As US military planners continued to hand off Libyan operations to NATO forces, another civil war in another part of Africa has begun to present a decidedly more pressing and deadly humanitarian challenge.
After it was revealed in the Ivory Coast that the bodies of 1,000 civilians were discovered butchered and that forces loyal to President Alassane Ouattara, the Ivory Coast leader supported internationally and backed by the United Nations, have been suspected in orchestrating the massacre, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was "deeply concerned," according to an Associated Press report
"The alleged mass killings occurred in an area controlled by forces loyal to Ouattara," the AP report noted.
The chaotic collapse of the Ivory Coast and the ensuing civil war developing there have set off alarms among Western nations. French troops have been deployed to take back a key airport, the BBC reported
, as the internal conflict looked poised to become an international military matter.
"We are currently experiencing in Abidjan a security vacuum because the Ivorian security forces, which until now followed the orders of Mr Gbagbo, answered in great numbers the rallying call made by President Ouattara," Ivory Coast, defence ministry spokesman Thierry Burkhard told the BBC.
The brutal fighting in the Ivory Coast that was set in motion by the unwillingness of the country's incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo to accept his election defeat may present another challenge for the Obama administration, while the military exercise in Libya under the auspices of humanitarian concerns continues to extend its shadow.
Quattara's government has accused UN peacekeepers of not protecting Ivory Coast civilians who Quattara supporters say are being attacked by Ghagbo militias, according to another Associated Press report
It was unclear what role, if any, NATO would take in managing the Ivory Coast's military affairs.