Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fighting a political war in the banks

First, there were calls to embargo Cocoa exports to try to cut off hard currency revenues; Now the battle is over control of the assets of the Central Bank.

That's where the campaigns to oust (or to keep in power) de facto President Laurent Gbagbo of Côte d'Ivoire is being fought right now.
Ivory Coast's incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo has ordered the seizure of all local branches of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO).

The BBC's John James in Abidjan says gendarmes and armoured vehicles have surrounded the bank's HQ in the city.
It is being fought there for two reasons: To try anything to avoid a foreign military intervention to remove Gbagbo; and because Gbagbo can't stay in power if his money runs out.
Without access to government funds, it is unclear whether Mr Gbagbo will be able to continuing paying the country's military and security forces.
This all goes back to Gbagbo playing for time.

He's having some success. While ECOWAS is still considering intervention and is rounding up International support for such an operation, the first cracks in the African Union position opposing Gbagbo are showing.

If the Opposition and ECOWAS are to carry the day on this, they are going to have to get back some of the momentum. Otherwise...


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