Documents to download

President Idriss Déby Itno seized power in 1990. While, since then, there have been several moments when his tenure appeared to be coming to an end – most recently, in 2008, when rebels reached the capital, N’Djamena – in recent years his political and military position has stabilised considerably. In 2011, he was re-elected President for a fourth term and his party won parliamentary elections, amidst opposition protests about fraud. Poor relations with neighbouring Sudan, which led both countries to support armed proxies, have improved since 2010.

Déby has three main assets on which to draw: his control over Chad’s oil, in which US companies have invested heavily (China is also increasingly involved); his opposition to Islamist terrorism, which has drawn Chad into the security orbit of the US, for example through its membership of the Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Partnership; and his close ties to France, which (so far) has given him a virtual ‘security guarantee’ against overthrow.

However, Chadian politics remains extremely factionalised. The east of the country is still highly volatile, with hundreds of thousands of refugees, and the north and south are also uncertain in terms of security. There is also some risk of ‘blowback’ from regime change in Libya, as a result of migratory flows back to Chad and the wider instability across the Sahel region which it has inadvertently triggered. Worst-case scenarios posit that the current food crisis across the region could also have negative security implications for all the countries of the Sahel, including Chad.

The chequered course of the last 50 years suggests that, for the foreseeable future, no leader’s position in Chad is ever likely to be more than ‘superficially stable’. It would be unwise to assume that the post-Déby era, when it comes, will be the product of a peaceful, smooth transition of power.

Documents to download

Related posts