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07-12-2003, 08:45 PM
I've been interested in the ongoing conflict in Liberia for about 3 months now. The last I heard LURD forces (Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy) were on the outskirts of Monrovia (The Capital of Liberia) And fighting fiercely to gain control of the capital. The LURD's goal is to oust Charles Taylor (The current President of Liberia), and turn Liberia into a democratic country. Charles Taylor accepted a $1,000,000 bribe to harbor Al-Qaeda fugitives for up to 1 month after the 9/11 attacks. But Charles Taylor says he will go into exile, only after ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) peacekeepers arrive. Should The US get involved?
07-16-2003, 09:01 PM
Copied From www.AllAfrica.com
July 16, 2003
Posted to the web July 16, 2003
Liberia's main rebel group has called on the US to rush a large force into the country.
Kabineh Ja'neh, a leader of the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (Lurd), said: "We would like to see an overwhelming presence of American troops on the ground."
He said ideally Liberian President Charles Taylor would leave at the same time as US troops arrive as well as soldiers from West Africa.
"It would be a monumental psychological comfort and would signal an end to the war," Mr Ja'neh said, speaking from nearby Ghana, where he was attending peace talks.
Rebels have launched two major assaults in the Liberian capital Monrovia in recent months and thousands of civilians have been displaced by fighting.
"We would prefer the Americans to come in first and not the other way around," Mr Ja'neh said. "It would be a psychological comfort to see new faces."
But Paul Welsh, the BBC's correspondent in the capital, Monrovia, says US forces will not arrive until after other regional peacekeepers.
He said a West African peacekeeping force is due to arrive in about two weeks, but said delays were possible due to other recent operations.
"Any delays will only serve to prolong the country's pain," he said.
But US President George Bush said any deployment of US troops in Liberia would be "limited in size and limited in tenure".
Mr Bush, speaking after a meeting with the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan at the White House on Monday, says he is waiting for more information from teams he sent to Liberia about its humanitarian needs and military situation before a decision to send troops can be reached.
Mr Bush repeated the need for Mr Taylor to leave before US personnel arrived.
Mr Taylor has agreed to step down but has said he will not take up an offer of asylum in Nigeria until the peacekeeping force arrives in Liberia.
But Mr Ja'neh said: "Washington needs to flex its muscles to see Taylor leaves immediately. The future of Liberia can only be discussed in a post-Taylor scenario."
Liberia has been torn by almost non-stop conflict for 14 years, including a civil war in the 1990s in which 200,000 people were killed."
07-21-2003, 09:00 PM
United States Department of Defense (Washington, DC)
July 20, 2003
Posted to the web July 21, 2003
At the request of the U.S. Ambassador in Monrovia, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld has ordered additional security personnel to the United States embassy. The Secretary has ordered the dispatch of up to an additional 41 FAST members from Rota, Spain to Monrovia. They will augment team members and USMC embassy guards already at the embassy.
The situation will continue to be monitored closely, and there is no additional information to announce at this time.
07-22-2003, 09:21 AM
Nobody cares about Liberia, Hmm? Well, I guess people only care if it's the Iraqis getting killed by the Americans, but I guess it's "Screw all the others unless they're getting killed by Americans!"
07-22-2003, 04:31 PM
If they ask us for assistance, what else can we do? Ignoring them could be fatal for many. I only hope we don't mess this up, too.
We'll see what Bush decides.
07-25-2003, 06:10 PM
This is so stupid! Taylor has said he will not leave until peacekeepers arrive; Bushy has said that he will not send anyone into Liberia until after he leaves! This will accomplish nothing!
07-28-2003, 02:01 PM
Bush is a HYPOCRITE! He can go to Iraq and come back with not a damn thing but he wants to play these games with Liberia. "You come here first and then I'll go there."
07-30-2003, 09:01 PM
July 30, 2003
Posted to the web July 30, 2003
"All of the patients in JFK hospital in Monrovia will die this week - they have no food, no water and no medicine," says Wilson Tarpeh, a Liberian businessman and newspaper publisher. Tarpeh, who is in Minneapolis, has been in telephone contact with physicians at the medical facility and with other residents of the capital.
