Tribes and tribulation 157

What is happening in the Ivory Coast, and why is it of interest to us?

Steven Plaut answers both questions in a Front Page article:

The most important aspects of the crisis in the Ivory Coast are being overlooked or deliberately disguised by the Western media. One can read media report after media report without discovering the basic fact that the Northern Ivory Coast “rebels” are Muslims. Indeed they are Muslims who by and large entered the Ivory Coast as infiltrators, through borders that are poorly patrolled, from neighboring countries. A better advertisement for stronger border control cannot be found. At least four million illegal immigrants, mostly Muslim, entered the Ivory Coast during the past two decades, tilting the demographic balance there.

And these Muslim infiltrators and interlopers, increasingly backed by African, French and Western powers, are challenging the control by Ivory Coast natives over their own country. The sufferings and violence in the Ivory Coast may well illustrate what awaits Europe if it continues its own demographic suicide and if it continues to flood itself with Muslim immigrants.

The Ivory Coast of today, or Côte d’Ivoire, is essentially a bi-national state, although each “nation” is in fact a collection of tribes.

This is true of almost all African states, including those of the Arab north. Tribes remain the important units of African politics. Some of them share the bond of Islam with the Arabs, but in the Arab mind there is a sharp division between them and non-Arab peoples regardless of their religion. To the Arabs, the others are inferior, fit for domination, or extermination, or slavery.  In Dafur, for example, the people killed, raped, tortured and dispossessed by their Muslim Arab compatriots are themselves Muslims.

The native tribes of the Ivory Coast were not Muslim when the territory became a French colony. Plaut outlines the history:

Built upon a territory that had once been home to several tribal statelets before the era of colonization, it fell under French partial control in the 1840s, and became a formal French colony in 1893. French is still the official language spoken there, in addition to many local tribal tongues. The French hung around until 1960, when the Ivory Coast became independent. Once independent, the country was one of the most prosperous in Africa, thanks to its large cocoa crop. The country has been politically unstable since a coup in 1999 and a civil war that began in 2002.

The background to the civil war and the current constitutional crisis is the massive in-migration of Muslims from the countries neighboring the Ivory Coast, mainly from Burkina Faso.

Now there are two “nations” in the single state: “the northern ‘nation’ is Muslim; the southern ‘nation’ consists of Christians and other Non-Muslims.”

The infiltrators settled in the northern half of the country, and also in pockets in the south, including in some neighborhoods inside the country’s largest city, Abidjan. Today Muslims, including illegals, are almost 40% of the population of the country (although Muslim and other sources claim they are really considerably higher), the remainder being a mixture of Christians (mainly Roman Catholics) and animists. …

The current political standoff in the Ivory Coast is largely a Muslim-Christian confrontation. The “rebels” represent the Muslims of the country, especially of the north, and in particular the “aliens.” They are led by Hassan Ouattara, whose parents were evidently illegal immigrants into the Ivory Coast from Burkina Faso. Hence he personally illustrates and epitomizes the “alien” character of the “rebel” forces. An economist who once worked for the IMF, he calls his rebel militia the “New Force.” The “government” forces represent the indigenous and traditional non-Muslim Ivorians. Their leader is the current President (or, if you prefer, “president”) Laurent Gbagbo, a one-time university professor, who has been the official head of state since 2000. He claims to be a socialist and anti-imperialist. The government claims that neighboring Muslim states have intervened in the civil war on the side of the Muslims.

France, the erstwhile colonial power, other Western powers, and the poisonous UN*, have interfered on the side of the in-flooding Muslims.

Civil war broke out in the country in 2002.  The “rebels,” whose support base is the Muslim north, challenged the “government,” whose power base was the non-Muslim south.  Atrocities were committed on both sides. Each side accuses the other of using mercenaries.  French military forces in the country participated in some of the fighting, increasingly on the side of the “rebels.”

The elections that were to have taken place in 2005 were postponed repeatedly until 2010, in part at the initiative of the UN.  A power-sharing arrangement between the two main sides in the conflict went into effect in 2007 but did not hold for long.  None of the forces in the country seemed to want new elections to be held, since electoral forces were evenly matched between the two halves of the now “bi-national” state.  When they were eventually held in 2010, Gbagbo lost by a thin margin.  But he refused to accept those results as conclusive and compelling.  Aside from claims of widespread fraud, Gbagbo insisted that the victory of the party of Ouattaro was entirely thanks to the votes of the millions of illegal immigrants participating in the election!

So much for democracy. But it surely should be obvious that democracy cannot possibly be instituted where the nominal “nation” is a loose collection of tribes.

Other African countries, led by predominantly-Muslim Nigeria, have been backing the “rebels.”  A number of African countries have called for armed intervention on the side of those “rebels.”  After a period of respite, violence began to escalate a few weeks ago.  New Forces, now renamed the Republican Forces of Côte d’Ivoire (RFCI) have been beating Gbagbo’s army in the field, took the country’s capital city, and are now holding parts of Abidjan.  Gbagbo is under siege in his headquarters and expected to fall any day now.

In fact, according to Reuters today, President Gbagbo has been captured by the French –  and handed over to the Muslims. Our guess is that he will not have an easy time of it now, whether he lives for a while or soon dies.

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled the battle zones, seeking refuge in neighboring countries, especially Liberia.

The conflict is too complex for a simplistic assignment of forces into categories of “good buys” and “bad guys.”   There are solid bases for skepticism about the true commitment to democratic rule by either side.

Indeed. Should it be a surprise?

Nevertheless, the conflict in the Ivory Coast shows what happens when massive illegal immigration leads to the demographic eclipse of a native population The same Western powers so ready to strip the Serbs of their heartland to create a second Albanian nation-state in Kosovo have been unwilling to sustain any nation-state for indigenous Ivorians, and indeed have backed the aliens.

But the even more obvious lesson from all this is the instability of “bi-national” states and the impossibility of preventing them from morphing into killing grounds.  This should have been obvious from the experiences in Rwanda. …

Can even well-established democracy survive where Islam comes to stay and proliferate?

Massive Muslim immigration is also transforming Europe demographically, in ways strikingly similar to the influx of immigrants into the Ivory Coast.  France, Belgium, and other parts of Western Europe may soon find themselves the European Ivorians, the “Other,” the stranger and disenfranchised inside their own home countries.

Right. We are watching the decline of the nation-state, a return to tribalism (even in Europe), and the slow but steady growth of Islamic domination over all the continents.

* About 1,000 people in Duekoue, Ivory Coast, were killed between March 27–29, when the area was controlled by Muslim forces, while there were 1,000 U.N. “peacekeepers” based there to protect the local – mostly Catholic – population.