To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
This chapter outlines the nature of the “Franco-Chadian state” and its early postcolonial political evolution. It highlights the deep embeddedness of French influence in the Chadian economy and security services. It also provides an overview of the broader context of postcolonial Franco-African relations and French strategic aims in its former empire. The chapter then examines the outbreak of civil war in the country. In 1965, communities in central Chad rebelled against abusive governmental taxation. Quickly the revolt spread throughout the country and gradually its disparate factions became more organized under the loose banner of the Front de Liberation Nationale du Tchad (Frolinat). By early 1969, Frolinat elements threatened Fort-Lamy, Chad’s capital. This chapter examines the nature of this rebellion and French President Charles de Gaulle’s decision, in the final weeks of his presidency, to launch a sizeable military intervention on behalf of Tombalbaye’s regime. This intervention included an important statebuilding component, the Mission pour la réforme administrative (MRA). It aimed to address the administrative failures that French policymakers saw as a root cause of the rebellion. The chapter concludes with a description of the MRA’s mission and an analysis of its ultimate failure.
After several months of fighting, it became clear to outside observers that Habré’s forces had gained the upper hand. Goukouni then asked Gaddafi to formalize and escalate the support he had received over the past several months. This culminated in a friendship treaty and a meticulously organized Libyan ground invasion of Chad in December 1980. This forced Habré to disengage from N’Djamena, and flee the country. Most of his forces managed to regroup and withdrawal into neighboring Sudan, from which Habré soon began conducting guerilla operations. In early 1981, Gaddafi and Goukouni announced the “merger” of Chad and Libya. This chapter narrates these events, and questions how French policy failed to prevent the kind of nightmare scenario which had haunted French officials over the previous three years. It also discusses the origins of a growing American role in support of Habré. The chapter further introduces the early approach of Mitterrand's presidency towards Chad and assesses the gradual shift in French policy which helped to encourage Goukouni to expel Libyan forces from Chad.
This chapter examines French policy toward's Chad following Libya's withdrawal in November 1981. It focuses on French efforts to facilitate the deployment of an OAU peacekeeping force, and its renewed engagement with the government in N'Djamena. It also examines the role of regional powers and the United States in the OAU deployment and Habré's consquent loss of foreign support. The chapter analyzes the OAU's failure to stabilize the Chadian political scene, and growing French indifference to the outcome of the war between Habré and the N'Djamena government. It concludes with Habré's seizure of power and his initial efforts to consolidate his rule.
This chapter centers on Franco-Chadian relations during the “Claustre Affair,” from 1974-1977. This began when the two rebel leaders of a weakened “2nd Army,” Hissène Habré and Goukouni Weddeye kidnapped several French and German citizens, including Françoise Claustre, the wife of the head of the MRA. This set the stage for a nearly three year-long series of negotiations between French officials, the rebel movement, and the Chadian government. During these negotiations, Habré arrested and later executed one of the French negotiators, Captain Pierre Galopin, and Pierre Claustre, Françoise’s husband, himself became a hostage. The chapter also focuses on the weight of French influence in the Chadian regime’s decision-making processes and the role this played in Franco-Chadian relations over the next few years. It discusses the coup d’état that overthrew Tombalbaye in 1975 and the advent of his successor, the Conseil supérieur militaire (CSM) under General Félix Malloum. Finally, the chapter chronicles the way that France’s negotiation strategy facilitated increased Libyan military and diplomatic involvement with different factions of the Chadian rebellion. Ultimately, this support upset the balance of power within the country and facilitated a return to outright war.
This chapter looks at the Chadian political scene from February to September 1979. It chronicles the growing interest of Nigeria in influencing the outcome of Chad’s conflicts. It charts the evolution of Franco-Nigerian relations, from close cooperation in early 1979 to open hostility and Nigerian-Libyan rapprochement towards the middle of the year. This was particularly on display in the context of a series of major peace conferences held in Nigeria among different factions during this time. The chapter also examines the debates among French officials over the evolving role of Tacaud. These principally revolved around the main dilemma posed by Tacaud’s presence after the signature of the Lagos agreement creating a new transitional government in August 1979. On the one hand, suspicion grew on all sides, including within the French government, about the French army’s closeness with Habré. This, combined with strong Libyan and Nigerian pressure, led the Lagos agreement to demand the withdrawal of French forces. On the other hand, all of the Chadian factions privately told their French interlocutors that they wanted Tacaud to remain in the country. Consequently, French policymakers debated Tacaud’s usefulness, and whether or not Giscard should order a complete withdrawal.
