Chad: The Curse Endures

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November 7, 2009: The Chad peacekeeping force, originally supplied by the European Union, never achieved more than 53 percent of its authorized strength. Lacking a large enough helicopter force, the peacekeepers could only do token patrols around their bases. There are few roads, and plenty of places for bandits and rebels to hide. But most of the bad guys hide in plain sight, living off the refugee camps, and using intimidation against the UN relief workers that administer the camps. Eight months ago, the UN took over the peace force, and that did not solve the problem with the peacekeeper force being under strength. Chad is in the middle of Africa, a largely semi-desert area with minimal economic activity. There are too many hotspots that call out for peacekeepers, but there are a limited number of peacekeepers available, and Chad is at the end of the list of places nations are willing to send their peacekeepers to.

Foreign aid donors have concluded that the attempt, to insure that Chad's oil money would be used to develop the nation and eliminate poverty, has failed. As in so many other parts of Africa, the senior politicians steal most of the additional money. This is spent on luxury living, and maintaining security forces capable of preventing anyone from touching the corrupt rulers. This is made possible by the multiple ethnic groups (often dozens) in each country, and the survival of tribal governments (systems of chiefs and councils of elders) that support this system, as the tribe of the guy in power provides loyal manpower to keep a minority in charge, and holding on to all the oil wealth and foreign aid. Thus, despite over $600 billion in foreign aid given to Africa in the last half century, Africa has the poorest economies, and lowest economic growth, on the planet.

October 27, 2009: For the 51st time this year, aid workers were attacked in eastern Chad. One worker was killed and another wounded during an ambush on a road. The two aid workers were in a truck clearly marked as working for the UN aid agencies.

 

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