Chad: Resisting Reform For The Right Reasons


November 23, 2009: Attempts to reform the army, and make the officers more professional (and less tribal leaders looking to form a new government), are not making much progress. Most officers like the way things are (loose and unsupervised). Attempts to improve the performance of the government, in general, have failed. The factionalism, that has always dominated politics in this part of the world, will not disappear easily. Too many people have invested too much personal effort into the tribe based system, that is run with favors and what Westerners call corruption. The billions of dollars of foreign aid going to eastern Chad (to support 250,000 refugees from Chad and 160,000 from within Chad) is making many locals (tribal leaders and bandit chiefs) rich. In western Chad, the growing oil revenue is making key members of the government rich. The rebellion by the northern tribes will continue, because access to the oil money is a very attractive prize.

In the midst of all this, a peace deal with Sudan has been allowed get delayed again and again. The basic problems on the border, sanctuary for each others rebels, has not been solved. Until it is (and it likely won't be any time soon), there will only be an informal peace between the two nations.

November 13, 2009: Six foreign aid groups, including the Red Cross, have suspended operations in eastern Chad, in response to the violence against aid workers. There have been at least fifty such incidents so far this year. Moreover, the recent kidnapping of a Red Cross official has resulted in local bandits demanding $1.5 million ransom. Nearly 40,000 refugees will be affected by this temporary suspension of operations (that is intended to motivate the government to improve security, but it won't.)

November 10, 2009:  A French foreign aid (Red Cross) worker was kidnapped near the Sudan border.




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