Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 13 February 2008

Chad conflict - part of a wider power struggle

BODIES LITTERED the streets of N'Djamena, Chad's capital city, after three days of intense fighting between president Idriss Déby's forces and 1,200 Chadian rebels, earlier this month.

Dave Carr

Déby - who has dictatorially ruled Chad after seizing power in 1990 in a military coup - narrowly avoided being overthrown himself. Only after the intervention of military forces from France - the former colonial power - using assault helicopters, did the rebels withdraw.

This conflict (a less well organised rebel attack on the city occurred in 2006) is inextricably linked to the more well known bloody civil war currently raging in the Darfur region of neighbouring Sudan.

Both Chad and Sudan accuse each other of fomenting rebellion and civil war in each others countries. Many commentators say that the timing of the recent rebel invasion was a ploy by Sudan to pre-empt deployment of 5,500 EU troops - led by France - to protect over 200,000 Darfur refugees in eastern Chad. Indeed, this deployment has been delayed by at least four weeks.

Sudan denies the charges of being involved in the rebel attack. The charge is also denied by the rebels, led by Chad's former defence minister Mahamat Nouri and former chief of staff Timan Erdimi (also a nephew of Déby).

Sudan is also accused of trying to stall the intervention of a 27,000 strong African Union/United Nations peacekeeping force in Darfur. It's certainly plausible that had the rebellion succeeded, the UN attempt to contain the five-year-old civil war in Darfur would have collapsed.

But even as UN forces are arranging deployment in Darfur, Sudan's government has used attack aircraft to strafe villages in the area, forcing a further 12,000 refugees to flee westwards into Chad.

But Idriss Déby (one of Africa's most corrupt rulers who has siphoned-off much of the country's oil wealth) is no innocent in this conflict. Déby stands accused of backing rebel groups fighting Sudan's troops in Darfur. And Amnesty International has warned that Déby is using his 'victory' to depose of his political opponents in Chad.

Inevitably the main victims in this regional conflict are the ordinary Chadian and Sudanese civilians caught in the crossfire and targeted by militias and government troops. Some 2.5 million people have been forced to flee to neighbouring states to avoid the bloodshed.

Their plight has worsened since the recent rebel attack in Chad as this has suspended a $300 million UN aid programme to Darfur administered through Chad. Chad's prime minister has also called for the expulsion of the Darfur refugees, claiming that they are assisting Chad's rebels.


The recent rebellion in Chad has given an opportunity for French imperialism (there are 1,400 French troops in Chad) to re-assert its influence in its former colony. The French government has offered to militarily intervene again in future to maintain the Déby regime in power. "If France must do its duty, it will do so," said French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Such a pledge is reminiscent of France's previous intervention in Rwanda in the 1990s under French 'socialist' President Mitterrand. Then, under the guise of providing "humanitarian assistance" French paratroopers collaborated with extremist Hutu militias in their carrying out of genocide against Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

Déby has immediately 'repaid' Sarkozy's assistance by pardoning the French aid workers of Zoe's Ark charity who were convicted in Chad of illegally trying to fly 103 children out of the country for adoption in France. The announcement of a pardon came after talks between Déby and France's defence minister, Herve Morin.


The current conflict in eastern Chad is not simply an extension of the Darfur civil war. Many elements of the Darfur conflict originated in Chad.

According to Alex de Waal of the Social Science Research Council, the original Janjaweed militia - the notorious Arab militia used by Sudan's regime in Darfur - were actually Chadian rebels. And some of the leading non-Arab figures in Darfur's rebel groups fought in Chad's army at one time.

The conflicts in Chad and Sudan involve a number of elements. Firstly, imperialism is seeking greater political influence in the region. The US has long regarded Sudan as a hostile Islamist state supporting international terrorism. In 1997 under president Bill Clinton, economic and diplomatic sanctions were imposed. In 2001 these sanctions were renewed by George Bush. In May 2007 Bush imposed new, severe sanctions after accusing Sudan of conducting genocide in Darfur.

