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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Chad Repulses Rebels from capital; France and UN Poised to intervene

HISTORY IN THE NEWS:



History never dies. It is reborn every minute of every day.

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DEDICATED TO THE ORIGINS OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD.

"No fear can stand up to hunger, no patience can wear it out, disgust simply does not exist where hunger is; and as to suggestion, beliefs, and what you may call principles, they are less than chaff in a breeze." -Joseph Conrad, 'Heart of Darkness.'

TAG:
What has been a thousand-year old territorial war between Arab herding peoples and African farmers over resources, threatens to become a conflict between states as Sudan-backed Arab militias in eastern Chad expropriate peasants and threaten the Chadian capital.

IN THE NEWS:
THE GOVERNMENT IMPOSES A CURFEW ON THE CAPITAL, NDJAMENA AND SOUTHERN AND EASTERN CHAD AS REBELS WITHDRAW TO POSITIONS OUTSIDE NDJAMENA. HEAVY FIGHTING OVER THE WEEKEND RESULTED NUMEROUS DEAD. THE REBELS , WHO ARE BACKED BY SUDAN, AWAIT SUPPLIES AND REINFORCEMENTS. PRESIDENT DEBY APPEALS TO FRANCE AND THE EUROPEAN UNION FOR MILITARY INTERVENTION.

REARVIEW MIRROR

*900: the first state appeared in the Chad area when the Sefewa kings came to control much of the 'relay' caravan trade between the Sahara and Egypt and Sudan.
*1250: the Chadian Kingdom of Kanem reached its height in the 13th century, invading and annexing Darfur
*1500: Kanem was expelled from Darfur.
*1893: kingdoms in the Chad region were conquered by a Sudanese warlord, the 'the African Napoleon', the Sultan Rabih.
*1988: the east Chadian Arab warlord Acheickh Ibn Omar Saeed helped found the Janjaweed in northern Darfur.


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Chad was preceded by a string of desert kingdoms built on the caravan and slave trade whose north-south and east-west routes intersected in the region around Lake Chad in central, sub-Saharan Africa. Though its rulers adopted Islam in the 11th century, only the north would remain permanently Muslim while the south, which was forested and agricultural would retain native African religions and later, adopt Christianity. From the 9th century the region was ruled by the kings of Kanem who, by the 16th century, had an empire built on regional trade. Kanem kept diplomatic and trade relations with Tripoli, Cairo and Ottoman Constantinople. Even then, the strongest outside pressures tended to come from the east, from Sudan and Darfur which had their own kingdoms. But it was local rivalries which resulted in the slow decline of Kanem through the eighteenth century. In 1846, the last of the Kanem kings abdicated. The late nineteenth century saw invasion and occupation by Sudan and the arrival of the French. The French expelled Sudan in 1900 and by 1920, Chad was a French colony. The 1940s saw political and legal reforms and Chad became independent in 1960. But by then there was ethnic tension between the Muslim Arab north and the Christian African south. Chad's first president, Francois Tombalbaye was a southerner who quickly turned Chad into an ultra-nationalist one party tyranny which favoured his own Bantu people. Most Chadians, but particularly Muslim Arabs in the north were alienated. The north-south civil war which began in 1966, has never really ended, though it formally lasted until 1968. Thenceforward, a series of governments, backed by Libya, if they were pro-Muslim Arab or by France and the west, if they opposed a pro-Arab regime, rose and fell in a string of coups and civil wars. The last tyrant was the western-backed Hissene-Habre. He was removed in the coup d'etat which installed Idriss Deby in 1990. By that time a series of droughts in northern Sudan and northern Chad began to drive Muslim herding peoples southward in search of better watered land at the expense of southern, mostly Christian farmers in Darfur and across the border in southeastern Chad. This grew into the systematic genocide of Darfur farmers. Soon Arab rebel militias who supported the herding peoples in northern Chad, made common cause with the Arab Janjaweed militia of northen Darfur. This borderless, regional, north-south conflict took on an east-west aspect after Sudan backed the Arab militias not just in Darfur but in Chad- and Chad moved to protect the agricultural populations in its south east as well as supporting rebels who protected them across the border in Darfur. In short, Chad's Deby and Sudan's Bashir are backing each other's rebels. More importantly, Chad has remained the strongest local power opposing Sudan and the genocide in Darfur. Sudan-backed rebels in eastern Chad, allied with the Janjaweed, have formed an umbrella group called the UFDD, (Union for Development and Democracy). The civil war in Darfar, having crossed the border with 4000,000 Darfur refugees to foment a civil war in Chad is culminating in a UFDD rebel assault on the Chadian capital, Ndjamena. What this all means is that Ndjamena could fall to pro-Sudanese rebels and that the slaughter of Darfur farming people would continue with less opposition than ever.

