In the photo above, supporters of Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo march to the site of the Hotel Ivoire (pictured, top-left) in Abidjan, a major city in the west African nation, Nov. 8, where French armored vehicles have taken up positions near the president’s home. Violence erupted after France destroyed the country’s fledgling air force on Nov. 6 in retaliation for an Ivory Coast airstrike on the northern town of Brobo, outside a rebel stronghold, in which nine French troops and one U.S. citizen were killed.

About 4,000 French peacekeepers and 6,000 UN forces were deployed in Ivory Coast months ago to try to maintain a cease-fire between the rebel and more Muslim north and the loyalist south. While the French forces claim to be neutral, they are widely resented in the Ivory Coast’s fiercely nationalistic south, which suspects them — their former colonizers — of siding with the rebels.

The Ivory Coast, which produces 40 percent of the world’s cocoa, has suffered terribly under the tutelage of the World Bank and IMF. In the UN Human Development Index of 177 countries, it now ranks 163.

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