Chad: A Wilderness Of Good Intentions And Failure


September28, 2008:  The 3,300 EU peacekeepers are unable to protect all 500,000 refugees along the Sudan border. The peacekeepers don't have enough troops or helicopters to patrol, much less pacify, the area. In effect, the European peacekeepers in Eastern Chad are but a few ink spots on a huge canvas (over 300,000 square kilometers) that is the eastern border region with Sudan. The 1,500 kilometer long frontier is mostly desert and brush, with the refugees in twelve major camps, and many more smaller, and often improvised ones. The peacekeepers have to devote considerable resources to defending themselves, and their own bases. The local bandits know the terrain, give the peacekeepers a wide berth, and continue plundering the foreign aid efforts. The NGOs continue holding press conferences denouncing the failure of foreign nations to police eastern Chad and pacify the area, It's a wilderness of good intentions and failure.

The UN wants to replace the EU troops with 6,000 UN peacekeepers. Few countries want to send troops to Chad, and the EU mandate ends in six months. The Chadian government is largely concerned with defending the oil (which is in the south, less than 200 kilometers from the Cameroon border), and the 1,070 kilometers long oil pipeline (that is mostly in Cameroon, where it takes nearly 200,000 barrels a day to the sea.)

September 16, 2008: A UN trained police force, the DIS (Détachement intégré de sécurité) began patrols in eastern Chad. The force is currently on 320 strong, with another 500 men beginning training. The current 320 men of the DIS are not sufficient to cover much of the eastern border area. That would require over 5,000 police, and that number won't be ready for 5-10 years (at the current rate that DIS recruits are being trained.)

September 13, 2008: Sudan and Chad have resumed diplomatic relations. The two countries appear to have stopped supporting and encouraging rebels across the border. But many of these rebel groups are basically bandits who will take money from anyone, and continue to raid refugee camps and NGO aid groups (who run the camps) inside Chad.

September 9, 2008: The World Bank has withdrawn financing for a pipeline used to export Chad's newly found oil. This is the result of a failed agreement with the Chad government, whereby most of the oil profits would go for projects that would improve living conditions for the worst off segments of the population. The government has repeatedly breached this agreement by diverting money to buy weapons and bribe people to support the current government. This is what usually happens in poor countries, where governments tend to use whatever money they can get, to keep themselves in power. Chad is now receiving over a billion dollars a year in oil revenues and, as is usually the case when this kind of cash comes to a poor nation, the few men with power and guns want to keep most of this money for themselves. The World Bank was unable to break this pattern, and has withdrawn from the oil project. That said, at this point, the World Bank is no longer needed. The government snookered the World Bank, but will continue doing business with the World Bank on other projects.


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