Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"Burkina Faso on the Brink"

I'm quoted extensively in Guy Taylor's World Politics Review article about Burkina Faso. Here are the first few quotes from the post on WPR's blog Trend Lines:
In an attempt to salvage his 24-year hold on power, Burkina Faso's president, Blaise Compaore, has responded to mounting unrest in the West African nation by dissolving his cabinet and sacking the country's top military commanders -- hasty moves made early this week after soldiers, protesting over undelivered housing allowances, began looting parts of the capital.

While his goal may be to mollify angry demonstrators, Compaore is ultimately doing what "[Hosni] Mubarak tried to do and what [Zine El Abidine] Ben Ali tried," says David Shinn, a former U.S. ambassador to Burkina Faso, now at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs.

"To change the names of the cabinet and, in this case, the heads of the military, I'm not sure that's going to be meaningful enough," Shinn told Trend Lines on Monday, adding that despite close geographic proximity to recent violence in Cote d'Ivoire, the present turmoil in Burkina Faso is notably more akin to what's occurred in Tunisia and Egypt.

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