IN A NUTSHELL:
On the southern margins of the Sahara, the rivalry between northern Arab tribes and southern African peoples has continued for at least a thousand years. The introduction of European boundaries and European-style states has altered the old, regional conflicts by putting the power of national governments behind them- but without otherwise changing them. In the long struggle inside Chad, Libya has tended to back the northern Arabs and France and the west the tribes of the south. But African Christian-ruled Chadt and neighbouring Muslim-ruled Sudan to the east have transformed what was a north-south conflict, into an east-west conflict as well. Climate change has only exacerbated what is an ancient north-south struggle for resources, so that Arab pastoral tribes in the north, expropriate farmers in the south in both Sudan and Chad. Because Chad tends to protect the farming tribes and oppose the Arab pastoral tribes, largely Arab militias have united to attack Chad from Sudan.

THEN AND NOW:
In eastern Chad, tribal militias supported by Sudan, threaten the Chadian capital. In the 13th century the aggression was reversed: it was medieval Chad, or the Kingdom of Kanem that crossed into and conquered Darfur in what is now Sudan.

CONTENTS: SCROLL DOWN FOR:
DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTSorth
RELEVANT DATES
RECENT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS
.PREVIOUS ENTRIES
REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS
LOCATION OF NOTE:
PROFILE:
CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY
EYEWTNESS
PRESENT SITUATION
PLUS CA CHANGE
CURIOSITY
TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF CHAD

DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS:
On August 11, 1960, Chad, formerly an autonomous area of the 'French Community' of central Africa, became independent. The country's first president, Francois Ngarta Tombalbaye (1918-1975) was from the forested southern region which was mostly Christian. There was already tension with northern Chad which was largely Arab and Muslim. Tombalbaye began rapidly to expand his power, favouring his own Bantu people from the south. His first moves were pro-African and anti-Christian. But Tombalbaye's radical nationalism, persecution of Christian missionaries and and radical cultural "Africanization" proved unpopular. As Tombalbaye's Chad grew into a one-party state, the Muslim north grew more restive. By 1966, a civil war had ignited between the northern tribes and the government in Ndjamena. By 1968, the war had led to the collapse of the government which was barely saved by French military intervention. A severe drought brought the north to greater desperation and Muslim tribes formed FROLINAT or the Chad National Liberation front. An offshoot was FAN (Armed Forces of the North), led by guerilla chieftain Goukouni Ouedde. One of Goukouni's men was the young and ambitious Hissene Habre. Habre had a falling out with Goukoumi over tactics. In 1971, French troops finally withdrew and the civil war sputtered out in 1973. Two years later, Tombalbaye was overthrown and killed in a coup. The new president was Felix Malloum. Hissene Habre chose the moment to go over to the government and became Malloum's prime minister. After Goukouni joined the government, he succeeded Malloum as president and Habre, ever the canny surivior became Goukouni's minister of defense. The problem was that Goukoumi had the support of Muamar Ghadaffi and 10,000 Libyan troops. France and the United States wanted to see Goukoumi gone and in 1982, the French and the CIA together engineered a coup, backing rebels to overthrow Goukoumi. With French military assistance, Habre drove Libyan forces out of Chad before being promoted (having once more backed a winner -the CIA) to the presidency. 1987 saw a ceasefire between the government and rebel forces. Everything looked to be in Habre's favour as the formerly pro-Libyan FROLINAT, with French backing, drove Libyan forces from Chadian soil save for a small territory known as the AOUZO strip. But all it did was pave the way for Habre's reign of terror which is believed to have taken 40,000 lives. In 1988, Chadian troops drove out the last Libya-supported rebels. Units led by Acheickh Ibn Omar Saeed, a Chadian Arab militia leader, were driven across the border into the northern Darfur region of Sudan. There, Saeed got help from Sheikh Musa Hilal of the Mahamid Rizeigat Arabs. French-backed Chadian forces crushed Saeed but remnants of his force, which stayed with Hililal, got support from the Arab- supremacist, Libyan group, the 'Arab Gathering.' This reconstituted Chadian militia in northern Darfur, backed by Libya and Sudan, became the Janjaweed. Anxious to topple Habre, Libya supported a Chadian officer, Idriss Deby. At the head of the popular Slavation Front, Deby ousted Habre in 1990 and became president. Despite Deby's promises of democratic and constitutional reform and open elections, France had decisively lost influence in Chad.

