After two years in Chad, Ireland has decided to withdraw its 400 troops. The UN wants them to stay. Chad wants to make a deal. Chad wants most of the peacekeepers gone, leaving behind only a few hundred policemen to pretend to guard the food and other aid coming in for half a million refugees in western Chad, and two million drought victims throughout the country. The current UN force has about 4,000 personnel (2,500 soldiers, 260 police and the rest civilians). With most of this force gone, the government would be able to plunder the aid coming in, providing another source of income for corrupt officials.
Poor rains in the last year has left about two million people hungry. Nationwide, about a third of the normal food crops were lost, and if food is not imported, millions will go hungry, and thousands will die. About 80,000 tons of food (mainly grains) need to be trucked in to avoid a hunger problem.
The tension with Sudan remains low, but the bandits and rebels in western Chad are still there. The government believes they have sufficient money, gunmen and political clout to deal with these troublemakers.
March 16, 2010: A Chinese firm has started building an oil refinery outside the capital.
March 12, 2010: The present peacekeeping force has been authorized by the UN to be in Chad until May 15th, a two month extension for the current mandate.