Security Council Crisis Situation: Diamonds in the RoughAuthor: Daniel R. Fruit
October 31: The President of Liberia, Charles Taylor, reports to the press that he has survived a coup attempt. At a press interview, he appears shaken and disheveled. That same day, he reports the detainment of both the American and Nigerian ambassador on suspicion of coup instigation
November 1: Nigerian and American embassies both denounce the seizure of their representatives. The United States issues a warning to all Americans in Liberia to evacuate Liberia.
November 2: Without warning, the Liberian army crosses the border into Sierra Leone. For some years, the Liberians have aided the Sierra Leonian "RUF" rebels in their attempt to overthrow the government of Sierra Leone...and enjoy the area's rich store of diamonds. Immediately, ECOWAS is calls an emergency session. The United Kingdom condemns the Liberian invasion.
November 3: As the Liberians continue to advance, the press reports of atrocities, the usual rapes, murders, etc. that accompany an advance by a poorly-trained African army. Liberia arrests two television reporters for "spying," something Liberia has done before. All foreign press coverage of the war effectively ends.
November 4: Confounding everyone President Taylor appears on Liberia's national t.v. with his wife and the United States and Nigerian Ambassador, both of whom he laughingly releases. Around the world, various nations condemn Taylor for, apparently, using the "coup" as a hoax to justify an invasion.
November 4: In a meeting dominated by Nigeria, ECOWAS issues a 48 hour ultimatum demanding that Taylor's troops immediately evacuate Sierra Leone. Only Liberia votes against.
November 5: In a stormy parliamentary session, the United Kingdom threatens to use force if Liberia does not immediately leave Sierra Leone, its former colony. Meanwhile reports from Sierra Leone, indicates that Taylor's mob have reached the capital. Britain evacuates nationals from Sierra Leone and Liberia.
November 6: Taylor ridicules ECOWAS. He comments, "these Nigerians seem to come to our country so often, they ought to apply for citizenship," an ironic reference to ECOWAS's failed attempt to end the Civil War in Liberia, which he won. The following day he promises "a big surprise." Nigerian nationals leave Liberia.
November 6: Nigeria calls up its ECOWAS troops. The final subjugation of Sierra Leone continues. The press continues to speculate that no coup actually occurred.
November 7: The United States, Liberia's reluctant ally, urges all sides to remain calm. The United States calls the invasion "unfortunate."
November 7: Taylor appears on CNN. He shows a slow motion film of the coup, including the execution of the conspirators. Taylor shows detailed photos of the entire event. The photos suggest that Taylor knew about the coup all along.
"Oh. There's a story to tell," he promises, "all about foreigners trying to overthrow Liberia!"
November 7: The first Nigerian ECOWAS troop ships sail towards Monrovia.
Special Letter to the Liberian Ambassador:
After you read this letter, memorize the important details, and burn it. It's essential that this information does not leak to the press or any other nation.
On October 31st, a representative of the American CIA revealed the details of the coup attempt to me. I have all of these details locked away in my palace. On the event of my death, there are provisions to make them public.
The CIA revealed they had discovered a plot led by those sympathetic to former, dead, president Doe. They planned to install one Richard Nixon Matubu in my place. The plot involved members of my own security forces who'd receive generous pay.
Apparently, two weeks before the time that the coup was supposed to take place, British Intelligence, M15, learned of the plot. MI5 agreed to help with the details of the plot and, indeed, supplied some training to coup plotters with the aim of ending the RUF insurgency in Sierra Leone through my death.
The CIA only reluctantly handed over this information to me. They only stumbled onto this the day before the coup. They made a deal that I was NOT, in any way, to implicate MI5 in the plot, and, I was NOT to arrest the two British intelligence agents.
As you know, thanks to the CIA, we foiled the plot. Contrary to my deal with the CIA, I attempted to arrest the two British nationals. The CIA, hit by surprise, took the agents to the US Embassy, where they remain. My troops and spies near that embassy guarantee me that they cannot escape. Yet, our forces cannot go in and get them, at least, not yet.
