Côte d’Ivoire: Gbagbo’s Bloodshed Cannot Hide Weakening Power

Morgan Lorraine Roach /

Abidjan, the capital of Côte d’Ivoire, is a war zone. Security forces loyal to former president Laurent Gbagbo are responsible for numerous murders and the spread of terror throughout the city and beyond. Despite Gbagbo’s holding on to the main centers of power, including cabinet ministries, the military, and ports, his days in power are numbered. President Alassane Ouattara has achieved a few recent victories in his campaign to assume office. Northern resistance is hitting back against the discredited Gbagbo regime and advancing on Abidjan, and the African Union (AU), after months of deliberation, announced its backing for Ouattara.

While the United States and President Ouattara have stated that the current crisis must ultimately be solved by Africans, the U.S. has assisted in weakening Gbagbo’s continued hold on power. Although Washington initially offered Gbagbo a plum fellowship at an American university in return for his leaving office, the U.S. State Department imposed travel restrictions on him and his closest allies after he refused. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) levied financial sanctions on the regime. In addition, President Obama pledged $12.6 million in humanitarian assistance for those affected by the violence. (more…)