Behind the cliché of the Chadian ‘desert warriors’, militarized politics and Idriss Déby’s global political capital

Chad has a long history in meddling in regional conflicts, but has recently appeared eager to assert itself as a regional military power with the blessing of its Western allies. In 2013, the Chadian military played a decisive role during the French-led action in Mali. Chadians now comprise the first contingent of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), with more than 1,200 men.

This paper provides background information on the Chadian army. While this army is now considered one of the best in the region, little is known about its composition and the way it is governed. In this respect, it argues that the successful offensive operations led by the Chadian army should not overshadow its all too common brutal practices and the lack of accountability. Second, it argues that the key question is not only who is the best to do the job in the Sahel and Sahara, but also, what are the impacts of the militarization of international interventions in the region.

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