RELEVANT DATES:
-900- the Sefewa Kings of the Kanem people rule the area around lake Chad. They control the relay trade between the western Sahara, Darfur, Sudan and Egypt.
-1085-1097- Hume, chief of the Sefewa, agrees to convert to Islam. The Kanem empire begins. A systematic administrative hierarchy is developed, extending law and order throughout its trading area.
-1250- the kingdom of Kanem (modern Chad), now at its height, invades from the west and takes Darfur.
-1893, Kanem, Bornu, Wadai and Bagirmi fall to the Sudanese Conqueror Rabih.
1900- the Fre-nch army defeats Rabih, occupies Chad.
-1960- 11 August- Chad becomes independent.
-1982- Libya continues to support rebels while France backs the government forces of Presidentr Hissene Habre. France dominates the south, Libya the north.
-1988- Habre's French-backed army drives out Ghadaffi's Libyan forces.
-Gadaffi’s Chadian Arab rebel leader, Acheickh Ibn Omar Saeed, retreats into northern Darfur where he gets help from Sheikh Musa Hilal of the Mahamid Rizeigat Arabs. In an incursion into Darfur, French-Chadian forces attack Saeed and destroy him but his weapons remain with Hilal along with a Libyan-influenced supremacist ideology linked to the Libyan-sponsored 'Arab Gathering'. The remnants of Saeed’s Chadian, Libya-supported militia become the basis for the formation of the Janjaweed.
-2001- former allies, Deby and Sudan’s Bashir begin to fall out over Janjaweed abuses in Darfur. France resumes its support of Chad.
-2004- Jan-Feb. - Darfur refugees begin to flood into eastern Chad.
-April-May- Chadian troops engage Sudan-backed Chadian militias in the east as violence spills over from Darfur.
-summer- the Janjaweed militia of northern Darfur infiltratea Chad and links up with Chadian rebels : the UFDD, headed by Mahamat Nouri, which receives strong Sudanese support.
-2005- December- Chad accuses Sudan of instigating Chadian rebel attacks inside the eastern border.
-2006- Jan.-June- the Sudan-backed Janjaweed militia from Darfur penetrates deeper into eastern Chad, causing havoc.
-March- government blocks an attempted coup by UFDD rebels.
-April- Chadian rebels launch all-out attack on Ndajema. It is repulsed by troops loyal to President Deby.
-summer- Ndjamena on military alert in the face of a reported rebel assault.
-attempted coup by rebels from eastern Chad who complain of Deby’s inability to bring services to the region.
-French troops and mirage jets repulse a rebel assault on Ndjamena.
-by October, there are 12,000 refugees in eastern Chad.
-November- UN head Kofi Annan calls for a peace-keeping force in the Chad-Darfur border.
-Deby declares a state of emergency in eastern Chad.
2007- February- UN Refugee Agency warns that Darfur genocide is spreading into Chad.
October- Chadian rebel groups sign a Libya-brokered peace accord with government.
September- UN Security Council agrees to send a European-UN peacekeeping force into eastern Chad.
-November- Mahamat Nouri’s UFDD rebel group ends ceasefire, complaining that Chad had broken the October peace accord.
-Chad bombs rebels in eastern Chad and Darfur.
-December 29- Sudan complains of bombing raids by Chadian aircraft in Darfur,
-2008- January- the EU agrees to send a peace-keeping force to eastern Chad to protect refugees from Darfur.
-400,000 Darfur refugees in eastern Chad.
-Chadian fighter planes attack a rebel base across the border in Darfur.
-February 3- rebel offensive moves in on Ndjamena. France, while declaring it neutrality, sends in troops to evacuate civilians to Cameroon and protect refugees
-the rebel group UFDD headed by Mahamat Nouri remains camped outside Ndjamena.
-danger looms of a rebel coup installing a pro-Sudan government in Chad.
-the UN security council calls for member states to support the Chadian government against rebels.
-Feb 6- France drops neutrality and declares it will defend Deby’s government.

