Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tickling the Ivories

My daily reading menu includes the Federal Register. In the big law firms, one or more junior associates are stuck with that task, and they are expected to bring pertinent matters in the daily Federal Register to the attention of one or more partners. As a solo practitioner, it falls upon me to do the daily Federal Register duty.

In today's Federal Register, there is an item from the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, "Designation Pursuant to Executive Order 13396 of February 7, 2006, 'Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Conflict in Cote d'Ivoire.' "

The designation essentially freezes the United States property of Laurent Gbagbo and his wife and close associates. Gbagbo, for the uninitiated, is one of the contenders for the disputed Presidency of the Ivory Coast (or Cote d'Ivoire en Francais). His opponent, Alassane Ouattara, also claims victory in the disputed 2010 election. Most of the international community recognizes Ouattara as the legitimate winner of the election, though there were, to say the least, irregularities on either side.

I am no great fan of Gbagbo, nor of Ouattara. Africa is not noted for its effective governments or skilled native statesmen. I take no position as to who should be the rightful winner of the election. Neither of them can be trusted any further than one can throw the Empire State Building.

I am, however, concerned as to the baggage that Ouattara might be carrying. Gbagbo is a Christian. Ouattara is from a Muslim tribe and has connections to Burkina Faso. I am concerned that a regime under Ouattara might be more conducive to Islamist terrorist activity against the West than would a Gbagbo regime.

This is not to say that Ouattara should be opposed merely because he is a Muslim. It is not to say that he is not the legitimate winner of the Presidency of the Ivory Coast. It is not to say that the nations of the world should not recognize him as the President of the Ivory Coast. It is not to say that Gbagbo's insurgency should be tolerated by America and the world.

But on the opposite side of the African continent there is another election in progress as I write this posting. It is a referendum on the question of independence for Southern Sudan. By all accounts, a vote in favor of independence is almost a forgone conclusion.

But the Sudan conflict is also, in essence, a Muslim-Christian war. It is fair to ask the question as to the chances of a militant Islamic insurgency taking control in the nominally independent Southern Sudan. And it is fair to ask whether, in such an event, such an insurgency would be tolerated by Barack Hussein Obama and the world.

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