Cote d'Ivoire

Heat Wave

Since the conflict in Libya really started to get messy, oil prices have risen steeply—from about $103 in mid-February to $123 a barrel last week. Given the country’s drop off in production (it represents about 2 percent of the world’s crude), the vote for separation of South Sudan (an oil producer) and the violence that has come from that, the continuing declines in oil production in Mexico and Venezuela, and the strikes and other problems in Gabon, Yemen, Oman, Ivory Coast, and Nigeria, the rise in price seems somewhat justified.

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The Fate of a Nation

When Laurent Gbagbo was dragged out of his hole beneath the presidential residence in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, wearing a white vest and a bemused expression, it seemed on the surface a fitting end to his country’s miserable post-election stalemate. The recalcitrant strongman who would not step down was humbled, but not dead.

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Freetown, Sierra Leone—Twelve days ago, I rode on the back of a motorbike through the forests of Grand Gedeh County in eastern Liberia to a remote crossing point on the border with Ivory Coast. On the Liberian side were jumpy Bangladeshi peacekeepers who stood close by local security forces wearing blue fatigues and coalscuttle helmets. On the Ivorian side were the rebels of the Republican Forces, who support Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognized winner of Ivory Coast’s disputed presidential election last year.

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[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner] Last week, I wrote an item criticizing Lanny Davis for representing the government of the Ivory Coast. That government has recently been accused of ignoring election results and clinging to power illegitimately. Davis sent TNR the following in response to my post: I am responding to a factually inaccurate assertion in an opinion commentary posted by Isaac Chotiner on this blog last week. Mr.

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[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner] In one of the least surprising stories ever reported, it appears that Clinton-era hack Lanny Davis is shilling for a dictator. Anyone who has followed Davis' career with even passing notice will find this to be less noteable than the sun rising every morning. But Davis' rationalizations to the Times are beneath even his standards, and thus deserve some attention. Davis' client here is Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, who has clung to power despite losing an election last month.

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The United States may have missed its chance to play Spain in the World Cup final Sunday (and the Netherlands in the semifinal, and Uruguay in the quarterfinal), but similar battles take place every day on American turf, where the world meets for pick-up soccer games. There’s weekdays outside an MIT building in Cambridge, weekend mornings behind the White House, and barefoot on the beach in Fort Lauderdale. There are, in fact, times when the U.S.

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Best goal: Van Bronckhorst’s, no question. Where the ball ended up was the only place it could have gone while still eluding the keeper. About as close to a perfect strike as I’ve ever seen. Watch him repeat it right-footed. Best player: David Villa. Forlan gets honorable mention, of course, but Villa somehow looks dangerous every time he gets the ball. Yes, he gets great service from the Spanish midfield, but with Torres slumping, he’s had to do it without a threatening attacking partner. Best goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer.

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Best Player: Schweinsteiger has been the best so far. Tip of the hat to Forlan, who’s been incredible. However, Schweinsteiger’s control of the game, his play on both sides of the ball gives him the edge, in my opinion. The tournament isn’t over yet, though, and my favorite player, Iniesta, shined in today’s game. If he plays as well in the final, then I’ll give it to him. I know that a couple of games does not a tournament make, but I am biased. Biggest Revelation: My first response would be Mesut Ozil, but then I want to give a shout out to the entire German team.

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It’s not that I want fewer games or fewer teams or anything.  What I’d like to avoid is that sad feeling of diffusion, mixed with an odd short-term nostalgia, that always rears its head around now.  Remember the first match, that thrilling 1-1 draw between South Africa and Mexico?

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Peru Wins!

Peru hasn’t won a major tournament in nearly thirty years. We last qualified for a World Cup in 1982, and didn’t make it out of the group stage. Since then, with the exception of a few instances of magic, watching the national side has been a kind of ritualized despair. We—players and fans—start each game hoping not to lose. During this last qualifying campaign, our players drew with Brazil at home and celebrated with so much booze and so many prostitutes, you’d think they’d actually won something (or that they were French).

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