Thursday, 08.04.2021

Presentation of the study "Chad in its regional environment: between political alliances and ad hoc military coalitions

On Thursday 08 April 2021, the Peace and Security Competence Centre of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES PSCC) organised a virtual conference, due to the COVID 19 pandemic, to present the results of the study "Chad in its regional environment: between political alliance games and ad hoc military coalitions" by Dr. Amandine GNANGUON. Amandine GNANGUENON, associate researcher at the European Council on Foreign Relations and the United Nations University - Institute for Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS), France. This presentation of the study results by the author was attended by academics, researchers, representatives of the defence and security forces, research institutes, international organisations, civil society organisations and women's organisations of several nationalities (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, France, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Chad).

Chad operates in an unstable regional security environment. The chaos in Libya after 2011, the fall of President Omar al-Bashir in Sudan in 2019, the recurrent instability in the Central African Republic (CAR) and the presence of Boko Haram and its affiliates in the Lake Chad Basin are all uncertainties that the country is trying to control. In ten years, however, Idriss Déby has managed to turn this insecurity on its borders into an asset.  The deployments of the Chadian army in CAR (2012-2014), Mali (since 2013) and the Lake Chad Basin (since 2015) are probably the best example of how external operations serve the personal ambitions of the Chadian president and his international stature. In the eyes of its external partners, the country constitutes a 'strategic lock' at the crossroads of North, Central and Sahel Africa. The image of a poor, underpopulated and landlocked country has faded in favour of an indispensable ally in the fight against the spread of the jihadist threat in West and Central Africa. It is true that Chad's military interventions and diplomatic positioning are the result of Idriss Déby's ability to take advantage of the support of his external partners, especially his French ally. However, this military diplomacy is inseparable from the changes in the institutional security landscape over the last ten years. Chad bases its policy of influence on two levers, the capacity to project its army in a multinational framework and the deployment of a proactive diplomacy to position itself in regional and international forums.

Consequently, this study focuses on a little-addressed theme, namely the way in which Chad positions itself as a regional actor by combining political alliance games and the use of ad hoc military coalitions. One of the questions this study aims to answer is what factors influence Chad's choice to systematically engage in regional military operations.

This virtual meeting, moderated by Dr. Ngabo NDJAHA, a research professor at the University of N'Djaména, aimed to present the results of the study to the various actors for greater appropriation and popularisation. In addition to comments on the study by Mouldjide NGARYNGAM, Director of the Centre d'Etude pour la Paix et la Sécurité (CEPSEDA) in N'Djaména (Chad), the debates and sharing of experiences enabled a better understanding of how Chad, under Idris Déby, has become a key "strategic actor" in the fight against insecurity in the Sahel, but with fragile feet on the internal scene. The study is available in the publication section of the website.

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