"We are pleading with the international community to hurry up, hurry up, but nobody is doing anything," he says. "It seems they are just going to let our people die." Tarpeh estimates that at least 10 percent of Monrovias residents are at immediate risk from lack of food and water and from disease. Aid workers believe 300 to 400 people are dying daily from cholera.
Two meetings scheduled for Thursday could move the international community towards a response. The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) has scheduled an emergency summit in Accra, Ghana, and key U.S. officials are slated to discuss Liberia during a National Security Council session at the White House.
West Africa wants to act, according to Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Ecowas executive secretary, who spent two days in deliberations at the United Nations this week, working on mechanisms for intervention.
"The kind of logistical support we thought we would get is not happening as quickly as we had hoped," Chambas said in a telephone interview late Tuesday on route to the airport for a flight back to Ghana for the Ecowas session.
Ecowas members have said from the beginning that they need logistical and financial assistance to undertake a peacekeeping operation, Chambas said. Nigeria has committed two battalions for a vanguard force that could reach Liberia as early as this week. One battalion has been stationed with the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone, Liberia's next-door neighbor, while the second would be sent from Nigeria. President Olusegun Obasanjo says his soldiers are ready to move as soon as "adequate material and logistical support" is committed by the international community.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has appealed to the Security Council to approve deployment of a multinational force to Liberia with a Chapter VII mandate, which permits the use of force. "The consequences of allowing the situation to spiral out of control are too terrible to contemplate," he said in a strongly worded letter on Monday.
Meanwhile, UN officials are exploring ways to draw upon the organizations military mission in Sierra Leone to quick-start assistance for the planned Liberia operation, including transferring resources that would be reimbursed once a Liberian operation is formally approved.
Chambas said the U.S. government has pledged $10 million to assist the Ecowas operation, but these funds "are not immediately available" for the advance force that Ecowas seeks to deploy now. The State Department has said the funds will pay for logistics support to be provided by a private contractor, Los Angeles-based Pacific Architects and Engineers (PAE). "This can't assist the troops that will deploy in the next week," Chambas said.
At a White House press conference Wednesday, President George Bush said that he stands by the offer of aid for Liberia that he made six weeks ago before leaving on a five-nation Africa trip, but he reiterated the conditions he has said must be met. "Charles Taylor must go, the cease-fire must be in place, and we will be there to help ECOWAS," he said. "We're working to get those conditions in place, and we will continue working to get them in place until they are in place, at which point we will then take the necessary steps to get ECOWAS in place, so that we can deliver aid and help to suffering Liberians."
Last week, he ordered the Pentagon to send a three-ship Amphibious Ready Group with 2,300 Marines on board to the coast off Liberia. But no decision has been made on what action, if any, the troops will take when the vessels reach their destination in approximately a week.
The president emphasized again that "troop strength will be limited and the time frame will be limited." He told reporters that the administration is looking to the United Nations, as well as Ecowas, for both peacekeeping and political activities "to provide the framework for a transition to democracy."
Administration officials indicate that several key questions about Liberia may be decided during the National Security Council meeting Thursday, where differences within the government, particularly between the State and Defense Departments, are to be discussed. Although State Department officials have proposed several forms of assistance to Ecowas, beyond the $10 million contractor fee, Pentagon and White House officials have resisted, saying that resources required for overseas commitments are already earmarked for other areas, including Iraq and Afghanistan. "We're at the end of the fiscal year, and nearly everything that can be spent has been obligated," one official said.
Meanwhile, the administration stepped up its diplomatic efforts by sending Assistant Secretary of State Walter Kansteiner to West Africa on Monday. One focus of attention is Guinea, Liberia's northern neighbor, whose government is the main supporter of the rebel movement known as Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (Lurd).
Over the weekend, Kansteiner's deputy, Ambassador Pamela Bridgewater, visited the Guinea capital, Conakry, where she met for the first time with Lurd leader, Sekou Konneh, as well as with Guinea government officials. Kansteiner held further talks today, in an effort to stop the flow of weapons that Lurd has been using in the latest outbreak of fighting against government forces in Monrovia.
