UN, France intervene in Ivory Coast civil war

Another "humanitarian" intervention by France and the UN - this time in the Ivory Coast where the current president, Laurent Gbagbo is trying to negotiate his farewell.

The loser of an election last year who refused to leave office, Gbagbo's forces are surrounded and the only thing he is in charge of is his own palace guard.

The New York Times:

France, which showed a newfound muscularity by championing military strikes against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi's forces in Libya, attacked heavy artillery and armored vehicles at Mr. Gbagbo's residence and presidential offices, two centers of his power, a French military spokesman said Monday night.

The United Nations said it had also launched helicopter strikes against Mr. Gbagbo's forces at two of his bases, to prevent them from using the kinds of heavy weapons that have been aimed at civilians and United Nations personnel during the crisis.

By early Tuesday, Mr. Gbagbo was in a bunker beneath his residence and was negotiating a possible surrender through the French ambassador, according to Alain Lobognon, a spokesman for the prime minister, Guillaume Soro. Forces supporting Mr. Gbagbo's rival, Alassane Ouattara, were several hundred feet away.

The international attacks coincided with a renewed assault by local troops loyal to Mr. Ouattara, the man recognized by the United Nations, the African Union and other international bodies as the winner of last year's presidential election.

Power abhors a vacuum and France's "newfound muscularity" has more to do with the US failure to lead than any real shift in the power balance of the world. That said, the UN appears to be getting bolder in their application of the "Responsibility to Protect" doctrine - with consequences that have yet to be imagined.