Cote d’Ivoire violence continues to escalate

Mark Leon Goldberg at UN Dispatch quotes a message from health researchers who work on programs in Cote d’Ivoire:

Over the last few days, we have received increasingly dire reports from our colleagues. They describe the situation in Abidjan as “pre-genocidal.” Several neighborhoods of the capital and outlying areas that are loyal to President-Elect Alassane Ouattara have now been fenced in by troops supporting ex-President Laurent Gbagbo. Civilians attempting to cross checkpoints have been robbed and killed. Gangs of militiamen conduct regular sweeps through neighborhood houses, ostensibly to maintain order but, in reality, to intimidate. Civilians in these neighborhoods are trapped, threatened in their own homes, terrified to leave, and not knowing where to turn for safety.

Corinne Dufka makes the case for military intervention in Cote d’Ivoire.

As incendiary threats pour in from both sides, the country is on the brink of a full resumption of armed conflict. As in the past, civilians will almost certainly bear the brunt of the bloodshed. Almost half a million Ivoirians have already been displaced by the violence, including more than 95,000 into neighboring Liberia, threatening regional stability as well.

The international community should not look the other way. Given the pressing dangers faced by the Ivoirian people — tens of thousands of whose lives are at risk — the Security Council should consider the full range of options available to protect the population. Ivory Coast deserves nothing less than the type of unified and decisive action the U.N. Security Council has brought to bear on Libya.

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I think it’s clear that humanitarian intervention principles are applied selectively. That doesn’t means the rhetoric is entirely hollow, but it does mean that other factors influence the decisions as well. I wish the international community had a clearer and more consistent stance on when it uses force and when it doesn’t. There are no easy answers on this. I just want to use the little soapbox I have to join the chorus of voices saying that we should still be paying attention to Cote d’Ivoire.