The Duékoué Massacre and Latin America

The massacre exposes with devastating clarity that European powers and their North American accomplices are permanently addicted to genocidal conquest.

By Tortilla Con Sal

In Latin America and the Caribbean, recent reverses in Argentina and Venezuela seriously affect the process of emancipation of the region’s peoples from neocolonial control and interference. A look at the history of other world regions suggests there is little new in the standard destabilization toolkit assembled and exploited by the permanently malevolent Western corporate elites.

Contemporary history in West Africa suggests that over the last twenty years Europe has even undergone a repeat of of its historical transition between 1880 and 1930. Then, as now, France and its neighbors had to play a subordinate role to Germany and compensated for that inferiority by attacking Africa more aggressively than ever. At that time, Europeans murdered around five million people in the Congo alone. France followed its colonial rivals’ practice, decimating the populations of North and West Africa with a policy of genocide paralleled by the murderous conquest suffered by indigenous peoples in North America and the Pacific.

Now too, over the last twenty years, well over five million people have been killed in the Congo by regional proxies serving Western neocolonial interests, like Rwanda’s dictator Paul Kagame. Supported by the United States and Britain, France has attacked and destroyed Libya, recolonized Ivory Coast, intervened on a large scale in Mali and the Central African Republic, interfering in various other ways across the region, all the while intimidating Algeria. Many people now recognize the utter falsity of the pretexts for the destruction of Libya.

But hardly anyone recalls what in some ways was the even more scandalous French and United Nations attack on the legitimate government of Ivory Coast. The most egregious outrage of that aggression was the massacre in April 2011 at Douékoué, an important regional town in the west of Ivory Coast, where over 800 people were slaughtered by militias protected by U.N. forces and the French army.

Those NATO aligned forces had maintained a low intensity war supporting Alassane Ouattara against the legitimate government of Laurent Gbagbo for a decade prior to the blatantly manipulated presidential election of November 2010.

The Ivory Coast conflict originated in a power struggle following the death of the French ally, post-independence tyrant Felix Houphouet Boigny in 1993. Two of his strong men Henri-Konan Bédié and Alassane Ouattara maneuvered for power all through the 1990s. Ouattara built up his neocolonial support base from his position as Assistant Director at the International Monetary Fund thanks to his corporate and political contacts in France, most notably Nicolas Sarkozy. Bedié counteracted Ouattara’s foreign-based power and influence by playing on Ouattara’s family origins in neighboring Burkina Faso. But Bedié lost power in a lightning coup on Christmas Eve 1999 led by Robert Guei. The coup should have enabled Alassane Ouattara to take power. However, the popular vote in a Constitutional referendum in 2000 massively confirmed adoption of the ethnic qualification rule introduced earlier by Bedié to disqualify Ouattara as a candidate for the Presidency. Then, in 2000, to everyone’s surprise, including his own, the socialist outsider Laurent Gbagbo won that year’s October presidential election with 60 percent of the vote.

Guei and Ouattara immediately set out to destabilize the country, supported by the French government and the U.N. President Gbagbo requested U.N. election observers to monitor the legislative elections of December 2000, but the U.N. refused to send any. Ouattara and Guei mobilized their supporters to violently disrupt those legislative elections. Western media and human rights organizations falsely reported that the instability in Ivory Coast resulted from ethnic and religious rivalries. All these events are similar to the coup in Venezuela the same year and the continuing destabilization there ever since.

In the Ivory Coast, the attempted coup in 2002 signified with absolute clarity the refusal of France and its allies to accept democracy in Ivory Coast under a President committed to economic reform in favor of the country’s majority. The 2002 coup took the form of an invasion from Burkina Faso by mercenaries financed by Alassane Ouattara and his foreign backers, supported by Burkina Faso’s dictator, President Blaise Compaoré, and the French government. The Ivory Coast army defeated the invading forces, making them retreat to areas along the border with Burkina Faso.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government, having promoted the attempted coup, promptly sent 4000 troops to protect the invaders. All of this was a replay of Western policy during the 1980s against revolutionary governments in, for example, Nicaragua, Mozambique and Angola. The French troops were subsequently reinforced by a U.N. military mission dubbed UNOCI. The French government and the U.N. behaved like outright colonialists, forcing President Gbagbo to give ministerial posts to the unelected politicians who lead the coup invasion. From 2003 until 2010, France and the U.N. protected Ouattara’s mercenaries and militias allowing them to control large areas of Ivory Coast, coercing political support, intimidating anyone who opposed them and mounting terrorist attacks against targets associated with the country’s legitimate government.

This has to be seen in the historical context of Western overthrows of successful African nationalist leaders like Patrice Lumumba, Sekou Touré, Kwame Nkrumah, later Thomas Sankara in 1987 and, in 2011, Muammar al Gaddhafi and Laurent Gbagbo. As the Pan African writer Gerald Perreira notes,

“It is well documented by writers like Gary Busch, who has written about the role of the French and the U.N. in Ivory Coast, as well as by Gbagbo loyalists and also independent observers, that mercenaries from Sierra Leone and Liberia were trained and armed by the French in Burkina Faso and they invaded Ivory Coast joining up with local forces to bring down Laurent Gbagbo. The so called civil war was not started by Laurent Gbagbo and his supporters. It was started by Alassane Ouattara, Blaise Compaoré and the French, supported by the United States.”

