Chad Table of Contents
An American C-5A delivers weapons at N'Djamena Airport
Courtesy Joseph Krull
United States interest in Chad increased steadily during the 1980s, as United States opposition to Libyan leader Qadhaafi intensified and Chadian instability threatened to contribute to regional destabilization. During the 1960s and 1970s, the United States and Chad had maintained fairly low-level economic ties, including investment guarantees and project aid, such as Peace Corps involvement. Drought in the early 1970s brought United States food and agriculture aid to remote areas, including grain supplies, animal health services, and technical assistance. Other economic agreements included road building in the Lake Chad area and rural community development.
Although the United States considered Chad part of France's sphere of influence, it also provided a low level of military assistance until 1977. President Malloum's 1978 request for increased military aid to fight the FROLINAT insurgency coincided with a marked increase in Soviet activity in Africa, especially in Ethiopia, and increased Soviet arms shipments to Libya. United States relations with African states were redefined in accordance with the new strategic value assigned to African allies, and United States foreign policy shifted accordingly. Thus, in the 1980s United States interest and involvement in Chad increased.
For a time in the early 1980s, the United States commitment to military support for Habré was more enthusiastic than that of France, which hoped to preserve its relationship with Libya. Although military and financial aid to Habré increased, by 1988 United States advisers had begun to stress the need to reconcile warring factions and pacify rebel groups within Chad. United States support to Chad included several economic and military aid agreements, including training programs to improve the effectiveness of Habré's administration and to bolster public confidence in the government and intelligence-sharing to assist in countering Libyan forces in 1987.
Data as of December 1988