Shortly before midnight on August 10, 1960, the famous writer André Malraux stepped onto a balcony in front of a large crowd in Fort-Lamy, the capital of the French colony of Chad. As French minister of culture, he had come as President Charles de Gaulle’s official representative to preside over the ceremonies marking the territory’s independence. While Malraux invoked Chad’s historical role as a launching pad for Free French Forces in the Second World War and the linked destiny of the two nations, the lights suddenly went out. A power shortage had plunged Fort-Lamy into darkness. Someone in Malraux’s entourage scrambled to find a flashlight so he could finish the speech and so François Tombalbaye, Chad’s leader, could read his. With this inauspicious beginning, independent Chad would soon embark on a tragic path leading to decades of violent conflict, foreign interventions, state collapse, and bloody dictatorship.
This chapter narrates Operation Limousin, France’s first major military intervention in Chad from 1969-1972. It traces shifting French strategies to defeat a widespread Frolinat rebellion, and charts French military successes in central Chad. It also examines the ultimate inability of French arms and diplomacy to defeat Frolinat’s “2nd Army” in the desert north of the country. The chapter also analyzes Limousin’s mixed results and its longer-term consequences for Chad’s subsequent conflicts. In particular, the chapter addresses the counterinsurgency methods employed by French forces and their Chadian allies, and their impact on local populations. These included the fragmentation of state authority through the creation of numerous militias, indiscriminate air attacks, and operational support for an even less discriminating government army. Throughout, the difficult relations between Chadian President, François Tombalbaye, and top Chadian officials with their French patrons remain a central element to the story.
In mid-1977 and again in early 1978, the “2nd Army,” now heavily rearmed by Libya, launched a series of devastating attacks against CSM positions in Chad’s northern territories. After a series of failed negotiation efforts on the part of the CSM, rebel moves in the direction of N’Djamena led French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing to order a military intervention. Operation Tacaud aimed to protect the capital and the (comparatively) economically prosperous Chadian south from apparent Libyan designs. This chapter examines French diplomatic and military efforts to stabilize Chad in 1977 and 1978, and the policymaking process behind Giscard's decision to intervene on behalf of the CSM. It also looks at the negotiations that led Hissène Habré, who had broken with Goukouni in 1976, to agree to join a coalition government headed by Malloum and supported by France.
This chapter covers the delicate politics surrounding the integration of Habré’s faction into the CSM. It also describes how French military successes against different rebel factions led to divisions within the northern rebellion, and a split between its main leader, Goukouni Weddeye, and Gaddafi’s Libya. It then covers the fighting which broke out between Habré and Malloum in February 1979. The chapter looks at how the balance of power shifted in favor of Habré as Goukouni’s forces infiltrated the capital and joined Habré’s men. The chapter also analyzes the ambiguous role played by France in facilitating a northern victory, as well as the subsequent debates and recriminations within the French policymaking apparatus. This led to a sharp deterioration in relations between French military officials and diplomats. Meanwhile, by early March 1979, over half of N’Djamena’s population had fled the city towards the south, thus effectively leaving behind an ethnically cleansed capital in the hands of a fragile coalition of Frolinat rebels.
Although French actions played a fundamental role in shaping Chad’s postcolonial trajectory, by the late 1970s French policymakers became increasingly incapable of influencing outcomes. The 1979 collapse of the Chadian state marked the clear end to what one might describe as a neocolonial order. From the FAN-FAP seizure of N’Djamena that year until Habré’s victory in June 1982 and beyond, French policymakers were limited to the sidelines.
This chapter traces the sequence of events leading to the withdrawal of French forces from Chad in April 1980. It begins with the French decision to overthrew Emperor Jean-Bedel Bokassa, leader of the Central African Empire, partly in response to his increasingly close relations with Gaddafi. However, the French-organized coup also fatally undercut their peacemaking strategy in Chad. Goukouni, now the president of Chad’s transitional government, became worried that France might attempt to overthrow him as well. This led him patch up his relationship with Gaddafi’s regime in preparation for an imminent struggle with Hissène Habré. This chapter examines these events, analyzing the rapid decline in the ability of French policymakers to influence the Chadian political scene. As fighting broke out between Habré’s forces and those allied with Goukouni, a sharp debate erupted among French policymakers about whether to intervene actively on the side of Goukouni or attempt to maintain an increasingly untenable neutrality. Instead, in April 1980, Giscard decided on a complete withdrawal, judging the risks of intervention too high, with little expected gain.
Examining the continuous French military interventions in Chad in the two decades after its independence, this study demonstrates how France's successful counterinsurgency efforts to protect the regime of François Tombalbaye would ultimately weaken the Chadian state and encourage Libya's Muammar Gaddafi to intervene. In covering the subsequent French efforts to counter Libyan ambitions and the rise to power of Hissène Habré, one of postcolonial Africa's most brutal dictators, Nathaniel K. Powell demonstrates that French strategies aiming to prevent the collapse of authoritarian regimes had the opposite effect, exacerbating violent conflicts and foreign interventions in Chad and further afield. Based on extensive archival research to trace the causes, course, and impact of French interventions in Chad, this study offers insights and lessons for current interveners - including France - fighting a 'war on terrorism' in the Sahel whose strategies and impact parallel those of France in the 1960s–1980s.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.