A brewing succession crisis in the Ivory Coast keeps getting worse: The West African nation is moving closer to violence between current President Laurent Gbagbo and his rival, Alassane Ouattara. Gbagbo allegedly rigged the November election runoff results and declared himself the winner, despite U.N. observers saying he lost. International organizations have been pressuring Gbagbo to step down, and President Obama has made two attempts to talk to Gbagbo on the phone to warn him against clutching power; he was rebuffed and eventually had to send letters. Ouattara says it will take military force to get the president out of office. The U.S. Embassy has evacuated State Department personnel, but some still remain in the country.
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