"They have guns, they have bullets, they have other weapons," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters Tuesday. "These come from somewhere, and they don't get it through the official channels, so that means they're coming from neighboring states," he said. "We need to talk to neighboring states to do everything they can to prevent that supply and support."
On Thursday, Kansteiner is scheduled to represent the United States as an observer at the West African summit, hosted by Ghana's President John Kufuor, the current Ecowas chair.
07-30-2003, 09:05 PM
Originally posted by felicitylen
Bush is a HYPOCRITE! He can go to Iraq and come back with not a damn thing but he wants to play these games with Liberia. "You come here first and then I'll go there." What are you talking about? We are already there! we have a ship off the coast and the USS Iwo Jima is headed there as we speak.
08-02-2003, 10:15 AM
August 1, 2003
Posted to the web August 1, 2003
West African special envoys flew into the Liberian capital of Monrovia on Friday for talks with President Charles Taylor, only to be told that he was out of town. The embattled Liberian leader was reported to have traveled unannounced to one of the battlefronts, where he was apparently "commanding the troops".
Taylor, who has agreed to step down and has been asked by his regional counterparts to leave by Thursday, was said to have left Monrovia unexpectedly for Liberia's second town, Buchanan, a strategic port city which was seized by rebels earlier this week but control of which is now uncertain.
Liberian Defence Minister Daniel Chea told the BBC late Friday that Taylor was indeed in Buchanan, directing the military action at the front. Chea explained that a breakdown in protocol had led to Taylor's absence from Monrovia, which meant he had missed the meeting with the West African delegation. The minister claimed that the president was unaware that the envoys were due in the city.
Some observers doubted this explanation, speculating that President Taylor was still in Monrovia and had snubbed the regional envoys.
Ghana's foreign minister, Nana Akufo-Addo, and Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the executive-secretary of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), arrived in Monrovia expecting to brief Taylor on an extraordinary regional summit in Ghana on Thursday, joined by the foreign ministers of Nigeria and Togo.
West African heads of state announced after their meeting that an initial contingent of regional peacekeepers was to begin deployment in Liberia on Monday, after delay and wrangling over who would finance the peacekeeping operation.
West African military officials already in Monrovia, preparing the arrival of the peacekeepers, announced that the first 300 Nigerian troops should arrive on Monday, in line with the summit decisions. "I have told them to get the men ready to deploy on Monday. I'm coming in on Monday and when I come in on Monday it's business," Brigadier-General Festus Okonkwo, the Nigerian commander of the peacekeeping force, told journalists in Monrovia.
The Ecowas summit also decided that Taylor must leave Liberia by Thursday, to take up an offer of asylum in Nigeria, once the troops arrived. "The decision was very clear in its plain meaning: we will put in the troops on Monday. We expect him to be able to leave within three days. He has made public undertakings, and that's what the leaders of the region expect him to do," Chambas told reporters, adding: "It's not a coup d'etat, it's a constitutional change of power".
Akufo-Addo said the team would stay in Monrovia until the meeting with Taylor, which is now expected to take place on Saturday.
For the past two weeks, there have been fierce battles in and around Monrovia between rebels from the main armed faction, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (Lurd), and loyalist Taylor troops. Hundreds of people are reported to have been killed and hundreds of others wounded.
After a brief lull in the fighting on Thursday, bloody clashes erupted again on Friday. Aid workers reported that four children and five adults were killed when a mortar hit a private home in a crowded neighbourhood of the city.
A smaller rebel group, known as the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (Model) launched a surprise attack on Buchanan earlier this week.
Taylor is facing charges of war crimes across the border in Sierra Leone and pressure from the United States, the United Nations and others to leave power, to allow for a peaceful settlement to the civil war in Liberia.
As recently as last Saturday he again pledged to step down in the interests of the people of Liberia. But Taylor is known to be a wily political survivor and, although he appears to be boxed into a corner, many observers have predicted that he would fight compulsory exile to the last and cling onto power for as long as he could.
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