President Gbagbo is so far successful in keeping the UN
from forcing a peace deal on the country. Gbagbo is determined to crush the
rebels up north, despite the presence of peacekeepers. Gbagbo recently resisted
UN pressure to accept a prime minister that was sympathetic to the rebels.
Therefore, the situation in Ivory Coast could drag on for years, with the UN
wringing its hands, and the government and rebels scheming to develop an edge
for the next round of fighting.
November 17, 2005: Both the government are smuggling in weapons, despite the
UN embargo against new weapons. The rebels are getting money by extorting large
sums from those working the diamond fields in the rebel territory. The rebels
refuse to let the UN inspect the diamond mining areas. The government still
controls much of the lucrative cocoa production, and taxes it heavily.
November 15, 2005: Despite the UN arms embargo, the government is putting two
Russian Su-25 bombers back into service. The aircraft were damaged a year ago,
and others destroyed, by a French air attack. That was in retaliation for an
Ivory Coast army attack on French troops. The government is bringing in foreign
technicians to do the repairs. The UN is not sure if this is a violation of the
arms embargo, so for the moment, the government lawyers have won a battle for
the revived air force (by not triggering more UN sanctions while the warplanes
are repaired). The two Su-25s being restored to service could be decisive
weapons against the poorly armed and led rebel forces.