The renewed French commitment in African conflicts and the Ivory Coast challenge

The French intervention in the Ivory Coast crisis revives the interventionnist tradition of France in Africa and sketches the first lines of a new type of French commitment on the Dark Continent by initiating new intervention principles (a regional and comprehensive multilateralization of the conflict). The French intervention has a mixed outcome : it has allowed preventing the burst of a true open war but the Ivory Coast has not recovered its peace since, almost two years after the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement has been signed, the peace process that it launched is in a dead end. This blocked situation, heavy with consequences on France’s future African policy, should nevertheless not be summarised into only one French failure : to admit such an analysis would be committing a sin of excessive simplicity. The ferments of the dead end situation are to be sought elsewhere : they reside mostly in the absence of an Ivory Coast political determination to leave the crisis and the attitude of president Laurent Gbagbo is especially meaningful in this regard. – Summary AFRI-2005