|About the Book|
Côte d’Ivoire is emerging from a severe political-military crisis that followed a disputed November 28, 2010, presidential runoff election between former president Laurent Gbagbo and his, former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara. Both claimedMoreCôte d’Ivoire is emerging from a severe political-military crisis that followed a disputed November 28, 2010, presidential runoff election between former president Laurent Gbagbo and his, former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara. Both claimed electoral victory and formed opposing governments. Their rivalry spurred a full-scale civil military conflict in early March 2011, after months of growing political violence. Armed conflict largely ended days after Gbagbo’s arrest by pro-Ouattara forces, aided by United Nations (U.N.) and French peacekeepers, but limited residual fighting was continuing to occur as of April 20The election was designed to cap an often forestalled peace process defined by the 2007 Ouagadougou Political Agreement, the most recent in a series of partially implemented peace accords aimed at reunifying the country, which was divided between a government-controlled southern region and a rebel-controlled northern zone after a brief civil war in 2002. Ouattara based his victory claim on the U.N.-certified runoff results announced by the Ivoirian Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). These indicated that he had won the election with a 54.1% vote share, against 45.9% for Gbagbo. The international community, including the United States, endorsed the IEC-announced poll results as legitimate and demanded that Gbagbo cede the presidency to Ouattara. Gbagbo, rejecting the IEC decision, appealed it to the Ivoirian Constitutional Council, which reviewed and annulled it and proclaimed Gbagbo president, with 51.5% of votes against 48.6% for Ouattara. Gbagbo therefore claimed to have been duly elected and refused to hand power over to Ouattara. The electoral standoff caused a sharp rise in political tension and violence, deaths and human rights abuses, and spurred attacks on U.N. peacekeepers. The international community used diplomatic and financial efforts, sanctions, and a military intervention threat to pressure Gbagbo to step aside.The crisis directly threatened long-standing U.S. and international efforts to support a transition to peace, political stability, and democratic governance in Côte d’Ivoire, among other U.S. goals. Indirectly at stake were broad, long-term U.S. efforts and billions of dollars of foreign aid to ensure regional stability, peace, democratic and accountable governance, and economic growth in West Africa. The United States supported the Ivoirian peace process diplomatically and financially, with funding appropriated by Congress. It supports the ongoing U.N. Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) and helped fund a UNOCI predecessor- and helped a regional military intervention force deploy in 2003. The 112th Congress may be asked to consider additional funding for UNOCI, post-conflict recovery efforts, or for additional emergency humanitarian aid, in addition to $33.73 million worth of such assistance provided as of mid-April. Côte d’Ivoire- related bills introduced in the 112th Congress include H.Res. 85 (Payne), expressing congressional support for such ends, and H.Res. 212 (Timothy V. Johnson), calling for the United States not to intervene militarily in Côte d’Ivoire in the absence of congressional approval. Top U.S officials also attempted to directly pressure Gbagbo to step down. An existing U.S. ban on bilateral non- humanitarian aid was augmented with visa restrictions and financial sanctions targeting the Gbagbo regime. As of early 2011, regional mediation had produced few results.A post-conflict transition process is now under way. Key emphases include security and public order- economic recovery- transitional justice and accountability for human rights abuses- and national political reconciliation and reunification.