Ironically, on the very day that France’s law banning the wearing of full-face coverings went into effect, French military forces helped Muslims add another country in Africa to their growing Caliphate – the Ivory Coast.
The French, the former colonial rulers in the Ivory Coast, forced the surrender of former president Laurent Gbagbo to forces loyal to president-elect Alassane Ouattara, who the international community had recognized as the victor in last year’s presidential election.
Ouattara is a Muslim, who prevailed in this election over his Christian opponent Gbagbo on the strength of masses of illegal immigrants who had emigrated over the last several decades from the neighboring Muslim states of Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea. It is estimated that nearly one fifth of the 21 million people now living in Ivory Coast are illegal immigrants, most of whom are Muslims.
What was once a prosperous Christian country, viewed as a haven of peace and prosperity in the West Africa region, and home to the region’s largest cathedral, was overrun in the north with an influx of illegal immigrants that divided the country. Before exploiting this influx to help achieve victory in last year’s election, the increasing number of Muslims in the north had previously tried to seize power militarily nearly ten years ago in the economic center of the country, Abidjan. They were defeated there, but other Muslim troops took control across the north, helping to destabilize a now divided nation. Ouattara took advantage of the chaos and dissatisfaction in the north to mobilize his supporters for his election victory, which the international community ratified.
The French, acting under a UN Security Council resolution to ensure that civilians would be protected in any ensuing civil war, decided to finally oust Gbagbo from power and hand the country over to Ouattara. However, despite bombarding Gbagbo’s residence in Abidjan with helicopter gunships and deploying armored vehicles against Gbagbo’s remaining defenses, the French made sure that they would not appear like colonialist conquerors.
Thus, they allowed Ouattara’s own forces to actually arrest Gbagbo and take him into custody along with his wife. But we all know that Gbagbo’s surrender came about only after the French decided to flex their military muscle in their former colony. Reportedly, more than thirty French tanks or armored vehicles, each with several French soldiers inside, moved on Gbagbo’s residence in the final hours before Gbagbo’s surrender, after the French and UN peacekeeping forces attacked his compound with air strikes overnight. Unless he wanted to go down fighting, Gbagbo had no other option but to surrender.
Nevertheless, a French Defense Ministry official tried to downplay France’s role in bringing about Gbagbo’s final downfall: “It’s not French forces who arrested Laurent Gbagbo … It was Ouattara forces supported by UNOCI and Licorne (French forces).”
Ouattara’s envoy to the United Nations, Yousoufou Bamba, reiterated this message, stressing to UN reporters that the Republican Forces of the Ivory Coast had made the arrest, not the French.
United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy told reporters after briefing the Security Council that Gbagbo was currently in an apartment in the Golf Hotel in Abidjan, where Ouattara and his entourage have been based under UNOCI (the UN mission in the Ivory Coast) protection since the result of the election was declared.
“I can confirm that the former president and his wife are at the Golf Hotel… UNOCI has been requested to ensure their security,” said Mr. Le Roy, adding that it was up to Mr. Ouattara to decide what do to with his predecessor. “The Council is pleased [with the latest development], but it is not euphoria,” Mr. Le Roy said. He noted that there were still likely to be pockets of resistance in Abidjan, but the city was largely quiet. He also emphasized that French and UN peacekeeping forces operated within the bounds of the UN Security Council resolution authorizing the use of all necessary means to protect civilians, which included destroying Gbagbo’s heavy weapons.
One might think that Gbagbo’s surrender was a good thing, ending a bloody civil war and allowing the democratically elected president to be able to assume office while the strong man standing in his way is in custody to face justice.
However, as bad as Gbagbo’s forces behaved in attacking his own citizens to hold on to power, Outtara’s forces also behaved badly. Human Rights Watch claimed last weekend that forces loyal to Ouattara had killed hundreds of civilians, raped more than twenty women and girls and burned at least 10 villages in the western part of the Ivory Coast.
Moreover, it is what Ouattara’s rule is likely to introduce to the Ivory Coast that should be of real concern.
The Islamists want to revive what they claim was originally an Islamic emirate in the Ivory Coast. Perhaps the French, who enabled the Muslims to assume power, should have read the website of Islamic Revival to understand what may be in store. According to this website, the Ivory Coast is “an Islamic country with a Muslim majority” that was once “an Islamic emirate which implemented the Islamic Shari’ah” until the French colonized the country.
The Islamic website lamented the condition of “deprived and marginalized Muslims exposed to severe persecution and injustice in the north even though they constituted some 65% of the population of Ivory Coast, though the Western figures puts their percentage at about 40%.”
It blames the “well-placed pagans who were well supported in the south so as to prevent the spread of Islam among the pagans and were induced to convert to Christianity.”
But the Islamists are confident in their ultimate victory, as the Islamic Revival website attests:
The Ivory Coast like other Muslim countries awaits the establishment of the Khilafah [Caliphate] State to liberate it from the strongholds of the kuffar [non-believer] colonialists and make it a part and province of the Khilafah State, this is not a tall order for Allah.
And don’t expect another democratic election any time soon. Islamists may use elections they think they can win as a tool to achieve power, but they abhor the notion that men can govern themselves. The Islamic Revival website calling for Muslim rule in the Ivory Coast quotes from an article entitled “Leadership in Democracy Contradicts the Nature of Leadership In Humanity and in Islam”:
Alone abidance by the legal rule in the Qur’an and Sunnah is the condition for joining life’s journey and that for agreeing to submit to the performance of any task.
The Islamic vision of a Caliphate is spreading in Africa, beyond Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia in North Africa. The BBC has reported, for example, that President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan has announced plans to make Sharia law the “law of the land” in his country. The president has been quoted by BBC as saying that, “Sharia and Islam will be the main source for the constitution, Islam the official religion and Arabic the official language.”
Kenya has recently instituted a shariah compliant constitution.
Now, the Ivory Coast is about to follow.
Joseph Klein is the author of a recent book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam