Ivory Coast: Air Force Rises From The Ashes


November 24, 2005: 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.


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