Posted on | December 28, 2012 | 24 Comments
President François Bozizé of the Central African Republic has appealed for French and US help to stop rebel forces that threaten to overrun the country’s capital. The US has evacuated its embassy and the United Nations is also pulling out its staff.
The United States evacuated its embassy in the Central African Republic as the nation’s embattled leader appealed for French and US help after rebels seized large swathes of the mineral-rich country. . . .
The rebel coalition known as Seleka — which means “alliance” in the country’s Sango language — has seized four regional capitals, including a diamond mining hub, since its fighters took up arms on December 10. . . .
Central African Republic, with a population of about 4.5 million, has seen frequent coups and mutinies since independence from France in 1960. It ranks 179 out of 187 on the UN development index.
So don’t expect any reporting about the crisis in Bangui from CBS, MSNBC or CNN, because they’re all racist, that’s why.
ABC’s State Department correspondent Dana Hughes has been all over this story on Twitter, so she’s definitely a feed to watch as the situation progresses.
The last time the U.S. abandoned an embassy? Syria.
Because you’re probably wondering: No, I don’t know if these “rebels” are radical Islamists. Only about 10% of the C.A.R.’s population is Muslim, so it seems unlikely that any kind of al-Qaeda-backed extremist coup could be successful there. On the other hand, one of the country’s neighbors to the northeast is Sudan, an Islamist regime that might have its own motives to secretly support the Seleka rebels.
UPDATE II: Patrick Fort of AFP reports:
BANGUI, Central African Republic — Government soldiers in the Central African Republic battled to re-capture a rebel-held city Friday, a military official said, despite regional efforts to seek a peaceful end to the growing crisis.
The military official said the fighting in Bambari, which rebels from the Seleka coalition seized Sunday, was “especially violent”, and a humanitarian source said witnesses some 60 kilometres (35 miles) away could hear detonations and heavy weapons fire for several hours.
One of the commenters dismisses C.A.R. as one of those insignificant post-colonial “lines on a map” kinds of countries, and this may be entirely true. On the other hand, you never know when one of these minor dominoes might tip over and start some trouble that is more than local. A “failed state” outcome, for example, such as transpired in Somalia in the 1990s, might provide harbor to terrorists. It’s worth nothing, by the way, that the U.S. has a small contingent of troops stationed in C.A.R. to help hunt down the fugitive terrorist leader Joseph Kony.
UPDATE III: Welcome, Instapundit readers! Those “smart diplomacy” punchlines just write themselves, don’t they?