Unrest continues to simmer, driven largely by ethnic differences. Rebel groups are still trying to recover from their loss of Sudanese support last year. Many of the most active rebels have moved on to related work (banditry, mercenary service, including in the current fighting in Libya). These several thousand rebel gunmen went back to their tribes or joined bandit groups. The increased number of bandits has made life more dangerous in eastern Chad, where NGOs sustain half a million refugees from Sudan, CAR (Central African Republic) and Chad itself. The recently departed UN peacekeeping force is missed in Eastern Chad, both for its helicopters and its 3,000 armed men.
There are other problems in Chad, like an illiteracy rate of nearly 70 percent and 20 percent of the population who are chronically hungry, and 20 percent who are in refugee camps (who are at least fed). Chad is also one of the most corrupt nations in Africa (and, by definition, the world). Ethnic and tribal animosities have not been tended to, and much anger remains. While the eastern and northern areas of the country, that produce most of the rebel groups and gunmen, are beaten down by years of defeats, the willingness to form new rebel groups remains. It's only a matter of time.
Meanwhile, the popular uprisings sweeping the Arab world, have had little impact in Moslem, but largely non-Arab, Chad and CAR. In these two countries, most of the population is rural, and not well placed for large scale demonstrations against their inept rulers.
The ruling party in Chad won the recent elections, coming away with 58.5 percent of the seats. Observers found the voting to be generally fair. President Deby and his party have kept a lot of Chadians happy, or at least quiet. Deby has not brought peace to Chad, just a lull before the next round of fighting.
February 16, 2011: Chad and Sudan have formed a joint oil company, to work on oil-related projects to their mutual benefit. Both countries believe there is much undiscovered oil and natural gas in remote areas.
February 13, 2011: Parliament elections held in Chad.
February 1, 2011: In the neighboring CAR (Central African Republic), the electoral commission declared that president Francois Bozizé won the January 23rd election, with 66 percent of the vote. Opposition groups cried fraud, and the disarmament effort has failed to collect many weapons from the 6,000 rebels who showed up a disarmament centers. Most rebels that are still active are operating as bandits, in many cases so intensively that civilian populations flee. About five percent of the 4.5 million population are refugees because of this.