Chad Table of Contents
Despite centuries-old cultural ties to Arab North Africa, Chad maintained few significant ties to North African or Middle Eastern states in the 1980s. (Ties with Israel had been severed in 1972.) President Habré hoped to pursue greater solidarity with Arab nations in the future, however, viewing closer relations with Arab states as a potential opportunity to break out of his nation's postcolonial dependence and assert Chad's unwillingness to serve as an arena for superpower rivalries. In addition, as a northern Muslim, Habré represented a constituency that favored Afro-Arab solidarity, and he hoped Islam would provide a basis for national unity in the long term. For these reasons, he was expected to seize opportunities during the 1990s to pursue closer ties with Arab nations.
During the 1980s, several Arab states had supported Libyan claims to the Aozou Strip. Algeria was among the most outspoken of these states and provided training for anti-Habré forces, although most recruits for its training programs were from Nigeria or Cameroon, recruited and flown to Algeria by Libya. By the end of 1987, Algiers and N'Djamena were negotiating to improve relations. Lebanon's Progressive Socialist Party also sent troops to support Qadhafi's efforts against Chad in 1987, but other Arab states and the League of Arab States (Arab League) limited their involvement to expressions of hope that the dispute over the Aozou Strip could be settled peacefully.
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Several scholars have analyzed Chad's political development during the 1980s. Robert Buijtenhuijs, in Le Frolinat et les révoltes populaires du Tchad, 1965-1976 provides background on the role of the opposition coalition in shaping the political environment. Bernard Lanne's Tchad-Libye: la querelle des frontières analyzes the development of the dispute over the Aozou Strip. Virginia M. Thompson and Richard Adloff's Conflict in Chad provides valuable perspectives on attempts to bolster the faltering state in recent decades. Lanne's "Chad--Recent History" in Africa South of the Sahara, 1988 synthesizes Chad's complex political dynamics in a brief, coherent narrative. William J. Foltz's Chad's Third Republic assesses President Habré's political success and prospects for the future. Several of René Lemarchand's publications--in particular, "Chad: The Road to Partition" and "Chad: The Misadventures of the North-South Dialectic"--provide insight into factional politics in segmentary lineage-based societies.
Other valuable works include Samuel Decalo's Historical Dictionary of Chad (1987 edition), which presents concise political entries and a comprehensive bibliography. Gali Ngothé Gatta's Tchad: guerre civile et désagrégation de l'état and Michael P. Kelley's A State in Disarray assess internal and external factors contributing to Chad's political turmoil. Pearl T. Robinson's "Playing the Arab Card" describes Libya's evolving role, and Kola Olufemi's "Chad: From Civil Strife to Big Power Rivalry" traces the rising external involvement in Chad's political drama. Finally, several interviews with President Habré illuminate his political views. Selections from these are found in Courier (March-April 1987), JeanJacques Lafaye's "Consolider la victoire," and Guy Jérémie Ngansop's Tchad: Vingt ans de crise.
A variety of periodicals provide coverage of events in Chad, including Africa Economic Digest, Africa Report, Africa Research Bulletin, Africa Today, Daily Report: Near East and South Asia published by Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Marchés Tropicaux et Méditerranéens, Le Monde, Politique africaine, Politique internationale, Washington Post and West Africa. Africa Contemporary Record provides annual updates on political and economic developments and valuable chapters on France in Africa and the Organization for African Unity. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)
Data as of December 1988
Chad Table of Contents