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Published 1st April 2011

Vol 52 No 7


Libya

A family at war

Woman waving the flag of Free Libya in Benghazi
Woman waving the flag of Free Libya in Benghazi. Photographer: Teun Voeten

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

The tight circle of loyalists around the Gadaffi clan hope their military dominance and diplomatic tactics will derail the rebellion

The resilience of Colonel Moammar el Gadaffi’s regime after ten days of aerial bombardment combined with the military weakness of the opposition groups has prompted Britain, France and the United States to step up involvement in the war. With few signs of the regime’s early collapse, the need for a quick resolution is dominating the coalition’s tactics. The first public sign of that was US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s view – expressed at the London Conference on Libya on 29 March – that United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 would allow the arming of opposition forces.


The opposition breaks cover, slowly

The West’s new allies in Libya are largely unknown. The most familiar faces to join the revolution include the Ambassador to the United Nations, Abdel Rahman Shalgam, a former Fore...


In command and control

The generals have won some important tactical victories against the activists of Tahrir Square

Six weeks after the military eased out President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak after a mass campaign against his regime, the generals are gradually reasserting their grip on Egypt’s politi...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Our friends near Abidjan had been planning their escape route to Ghana for weeks in readiness for when the time came. In the event, that time came too quickly and their area became a fearful war zone, trapping thousands of civilians. That is the fate of much of southern Côte d’Ivoire this week, as the protagonists lurch towards the endgame after four months of post-election crisis.

The rapid advance of Alassane Ouattara’s Forces Républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire, t...

Our friends near Abidjan had been planning their escape route to Ghana for weeks in readiness for when the time came. In the event, that time came too quickly and their area became a fearful war zone, trapping thousands of civilians. That is the fate of much of southern Côte d’Ivoire this week, as the protagonists lurch towards the endgame after four months of post-election crisis.

The rapid advance of Alassane Ouattara’s Forces Républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire, their seizure of the political capital Yamoussoukro on 30 March and entry the next day into Abidjan, where a contingent laid siege to Laurent Gbagbo’s house, offers a bloody resolution of sorts. Already more than 500 people have been killed and a million have fled their homes, victims of a dispute more personal than political.

Diplomats and politicians, comfortably distant from those personal tragedies, had opined that too much was at stake to allow Gbagbo to hang on to power after losing a United Nations-managed election; it would have set an ugly precedent for the two dozen elections due in Africa this year.

Yet the final resolution in Abidjan – the taking of the country and its presidency by force of arms – sets another ugly precedent: that the use of force, or the credible threat of it, is the only way to oust a really obstinate election loser. Such a conclusion points to fundamental weaknesses in both the UN and the African Union and augurs badly for the growing roster of electoral imbroglios on the continent.

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Results that are fit to print

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Some land lease agreements

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Watch the south-west

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The scramble for the South

A spate of secret and exploitative land deals may cause instability and more economic hardship in the new state

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One man, one vote

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Zuma’s presidential primary

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Mr. Smile and the militias

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The anti-Asmara campaign

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Pointers

Hello and good-bye

Just as United States-based Kosmos Energy is about to launch an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange to finance operations in Ghana’s Jubilee field, the Pol...


School meals and bullets

The Angolan government detained the United States-flagged Maersk Constellation container ship at the port of Lobito between 28 February and 17 March. This was in retaliation for th...


Clubbing Beijing

South Africa formally enters the informal club of BRIC nations – Brazil, Russian, India and China – in April in Beijing. On 24 to 26 March, ten key policy analysts from each countr...