clap clap blog: we have moved

Wednesday, April 30, 2003
elsewhere in the world
Just a reminder that things are still going on outside of China and the mideast: after things have settled down in Sierra Leone, things are getting very fucked up in Liberia and the Ivory Coast, partially as a result of groups from Sierre Leone being unhappy with the peace and entering the conflicts there. The UN has reinstated its arms embargo in Liberia, where rebels have seized 60% of the country, including key diamond-mining and -processing facilities; the government has objected to the ban, but it remains in place. The government is led by "elected dictator" Charles Taylor, and he has been blamed for provoking much of the conflict in Liberia (and neighboring Sierra Leone), which is doubly problematic because it spills over into the continued chaos in the Ivory Coast. There, a million people have been driven from their homes after a failed coup last September; the French negotiated a peace accord (damn French!) but hostilities have erupted again, with the most worrying event being the capture and execution of a rebel leader who encouraged people to lay down their arms.

The UN has called for US$85 million in aid, but the US has opposed sending in peacekeeping forces. What's going on in the Ivory Coast is horrific, and there's not much being done about it:

"People's needs are enormous," U.N. envoy Carolyn McAskie told a briefing at the end of a four-day visit to Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa grower and once the region's economic powerhouse.

McAskie said the United Nations was struggling to raise money for the Ivory Coast and neighboring countries affected by the war while international attention was focused on higher-profile countries, such as Iraq.

"What is on television every day. ... Is it Ivory Coast? No, it's Iraq, Afghanistan," she said, adding that aid donations were down significantly on last year.

...which is somewhat understandable given America's lack of security interests there and the need to focus on the mideast, but it seems like this would be a good diversionary tactic and a way to gain some international political capital. But I guess the neo-cons have defined our foreign policy interests for sending forces as "only when we can kill people." Glib? Yes, but not untrue, I think.

...ooh, although there may be an Al-Qaeda connection in Liberia.