Socialist Worker

West won't help ordinary people in Ivory Coast

Issue No. 2247

Western forces played a key role in the capture of Ivory Coast’s sitting president Laurent Gbagbo in the city of Abidjan on Monday.

French and United Nations (UN) helicopter gunships pounded Gbagbo’s residence on Sunday evening for the second time.

They claimed to be targeting heavy weapons that had been used against the UN and civilians.

A convoy of 25 French military vehicles, including tanks and armoured personnel carriers, supported forces loyal to Alassane Ouattra on Monday.

Outtara is internationally accepted as having won the disputed presidential election last year that led to the fighting.

He has now taken over in Ivory Coast.

The French authorities deny that their forces played a role in the final assault on Gbagbo’s compound.

Western governments want to use this intervention to rehabilitate themselves as a force for good in the world after the Iraq disaster.

But the West only cares about its own interests—and reclaiming the right to intervene anywhere it likes.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy has guided interference in the former French colony.

He gained a UN resolution to allow French troops to act “in defence of civilians”.

Sarkozy wants to increase France’s influence across the world, and to improve his dire poll ratings.

Gbagbo’s removal from power has not solved Ivory Coast’s problems.

While Outtara’s forces controlled much of the country before this week, they were not welcomed by everyone.

They were accused of involvement in the recent massacre of around 800 civilians in the town of Duekoue.

The West will also want to impose conditions an Outtara for helping him take office.

He could turn to the International Monetary Fund, where he used to work, for money to rebuild the country.

This will come with harsh neoliberal conditions.

There is also the possibility of a collapse into ethnic violence if discontent rises with the new government.

Only ordinary people, taking matters into their own hands free of any outside influence, can improve things for the masses.

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Tue 12 Apr 2011, 18:33 BST
Issue No. 2247
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