The coup inspired me to invade Sierra Leone. Now that there's proof of the actual coup, and we've invaded Sierra Leone, the world will want to believe our invasion is in revenge for the coup attempt, particularly if the US and UK agree to tell the world this story. Actually, we invaded to loot the country and install the RUF, our allies, as rulers.
I believe that with the information in my hands, you can secure our victory. The Americans are extremely reluctant to confront the British about the coup since they need British support in the War on Terrorism. Further, it will be extremely embarrassing to the US to reveal that they halted a covert operation of their allies.
On the British side, I believe, again, you can force them not to send troops. Indeed, I think you can induce the British to make ECOWAS back down either by sheer force or by having the British lie to Nigeria about the origins of the coup.
If you reveal this information in its entirety, this will not serve our purposes. ECOWAS will invade, with or without British support, and my government will fall, even though I will embarrass the British. Use this information carefully.
Long live Liberia!
President of Liberia
Confidential Report to the American Ambassador
As station officer in Monrovia, it's my unfortunate duty to relay to you some information.
The day before the recent coup, our spy satellites and other sources revealed the details of the coup attempt and that the British MI5 espionage agency had some involvement in it. The details came so late that I needed to make an immediate decision as to whether to save the Taylor government.
I chose to try to save Taylor. Considering the blood-thirsty nature of the last civil war, I considered anything, even Taylor, a better alternative. I hoped that revealing the details of the MI5 involvement would scare him enough that he'd halt or at least reduce his support of the RUF rebels in Sierra Leone.
I invited him to the embassy and gave him a folder of evidence as to the coup plot. Our agreement was this: Taylor would stop the coup as bloodlessly as possible. In return, we asked that he suppress the details of British involvement and allow us to spirit the two British MI5 agents out of the country.
Taylor reneged on his agreement. He executed the coup plotters and tried to seize the two British agents. The best that we could do was to get the two agents to our embassy. They can't leave, but Taylor doesn't dare come in and get them, at least at present.
Both sides, Liberian and American, continue to maintain the fiction that he has all of the coup plotters. Taylor is unlikely to reveal British involvement unless he feels that his rule is in danger. He's a ruthless man, but also a cunning one. His real aim seems to be to use the coup to occupy Sierra Leone, loot it, and install RUF allies.
CIA Station Manager,
To the British Ambassador:
It's my duty to inform you that two British nationals have gone missing in the current weeks in Monrovia. They are businessmen working with an import-export firm. Upon inquiry through our passport department, however, I discovered that both held passports of men that are actually basically fictitious: both died at childbirth.
However, President Taylor has reported to us that he has them under "house arrest." They may be dead or under conditions of extreme torture. It's best not to task too many questions about them.
It is my opinion that it's best not to investigate this matter further. It's hard to kill a dead man.
To the Nigerian Ambassador:
You requested an intelligence report regarding the recent, supposed coup against President Taylor.
We can help you somewhat. First, the majority of the plotters come from Liberia. Indeed they belong to groups that opposed Taylor and remain loyal to dead president Doe. In addition, apparently the plotters included some members of Taylor's Security Forces, who switched sides in return for large bribes.
We can also confirm that the coup did not, in any way, involve Sierra Leone.
However, we must report that although Taylor publicly executed 19 coup plotters, he arrested, or at least attempted to arrest, 21. We have asked the British MI5 and American CIA for information regarding these last two potters and received unclear responses. Our best guess is that Taylor "made them up" as he "made up," the details of his wife dying in the attempt.
RESOLUTION of the CRISIS
Neither Nigeria nor Liberia back down. Despite the United States insistence, Nigeria invades Liberia. At that moment, Liberia's president, Taylor, flees the country. Before he does this, he spills his information about American involvement in the coup. Liberian forces leave Sierre Leone.
The Nigerians settle down to an unwelcome occupation. When civil war, AGAIN, breaks out, they leave the country after some fruitless fighting as both sides oppose the Nigerian-dominated ECOWAS forces. Eventually, Taylor's side invites him back.
The United States has a harder time keeping the UK involved in the war on terrorism. The UK denounces the Americans for aiding Taylor. The Labor government denounces the United States in general terms.
When the smoke clears, Taylor again appears set to, again, retake power in Liberia, none the worse for his unsuccessful gambit.