Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

West Africa faces dilemma over I.Coast military plan

by Staff Writers
Lagos (AFP) Dec 31, 2010
West African countries are holding off on threats to use force to push Ivorian strongman Laurent Gbagbo out of office but military chiefs in the region are mapping out a strategy for intervention.

The west African regional bloc ECOWAS has in the past successfully used force to flush out recalcitrant warlords and restore peace, but conflict resolution experts warn any intervention in Ivory Coast has to be carefully thought out or it will be doomed.

Under its now defunct peacekeeping force ECOMOG, successful deployments were made in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and briefly in Ivory Coast before the United Nations took over.

Following on that success, ECOWAS went on to create a regional troubleshooting standby force.

With its bases in Sierra Leone's seaside capital of Freetown and Mali's capital Bamako, the 6,500-strong rapid reaction force was planned to be in place by this year and officials say it is almost ready to deploy.

At a summit last week in Abuja, ECOWAS voted to deploy a peace enforcement force, where soldiers can kill to restore and preserve peace under a UN charter.

In that case civilian casualties may not be avoided, said peacekeeping experts.

"That would lead to a lot of struggle between supporters of Mr Gbagbo and those of Mr (Alassane) Ouattara. ECOWAS will need to think more," said Kwesi Aning, head of the department for conflict prevention, management and resolution at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre in Ghana.

Gbagbo "has a strong support and they will not give up like that," he said.

For the operation to succeed, Tajudeen Akanji of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Nigeria's premier university of Ibadan said the ECOWAS force will need to get in quickly.

"They should act as soon as possible otherwise the man (Gbagbo).... might fortify," said Akanji, adding ideally such an operation should be executed in between two and four weeks.

"If they don't act intelligently, there will be rebel groups and that place will not know peace," he warned.

The logistics of how troops could be moved into Ivory Coast were not exactly clear.

"A military intervention will not work in Ivory Coast," said retired general Ishola Williams, executive secretary of the Pan African Strategic and Policy Research Group.

"It is different from the case in Liberia and Sierra Leone. There is no civil war. How will the military go in there? Will they walk on Abidjan?"

In its approach to the Ivorian crisis, ECOWAS could learn from the experience of the botched US-led Operation Restore Hope which failed to remove the Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aideed, observers say.

Gbagbo is a "very clever" politician, said Williams, and enjoys the backing of the country's military hierarchy and the militant youths led by Charles Ble Goude.

ECOWAS is believed to be mulling a 2,000-3,000-strong force, but diplomats doubt the region has the capacity to build such a force.

A credible strength for a country the size of Ivory Coast should be between 5,000 and 7,000 troops, said Aning.

Despite fears of a spillover effect of Ivory Coast violence on its nascent oil industry, Ghana announced Thursday it won't send any troops because it is overstretched with deployments elsewhere.

Nigeria, the regional powerhouse, is likely to be the biggest contributor of troops but it has pressing internal security demands.

With elections coming up within four months, it will need to secure its turf, more so the volatile oil region of the Niger Delta and the now Islamist-infested north. Troops have been deployed in the central region where at least 80 people were killed in bomb blasts on Christmas eve.

Nigeria should reconsider its "Santa Claus role" said Olu Obafemi, chief researcher at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, based on the outskirts of the volatile central city of Jos.

"We are not saying it should not be involved, but it should do it in such a way that it does not jeopardise national interests. There are lots of internal security threats that need lots of capacity," said Obafemi.

Senegal's Abdoulaye Wade has his own political succession issues to deal with back home and the separatist conflict in Casamance that may hamper his donation of troops. Guinea and Niger are out of ECOWAS for now.

Again, sending in troops will not be an overnight decision as presidents need parliamentary clearance.

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
Africa News - Resources, Health, Food

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Sudan recalls Darfur peace negotiators
Doha (AFP) Dec 30, 2010
Sudan is recalling its delegation to peace talks in Qatar, but that does not mean it is withdrawing from negotiations for a settlement in Darfur, a Sudanese official said on Thursday. "We have just informed our mediators that our delegation will be departing on Friday," said Ghazi Salaheddine, the Sudanese government's special adviser on Darfur. "The delegation will leave because it has ... read more

Adopted Haitian children fly in to Paris on Christmas Eve

Plane carrying adopted Haitian children arrives in France

Adoptive parents arrive in Haiti to fetch children

Caricom-Australia chide empty promises to Haiti

Ever-Sharp Urchin Teeth May Yield Tools That Never Need Honing

Tablet computers come of age with iPad mania

New Kindle becomes Amazon's all-time best seller

Skype brings video calls to iPhone, iPod, iPad

Growing Hypoxic Zones Reduce Habitat For Billfish And Tuna

China's Zijin Mining makes payout over deadly dam collapse

Sand from Bangladesh may boost Maldives

Study: Dams will damage Peru's environment

Polar Bears No Longer On Thin Ice

H.K. duck's epic Arctic trip sheds light on migration

Obama gives 'lump of coal' to polar bears: activists

Polar bear status at heart of climate war

'Food Of The Gods' Genome Sequence Could Make Finest Chocolate Better

'Plant List' gives boost to conservation effort

Study: Human error spreads GM crops

Chateau Lafite, thanks to a lucky 8, takes off in China

Northern Argentina hit by 7.0 quake

Drilling In The Holy Land

Fears for missing in 'biblical' Australian floods

Six Years After The Tsunami Disaster

Sudan's Bashir sets Darfur talks deadline

Violence surges in Casamance as peace process stays blocked

West Africa faces dilemma over I.Coast military plan

Bashir says door open to peace in Darfur

Designer Probiotics Could Reduce Obesity

The Ideal Temperature For Keeping Fungi Away And Hunger At Bay

You Are What Your Father Ate

'Living pigment' in rock art discovered

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement