Is Chad Losing Control Of The Central African Pivot Space?

The geostrategically pivotal Central African country of Chad is dangerously losing control of the region after recent developments despite having one of Africa’s most powerful militaries, with Boko Haram’s deadliest-ever attack against its forces last Friday proving why the government of long-serving leader Idriss Deby depends on being a joint Franco-Zionist protectorate in order to survive, but even that might not be enough to ride out of the wave of change that’s sweeping the region.  

Boko Harm Strikes Back

Boko Haram brazenly inflicted its deadliest-ever attack against Chadian forces last Friday after killing 23 soldiers along the northeastern shores of Lake Chad and causing long-serving leader Idriss Deby to replace the chief of staff of his armed forces and two other deputies in response.  Most of the world assumed that the regional terrorist group was defeated after a concerted multinational effort by the four countries of the Lake Chad region over the past few years, but the organization is nevertheless very much alive and as dangerous as ever as recent events in Chad and neighboring Niger prove. All of this is somewhat surprising, however, since Chad is regarded as having one of Africa’s most powerful militaries and is even capable of projecting power as far west as Mali as part of the French-led “Operation Barkhane” anti-terrorist mission across the Sahel, making one wonder whether this geostrategically pivotal Central African country is finally losing control of the region after recent developments.

What A Difference A Decade Makes!

The regional security situation used to be markedly different a decade ago than it is today. The state-to-state Hybrid War in Sudan’s Darfur had finally been defused and Chad’s northern and southern flanks were secured by friendly long-serving Libyan and Central African Republic (CAR) strongmen Gaddafi and Bozize respectively. Cameroon, which functions as Chad’s energy and commercial outlet to the rest of the world, was stable under President Biya’s then-uncontested rule, while neither Niger nor Nigeria were seriously threatened by Boko Haram at that point in time.

Nowadays everything is altogether different. Sudan is destabilized from within by an incipient Hybrid War, while Libya has been a failed state and haven for Chadian rebel groups since the 2011 NATO war on the country, though General Haftar is progressively restoring stability there. The Central African Republic is emerging from its previous failed state status of the past half-decade but with Russia replacing the influence of Chad’s French patron there. As for Cameroon, it’s in an unofficial low-intensity state of civil war, while both the Nigerien and Nigerian borderlands have become heated battlefields against Boko Haram.

The Franco-Zionist Protectorate

In the context of the many non-electoral regime changes that have taken place across the continent over the past decade (the “African Spring”) and the deteriorating security environment all along its periphery (both in terms of unconventional challenges like rebels/terrorists and general strategic ones such as Hybrid Wars and Russia’s rising influence in the CAR and Sudan), it’s little wonder that Chad has clung even tighter to its French patron and sought the help of its in-country military forces from time to time. Paris has a history of militarily intervening at crucial moments in order to support its political proxies in the country, which has been Deby for nearly the past three decades since he seized power in a 1990 coup and expanded his nationwide patronage network throughout the entire armed forces.

Still, the neo-imperial policy of Françafrique is under unprecedented strain after suffering enormous strategic setbacks by Russia in the CAR. It’s also seriously challenged by the rising terrorist threats that have emerged in West Africa (specifically Mali) as a direct result of the 2011 NATO War on Libya and which are now spilling over into Burkina Faso and beyond. This could explain why Deby thought it fitting to seek “Israel’s” security assistance in exchange for coming under its joint protectorate influence. The majority-Muslim country broke ranks with most of the “Ummah” by hosting the “Israeli” earlier this year and signing several security, intelligence, and other deals with his political entity. Evidently not having full faith in the long-term prospects of Françafrique, Deby is betting that his government would have better prospects of survival by becoming a Franco-Zionist protectorate instead.

Destabilization Scenarios

Even with the support of both France and “Israel”, Deby might not be able to ride out the wave of change that’s sweeping the region since foreign military assistance might not suffice for dealing with the multifaceted challenges that Chad could potentially face in the near future. Putting aside the serious danger posed by Boko Haram and its increasingly brazen attacks inside of the country within relative proximity to the capital city, there are three interconnected scenarios that could unfold to catalyze a “phased leadership transition”, some of which were touched upon two years ago in the author’s Hybrid War analysis on Chad. These are a worsening of the Cameroonian Hybrid War, the creation of a Color Revolution movement (especially one that gives off the optics of a North-South Muslim-Christian “Clash of Civilizations”), and a “deep state” coup.

To explain, Chad is almost entirely dependent on Cameroon for access to the outside world, so the deteriorating situation in its neighbor could eventually lead to a disruption in trade (especially if Color Revolution unrest paralyzes its main ports) that would immediately spike prices in the landlocked country that’s ignobly regarded as one of the world’s poorest states. This could naturally provoke protests that might quickly turn into a Color Revolution, particularly if the state disproportionately reacts with lethal force and singles out certain ethno-religious communities for punishment. In the worst-case scenario of rapidly spiraling instability, possibly accelerated by an uptick in Boko Haram and rebel attacks during this time, the Chadian “deep state” might conclude that their nation’s interests are best served by initiating a “phased leadership transition” against their elderly leader such as the one underway in Algeria and possibly soon in Sudan too.

Concluding Thoughts

Regardless of what happens in the coming future, it’s undoubtable that Chad has found itself in a more challenging regional security environment than ever before, especially after Boko Haram’s brazen attack last Friday. The country’s de-facto status as a joint Franco-Zionist protectorate might be enough to thwart most conventional and unconventional threats, but would be irrelevant in safeguarding the state if its Cameroonian lifeline is abruptly cut off by a worsening of the Hybrid War in the neighboring nation. The chain reaction of consequences that this could quickly trigger might be enough to bring superficial change to the country, though any “deep state”-driven “phased leadership transition” probably wouldn’t change the substance of the Chadian system or remove France and “Israel’s” influence within it. Rather, it might lead to Chad losing control over the Central African pivot space and refocusing its attention inwards in the aftermath, which could irreversibly alter the regional balance of power in unpredictable ways.

DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.