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From wwnews-report@wwpublish.com Wed Jan 8 09:40:32 2003
From: WW News Service <wwnews@wwpublish.com>
Sender: WW News Service <wwnews@wwpublish.com>
To: WW News Service <wwnews@wwpublish.com>
Subject: wwnews Digest #562
Date: Wed, 08 Jan 2003 09:31:54 -0500

From: <wwnews@wwpublish.com> (WW)
Message-ID: <036301c2b71a$ea0f9e40$6601a8c0@station2>
Subject: [WW] French troops intervene in Ivory Coast
Date: Wed, 8 Jan 2003 08:36:13 -0500

As imperialism plunders Africa: French troops intervene in Ivory Coast

By G. Dunkel, Workers World, 9 January 2003

The French army has intervened in Ivory Coast, one of France’s former colonies in West Africa, exchanging fire several times in late December with armed groups in rebellion against the country’s current government.

According to a video from an Ivoirian journalist carried on French television, French soldiers fired over the heads of demonstrators to break up a major popular demonstration in front of the French army’s guard post in Bouake. Demonstrators carried signs demanding that the monsters of imperialism leave. Bouake is a major town in the country’s North that the government lost control of in mid-September.

When the current crisis broke out in mid-September, both Washington and Paris sent special forces to the country for alleged humanitarian purposes. U.S. and French imperialism have been in competition for control of various parts of Africa.

French troops rushed in and were first to reach a school for U.S. children, mainly the offspring of U.S. missionaries in West Africa. They then turned the children over to U.S. air transport at the central airport.

Of course, the plight of the thousands of other foreigners in the country, from places like Guinea, Liberia, Mali and Burkina Faso, did not rate a mention in either the French or U.S. media.

There are at least 20,000 French nationals living in the Ivory Coast. They are not just teachers and the managers of big French companies. They own restaurants and hotels, auto repair shops, trucking firms and pharmacies and have made up a significant portion of the country’s petit bourgeoisie since it was an open French colony.

The French army has had difficulty pretending it was on a humanitarian mission since its troops started using light tanks and heavy mortars to shore up their positions.

Washington has been trying to supplant French and other imperialist interests in Africa, but right now it is on the road to war against Iraq and is threatening North Korea. It needs France’s cooperation in the Security Council. Since U.S. troops pulled out of the Ivory Coast, the French government has been more compliant with Washington.

The U.S. media had ignored the developing situation in Ivory Coast, which involves three separate rebel groups. After the last confrontation between the French army and MPIGO (the Far West Ivoirian People’s Movement), the three movements issued a joint statement warning the French against aggression. This drew some U.S. media attention.

The statement came after French troops on Dec. 21 stopped MPIGO forces from advancing on the strategic town of Duekoue in western Ivory Coast, a gateway to the country’s economically vital cocoa belt. MPIGO claims that fire from French light tanks cost it six men and three vehicles, with 15 wounded.

The MPCI (Patriotic Movement of the Ivory Coast), the MJP (Movement for Justice and Peace) and the MPIGO said, The MPIGO, the MPCI and the MJP declare that from this very day any French military attack against any of our positions will be considered an act of war, and would lead to a general attack on all fronts. It warned French troops that any further mismanagement could trigger widespread anti-French sentiment and serious and incalculable consequences.


The Ivory Coast was once one of the most prosperous countries in West Africa. Its economy was based on diamonds and cocoa, some oil and some manufacturing for the West African market. Now it is an economic disaster zone, like much of Africa. It is indebted to the tune of some U.S. $9.4 billion, which exceeds its gross national product by more than 25 percent. The national government owes its suppliers arrears equal to 12 percent of its GNP.

Ivory Coast does not even control its own currency. It uses the CFA, which is used throughout the former French colonies and is now linked to the Euro. It is controlled by a regional central bank dominated by French and European banks.

While the French have political and economic dominance in the CFA zone, all the imperialist powers, including U.S. imperialism, take part in plundering the resources of the region and pulling wealth out while the people there suffer.

A famous French-language novelist, Ahmadou Kourouma, who was born and lives in Ivory Coast, explained its economic situation to the French newspaper L’Humanite. Its economic decline is linked to the unequal exchanges imposed not only on the Ivory Coast but on the whole of the Third World. Indeed, on all those placed under the domination of the capitalist financial sector. In France, farmers did not let this be done to them and grabbed some subsidies; the Third World, however, was plunged into destitution.

He went on to say that the role of the Third World in capitalist globalization must be studied, because Each year the price of our products falls still lower to the greater profit of international finance capital, which fixes their level. At the end of the account, you find the dramas such as the one that the Ivory Coast is currently experiencing and suffering through.