As War Looms, World Ignores Ivory Coast

Casualties and fears of all-out civil war mount
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2011 3:20 PM CDT
Ivory Coast Violence Escalates Toward Civil War, but International Media Largely Shrugs
Youths supporting sitting president Laurent Gbagbo receive military-style training in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.   (AP Photo/Emanuel Ekra)

What if they had a civil war and no one watched? At least 52 civilians were killed last week in the Ivory Coast’s escalating crisis, but no one in the media seems to care, Time observes. The 5-month-old conflict has been pushed out of the headlines by the disasters elsewhere. Why? Because “Ivory Coast isn’t considered strategically important enough,” one Western diplomat says. “It is not a Libya, so to speak.”

President Laurent Gbagbo has done his best to unleash the power of the state, and the young militants loyal to him, on supporters of Alassane Outtara, who international observers agree beat Gbagbo in a November election. Outtara, meanwhile, issued a decree that he was forming a new national army with the former rebel group New Forces at its core. UN peacekeepers are trying to prevent large-scale massacres, but they don’t have a mandate to launch offensives to defend civilians, which has led to some criticism as the death toll mounts. (More Ivory Coast stories.)

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