RECENT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS: With President Idriss Deby installed in 1990, Chad got a new constitution in 1996. Though he'd been helped to power by Libya, the perennial problems with Arab rebels would drive him back into the arms of Chad's traditional protector, France. Indeed, rebellion once again reared its head in 1998. The Movement for Democracy and Justice (MDJT) appeared, based in the Tibetsi Mountains, in the central north, led by Joseph Togoimi, Deby's former defense minister. By 2000 it was taking territory in the north, its ultimate goal to oust president Deby. But in 2002, the MDJT and the government reached a peace agreement. The situation in Darfur, meanwhile, posed an increasing threat to stability. Deby's own Zaghawa tribe was related to the bordering Darfur farming tribes of the Fur people of Sudan which were being systematically expropriated and killed by the Sudan-backed Janjaweed militia. The Janjaweed were assisting northern, Arab herding tribes in their search for pasture and water in the south. Former allies, Deby and Sudan's President Bashir fell out over Janjaweed atrocities inflicted on the Fur people. The stakes in ruling Chad increased in 2003 with the completion of a pipeline carrying oil from the Doba region to terminals on Cameroon's Atlantic coast. In 2004, as Darfur refugees fleeing the Janjaweed took refuge across the border in eastern Chad the border region was seriously destabilized. To make matters worse, Chadian Arab militias in the north, similar to the Janjaweed and likewise backed by Sudan, began to attack settled farming tribes and refugees together in eastern Chad. One of these militias was the UFDD of Mahamat Nouri, formerly the right hand man of ex president Habre. The UFDD accuses Deby of siphoning oil profits into the pockets of his cronies instead of using them for development- echoing a complaint already made by the World Bank. The rebel group also claimed that the president's rule favours members of his own Zaghawa tribe- whose members he has also been trying to protect in Darfur. But observers could only be apprehesive of expansionist tendencies by Sudan, backed by the Muslim supremacism of herding tribes in the north of Sudan and Chad. Hamstrung by the politics of the Security Council, the UN was helpless to intervene. Attempts by Gaddhafi, Sudan's Bashir and Egypt to broker a peace came to nothing. Meanwhile, rebel success in Chad could mean the beginnings of a Muslim Sudanese hegemony in east and central Africa. Understandably perhaps, Chadians in 2005 accepted changes in the constitution allowing Deby to stand for re-election in 2006. Throughout, UFDD rebels took advantage of the increasing anarchy in eastern Chad to make a gradual drive on the capital. Deby was re-elected in 2006 only to block a rebel-backed attempted coup in March. In April, a UFDD frontal attack on the capital was repulsed by the Chadian army. Deby declared a state of emergency in eastern Chad and in 2007, Chadians agreed that Chad should postpone new elections until 2009. Peace talks with the rebels failed, a peace agreement brokered by Libya in October collapsed in November and the rebels renewed their move toward the capital. As the world watched members of a French aid agency being arrested for attempting to airlift Chadian orphans to France (and convicted of kidnapping when it was shown the children were not orphans), Deby was sending aircraft to bomb UFDD bases in th east and in Darfur.
By this January, there was serious international alarm that a Sudan-backed government could end up ruling Chad if the rebels weren't stopped. The EU committed itself to a peace-keeping force. In early February, UFDD rebel forces were fighting in the streets of Ndajema. France brought in troops to protect civilians and evacuate refugees into Cameroon. Having previously declared its neutrality, France now said it was ready to intervene militarily in support of Deby. In a rare show of unanimity on central and east Africa, the UN Security Council demanded that all member states declare support for Deby. As of February 6, the Chadian military, with some covert French assistance, has driven the rebels from the capital at the cost of high civilian casualties.

REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS:
Throughout the region's ancient history, Lake Chad was an intersection and stopping point for east-west and north-south routes of the slave, gold, ivory and spice trade across the Sahara. In the valley of the Longone river which ran into Lake Chad from the south, flourished the highly developed artistic culture of the Sao people. Around 650 AD, Arab traders arrived from the north. Two centuries later, the people in the Lake Chad region called themselves Sefewa and their council of chieftains organized themselves into a single system of government. At the same time (in the 9th century) the northern Toubou people migrated southward into the Chad region and founded the Kingdom of Kanem which came to control the Sahara trade between the west and Sudan and Egypt. The kings proceeded to fight for and gain control of all the Lake Chad grasslands. In the late 11th century, King Hume of Kanem (ruled 1085-1097) converted to Islam and an Islamic empire of Kanem began to develope with a fornalized adminstrative hierarchy and law code. By the 13th century, Kanem was at its height, launching an eastward invasion and taking Darfur. In the fifteenth century Kanem was in its last stages, shaken by local rebellions, the largest of which was that of the Bulala people. Kanem was succeeded by the Kingdom of Bornu, to the west. 1500 saw Darfur recovering its independence while later in the century, Bornu linked up with the remains of Kanem and Kanem-Bornu recovered lands to the east of Lake Chad. By 1571 a powerful empire of Kanem-Bornu stretched across the the southern Sahara under King Idriss Alooma. Wealthy from the cross-desert trade, Alooma's empire kept diplomatic relations with Tripoli, Cairo and Ottoman Constantinople. It was under Aloomis, however, that the cracks began to show as Kanem Bornu warred with the upstart kingdoms of Wadai and Bagirmi. By the 18th century, Wadai and Bagirmi had outstripped Bornu and in 1846, the last of the Bornu kings of Chad abdicated. By 1880, the remaining kingdoms in the region were Darfur in the east, Wadai west of Darfur, Bagirmi in the centre on Lake Chad and what remained of Bornu on the west. The remants of Kanem lay to the north. By 1890, French entrepreneurs had arrived and Europe agreed that the area was a French possession. In 1893, recognizing the region's weakness, the Sudanese sultan, the 'African Napoeon', Rabih invaded, conquering Bagirmi and Bornu. In turn, in 1900, the Sudanese warlord was forced out by French troops who then formally occupied the Chad area, opening it to exploitation by 40 French concession companies. By 1910, Chad was administered as part of French Equatorial Africa and was kept under military rule. It was formally made a colony in 1920. The trouble really began in the 1930s with the French favouring the Muslim tribal elites in the north while failing to develop the country. Tensions worsened between the south, whose tribes were less structured, the society more anarchic, and the north whose Muslim tribes were highly organized and hierarchical with powerful chieftains. Improvements were made in communications and development and in 1947 Chad was given a territorial legislature. Forced labour was abolished and legal and political reforms brought in. Throughout the 1950s, the southern tribes, aware of those in the north, became more powerful. In 1958, with the break-up of French Equatorial Africa, Chad won autonomy as part of "the French Community". Independence followed in 1960.