It was in this context of low intensity armed insurrection and blatant colonial-style meddling by France and the U.N. that the 2010 elections took place leading to a run-off vote on Nov. 28 between Laurent Gbagbo who won the first round and Alassane Ouatarra who came second. Blatant electoral fraud, violence at the voting stations and widespread intimidation of voters characterized the elections. Among many other examples, 2000 of the voting centers presented results indicating voter participation of over 100 percent. But the U.N. mission accepted these self-evidently bogus results and supported the Ouattara dominated Electoral Commission’s version of the count, favoring Ouattara. However, Ivory Coast’s constitution has very clear norms for the country’s electoral processes which stipulate that the Electoral Commission is subordinate to the country’s Constitutional Council.

That Council is the only institution entitled to confirm the validity of the count and issue definitive results. Its decisions are final and binding. However, the U.N. mission supported the Electoral Commission in violating the Constitution by failing to present the provisional results in the legally stipulated way within the prescribed period and by illegally announcing those provisional results as if they were final. The Constitutional Council, following to the letter the clearly ordained procedure, issued the final result on Dec. 3, giving a 3 percent advantage to Laurent Gbagbo and subsequently swearing him in as President in accordance with the Ivory Coast Constitution. The U.N. representative, Choi Young-Jin, a South Korean, was obliged to monitor for fraud, ensure that the electoral procedures were correctly followed and defend the constitutionally decided result. Instead, Young Jin violated Ivory Coast sovereignty, permitting widespread and egregious electoral violations, rejecting the Constitutional Council’s binding definitive decision, declaring a parallel President and advocating military action to enforce his proconsular decisions. France, the United States and their regional allies backed Alassane Ouattara and actively supported Ouattara’s mercenaries and militia in the ensuing war they themselves fomented.

That is the context in which 800 people were massacred at Douékoué by Ouattara’s militia protected by the French government and the U.N. In the final stages of the war, just as in Libya, the French air force bombed the civilian population of Ivory Coast’s main port city Abidjan and other population centers.

The mere fact of military intervention by France and the U.N. gives the lie to all the false analyses in the Western corporate media and their human rights industry accomplices that Ivory Coast’s problems result from ethnic or religious or domestic political tensions. The alliance between Ouattara and Bedié belies that phony analysis, as does Ivory Coast’s long tradition of religious tolerance. French government and U.N. action in Ivory Coast was a deliberate neo-colonial intervention to ensure that a Western proxy, Alassane Ouattara, took power. That intervention followed the same neocolonial logic of Libya’s destruction and the deliberate destabilization of Mali where the French have protected Touareg separatists and, together with Qatar, pesudo-Islamic forces identifying themselves as al Qaida in the Maghreb.

Recently, even Mali’s most important Islamic leader, Mahmoud Dicko, loyal to Saudi Arabia, remarked

“No one knows when the colonial forces will leave our country. How can we understand that these forces go where they please across the whole Sahel while we who were born here cannot? Even worse, our President has to ask permission of the U.N. Mission to Mali or from the French in order to travel to Gao or Timbuktu!”

Dicko explicitly accused the French of bringing jihadism to Mali so as create a pretext for recolonizing the country via military occupation. He also noted that the French State media institution RFI has begun local broadcasts in the important local Bambara language and asked, “Do you think RFI has incorporated Bambara into its programming for love of the language? Of course not!”

Over the last couple of months recordings of telephone conversations have been published in Burkina Faso in which Alassane Ouatarra’s lieutenant and enforcer, Guillaume Soro, is heard conspiring to murder leaders of the new democratic government which earlier this year replaced the dictatorship of Blaise Compaoré. Now, Alassane Ouattara is resisting an extradition request from Burkina Faso’s new government against his long standing dictator ally in connection with Compaoré’s complicity in the 1987 murder of the heroic revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara. These murderous criminals run free while the sadistic neocolonial farce that is the International Criminal Court, in one shameless charade after another, validates serial crimes by NATO country governments and their local allies.

Indisputably the author of mass murder, Alassane Ouattara runs Ivory Coast on behalf of his Western corporate cronies while Laurent Gbagbo is in prison facing repeated failed attempts by the ICC to make a phony case against him for non-existent crimes against humanity. The massacre at Douékoué exposes with devastating clarity that the European powers and their North American accomplices are permanently addicted to genocidal conquest. The African Great Lakes region has suffered the equivalent of well over 6000 Douékoués but a few terrorist incidents in Paris with a death toll one-eighth of the massacre at Douékoué gets world wide coverage while over five million African dead are worth hardly even a passing headline. It took a decade for the murderous Western elites to get what they wanted in Ivory Coast. They are are being just as sinister, patient and relentless in their campaign against Venezuela and its ALBA country allies.