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For an International Intervention in Guinea,” Louise Arbour in Le Monde

For an International Intervention in Guinea,” Louise Arbour in Le Monde

The attempted murder Thursday December 3 on the captain Dadis Camara by his aide-de-camp Aboubacar “Toumba” Diakité clearly illustrates the implosion which threatens the Guinean army and the risk of chaos which weighs on the country, and which could affect the very whole area. The Compaoré mediation must immediately take again the talks with the new chief of the junta with Conakry to negotiate the transfer of the capacity with a civil authority, which will have to be constant by a regional military mission.

These last years, West Africa seemed to move towards stability. In Liberia and in Sierra Leone, the way out of crisis seems acquired. The Ivory Coast it also progressed towards stabilization, even if its electoral process could prove very risky. In Guinea, the death of Lansana Conté in December 2008 had raised the hope of a democratization. The disappearance of a military dictatorship, which had maintained the country in economic misery and repression during nearly two decades, seemed to open the way of a transition towards a civil government. The captain Dadis Camara had succeeded Lansana Conté in the name of the change, and the forces of opposition were said trustful. The preparations for the organization of free elections seemed started again.

Dadis Camara however reconsidered its promise not to present itself to the presidential one, and, vis-a-vis the progressive refusal of the junta including the opposition and the civil society, called in Guinea the lifeblood, in the decision-making process having to lead to the elections, the dialogue between the Guinean parts was broken. The junta answered then by repression, censuring the political debate and stopping the leaders of the opposition. The situation turned to the nightmare on September 28, when the red berets of the presidency tackled a peaceful demonstration, killing more than 150 people and conducting a campaign of rapes to punish the population gathered.

The worst is to be feared for Guinea. For several months, militia have been recruited by the chiefs of the junta in isolated regions of the country, like auxiliary forces in the event of loss of the capacity. The majority of these men are war veterans, mobilized initially to defend Guinea against the forces of Charles Taylor, then engaged at the sides of the bast rebels.

After the massacre of September 28, the answer of the international community had been firm. It was shown exceptionally plain around two principal requirements: an administration of transition was to prepare the election of a civil government, and the leaders of the junta were to give up aspiring to the presidency. The West African regional organization, the Economic community of the States of West Africa (Cedao), the African Union, the European Union and the United States then issued sanctions targeted against the persons in charge of the junta who refused to adhere to it. A commission of international survey was named to make all the light on the committed crimes with Conakry, and Blaise Compaoré, the president of Burkina Faso, was elected to negotiate the return of the capacity to a civil administration.

These measurements do not have for the moment not been enough to make release taken to the Guinean soldiers. Russian, Chinese and European companies moreover would have provided them subsidies necessary to consolidate and buy weapons in violation of a regional embargo, in exchange of mining contracts. Whereas firmness was essential, Compaoré as seemed to take the party of Camara, by proposing as a man of the junta directs the driving transition government to the elections, and that one of its members is authorized to aspire to the presidency, in direct violation of the recommendations of the ECOWAS.

Divided, avid of being able and its emoluments, the Guinean army could lead the country to chaos. The urgency is to negotiate the transfer of the civil responsibilities of the State to an authority of transition charged to organize the elections and including/understanding representatives of the lifeblood. The new leader of the junta, S̩kouba Konat̩, should form part of it in order to manage the return of the soldiers in their barracks, the disarmament of the militia, and to avoid the implosion of the body of defense and safety. A regional military mission of protection of the authority of transition and political leaders from the opposition Рstrong of a battalion as the South-African mission elected in Burundi Рwill be without any doubt necessary to accompany this process.

The Compaoré mediation must right now integrate this deployment into the chapter of the negotiations with the junta, while military high ranking officials of the area should go to Conakry to discuss of it the finality and the concept of operations. Supported by France, the United Kingdom and the United States, the area must also put troops in alarm and formulate a plan for an rapid intervention if the situation with Conakry has suddenly worsened.

In the absence of fast progress of the negotiations and immediate concessions of the Guinean soldiers, their insulation must be accentuated, and the sanctions extended to any individual or company bringing subsidies to them. Russia and China, in particular, must support the decisions of the area and endorse the mode of sanctions by the Safety advice of UNO. The two countries cannot claim that the Guinean army is guarantor of the stability of the country or the safety of the mining contracts. The indefinite maintenance of an army divided and corrupted with the capacity with Conakry will lead early or late to other scuffles between its leaders, and, in fine, with chaos.

By Louise Arbour in Le Monde

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