LOCATION OF NOTE:
Ndjamena, the capital of Chad, was founded by the French in 1900 as Fort Lamy. It is a port on the Chari river and a transportation center for roads leading from Sudan, Nigeria and the Central African Republic. Built at the confluence of the Longone and Chari rivers south of Lake Chad, Fort Lamy lay in an area previously ruled by the African kingdom of Bagirmi. Around the turn of the century, trade was with Nigeria in the west and Wadai and Khartoum in the east. The area was explored by Dixon Denham in 1823 and for Germany by Gustave Nachtigal in 1872. But in 1871, it had been conquered by the Sultan of Wadai. It was conquered in turn by Rabih of Sudan in 1893. In the mid-1890s, the French explorer, Paul Campel was killed on Rabih's orders. In 1897, the the French district commissioner, Emile Gentil made a treaty with the Sultan of Bagirmi who placed his state under French protection. In 1900, in the battle in which the French defeated and killed the Sultan Rabih, the French commander, Major Lamy was also killed. It was for him that the early town was named. Fort Lamy was re-named NdJamena in 1973. In the late 1960s, during the civil war, Ndjamena was occupied by Libya.

PROFILE: Rabih az-Zubayr- A half Arab, half black Sudanese warlord who invaded the kingdoms of Bagirmi and Bornu in the lake Chad region before being defeated by the French in 1900. A follower of the Sultan Az Zubayr of Sudan, Rabih persisted in trading slaves in the face of a ban by the British and on Britain's behalf, by Egypt. Around that time, the slave trade became the anti-colonial cause of the Mahdi who rose to expel the British. In 1879, Britain's regional official, Colonel Gordon, sent a local warrior, Gessi Pasha, after Rabih who was forced westward with his cohort of black slave soldiers. Thus displaced, Rabih took the territory south of Wadai in what is presently southeastern Chad. In 1891, one of Rabih's tributary chieftains to the west killed the French expolorer Paul Crampel who was then in Bagirmi on the southeast short of Lake Chad, and sent Crampel's store of rifles eastward to Rabih. After failing in an attempt to take Wadai, Rabih occupied Bagirmi. In 1893 he moved further west and conquered Bornu, on the west shore of Lake Chad. After abortive attempts to treat with the British and extend his territories into the British occupied Niger, Rabih turned back on Bagirmi, which by then had been occupied by France. Rabih waited until the French official, Emile Gentil had gone and invaded Bagirmi, forcing out the French resident and the sultan. In the summer of 1899, Rabih repulsed a French attempt to re-take Bagirmi but was forced into Wadai by a second French assault in October. He consolidated his forces in Wadai and fought the French again in April, 1900, where his force was defeated and he was killed. He was decapitated and his head brought to the French camp as proof of his death. Three of his sons were killed in successive battles in which, in the end, the French prevailed.

CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY:
The kingdoms in the region of Lake Chad were founded on the trans-Sahara trade in slaves, ivory, gold and spices. Kanem, which rose in the ninth century and lasted until the fourteenth was probably the region's greatest state. It fell to rivalry by the smaller Chadian kingdoms of Wadai, Bagirmi and Bornu- the tribal states that confronted Europeans in the nineteenth century. With the imposition of European-style states with boundaries reflecting the settlement of European rivalries, the territorial conflict between Arab north and African south became military and political. The entities, once local and tribal, now covered huge territories and contained conflicting interests between different peoples. The periodic contest between Islam in the desert north and Christianity and Animism in the south, and, respectively, between herders in search of water and farmers trying to protect their lands is gradually becoming a war between Muslim Sudan and Christian Chad at the expense of the thousands who are dying or forced to flee in western Sudan and eastern Chad.

