Chad: Nothing To See Here, Move Along


July 14, 2010:  The situation in Chad can best be summed by recent U.S. State Department warnings to potential visitors; stay away. Rebel groups and bandits, not to mention corrupt police and soldiers, make Chad, particularly eastern Chad, a very dangerous place to be. It's no picnic for the locals, the half million refugees and aid workers there either. The warning extends to neighboring Central African Republic, which has its own interminable civil war.

In Chad, the rebels have, for the moment, been bought off or beaten into (temporary) submission. In both cases, the causative agent was cash from the local oil wells, which are now producing over a billion dollars in revenue for the government. Much of it is stolen by officials, but some cash  is used to pay some of the rebels to be quiet. Those who cannot be bought off, are harried by well paid (by local standards) troops and mercenaries.

Nothing spectacular is expected to happen in this area until the UN peacekeepers are completely gone at the end of the year. Then the attacks on the refugees, and Western aid workers, will increase and attract some media attention. But it will be difficult to convince the UN to try and get peacekeepers back into Chad.


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