presented. It is also consistent with our American dedication to the principle that democracy works best when it works for all and not for some. I am convinced that only through a new election will the people of Cote d’Ivoire end the increasing bloodshed, stop another civil war and ensure free and fair elections.”
The election results were already sanctioned by an International body so a do-over is first of all insane, but impossible because. the people have already spoken. Justin Elliott finds the ties that bind them: Why the Christian right is backing a brutal despot
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.
That includes a U.S. senator and acquaintance of Gbagbo who declined to intervene in the crisis when asked by the State Department earlier this year, a former congressman who was hired by Gbagbo as a lobbyist, and a Christian right TV network that ran a fawning profile of Gbagbo, even as violence engulfed Ivory Coast. The senator, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, today released a letter to Hillary Clinton calling for new elections in Ivory Coast, putting him in direct opposition to the view of the Obama administration, the United Nations and the African Union that Gbagbo lost a fair election.
Gbagbo, along with his influential wife, Simone, are evangelical Christians who are known for lacing their speeches with religious rhetoric. "God is leading our fight. God has already given us the victory," Simone Gbagbo, who is both first lady and politician in her own right, said at a rally in January. Both Gbagbos have attended the National Prayer Breakfast, a big annual Washington event run by the secretive Christian group known as the Family, or the Fellowship.
OMG, it's the C Street connection. Of course. The Fellowship had spread it's wings there.
Chief among Gbagbo's American supporters is Inhofe, who is the most influential Republican in the Senate when it comes to African affairs. Inhofe has been traveling to Africa regularly since the late 1990s and, while the trips are paid for by the taxpayer and typically involve some official business, the senator also engages in missionary work. He has been to Ivory Coast nine times and knows Gbagbo personally. That's why, early on in the post-election crisis, when the State Department was frantically looking for intermediaries to reach out to Gbagbo to try to convince him to leave the country peacefully, the Obama administration asked Inhofe to talk to Gbagbo. But, according to a source familiar with the situation, Inhofe declined to do so.
It's still not entirely clear why Inhofe wouldn't help at a moment when it might have made a real difference; I've asked his spokesman for comment. But a letter to Hillary Clinton released by his office today offers some clues. In it, Inhofe explicitly takes Gbagbo's side in the election dispute -- even though all international observers and election monitors say that Gbagbo lost...read on
Read the whole thing. Mark Leon Goldberg earlier wrote that people were being fenced in by Gbagbo's forces and couldn't get much needed medicine.
The UN reports that 1 million people have fled Abidjan. At least 462 people have been killed since the crisis began in December, not least of whom were six women gunned down by Gbagbo supporters during a peaceful demonstration three weeks ago. If heavy fighting spreads from the strategic town of Duekoue, an untold number will be killed.
Genocide is not out of the realm of possibility. There are already reports of mass graves in Abidjan. At the very least, the country seems to be inching ever closer toward an ethnic based mass atrocity event.
News today broke that rebels have taken over the capital city:
Forces loyal to UN-backed President-elect Alassane Ouattara have captured Ivory Coast's capital, residents of Yamoussoukro say.
They have continued their advance from the north despite incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo's ceasefire appeal. Mr Gbagbo refuses to stand down despite the UN saying he lost November's poll.
Abidjan is Ivory Coast's main city, but a BBC reporter says Yamoussoukro's capture is a major symbolic victory for the pro-Ouattara forces. The pro-Ouattara soldiers are also reported to be 100km (60 miles) north of the port of San Pedro, a major cocoa exporting centre.
One million people have fled the violence - mostly from Abidjan - and at least 462 people have been killed since December, according to the UN. 'Residents clapping'
I don't think any sane person thinks a new election is the answer there, except for the mind of Sen. James Inhofe and his C Street buddies. What will they say when more innocents are killed while they cheer on their unelected religious despot?