Rebel fighters in Chad – known as the Front for Change and Concord in Chad – threatened to depose Gen. Mahamat Idriss Déby from power shortly after the nation’s military granted him the leadership role after his father’s killing, a move condemned by some of its citizens and a number of nations as a blatant coup d’état.
Mahamat, a 37-year-old, four-star general, was named the leader of the Transitional Military Council at the same time the country announced the death of his father, President Idriss Déby, the autocrat who lead the country for three decades.
While there is conflicting data on how Déby died, the Chad military claims he died on a battlefield defending the country from rebels. U.S. officials said details of his death were murky, and it was unclear who fired the deadly shot.
Déby’s death sent a shockwave across Western countries that now claim to be worried about Chad’s stability and its ability to confront Islamist militants in the Sahel. (“Militants” is a term broadly used by western nations and the media to describe military forces that want to overthrow governments and leaders they support.)
France, which had invaded and then colonized Chad from 1900 to 1960 to steal its cotton and force slave labor on its citizens, sent President Emmanuel Macron to attend Déby’s funeral.
In support of Déby’s son to rule the nation, despite it being unconstitutional, Macron tweeted, “The transition that will take place in Chad must be a moment of unity, for the Chadian people and for the stability of the region.”
Despite claims Déby may have been murdered by his own troops or his car was hit with a bomb, Macron said of Déby, “You lived as a soldier, you died as a soldier with weapons in hand.”
Making it clear of its passion for continued colonialism in one of the poorest nations on the planet, Macron vowed to not allow anyone to threaten Chad’s “stability and territorial integrity.”
“France will be here to ensure that the promise which was made will be realized for all Patriots. Stability, inclusiveness, dialogue, and Democratic transition—this is what we want. We are by your side,” he said.
Roland Marchal, a Paris-based expert on Chad, told The Times that Macron’s presence at the funeral was a clear message that France has embraced his son’s rule and is “ready to accept that the constitution of a country be swept away.”
Despite Déby’s tyrannical rule, he enjoyed the support of France and the U.S. because he was seen as a source of stability in a region of Africa that was infected with Islamic militants, i.e., rebel forces.
The BBC reported that Déby spent a good part of his 30 years in office consolidating power and surrounding himself with family members in key positions. He died on the same day he won his sixth term, which The New York Times said was an election that was “marred by irregularities.”
Rebels from the same group who allegedly killed the president said they were headed to N’Djamena, the country’s capital. The group does not recognize the son as the country’s leader.
Despite the transition council vowing to hold an election within 18 months, the rebel group said, “Chad is not a monarchy,” according to the AP. “There can be no dynastic devolution of power in our country.”
The country, which The Economist called “a powder-keg surrounded by blazes,” is seen as a pivotal partner in the fight against Boko Haram and other Islamist extremist groups of the Sahel.
The Times reported that western countries were willing to look over allegations of human rights abuses during the relationship.
Since 2014, the French have been carrying out a counterterrorism operation in the region called “Operation Barkhane,” according to The Times.
The French have praised the Chadian troops for their united front against insurgent groups even though these same groups have been accused of atrocities such as rape. These troops also joined French forces in their 2013 conflict in Mali. (See our 13 April article, “FRENCH AIR STRIKE IN MALI: MASS MURDER OF INNOCENTS.”)
“Chad is at the crossroads of zones that have faced multiple security crises in recent years: Libya to the North, Niger to the West, and the Central African Republic to the south,” Thomas Gassilloud, a French lawmaker, told The Times.
The Times pointed out that France is believed to have provided support for one of the groups accused of killing Déby, while the group was fighting in Libya under Khalifa Hifter. France has denied the claim.
TRENDPOST: The Economist recently noted that President Franklin D. Roosevelt supposedly said Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio “Tacho” Somoza Garcia “may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.”
The same with Chad’s Idriss Déby. Morality doesn’t count… power and control are what matter most to the greed of nations.
As we have noted, the entire central African region moved into chaos after the U.S. and NATO overthrew the Libyan government of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011. And, it was French President Nicolas Sarkozy who was the champion in leading the war against Qaddafi.
Reuniting with its colonial passion to control the region, France then invaded its former colony Mali and expanded into neighboring Niger.
Indeed, with some 80 percent of France’s electricity generated from 59 nuclear reactors, and one of the world’s largest sources of uranium underneath the deserts in northern Mali and neighboring eastern Niger, France paid Déby to bring Chadian troops to help fight the “rebels” who tried to stop France from stealing their uranium and recolonizing their nation.
As reported in the 2013 Winter edition of the Trends Journal:
As we go to press, French President Hollande, with support from President Obama, has launched airstrikes in Mali and sent French ground troops to attack Al Qaeda-linked Islamists.
Initial reports claim that only a handful of rebels were killed and that the main victims were women, children, and the elderly. “The hospital is overflowing. Both morgues in the city are filled with bodies,” a Malian official in Gao told The New York Times.
Under the auspices of the United Nations, the U.S., France, UK, and other NATO members are planning broader intervention in Mali that will be reinforced with ground troops from some West African nations.
The Mali civil war, which has already turned 300,000 of its citizens into refugees, is but one of the many conflicts in the region.
Now, in 2021, France and its allies still claim their presence in Mali is to fight the infestation of terrorist violence by militant jihadists – not its lust for uranium.
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: In contrast to the France-led military intervention, China has included Mali as part of its massive “Belt and Road” initiative. China has begun the construction of a hydroelectric dam in the northern part of the country and continues to initiate large infrastructure projects.