Secondly, the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force in both Darfur and Chad, agreed by the big powers but typically ineffective at protecting local populations, is a useful political lever for imperialism.

Thirdly, the region's resources, especially its oil reserves, are seen as ripe for exploitation by Western and more recently Chinese companies.

The oil fields are rich sources of profits for multinationals and the local elites, at the expense of the impoverished local population. (An oil pipeline running from Chad, through Cameroon, to the Atlantic coast was completed in 2003, despite protests over its environmental impact. The project involved the World Bank, ExxonMobil, Chevron and Petronas.)

Finally, the conflict also involves the rotten regimes, and their warlord proxy militias in both Chad and Sudan, to protect their power. The Chad rebels, for example, are regrouping and undoubtedly will launch fresh attacks. So too are the Janjaweed in Darfur.

It is clear that neither imperialism, nor the local capitalist regimes, or the UN, can solve this regional conflict. Genuine democracy, the redistribution of wealth to eradicate poverty, illiteracy and acute health and other social problems, all require the overthrow of the dictatorships in Chad and Sudan by the urban and rural workers and poor.

Only the establishment of workers' and peasants' governments, resting on socialism and internationalism, can guarantee the rights of all Chadian and Sudanese people and allow them to voluntarily cooperate to raise living standards in the entire region.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation £


Your message: 


In The Socialist 13 February 2008:

Stop NHS privatisation now!

Local Government workers

Birmingham council workers' biggest strike for decades

'Single status' in the West Midlands

Bosses prepare to force through more cuts

Newham workers angry at councillors

Socialist Students

Uni Fees must be fought!

Feature: The great university swindle

War and terrorism

War and occupation in Iraq

Socialist Party news and analysis

Defend abortion rights

Millionaire welcomes economic recession!

Northern Rock

Liverpool's tale of two cities

Cardiff marches to save schools

100 people pack London world economy meeting


Cuts and backlogs cause delays

Tangled web at Metronet

International socialist news and analysis

Polish miners gain strike victory due to iron determination

Chad conflict - part of a wider power struggle


Prison officers: Fighting for trade union rights

Building the Campaign for a New Workers' Party


Comment: Opportunist blunder further splits Church of England

Workplace news and analysis

Land Registry staff vote for action

London Underground: Strike ballot in safety row

Campaign Against Climate Change trade union conference

Organise and fight back!

Shelter staff ballot for action


Home   |   The Socialist 13 February 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleSudan: Military crackdown to break revolution

triangleRevolution and counter-revolution in Sudan

triangleNine-month prison sentence for fleeing ethnic cleansing


triangleWest London Socialist Party: Sudan - overthrow the regime - forward to socialism!

triangleSudan masses mobilise against state repression

triangleSudan solidarity protests


triangleReform or revolt? How was the slave trade abolished?

triangleFrance: 20,000 rally against Paris's killer gendarmes


triangleThe Socialist inbox


triangleAnniversary of nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki


triangleLibya: Civil war and chaos follow interventions by world and regional powers


triangleNorthern Ireland, August '69: 'Battle of the Bogside' and British troops on the streets





Cuba: Covid-19 and the 60-year-old embargo


Nuclear weapons

Anniversary of nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki



Iran: Renewed wave of protests and strikes



Israel: Nurses strike and win


Hong Kong

Hong Kong: The fight for democratic rights


South Africa

South Africa: Building jobs and living wage campaign



France: 20,000 rally against Paris's killer gendarmes



Black and white youth rise up against racism - US protester speaks to the Socialist



USA - another cop killing of unarmed black man sparks widespread protests



Outrage spreads globally following US police murder of George Floyd


Hong Kong

Chinese state's imposition of draconian law reignites Hong Kong protests



Economic collapse leads to renewed protests across Lebanon



Trump, coronavirus, capitalism, and the presidential race



India: Fighting the curse of capitalism and coronavirus



Trump puts profit before safety (again)

triangleMore International articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020