Briefing Paper

Chad – North African headache

This report describes the recent unrest and tangled political situation in Chad. Amidst shifting allegiances and tribal antagonisms, Prime Minister Hissen Habre is attempting to unseat President Felix Malloum, with the situation being complicated by French and Libyan interests in the region.

Chad became independent in 1960, French foreign legionnaires became involved against Frolinat guerillas in 1968, and the country is a strategic staging post for France.

Libyan interests in Chad are unclear, but are likely to involve concessions from Chad concerning the Aouzou zone and boosting economic co-operation between the two countries.

In the latest flare-up in Chad, France remained neutral, considering that more would be gained by a friendly posture towards the Libyans.

The main danger is the prospect of an all-out civil war in Chad. So far, the French military presence had stabilised the situation, and the French will probably co-operate with Libya to orchestrate a settlement and avert a conflagration.