EYE-WITNESS:
"During 15 years of harsh and eccentric rule, President Ngarta Tombalbaye of Chad survived at least seven major assassination attempts. Last week his luck ran out. In a surprise sunrise attack, uniformed soldiers and police, led by General Mbailai Odingar, acting commander of Chad's 4,000-man army, stormed the white-walled presidential palace in Ndjamena, capital of this Central African nation. Tombalbaye's death was announced over national radio, and General Odingar claimed that the armed forces had "exercised their responsibilities before God and the nation." Almost immediately, thousands of brightly swathed men and women poured into the dusty streets of the sun-scorched city, singing, dancing and joyfully chanting, 'Tombalbaye is dead.' " -Time Magazine, April 28, 1975.

PRESENT SITUATION:
The UDFF rebel army's invasion of Ndjamena appears to have been an attempt to head off the European Union's humanitarian intervention force intended for eastern Chad and Darfur. To complicate matters further, France's determination to back Deby militarily, is making the neutrality of the EU's force look suspect. If the UDFF rebels are successful in taking control of Chad, there would be a Sudanese hegemony from Khartoum to Ndjamena, the Chadian supply routes for the Darfur rebels would be closed and the region would face two choices: the wholesale extermination of southern farming tribes in the entire region; or large-scale western intervention, embroiling the region in a massive war- since the current conflict has also been spreading into the Central African Republic.

PLUS CA CHANGE:
In 1893, the Sudanese warlord, Rabih az-Zubayr briefly invaded and occupied the kingdoms in the Chad region. 115 years later Sudan is backing east Chadian rebels in another attempt to take and control Chad.

CURIOSITY:
Around 1570, the great king of Kanem-Bornu, Idriss Alooma, maintained trade and diplomatic relations with Tripoli, Cairo and with the Ottomans at Constantinople.

TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF CHAD:


Ancient Chad

-the Lake Chad region an ancient center for Sahara slave trading routes: north-south and east-west.

-the highly developed and artistic Sao (meaning ‘heathen’to Muslims) culture flourishes in the Longone river which drains into Lake Chad from the south.

The arrival of the Arabs.

650 (circa) Arab traders arrive in the Lake Chad region.

850- (circa)- the Sefewa chiefs consolidate their tribal council into a system of rule.

-tribes connected with the Toubou people of the northern Sahara migrate southward to the Lake Chad region where they found the kingdom of Kanem.

The Kingdom of Kanem

900- the Sefewa Kings of the Kanem people rule the area around lake Chad. They control the relay trade between the western Sahara, Darfur, Sudan and Egypt.

-the Kanem chiefs fight for control of the grasslands around Lake Chad.

Conversion to Islam

1085-1097- Hume, chief of the Sefewa, agrees to convert to Islam. The Kanem empire begins. A systematic administrative hierarchy is developed, extending law and order throughout its trading area.

1250- the kingdom of Kanem (modern Chad), now at its height, invades from the west and takes Darfur.

1300s- Kanem goes into decline.

1450 (circa) Kanem collapses due to several rebellions, the largest of which is by the Bulala people. A period of anarchy follows from which Bornu rises as the new power, west of Lake Chad.

-the last Kanem rulers expelled from Darfur.

1520 (circa) –Kanem-Bornu recovers lost lands east of Lake Chad.

King Idriss Alooma

1571- Idriss Alooma, greatest king of Kanem-Bornu rises to ascendance. Kanem extends from its base, east of lake Chad, to Bornu, west of Lake Chad. It becomes the kingdom of Kanem-Bornu. His empire stretches from part of Dufur westward to Hausaland (northern Nigeria). Keeps diplomatic relations with Tripoli Cairo and the Ottomans Empire.

-Alooma brings in Ottoman advisers to train a company of Kanem musketeers.


Bornu

1575 (circa) Bornu wars with the new states of Wadai and Bagirmi

1600- Abdullah, the King of the state of Bagirmi, on the south-eastern shores of Lake Chad, converts to Islam.

-the Bagirmi raid local tribes for the slave trade.

1750 (circa) -the Wadai and Bagirmi empires finally overshadow Kanem-Bornu.

1823-1905- Lake Chad and its adjoining rivers explored or navigated by Britain, France and Germany.

1823- Bagirmi, southeast of Lake Chad, is encountered by Dixon Denham.

1846- the last of Chad’s Bornu kings abdicates.

1871- Bagirmi is conquered by the Sultan of Wadai.

Invasion by Sudan.

1890- the French arrive in the Chad region. French sovereignty in the region is recognized by Europe.

1893, Kanem Bornu, Wadai and Bagirmi fall to the Sudanese Conqueror Rabih.

-the French explorer, Paul Crampel arrives in Bagirmi only to be mudered by the Sultan Rabih.

