The roots of the Côte d’Ivoire crisis

This tropical West African nation, once the most prosperous in the region, is sliding even deeper into civil war. At press time, after a weeklong street battle for Abidjan, the commercial capital of 5 million, there were reports of a fragile settlement. But the vicious violence could break out again at any time. Mainstream Western press accounts included depressingly familiar explanations: the stolen presidential election in November, rising ethnic conflict. The explanations were accurate, as far as they went.

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