I just read what I think is the best analysis so far on the post-electoral Ivorian crisis. It’s an article by Tim Cocks and David Lewis of Reuters entitled SCENARIOS-Ivory Coast heading back towards civil war?
Here are some possible scenarios in the weeks ahead:
THE RETURN TO ALL-OUT WAR
With daily AK-47 assault rifles and heavy weapons fire booming through Abidjan, and clashes erupting in various places across the country this week, a return to all out civil war is looking increasingly likely.
It is not clear whether Ouattara is ready to sanction a full-blown rebel advance, as it would taint his credibility if he came to power. Nor is it clear the rebels would succeed if they mounted any such offensive.
But analysts say Gbagbo’s forces may be spread thin if clashes are opened up on enough fronts and he risks defections if losses within his ranks start building up — as they seemed to do this week, with a number of deadly ambushes in Abidjan.
A military source says increasing numbers of soldiers in the Ivorian military are deserting, by switching their phones off and going into hiding. A few are defecting to the other side.
A STALEMATE OF SPORADIC CLASHES
Ivory Coast’s crises have a habit of fizzling into a slow burn neither war nor peace stalemate — as has been the case since 2002-3. In this scenario, no side makes much progress and the frontline doesn’t move much from the existing north-south one, with armed men on each side looting what they can from a rapidly shrinking economy.
But previous such stalemates were possible because negotiations held out the hope of a resolution eventually. That now seems impossible since Gbagbo effectively tore up the peace process by refusing to accept the poll results.
GBAGBO BOWS TO DEMANDS AND LEAVES
Analysts see this as extremely unlikely unless his own life is in danger. Gbagbo has shown that he is more than willing to watch his country implode economically and head back to all out civil war if it will keep him in power.