-1897, the French district commissioner, Emile Gentil makes a treaty with the Sultan of Bagirmi who places his state under French protection.

French Occupation.

1900- the French army defeats Rabih, occupies Chad.

-Chad under French influence. French possessions in the equatorial region are divided among 40 concession companies, each pf which has a thirty year charter.

1910 –Chad included in French Equatorial Africa. (Chad, Gabon, Central Africa and Congo-Brazzaville).

1913- the French control all of Chad as a colony under military rule. Chad is ruled together with Ubang Shari to the south, which will later become the Central African Republic.


Chad a French Colony

1920- Chad becomes a French colony.

1930s- Chad neglected by France, underdeveloped.

-the French favour the Muslim tribal elites in the north of the country.

-tensions between less organized tribes following African religions in the south and Arab Muslim tribes in the north which have more hierarchical structures with powerful chieftains.

1940s- French equatorial Africa becomes a stronghold of the Free French opposition to the Vichy regime.

-improvements in transportation, communications. Legal and political reforms.

1946- France abolishes forced labour, gives Chad its own territorial legislature.

1950s- southern tribes become more powerful.

1958- French equatorial possessions break up. By referendum, Chad becomes an autonomous territory as part of the new, ‘French Community.’


Chad becomes Independent.

1960- 11 August- Chad becomes independent.

-southern tribes provide Chad with its first president, Francois Ngarta Tombalbaye (1918-1975). He begins, systematically, to expand his power.

-Tombalbaye pushes radical nationalism, persecuting Christian missionaries and attempting to replace all Christian names with Africans. This meets strong resistance.


The Muslim north is restive.

-Arab Slave traders have already been in Chad for generations. Intermarriage and religious conversion to Islam have caused layered identities.

-northern Muslim tribes begin to revolt against the government.

1965- under Tombalbaye, Chad becomes a one-party state,

Tombalbaye’s Tyrannu ignites Civil War.

1966-68- civil war between the northern tribes and the southern-backed government in Ndjamena.

-Chad appeals to its military pact with France for French intervention.

1968- the government collapses but is saved by French military intervention.

-Chad suffering severely from drought. The Muslim north is increasingly restive under rule by the south. Northern militants organize FROLINAT, the Chad National Liberation Front.

- FAN (Armed Forces of the North) group secedes from FROLINAT

1970s- Hissene Habre joins Goukouni Oueddi’s FAN (Armed Forces of the North) guerillas. Libyan troops move into Chad in support of FROLINAT.

-Habre splits from Goukouni.

1971- French troops withdraw from Chad.

1973- the northern revolt is suppressed.


Tombalbaye Deposed; rise of Hissene Habre.

1975- Tombalbaye deposed and killed in a coup. Felix Malloum is president.

-tensions between north and south increase.

1978- Habre makes peace with President Malloum. Habre is appointed prime minister.

Goukoumi is President.

1979- Goukouni takes power. Habre becomes defense minister.

1980 -Muslim tribal guerilla leader Goukounoi Oeddai gets backing of 10,000 Libyan troops.

CIA helps to install Habre.

1982- CIA-backed rebels battle Goukouni and take the capital, installing Hissene Habre as president.

-Libya continues to support rebels while France backs the government forces of Habre. France dominates the south, Libya the north.

-with French backing, Habre forces Libya to withdraw. Habre is appointed president.

1987- cease-fire between rebels and government forces.

-Habre rules with brutality, murdering up to 40,000.

Libya driven from Chad.

-FROLINAT, supported by the government in Ndjamena and French and US military aid, turns against Libya.

-1987- June- FROLINAT and the government drive Libya out of Chad save for parts of Tibesti and the AOUZOU strip to which Chad continues to lay claim.

1988- Habre defeates Libya.

Formation of the Janjaweed by a Chadian Warlord.

-Gadaffi’s Chadian Arab rebel leader, Acheickh Ibn Omar Saeed, retreats into northern Darfur where he gets help from Sheikh Musa Hilal of the Mahamid Rizeigat Arabs.

- French-Chadian forces attack Saeed and destroy him but his weapons remain with Hilal along with a Libyan-influenced supremacist ideology linked to the Libyan-sponsored 'Arab Gathering'.

-the remnants of Saeed’s Chadian, Libya-supported militia become the basis for the formation of the Janjaweed.

1989- Chad and Libya seek a resolution over the AOUZOU strip.

Idriss Deby

-Libya supports Deby against Habre,

1990- Habre is ousted in a coup by Idriss Deby at the head of the Popular Salvation Front. French lose influence in Chad. Deby promises democratic reforms, a new constitution and free elections.

1996- Chad gets a news constitution.

MDJT Rebels.

1998- Youssouf Togoimi secedes from government and founds the Movement for Justice and Democracy (MDJT).

-the MDJT organizes a guerilla movement, operating against the capital.

2000- July- the MDJT taking territory in northern Chad.

2000- Chad gets loans for a pipeline to Cameroon seaport terminals so that it can export oil from the Doba region. The project seriously damages the rain forest.

2001- May 20-- Deby is re-elected amid suspected irregularities in polling.

-the MDJT rebel group working to overthrow Deby.

Darfur

-Deby and his Zaghawa tribe support the rebels in Darfur.

-former allies, Deby and Sudan’s Bashir fall out over Janjaweed abuses in Darfur. France resumes its support of Chad.

2002- MDJT rebel group makes peace with Deby.

2003 -Chad’s $3.7 billion pipeline is completed, linking Chad’s oil fields to terminals on the Atlantic.

December- MDJT hardliners reject a second peace deal with Deby.

2004- Jan-Feb- Darfur refugees begin to flood into eastern Chad.

-April-May- Chadian troops engage Sudan-backed Chadian milias in the east as violence spills over from Darfur.

Mahamat Nouri’s UFDD Rebel Group

-summer- the Janjaweed militia of northern Darfur infiltrates Chad and links up with Chadian rebels who support Sudan. For example,: the UFDD, headed by Mahamat Nouri, which receives strong Sudanese support.

-meanwhile, Sudan uses Chadian Arab warlords against Darfur.

2005- June. Changes in the constitution allow Deby to stand for re-election in 2006.

-farming peoples in Chad and Darfur suffer violence and expropriation by northern, Arab militias.

Sudan backs Arab militias in Darfur and in Chad

December- Chad accuses Sudan of instigating Chadian rebel attacks inside the eastern border.

2006- World Bank freezes loans to Chad after Deby refuses to use Chad’s oil money for development.

-Jan-June- the Sudan-backed Janjaweed militia from Darfur penetrates deeper into eastern Chad, causing havoc.

-March- government blocks an attempted coup.

Rebels from Eastern Chad Gather Strength.

-April- Chadian rebels launch all-out attack on Ndajema. It is repulsed by troops loyal to President Deby.

-Deby re-elected to another term.

-summer- Ndjamena on military alert in the face of a reported rebel assault.

-attempted coup by rebels from eastern Chad who complain of Deby’s inability to bring services to the region.

-French troops and mirage jets repulse the rebel assault on Ndjamena.

-by October, there are 12,000 refugees in eastern Chad.

-November- UN head Kofi Annan calls for a peace-keeping force in the Chad-Darfur border.

-Deby declares a state of emergency in eastern Chad.

2007- February- UN Refugee Agency warns that Darfur genocide is spreading into Chad.

August- Chad government and opposition agree to postpone elections until 2009.

Failed Attempts to Make Peace with Rebels.

October- Chadian rebel groups sign a Libya-brokered peace accord with government.

September- UN Security Council agrees to send a European-UN peacekeeping force into eastern Chad.

November- Mahamat Nouri’s UFDD rebel group ends ceasefire, complaining that Chad had broken the October peace accord.

December- members of a French aid group are arrested for attempting to airlift orphans out of Chad to France. It is discovered that the ‘orphans’ have parents in Chad. A harsh sentence in Chad is commuted to time to be served in France.

Chad bombs Rebels in eastern Chad and Darfur.

December 29- Sudan complains of bombing raids by Chadian aircraft in Darfur,

2008- January- the EU agrees to send a peace-keeping force to eastern Chad to protect refugees from Darfur.

-400,000 Darfur refugees in eastern Chad.

-Chadian fighter planes attack a rebel base across the border in Darfur.

Rebel Offensive on the Capital.

February 3- rebel offensive moves in on Ndjamena. France, while declaring it neutrality, sends in troops to evacuate civilians to Cameroon and protect refugees

-“The Chadian rebels involved in fighting in N'Djaména over the weekend are from the Unified Military Command, an umbrella group that includes the Union of Forces for Democracy (UFDD), the Rally of Forces for Change (RFC) and UFDD-Fundamental. The UFDD is led by Mahamat Nouri, who, before serving in Idriss Déby's government, was the right-hand man of former Chadian president Hissène Habré, currently in Senegal facing charges of crimes against humanity. Other members of the UFDD also reportedly have ties to Habré (Human Rights
Watch Press Release, Feb. 4)

-the rebel group UFDD headed by Mahamat Nouri remains camped outside Ndjamena.

-danger looms of a rebel coup installing a pro-Sudan government in Chad.

-the UN security council calls for member states to support the Chadian government against rebels.

-Feb 6- France drops neutrality and declares it will defend Deby’s government.
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